If you’ve started a blog to become the Next Big Author or Creative, then you should give up right now.
Despite what the myriad of bloggers on your WordPress Reader or Twitter are telling you—amidst their epic cries of Buy my book! Buy my booook!—you will not become famous by virtue of tapping your fingers onto the keyboard and blurting word vomit onto your professional writer’s blog. You’d have a better chance writing a letter in blood to the devil (The Big Five publishers) or begging for a short story journal to not pay you in exposure and love.
If you’re an unknown, the majority of your followers will be other writers and creatives. Sure, a percentage of these people may be interested enough to buy your book or watch your YouTube channel or like your social media accounts, they’re nowhere near the majority. If you’re a virtual unknown with a newly minted blog, your comments—if any—will read something like this:
It’s amazing how many free stock images exist on the internet. Here’s one of someone writing a blog post.
Last month I set myself up for the impossible task of blogging every day. Guess what? Forty days later, and I’m still going strong. You know, I don’t think it’s something everyone should do. Thinking of a different idea every single day can be exhausting, time-consuming, but it’s also great to keep your creative brain alive especially when you feel like you’ve lost your zest for writing.
I’ve had a major case of writer’s block for the last couple of months. I’m not talking about the sort of writer’s block that can be fixed by staring at your laptop screen for an hour with Resident Evil save room music playing in the background, but the sort where you can’t pump out even a paragraph. I have no problem with ideas; that’s the easiest part, but putting them down into words is much harder. Earlier this year, I started my second serious novel (as mentioned before, I’ve previously written another two absolutely awful pieces of crap back in 2009 and 2010), and found myself just over 7,000 words in before I became stuck. Since I couldn’t continue with that story, I decided to turn my hand to blogging. Blogging means you can get your words out to people, and can interact with others on the world wide web. I decide to write about politics, because it’s difficult to escape from the world of politics, but you can write about just about anything. Because of that, I decided to separate my writing and other related posts to this blog, and talk about politics on my new site, The Fifty Percent Review.
Since I’ve seen a lot of people talk about the slog of blogging, and how so many give up after a few short months, I thought I should offer a few tips on how you can blog regularly. Keep in mind this is coming from someone who struggled one blog every couple of months when I first started in 2012. In 2013, I did one post in February, and then took a huuge break until June, and then only did two more posts between September and December. Lucky for me, I’ve managed to find a good cycle for posting on Gut Instinct (one post per month) that’s realistic to maintain. But you want to know how to write regularly, don’t you? Well, let’s get crack-a-lacking:
It’s not really blogging. Just a Word document with the words “blogging”.
There. Now that you’ve read the utterly clickbaity headline, it’s time for the blog post!
When I first started this blog, way back in the golden olden days of 2012, I had big wide-eyed dreams for what I would do now I was a blogger. A Blogger was a mystical, ethereal internet person; someone who wrote catchy online versions of personal diaries, albeit better edited and with a little less of the constant Does he/she like me? and the boring analysis of how much you hated P.E/Gym. I can’t really talk about that from experience: I was one of the diarists who started off January 1 expecting to become the next Adrian Mole—at least until I discovered no-one should aspire to be Adrian “Lo, The Flat Hills of my Homeland” Mole. By June or July, about the time where we’re at now, I’d be making up diary entries days afterward, trying to guess if I read K-Zone or played Sims 2 on PS2 all day. It didn’t really matter. I wasn’t meant to be a diarist.
But, back to that magical word: blogging. I first started on Webs and then moved over to WordPress due to its overall simplicity. I sat around for a while and thought of what to write before deciding on the topic of the day: Political Correctness Gone Mad. It wasn’t about writing—it was after that I turned to the generic writer blog posts about writer’s block, inspiration and the like. It was nice to write about stuff on the internet, even if people didn’t really read it. I didn’t expect lots of views; after all, the internet superhighway is full of so many people trying to get their words out, trying to tell us the same thing, and I expected moderate success. But I kept doing it because I enjoyed it. When writer’s block (funnily enough) set in, I was still able to open up my WordPress reader and belt out a post for you guys to peruse, like and enjoy. Four years later, and I’ve stuck to my New Year’s Resolution for 2014 and still write a blog post a month.
So, are you a morning or a night person?
September 19 marked three years since I first started this blog, and I completely missed it. There’s nothing especially special about keeping up a blog for three years—but wait a sec, don’t most people give up after a week or something?
But that’s not the point of this month’s blog post, as awesome as that feat is. Everyone who writes and keeps up a blog for any considerable point of time will reach milestones like this. That’s not the exciting bit. What’s exciting is, come the end of each month, I’ll write something new and enjoyable for you to peruse and enjoy. Whether it be a short story, a critique of the media or some simple writing tips, that’s what I’m here for. When I started, I was in my second year of university, awkwardly stumbling around the internet trying to make my mark.
This also isn’t the point of this month’s blog post. What’s happening to me!? No—wait a second—this happens every month! I start with some random stuff, and then lead into the more exciting stuff. In this month’s case—sleep!
What? What’s so important about sleep? you may ask, dumbfounded. I know all there is to know about sleep!
Recently I came across a Clickhole article—yes, Clickhole—and the article really intrigued me. It was called The Sleeping Habits of Five Geniuses. The ironic part was that I was reading this piece in the early hours of the morning; a time when I should usually be asleep. At least I don’t follow the “true and tested” “sleep cycles” of those famous people. A thousand and one excuses about why I stay up so late started to run through my head: creative minds work better at night; Clickhole runs on an American schedule so all their important stuff appears on my Facebook feed at 4 or 5 in the morning; working nights means I do my best work in the early hours; I’ve actually been able to write with this bleary sleepless brain spurring me on, etc, etc.
Does our sleep cycle really matter in the whole scheme of things? Does it truly matter whether you’re up at the crack of dawn, or still pottering away into the early hours of the morning?
It’s about making a creative opening picture every day/week/month.
When I started this blog up way back in September 2012, it was meant as a way to put all my writing in one place and maybe occasionally blog about the [not-so] wacky life of yours truly. I never really thought much of blogging; oh, it’s just something other people do when they write about fashion or their The Sims Sunset Valley/Pleasantview legacies.
Oh, how two years can change you. Well, not really, at least not in that fantastical, life-changing way. That’s the thing about blogging. Your life doesn’t have to be that exciting to have a blog. There’s a wider variety of everyday people who write more candidly on their blogs, whereas Facebook is more constricted and fake, and Twitter—well, let’s not go there.
But are we truly ourselves while blogging? Of course not. The only people who know our true selves are those who know us personally. Blogging provides an sneak peek into that life, where there are more words than Snapchat (of course), less attention seeking than Facebook (usually) and less intrusive than Twitter (buy my book now it’s only $2.99 on Amazon people).
It really surprised me.
A modern term, just one word, used so simply, but so very dramatically.
You may not know anything about clickbait, but if you’re reading this, then you probably already do. If you don’t, or just like reading dictionary definitions, clickbait is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as:
(On the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page
Back in the day (2011-2013), when I was studying journalism at university, I thought there were only two styles of news writing. Tabloid is your popular, run-of-the-mill trashy newspaper or website, where it draws you to the page with dramatic headlines, i.e The Daily Mail, Herald Sun, New York Post. If your tastes are a bit more refined, there are broadsheets, which just state it simply, without any need for red cordial-esque hyperbole, such as The New York Times, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph.
But this isn’t the case anymore.
Such a simple word.
Every month, usually on the last day, I open up WordPress on my internet browser, and click on the ‘Add New Post’ button, but not before I open up my WordPress feed, Twitter, Facebook, maybe watch an episode (or five) of the current DVD box set I’m interested in, eBay, the crappy fanfiction on Wattpad and a few select websites I regularly peruse that have nothing to do with writing. I stare at the unfinished manuscripts and the novella I’m currently submitting to publishers—waiting for that funny little thing called inspiration to strike.
I have no problem once I’ve started writing—like I am right now—but it’s when the page is blank, and I’m just twiddling my thumbs, that is the worst part of writing. No, I’m not just talking about writer’s block. Every writer who has started a blog has written about writer’s block at some point. It’s been so overdone, even I’ve written a post about it (back in September 2013), and there are over 540 Google search results on it. No, this week I’m talking about blogging.
Don’t believe me?