Some writers think blogging is nothing but a big ass waste of time. It’s not too hard to understand why. With millions of blogs and thousands more popping up every minute, it’s pretty difficult to get any real readership. Why spend time writing posts that no one is going to read? You could be using all that precious time to write short stories that no one is going to read.
Kidding, of course. Everyone’s going to read your stories. Especially if you have a blog.
If you write fiction or poetry, you might view blogging as time away from your real writing. Unless you’re blogging your stories or poems (which will lead to even less readership on your blog), then a blog seems like it’s going to do very little service to your writing career.
But that’s simply not true. A good blog can sometimes advance your writing career more than that story or novel you’re working on. In fact, every writer should have a blog (but please don’t make your blog just a place to post your latest poem or story). Here’s why:
- It’s good practice. This shouldn’t be too hard to comprehend. Blogging is a kind of writing. If you are a writer, you need to write. Writing is practice for writing. You can’t be a good writer without putting in plenty of practice. You can’t be a good anything without a lot of practice. Think of blogging as all the ball-handling drills a basketball player does. No basketball player has ever actually used any of those drills in a game. But you’d better believe those drills make a big difference come game time. Even if you are a poet or a fiction writer, blogging will help you become better.
- It can lead to sales. If you write helpful articles on your blog, people will follow you. They will respect you. They may even buy your books. This doesn’t mean you have to promote your books on your blog. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. If your blog articles are good enough, your readers may look to support you on their own. People who’ve read my blog have bought and reviewed my books. I’ve personally bought books after reading other people’s worthwhile blogs. It works, and it’s not that awful self-promotion you do on Facebook and Twitter every day.
- It can create opportunities. On more than one occasion, someone has contacted me after reading a post on my blog and asked if I would write an article for their site or blog. These opportunities have typically involved the exchange of money as well as exposure. Your blog probably won’t make any money on its own (unless you want to sell your soul to advertising), but it can certainly lead to other opportunities.
- It helps you establish a place in the writing community. Most writers are good people. They want to become better writers and support each other. If your blog has helpful advice or interesting stories, other writers will appreciate what you’re doing. You’ll make more writing friends and more writing connections. This will make writing more rewarding whether you become a bestseller or not.
- It can help your odds with publishers or agents. Publishers and agents often want authors with an existing audience. This makes their jobs easier. A blog is a way to develop your internet presence. If a publisher sees you have a great blog with a lot of followers, they might be more likely to publish that great book of yours.
I won’t lie. I often think I’m wasting my time when I’m working on a blog post. But it’s definitely been a worthwhile and rewarding experience for me. And it’s also a good way to take a break from that horrible novel I’m working on.