I started blogging 12 years ago in the spring of 2008 because none other than the author Hanif Kureishi (Buddha of Suburbia) advised it, and I’ve never stopped. I may have paused for a short while to take a holiday but I have largely sustained the daily – or at least thrice-weekly – discipline of writing a blog post. So why is this a good idea? Let me count the reasons.
1. You get exposure. It may not be much exposure but once published your post is out there for any and all to read. Don’t be discouraged if you only get a few views because you never know who might happen upon these posts years later. I’m constantly surprised by the number of people who stumble across posts from years before. Good tagging helps with this, as does linking to social media.
2. You get practice. When you’re starting out as a writer self-discipline is the hardest thing. You can sit with a pen and pad and think till your forehead bleeds, but if you start off with a daily blog post you’ve broken your duck. You may choose to have a blog dedicated to one subject but I allow mine to list where it will. All life lies within the blogger’s scope, and although the focus is on writing, this blog can be about absolutely anything.
3. You get readers. This is the wonderful thing about blogging: whereas published authors only get contact via book readings or email, you can get comments almost as soon as you hit ‘publish’. It’s good to look at your readers’ blogs too, if they have them.
4. You get ideas. Blogging is like turning on a tap; the more you write, the more ideas come to you. Interacting with readers can also help to challenge and refine your thinking.
5. You get a sense of progress. Once you’ve been writing a while you can look back and see how far you’ve come, not only in terms of statistics and followers, but in terms of your own writing.
6. You can use it as a platform. In the early days of this blog and lacking any other audience I used to put poems and short stories up for people to read. This can be very valuable but you have to be careful as some publishers will not accept work which has been published on a blog.
7. You get to be part of a community. After a while you come across other bloggers and start to follow them. You get a sense of what is out there and develop a community of friends. Blogs I follow include Kestrelart, Brian’s blog, Taskerdunham, A Box of Chocolates, my book world 24 and the ever-popular Beetley Pete.
8. You can do fun things like offering guest blog spots or free poetry ebooks, as I recently did to my 500th follower. People really appreciate these gestures, as they appreciate replies or ‘likes’ for their comments.
Oh look, I only came up with eight reasons. Well I guess it’s over to you now… what are your reasons for blogging? And if you haven’t got a blog, when are you going to start one?