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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Writing about Writing... Blogging Tips! (Part 1)

I still class myself as new to this whole blogging bandwagon, but I’ve been at it for about 15 months now! I’ve decided to give a little advice about blogging. Not necessarily tips for people to follow, but just a few guidelines I have for myself. You might find them useful, but you don’t have to pay them any attention if you’re thinking of starting a blog. This is pretty much “How to write this exact blog”. Nevertheless, here are a few things I like to stick to.

I realise I basically give the same tip in five different ways throughout this list… there’s some advice: don’t do that.

·         KEEP YOUR FONT CLEAR. Nothing annoys me more than trying to read a blog that’s got tiny, swirly writing or has funny colours like purple on pink, or blue on green. Reading something off a computer is not always a pleasurable experience, so you want to make your blog as easy to read as possible. Pick a normal font people are used to, like Times New Roman, Arial or Georgia (which I’m using). If you want to make it more creative, that’s great, but make sure it’s clear enough and big enough to read. Try asking your friends if they think your blog is clear enough.

·         NEVER WRITE WHEN EMOTIONAL. My rule is that when I’m angry or upset, I write fiction. I wait until I’m happy to work on blog posts. This usually ensures my posts have a nice tone to them and are a bit more coherent. If you do want to write something like a rant or just a normal post while you’re unhappy, my suggestion would be to write the post, but not post it straight away. Edit when you’re in a better mood.

·         DON’T WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING THAT’S JUST PEEVED YOU OFF. This is kind of similar, I suppose, regarding waiting ‘til your emotions have died down before you write about something. I sometimes write about problems like bullying, and my mum has warned me not to do this in too much detail: “In five years’ time, you might feel totally different about it.” You’re often better off to wait until you have some perspective on the matter.

·         PERSONAL, BUT NOT TOO PERSONAL… I decided right from the beginning that there were certain aspects of my life I was happy to share, and others I wanted to keep private. I’ve found a lot of my more “personal” posts, often just about my daily life, have proved very popular. Readers love the personal touch. That said, it’s important to have boundaries, too. Perhaps you might make a list of things you don’t want to mention, and stick to it!

·         KEEP IT POSITIVE… again, this is similar. I write my blog for you, the reader. It’s not your job to listen to all my moaning and complaining. When you blog, you’re selling yourself and your life to the reader to make them come back for more… so make it sound fun! Tell them all the exciting things that are going on in your life, everything you love, what makes you happy… leave the sob stories for your real life friends.

·         WRITE IN ADVANCE. You might become busy one week, or just not fancy writing a blog post. My suggestion would be either to have a few “backup” posts prepared which you can stick up, or stay a few posts ahead of yourself. I don’t know about other sites, but blogger allows you to schedule posts for whenever you want. Yesterday I didn’t go near my blog, but a post was scheduled to go up for you guys to read. Because I love you and never forget about you!

·         PROOFREAD THE BEJAYSUS OUT OF IT. Check all spellings, punctuation and grammar. I personally am rather picky about this, but even normal people will judge your blog just a little if it’s full of mistakes. It simply doesn’t look professional.

·         ASK A BETA READER TO HELP. Aside from spelling and grammar, you might often need someone else to check if your post reads well, so why not ask a friend? Sometimes when I give my opinion, I want to check that it doesn’t upset anyone, so I ask a friend to read it as if they were the most easily offended person on the planet, then only post it on their say-so.

·         DON’T BE TOO CONTROVERSIAL. This is a personal one for me, if you want you can be as controversial as you like! In my opinion, you can always tell when a blogger is just writing something to show off how “out there” or “unique” they can be. If you express an unpopular opinion, for example a hatred of a certain group of people, not only are you being incredibly rude, but you’re alienating a lot of your readership. I would hate for that to happen, or for anyone to get offended by something I’d written down, carelessly or on purpose.

·         READ OTHER BLOGS. I’ve actually found bloggers to be the nicest people around! You should follow and read a variety of blogs. Not only will you learn and develop your own style from reading ones you enjoy, you might also make a new friend. Leave comments on people’s blogs, and maybe put your URL at the bottom. They might give you a visit, and you never know… you could gain some new followers and friends!

I had so many ideas that I’ve decided to split this post into 2 parts. Part 2 will be up on Saturday…watch this space!

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