6 Tips To Keep Your Blog Writing Alive

by Gigi Ross on September 19, 2010

 

blog writing

After I had been blogging for a little while, I seemed to take the Chicken With Its Head Cut Off approach to writing. I was all over the map – trying all sorts of writing styles, topics, giveaways. I’d grasp at any last thing to throw up on my blog. My philosophy was…if I put enough out there, something will stick!

Well, things did finally stick, but a lot of things fell off, too. Here’s what I like to keep in mind to help keep my writing “alive.”

1. Remember your roots. When I say roots, I mean a)why you began blogging, and b) your initial group of followers. Your first few followers are probably still your most loyal. Stay true to them! Keep them engaged.  Also think about why you began blogging. Each post should reflect those motivations in some way.

2. Remember your voice. Try to approach each blog post with an eye toward keeping your blogger’s voice consistent. It’s always great to branch out a bit and experiment with new topics or genres, but do it in a way that still sounds like the “you” people fell in love with when they first followed you.

Of course, first you have to FIND your voice. This can take time.

3. Remember your goals. It’s very easy to lose focus as you spend more time blogging. If your original goal was to be a deals and coupons site, and you suddenly turn your blog into True Confessions, it can confuse people. If your goals have changed, or gotten bigger, you should either: 1) clearly communicate that you’re trying something new, or 2) consider starting a second blog focused on that specific topic.

4. Remember your past successes. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! If you’re struggling with what to write about, look back at your archives and see what posts have generated the most comments or controversy. This will help you refocus your writing on the themes that resonate most with your readers. Try tackling an old topic from a different angle or extend it into a different direction.

5. Remember your fellow bloggers. Collaboration can inspire new topic ideas or creative outlets. I’ve been inspired to write a post simply by a sentence or two that I’ve read on another blogger’s site. Reach out to your favorite bloggers and propose a joint post, guest post, meme, contest, a “two sides of the same coin” collaboration or other cooperative effort.

6. Remember That To Blog Is Human, To Edit, Divine. I almost never publish a post as soon as it’s written. I lean toward being wordy (can you tell?) and rambling. The more I edit, the better each post gets. This post has been edited 12 times already and in those edits, I’ve shortened it by 400 words. Same message, delivered in a much crisper way. Edit!

Go check out Battling Writer’s Block if you struggle with keeping the creative juices flowing.

 

{ 43 comments }

liz September 19, 2010 at 8:18 am

I like to edit in the “preview” pane because I can catch things in that view that I don’t/can’t see when I’m in the Compose view.

kludgymom September 19, 2010 at 9:46 am

I always preview before publishing. I catch so much stuff (but not, apparently, that broken link!).

tulpen September 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

I remember in my early blogging days, feeling my way around, trying on different voices, trying to nice all the time, worried about being myself. It wasn’t until I let myself be myself, to cuss like a trucker when I needed to, to get drunk and hit the keyboard, that I felt comfortable. Even if makes others uncomfortable, I could give a s**t.

Also, the editing? I am always going back and taking a red pen to posts.

adrienne September 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

This is a great post. I love the tips. They are great reminders on how to keep my focus as I write. :) thanks!

Joey @ Big Teeth & Clouds September 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I edit a good bit too. It seems to help to put a bit of time between writing and the actual moment a post goes “live”. In that time typos come out and I can get a good handle on whether it’s really funny, touching, or whatever it was supposed to be.

kludgymom September 19, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I totally agree!!!

Kat September 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Great tips! I edit. A lot! My voice has changed since I first started blogging. I tried writing in a way that no one would be offended but found that my posts were really not sounding much like me. Now that I have been blogging for almost a year I think I have found the happy medium. I still filter my vocab some but other than that it is all me!

Ashley @ Just Another Mom of 2 September 19, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Ahh, the things I have caught when editing! Sometimes something makes a lot more sense in my head than after it’s on the screen.. oops. I am still working on my current blogging voice. I have written for other things, but this, my own blog, I’m still working on crafting. This should certainly help!

Judy Schwartz Haley | CoffeeJitters.Net September 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm

I am in awe. The Idea Bank is pure genius – have other people provide content that will keep people coming back to your page over and over and over again. I bow to your brilliance. :)

julia September 19, 2010 at 7:47 pm

i don’t edit nearly enough. probably should.

i’m getting to more of my own voice lately… the “me” you see in real life.

alicia September 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Thanks for your wise words of wisdom. I’m fumbling, but trying to stay true to who I am. I actually have a post that I have attempted to write about 5 times now. Not sure it will ever make the cut. My weekly posts for my p365 are really more for me and are rarely great material. Not sure if I should continue it or not. Always lots to contemplate as a blogger. Great tips!

Diane September 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Great tips! Thanks! :)

Denise September 19, 2010 at 10:12 pm

hey! You won an award on my blog. You can read it here…
congrats!
-denise
http://letsshop2gether.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/she-likes-me-she-really-really-likes-me/

Alexandra September 20, 2010 at 12:02 am

Edit, edit, and then edit a third time: 3x at the very least.

Cheryl September 20, 2010 at 12:06 am

Hey Gigi, I’ve been away for a while (travel and our election) and so it’s great to read through your thoughts today and put my head back in order! Thanks.

kludgymom September 20, 2010 at 6:16 am

Glad to see you Cheryl! I’ve been thinking about you!!!

Carla Fiscina September 20, 2010 at 4:24 am

I especially liked the idea number 5 :) Reading other blogs of my Twitter community (for example) and communicating with other writers give me an opportunity to share our experiences and learn from the mistakes of each other, in addition to inspiration, of course. So pity that I do not always have much time for this….
Thanks for this great article! :)

Zippy Chix September 20, 2010 at 8:57 am

Since our site has 4 contributors, we are in the process of finding all of our own voices. :)

Harriet September 20, 2010 at 9:52 am

Thanks for the great tips, your blogs are always very informative! I read a lot of blogs about blogging because I really want to set one up myself but I never get round to it, thanks for giving me a kick in the righ direction!

Nami September 20, 2010 at 9:58 am

Tips #2, 4 and 6 – really hit the spot. Next, I will check out your writing task…what a wonderful idea!

hafiz-ahmad September 20, 2010 at 10:16 am

Tip #4 is a good advice.Looking back at the archives and write more on those topics will bring integrity to blog owner.

Yuliya September 20, 2010 at 10:55 am

Okay Gigi you made me think with this one. I hate that sort of thing first thing in the morning. And then I got inspired, and wrote this:
http://www.shesuggests.com/2010/09/20/when-blog-grows-up/
To Ma’am with love :)

Sherri September 20, 2010 at 11:04 am

You hit the nail on the head, Gigi. This is so important, I think. There are blogs I find and visit a few times, then they lose me somewhere. If I can’t really see the blogger a bit through their posts, after a few failed attempts I lose interest. Once I get to know someone’s style (I love me some snark!) it doesn’t bother me when a post strays a bit as long as they come back to their roots.

Dana @ Bungalow'56 September 20, 2010 at 11:11 am

I just wanted to let you know, you have a great blog here. I’m putting it on my blogroll. So that I will remember to visit more often. And I’m confident others will enjoy your sage words as well!
Dana

Natalie September 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm

That’s why I always try to write my posts a couple of days ahead (at least a couple of days)…because I edit a lot. And find little errors I might otherwise overlook (like using “here” instead of “hear”).

I think I’m kinda all over the place with my posts…I need to work on focusing certain things on certain days. Good idea!

Patti September 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Very Well said!!! Thank you for the pointers!

Heather ~ Acting Balanced Mom September 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm

great tips – I’m stopping by from SITS and glad I did :)

Jennifer @ Fulfilling and Oddly Minty September 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Excellent ideas. I’m very new to blogging and noticed that several of my posts seemed to be written by someone else. When I realized that I started to sound more like me. I agree with writing a few days ahead of time. My thoughts don’t always come together right away so I need at least a day to sort things out.

Last Post: Ooey Gooey Caramel Apple Cake http://jennifertinney.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/national-apple-month-recipe-week-3/

Erin Margolin September 20, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Very well said, my dear! Excellent post. I wish more people would read this & pay attention. on that note, I’m going to tweet it.

😉

erin @ the mother load
@erinlynn76

Kelley September 21, 2010 at 6:53 am

Is it too late for me to join B2SB2B?? I really need this stuff! I love what you wrote about staying true to the people who followed you in the first place. I’ve been thinking about kicking my blog to the curb over the last week. I have GREAT followers and decent numbers, but I wonder why I am blogging in the first place. You helped remind me! Thank you!

kludgymom September 21, 2010 at 7:54 am

Absolutely feel free to join us! I gave your Captcha Balderdash a shout out in the extra credit this week as well! We are twittering about the challenge on Hashtag #b2sb2b and there’s also info in my blogfrog forums. The second week just started on Sunday so feel free to jump right in!

Pop September 21, 2010 at 10:17 am

*happy sigh* I still remember the day fondly when I first read your snark.

Tonya September 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm

I edit, edit and reedit. I currently have 33 drafts because they aren’t quite ready to publish yet or they’re just ideas and need a lot of work.

I love what you are saying here about thinking back to our initial purposes for blogging, who are main *loyal* audience is and where we want our voice to take us.

I started quietly for myself and my newborn son and some days it feels like my blog is out of control. In the beginning it was literally letters to Lucas and then the more people started reading, the more ME and my life started to show up. It’s evolving for sure.

Tina @ Life Without Pink September 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Excellent post! I was reading this and was shocked to see my name listed, thank you! I love reading your article, so informative!

Maureen September 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm

This is really awesome pointers!
Before, I thought I had found my voice and I was comfortable although I still wish I can write better but now I feel like my voice has changes a bit after my ‘bloggy break’ and with what’s going on in my life. Hopefully I can shake it off and get back to writing.
My goals would slightly altered too as I am opening up about my soon-to-be-divorced status.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I miss you in bloggyland. I think you had a great vibe going. Think of this new chapter in your life as a way to expand your voice even more. :)

Alison Golden September 24, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Thanks for these tips. My voice is fairly stable but I am disorganized. I write about all sorts of things and wonder if my readers get crazed.

I spend more time editing than I do writing and am setting myself the challenge of <500 words. It's hard! But I'm verbose and have to keep myself under control.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I would fail the challenge of less than 500 words nearly every day. :)

Jack Greenfield October 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm

This blog is very much worthy of a bookmark. Thank you for the well done post!

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Breitling December 5, 2010 at 10:55 pm

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Stainless Steel Tips December 6, 2010 at 3:10 am

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