Question two from CWPost students.
How do you start a blog?
This was asked by an older adult (not a younger 18-21 adult) returning to school and clearly enjoying herself. So she wanted to write for herself – “I like writing,” she said – “and knew there was this thing called blogging and wanted to know how to start one. “Can you keep your blog private or does it have to go out to the world and can you just ignore twitter and Facebook and stuff like that in your blog?” If I could ignore twitter and Facebook I believe I would but they are necessary tools of the trade. Blogging on the other hand is both fun and stretches writing muscles.
But seriously, when she asked me this question all I could think of is that I am so not the guy to answer these questions. Although I’ve started four blogs in my life so far and written for an equal number of other blogs, I’m not an expert in any way shape or form on blogs. I’m not disciplined enough (though I’m getting better) to write every day on mine, and I struggle with writing short rather than long. So I’m going to direct you to some great writer’s blogs and a blog on blogging that gives you a primer on how to start at the end of the post.
Matthew Rush’s The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment – because he has a number of great posts on blogs in general and how to use them for marketing. He also runs an incredible clinic on writing query letters.
Andrew Smith’s Blog Ghost Medicine because he has this terrific voice, keeps his entries short and weaves an ongoing narrative each and every day. Oh yeah, and he’s a great fiction writer to boot.
Cheryl Rainfield’s blog because of all the cool things she does on it with video’s and photos, and contests. And she’s a great fiction writer also.
How to write a blog that People Want to Read – it’s from about.com so it has to be good.
How to write great blog content – from Problogger (how can you go wrong with a name like that?).
How to Create a blog in 4 easy steps – again from about.com and very helpful/practical.
WordPress linkbecause I use them and I like them. Click the button that says get started here…
What I told this woman was the following. First I said you don’t have to pay attention to twitter of Facebook if you want to just blog for yourself. Second I said there are things called privacy settings that you can use so you blog only for yourself and no one else can or ever will see your work if you don’t want them to. Then I said there were two blogging programs to look at -Blogspot and WordPress and that although I’d used both I liked WordPress more because for me it is more intuitive and easier to use. She had tried Blogspot also and didn’t like it so she was excited at each of the concrete answers I gave her. I told her to follow their tutorials – they walk you through the process. That’s really all I’m qualified to say about blogging. Really.
But here’s what was so cool about talking to this lovely woman. She wanted to exercise her writing muscles. She wanted to see what she could do. It’s the kind of response to writing that is so hard to get from most people because I think most look upon writing as a chore and not a pleasant one at that. Writing is so much a part of the way I express myself I almost forgot about this aspect of writing. This woman had just discovered writing as an act of self-expression and it had turned her on. How cool is that?