Blogging is like somebody looking through the window of your soul. That's why it's important to have mentors and connections with fellow writers to keep you going. Writing is definitely not for the faint of heart. At it's best, you are baring your soul to the reader. The deeper you go, the more the reader benefits from your sharing. Best I can say is that I know God has called me to share my story to encourage the person who has been going through the trials of life. To show the reader there is a way out. There is a God who loves him. There is a place of rest for his or her soul in the midst of his or her trials.
Isaiah 58 says it better than I can"10 And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday. 11 And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not."
This is key to the journey, The Lord shall guide. And, He has. In His time, through His people and in His way.
It's so important to ask and know who your mentors are in the writing business. Certainly we all have our own "voices." There are so many different opinions and ways to go, you will need to know which direction God is pointing you to.
When I was a child, we sang "Turn, turn, turn" in my church choir. Based on Ecclesiastes 3, the song reminds us of the seasons of life. And, this is key to your finding your niche, market and even sometimes your voice.
Which leads me to Blogging. In Amanda Luedeke's book "The Extroverted Writer: An Author's Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform she states :(Amanda gave me permission to use part of her book here~thank you Amanda!) Her words in italics will get you thinking and direct you to creating an excellent blog. My responses are only my opinion, fill in the blanks with your own ideas.
1. What is your blog's goal? To entertain readers? Offer information? Support your book?
This question is a tough one. I'm still trying to "figure" out my own goals in writing. One of the ways to decide what your goals are is to look at your passions. What makes you angry in this world? That's probably something you feel passionate about. What do people say you are to them? An encourager?, A gifted teacher? Are you funny and make them laugh?
One thing I am certain about my own voice is that the enemy tried to steal it when I was molested. He used fear to keep me from telling anyone that I was hurt and so kept me in bondage until I was in my 20's when I accepted Christ into my life. Now, I believe God is calling me to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
I've always had an intense passion to speak out for the unborn with prolife efforts and, as a crisis pregnancy counselor. Then the Lord led me to speak out about my healing from cancer. Finally, after years of gently persuading me, He has brought me to a place of speaking out for the victims of sexual abuse. As you see on my website, my husband and I strongly support the ministries of Truth for Women and the Truth Home.
2. What is your blog's NAME?
Of course you want it to be something catchy, by keeping it short and using colorful, unique words you will help your blog stand out amongst the rest. In the writing industry the word "branding" is used to describe what people think of when they read your stuff. For example, one writer I've heard speaking wore red glasses. Whenever others would give her feedback, she said they talked about her red glasses. So now that was a part of her "brand". Here, I'm speaking mainly to writers who hope to pursue a career in writing books.
My advice would be to do another web search to see if there are any other blogs with the name you choose. When I was looking for my website name, I came up with "Scintillating Suspense". I had business cards printed out and it was even on a One Sheet I designed for my current novel.
Thankfully, I found out that a friend and crit partner had already used this as her tagline and graciously let me use the cards for a conference I attended. However, I eventually had to come up with my own.
3. What is your blog's URL? You will need to create a URL when you sign up for your blog. This looks something like this. www.YourNameHere.wordpress.com.
My first blog was called Kellyanneliberto'sblog. Doesn't sound very interesting to me. But, after doing a search on the web, I found that there weren't many "Kelly Anne Liberto's" out there. This was key to my using my real name. I also know other writers who use pen names. One writer I know consciously used a name very close to a best selling author for marketing reasons.
4. What is your blog's DESIGN? You want to think through your colors and any design themes that may be present in your blog.
Amanda suggests hiring a web designer here. I did not want to do that before I published my first book. So, Lori helped me with free pictures and she also helped guide me through the set up of the website. Her help to me has been indispensable in my life. For the first few years of trying to get my career in writing off the ground, Lori encouraged me not to give up hope. Like anything that is excellent in your life, it's not easy! And, that's why you want to make sure it is something God has called you to do.
If you can't afford to hire a web designer like Lori (who I highly recommend of course!) think about someone you could possibly barter your services with. Maybe you could write something for them or edit in exchange for their design skills.
5. What is your blog's LAYOUT? When signing up for your free blog, you will be presented with a number of layouts and templates. Although you'll be able to adjust this at any time, it's a good idea to go into things with an understanding of how you want your blog organized.
Personally, I have found my blog gets the most "hits" (readers visiting your blog) when pictures are posted. As a Communications major I learned that people will remember a picture (during presentations or media) or an illustration much longer then words alone.
Once again this is not a comprehensive breakdown of blogging by any means. Any questions you might have would be best to ask in the comment box at the bottom of the page. If it's a private question, you can reach me at any one of my public websites like facebook and twitter.
I like to think of my website as my cyber "home". Some people have called it cozy. That's exactly what I'm going for! My heart is to be a "safe" place for all.
Thanks for visiting my cyber home to learn a little about blogs. Next time we'll talk more about mentors and timing in the business of writing. Enjoy your new beginnings. :-) And, by all means, keep looking up.