Mailbag: Advice on writing a blog

I can haz mailbag day! (It’s a small mailbag, but hey.)

I got this question from a friend of mine, and thought I’d toss out my advice for anyone else considering starting a blog:

Okay I have a question fur you, Mister Organized Writer-Man. I intend to start a proper blog trouble getting my stuff together. My big writing issue is that I go at it willy-nilly with whatever is in my head, & no set plan. Help?

It depends on *why* you want to blog. Mine, for example, is shit I’m thinking about or things that are important to me. Other folks stick to a topic, and write about their own writing process & the world of writing, politics, local happenings, etc. Some of them do it professionally and to build a brand for their freelance writing / consulting career – and some just do it because they *like* to. There’s nothing *wrong* with an eclectic blog; it does mean that getting a “core audience” is vaguely problematic. That said, who cares about a core audience?

Realistically, here are the basic “rules of blogging” as I understand them:

1) DO NOT LOOK AT HIT COUNTERS. Especially if you’re not blogging for a commercial reason, it will only undermine your own voice.

2) Blog regularly. It doesn’t matter *what* that schedule is, just pick one and go with it as best you can. Realistically, it’s frequency of blogging that brings people back again and again.

2a) Do not apologize for lapses. Just pick it up again.

2b) If you know you’re going to be breaking schedule for some reason, then announce that ahead of time.

3) Be interesting to yourself. Most bloggers (myself included) don’t make much money from it; like short story writing, if you’re not compelled to do it for yourself you need to seriously question *why* you’re doing it.

What advice do you have?

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