Creating a successful blog is no easy task. It takes a mixture of self-discipline and passion (in large measures) and a constant commitment to your readers.
However, as Emily Benet, winner of the Author Blog Awards tells us, blogging can really pay off. Not only can writing a blog help improve your skill as a writer, it can also help to get you published.
Emily tells us how she got started and offers her tips for becoming top of the blogs!
Here’s a Q&A from CompletelyNovel.
COMPLETELYNOVEL: Why did you start blogging?
EMILY: I’ve been writing ever since I was very young, and I used to think that as long as I completed a book it would be published. As I got older I realised it wasn’t going to be as easy as that! I started blogging because I wanted a readership and I didn’t want to rely on being published to get one. I put it off for a very long time because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep one going and only started when I realised my ‘Shop Girl’ subject was sustainable. Previous to my blog I wrote a novel three times (which I binned) and I sent off endless short stories to competitions hoping for a lucky break.
CN: Writing a blog isn’t like writing a private diary where no one knows if you haven’t made an entry in months. What keeps you motivated when you don’t feel like writing?
EMILY: I made a commitment to write my blog every week and I feel like I’ve failed if I don’t do it. It’s a mixture of self-discipline and passion. What’s made it easier this last year is having readers who comment and encourage me. At the beginning it was just my Mum and my brother!
CN: How long does it take you to write a blog post?
EMILY: I’m very slow. The quickest I’ve ever written a blog is an hour and the slowest, an evening and then the following morning to look it over. I’m not sure if I should admit I write this slowly but ah well.
CN: How much does blogging feed into your writing, and vice versa?
EMILY: Writing a blog each week for nearly 2 years has definitely improved my writing. I’ve learnt to be more economical with words and have developed a style of writing I enjoy. My blog led Salt Publishing to ask me to write my debut book Shop Girl Diaries’ so in that sense it’s been an essential part of my writing journey.
EMILY: I am active on both. Facebook was great for initially promoting my blog and it’s what led me to Salt Publishing. Twitter is something I’ve only recently become familiar with and I’m already enjoying being part of its community. When it comes to networking I think Twitter might be a level up from Facebook, but Facebook is better for connecting with friends.
CN: How much do you think writing a blog has helped your career as an author?
CN: Tell us about the book you are writing now. It’s your second book…how different is the experience from writing your first?
EMILY: It’s going to be a very different experience and a much bigger challenge. My first book was based on real experiences in my shop and effectively much of the plot just walked in through the door each morning. This next book is a work of fiction and will be made up of two separate stories told by two different characters, one based in England and the other in South America. The lives of these two characters will overlap over a period of three decades. It’s an ambitious project and it will require a lot more plotting and research than my first book.
CN: Do you have any tips for authors who would like to get published?
EMILY: Get your work out there because it won’t get published if you keep it to yourself. Raise your profile by having a blog, giving readings, networking with like-minded people.
If you are working on a book I recommend having an encouraging writing group that will support you. Set aside time to write and value that time. Keep a pen and paper in your bag and enjoy scribbling about all and nothing. It’s one word at a time but at some point you’ll have whole book and it will feel amazing.
Thanks very much to Emily for the advice. You can find her blog at http://emilybenet.blogspot.com. will be more blogging advice coming soon!