Monday, September 7, 2015

Blogging for Writers, Part 2 - So What Do I Blog About?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Now that we’re all on the same page about blog versus website, the next step is deciding whether or not blogging is a good fit for you personally. Blogging takes a commitment. It’s almost like the decision we each had to make when we decided to call ourselves writers.

There is rarely a blog that is an overnight success. I have seen it happen a couple of time, but we should begin expecting growth and benefits to take time.

For writers, there are definite benefits to blogging:
  • It provides a place to connect with our readers on a deeper level. Social media is a good way for casual connections, but a blog is a place where we and our audience can get to know us better. 
  • It provides a place to practice writing. Blogging helped me move from writing when I felt like it, to writing when I had too. Every professional writer has to make this transition.
  • It provides a place to prove to industry professionals that we can write on a deadline and produce quality work. When we write for pay, those who pay us expect us to turn things in on a schedule. Blogging regularly shows that we’ve mastered this basic skill.
  • It provides a place to prove our audience. For non-fiction writers it can be a place to prove that there’s an audience for the topic we’re writing about. For fiction (and non-fiction) writers is can prove that we can connect to readers through the written word.

2 things things blogging is NOT designed to do:
  • It doesn't provide a great way to sell books. Yes, some authors do sell books on their sites, but it's not the best (or even a good way) to generate book sales.
  • It doesn't provide a place to run non-stop commercials promoting yourself and your books. A blog has to provide value. I don't know anyone who finds commercials (even infomercials) valuable.

What's Next?
Once we’ve made the decision to blog, we need to figure out what to blog about. Finding a focus for your blog is really the hardest part of blogging. And it should fit in with what you share on social media.

It’s sometimes easier for non-fiction writers to find a focus, because they’re usually drawn to write about topics they’re passionate about.

For fiction writers, it’s the stories and characters that grab our attention. We may include topics, but that’s not our focus. It’s also not possible to characterize our fiction readers in a topical manner. For example, not all readers of suspense drink coffee and love to ride roller coasters. Suspense readers come in every shape and size, with interests from motorcycle riding to keeping cats.

Beyond that, unless we’re already famous novelists, we’re going to get very few followers just because we’re authors. So we have to find another way to connect with our audience.

So what’s a writer to do?
We must write about something we’re passionate about. Perhaps it’s travel, motorcycle riding, history or even knitting, I don’t hide the fact that I’m a writer, but that isn’t my focus. Then, as the blog following grows, my name comes up more and more often. My loyal blog followers are happy to share my writing successes and my platform builds.

One ACFW member who has had great success  with this is RITA nominee, Beth Vogt. She loves quotes, and she loves photography. So she’s built her blog around that. Here’s a link so you can see how she has made this work.

There are lots of successful blogs by authors throughout the Internet, too many to name. I recommend you take a look at what your fellow authors are doing and let their creativity inspire you!

Now it’s your turn, what creative blogs have you visited. If you’d like to get other opinions on a potential blog idea, audition it by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below. We’ll be happy to chime in and help you find something that fits!

Don’t forget to join the conversation,


What's a writer to #blog about? - thoughts from expert blogger @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

#Blogging isn't a one-size-fits-all propositions for writers - thoughts from @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Blogging For Writers
Part 1 - Blog or Website, Which Does a Writer Really Need
Part 2 - So What Do I Blog About
Part 3 - The Dos & Don'ts of Blogging
Part 4 - How to Label and Tag Your Blog Posts
Part 5 - How Fast Should a Blog Grow
Part 6 - Tips for Getting More Comments on Your Blog
Part 7 - What do I Need in My Blog's Sidebar
Part 8 - Blogging Success is as Easy as ABC


  1. I have a homeschool blog I've been doing for just over a year now. My idea for starting the blog were two-fold: it's something I'm passionate about and I wanted to provide regular encouragement that HS moms need. I've noticed that a good bit of my posts are relevant to parenting in general, no matter the schooling choice. So I tag those posts with a "parenting" tag as well. Often times I also have ideas for posts that are more devotional, general types of posts (which I've never used). I have kicked around the idea of creating a new blog general to Christian women but fear that would make my targeted audience too large and non-specific. (Plus, there's a LOT more competition out there for those types of blogs!) Am I right to stick with the way I'm doing things now?

    1. Amanda, you've gotten some great advice! I would add that I agree, keep your blog's topic focused. I think you've made very wise choices.

      As far as tags, it's important to also make sure those are focused. Parenting isn't a good tag because it's too general. You want to use things like - parenting when you're tired, parenting a strong-willed child, parenting tips for homeschool mom, etc. One of the keys to getting found in a search is matching your tags (and your title) to what the person searching type into a search engine. None of us type in just the word, parenting, because the posts that popped up would be too broad. I'm going to be sharing a blog post just on how and why to tag blog posts correctly. Blessings, E

    2. Thank you, Edie! I do love to blog and it's reassuring to hear from you - and these other fine ladies - that I am making the right choice in a select, limited readership. :)

  2. Hi Amanda If I may chime in...Home school moms need the encouragement. I am no expert, but I think you should stick to that. If fact, I would love to stop by your blog can you send me the link? I know many home school moms that would like to visit
    I just started blogging Jan 1 of this year. It has been a healing avenue for me and my writing has improved.

    1. Great thoughts! Thanks & Blessings, E

    2. Thanks for asking, Cherrilyn! I am not comfortable throwing out my blog address yet unless someone asks. It doesn't bother me when others do it, but I feel like I'm being pushy and self-promoting when I do it, ha ha. My site is I'll be sure to stop by yours as well!

  3. Amanda,

    I agree with Cherrilynn about sticking with your current focus. It's a lot easier to build your blogging platform if you're not diluting your efforts.

    I write for three blogs. One is my art blog ( It's the oldest and is about ten years old. It started as a means to promote my art and reach potential portrait clients. It's gone through several adaptations and is currently geared toward potential art students, since I've discovered a market for online art courses.

    I started a writing blog in 2009 and it was a combination of writing about my own writing and helping other writers. The posts geared toward writers were more popular than those about my fiction writing. When I got the opportunity to write with a fellow-writer and do a blog together, I closed my original writing blog and started Indie Plot Twist ( with her. That blog is about 18 months old and is doing well for its age.

    But I wanted a blog for myself as an author, so in March 2015, I bought a domain for my author name and started a new blog ( I post a Scripture and devotion every Sunday and post something about my writing life (cats, trips, etc.) every Saturday. Traffic is still very low, zero to three or four visits per day, but it's a start.

    If you have a very clear and non-overlapping focus for each blog, then you have a better chance of success with multiple blogs. But it's best to concentrate on one for a couple of years. I had just the art blog for for two or three years before I decided to blog about writing.

    Also be aware that your current blog may experience changes in direction or a sharpening of focus as you go along.

    As Edie implied, patience is key. So is persistence, so keep after it.

    1. Carrie Lynn, great thoughts here too! I admire anyone who can manage more than one site. I can contribute to other sites, but have found I can only pour myself into one.

      One way around that is to assign certain days to certain topics. But you have to be careful and not have unrelated categories. My blog has social media, writing, writer's life, images (which I offer for free to others to use online) and a Sunday devotion.

      And just for the record, I LOVE your site! Blessings, E

    2. Three blogs - Wowza! That's like having three children to take care of. But it sound like you do a grat job with keeping each one focused and reaching different audiences. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  4. Thanks for the focus, Edie. While editing my first novel I've been struggling with this issue from a very reader focused perspective. Your point about readers having varied interests, and making personal passion the priority, is a game changer.