7 Reasons to Quit Balking & Start Blogging

Guest blogger: Heather Kopp  @SoberBoots

I’m a baby blogger who came to it kicking and screaming. So it seems premature, even presumptuous, for me to write a post encouraging other writers to blog. But as a recovering alcoholic, I’ve learned that a newbie is often best-suited to help a reluctant visitor, because her own objections are still fresh in her mind.

When Rachelle asked me to start blogging before she shopped my memoir, I understood the marketing logic, but I balked. For very good reasons, of course. Here are a few, along with the surprising aha!s I discovered hiding behind my objections:

1. “I don’t know who I’m talking to.” I have an audience in mind for my memoir, but being asked to start blogging before I have a book felt like being asked to stand in a room and talk to a blank wall.

  • Aha! Your audience is not the hoped-for, imaginary demographic described in your book proposal. It’s the people who actually want to read what you write. A blog helps you find a small but helpful sample of those people.

2. ”A blog is too short for me to say anything important.” I don’t want to talk to people in snippets. That’s why I’m writing a book!

  • Aha! A blog post can often say as much as a chapter. Because a blog forces you to be concise, what you end up with is more concentrated content. The good stuff. I can’t think of a better way to learn to write tightly.

3. “Sure, a blog is free to readers, but it’s costly to me.” Why wouldn’t I be better off working on my book, which I hope to sell, which I hope will make money, which I happen to need?

  • Aha! Hopefully, your blog readers will eventually buy your book. But even if they don’t, all that writing clarifies your message and your motivation. It reminds you that you don’t really do this for money.

4. “A blogs feels embarrassingly self-centered.” You know—Step right up! Read my blog. Learn all about…me!

  • Aha! Even if your blog is personal, it still has to be for and about the reader. Blogging forces you to find that sweet spot where your story overlaps with your reader’s, and yet you bring a new perspective.

5. “A blog will suck up all my creative energy.” That means, little or nothing left for the book.

  • Aha! A blog can also create energy as you interact with people and ideas. It sparks new thinking, gets the juices flowing, and keeps your brain and your writing from going stale.

6. “A blog feels so temporary, so transient.” Why waste all that effort on something that basically disappears the second I write something new?

  • Aha! Not true. Posts are like Twinkies, they last forever. They can end up in someone’s sermon or pasted into journals. They can be re-purposed by you for an article or book. Plus, a blog’s immediacy is part of it’s appeal. Someone will say, “This is exactly what I needed to hear today.”

7. “A blog will make me feel over-exposed and insecure.” If people read it, I’ll feel embarrassed. If they don’t, I’ll feel worthless.

  • Aha! A blog helps you get over yourself. Few things bring your ego out of hiding better than blogging. Think of it as constant reminder to reach for humility. And for goodness sakes, turn of the stats graph on your dashboard!

If you’re already blogging, have you struggled with any of these reasons to balk? If you’re not blogging — what’s holding you back?

***

Heather Kopp is a blogger, editor, and the author of more than two dozen non-fiction titles including the popular Dieter’s Prayer Book which is still selling 12 years after its release.

These days, Heather is returning to publishing after a personal hiatus during which she focused on recovery from alcoholism and on her spiritual connection to God and others. She is currently working on a memoir about her spiritual journey which will be published by Jericho Books (an imprint of Hachette Book Group) in 2013.

Visit Heather at Soberboots.com, or at her Facebook page, Sober Boots.

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  • http://www.gabrielle-meyer.blogspot.com Gabrielle Meyer

    I love aha! moments. I started a family blog last fall but I didn’t know what I was doing, so it wasn’t a very great experience. In February of this year, when I decided enough was enough and it was time to get serious about my writing career, I started a new blog and I am loving it. Now that I know what I’m doing (and why I’m doing it) I am having a blast interacting with other writers, hearing encouraging comments from my public followers (and “silent” followers) and learning more and more about the publishing world. I know I won’t be ready to query for an agent for some time, but I’m so thankful I started working on my platform now. It’s a great way to get my feet wet in this industry.

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Gabrielle, you have a wise head on your shoulders! So great to see a writer being patient and smart about their publishing goals. Best of luck to you!

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com/ P. J. Casselman

      I did a restart as well. It works much better when we understand what we’re doing. :)

    • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

      You have a great blog G, I have enjoyed all the different topics and especially getting to know you! And I LOVE how you can’t tell how old anyone is! ;)

  • Elissa

    8. “What the heck would I say?” I write fantasy, not nonfiction. I have no idea what I could blog about that would be worth anyone’s time to read, or my time to write. I can think of some things I could write if i were published and already had readers, but until then, I feel like my time would be better spent actually writing my novel.

    • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Elissa,

      I understand how you feel. When I started blogging, it a) felt self-centered, as Heather mentioned in #4 and b) I thought, “What on earth can I write about? I’m not an expert on anything. After doing a lot of praying and thinking, I decided to blog about the experience of writing and trying to get published. Now, I also have done a post specifically on the importance of sensory writing. I have a degree in writing and my day job is to teach it, so I began to incorporate that into the blog. I plan to refocus the blog so that it is less about my journey of writing and trying to get published (the original idea) and more about the basics of writing. This change has come about because I’ve had a couple of acquaintances ask me to teach them how to write. These are intelligent, educated people, so I was surprised by the request and their lack of confidence in their ability to write. Then I did a little research and discovered that many people who never plan to be authors would like to learn how to write better. Since I teach basic writing skills in college, this is something I know about, even though I still don’t feel comfortable labeling myself as an expert.

      Once I got that blog established, I read somewhere that writers who are hoping to be published one day shouldn’t blog about writing. They should blog about something related to their books. Like you, one of my WIP is a fantasy, and I asked the same question you did. Then the answer came to me. The main character is the daughter of a banshee and there is a strong Celtic bend to the story, so I started a blog about “banshees, fantasy and all things that sing to my Celtic soul.” I suspect that, if you reflect on your novel, you’ll find something to write about on a blog. What kinds of characters do you have? What is the world like? What attracts you to fantasy? Why do you write it? What are the challenges involved in writing fantasy? There are many people who love fantasy and would be interested in reading a blog about some aspect of it. Also there are many people who want to write fantasy who would be interested in reading / talking about it with someone who is actively involved in writing it.

      Blessings.

      • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

        Christine, you give great advice. I love how all of you on Rachelle’s site encourage and help each other.

        • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Thank you, Heather, and thank you for this great post today.

          Blessings!

        • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

          We occasionaly misbehave too. But there is a great vibe here of learning and caring that makes it a safe place to come and learn and askquestions of Rachelle and each other.

          • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

            Misbehave? When?

      • Elissa

        Good advice Christine. I’ll have t ogive it some thought. Thanks.

        • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          You’re welcome. I hope it helps. :)

  • http://Www.summerjarviswrites.com Summer

    Yes! I posted a lot, and recently hid a lot of those posts. My writing had been so over the place- some funny, some introspective, some helpful. I think I need to focus more, and choosing what to focus on has been really hard for me. I need some advice! Please visit my page and read a post or two and comment some help for me! I really need a writing partner so that I am not alone in this process, but have no idea where to find one.

    • http://ftheeiwasateenagequaker.wordpress.com Helen W. Mallon

      Summer, I feel for you! Blogging is a strange animal…I hopped over to your blog, and for what it’s worth, here are some thoughts. You reveal a wonderful, refreshing honesty and vulnerability at the same time. The post has narrative tension, beginning, middle and end, with h “here’s what I learned” that’s actually genuine. (so much on the blogosphere ain’t genuine!)

      I love your blog title! I wonder if you are mostly struggling with putting yourself out there–the whole ‘do I have a right to speak’ thing. As you overcame fear of people via getting fired, the blog is an opportunity to slay similar fears. It’s a good opportunity to practice: “Yes! I have a voice!”

      One suggestion: You post is kind of long. Unless you’ve already got a host of readers eating out of your hand, consider keeping the posts brief. This will discipline your writing if nothing else. I don’t expect anyone to plow thru long posts on my blog–the competition is too fierce. I hold to about 500 words, max. With rare exceptions. Hope this is helpful. I wish you great success and GROWTH as a writer!

      • http://www.summerjarviswrites.com Summer

        Thanks you for your advice! I have come to blogging as a way to get myself writing, and that is why my posts are so long. Maybe I should keep longer writing off the blog. Several people have told me this, but I have stubbornly kept them long. Maybe I could write longer stuff, keep it, and then just condense it for the blog. I would eventually like to publish a book, although at this point I’m not sure what. I’m very drawn to memoir but currently up against some walls. I was hoping that the longer posts could just be gathered up and edited into book form.
        Do you think it is good to appear vulnerable? I almost think that people will shy away from that. I want to connect with my confident side on the page more- what do you think of this?
        Voice and purpose are two things that I am thinking about right now. I’ve needed a measuring stick to compare my pieces to, and I think I am finding one by defining my purpose, which I think will ultimately be freeing for me. Basically I mean picking themes I want my writing to ultimately represent, like love, forgivness, truth, family, community, persistence, etc. My voice I am much less sure about.
        Voice- although I have written here and there my entire life, this is the first time I have really commited myself to it. I am really wondering how much marketability and voice are tyed together. I care about being true to myself, but I also care about eventually selling what I write. And I guess the thing I want most right now is how I can best learn to write this way, and shape my voice into the tone I want it to have- one that sells but is also me. I’m having trouble defining exactly where this is right now.
        Don’t feel like you have to answer all this! But I’m putting it out there in case you do! Thanks so much.

        • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

          Summer, thanks posting here. You’re getting some good advice. :)

        • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Summer,
          Vulnerability is not a bad thing, as long as it is real. As Helen pointed out, authenticity is important. Keep this in mind in regards to finding your voice. Your voice must be YOUR voice, not one that you think will sell.

          If you look at my comments here and my own blog, you will discover that I’m not great at keeping it short either, but Helen is spot on. I do have a suggestion, though. You say you want to write long posts with a view to putting them in a book somewhere down the road. That’s fine. In the interest of keeping each post entry, perhaps you could write out a long post and then put it on the blog in installments. Is that a possibility?

          Know that you are not alone, especially if you stick around here. You’ll get plenty of advice (possibly more than you want) and lots of support.

          Blessings! :)

          • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

            Sorry–that should be “in the interest of keeping each post entry short…”

          • http://www.summerjarviswrites.com Summer

            Thank you Heather and Christine!I am subscribed so I’m sure I’ll be around more- I can’t wait to learn!

        • http://ftheeiwasateenagequaker.wordpress.com Helen W. Mallon

          Hi, Summer. Real Quick-the issue with longer posts is that if you want people to read the blog, long posts can be problematic. Depends on your purpose. If you want to simply stretch your writing wings, go for it. If you want to build a community of readers, length is an issue.

          I believe that vulnerability is an asset. There’s a lot of (forced) cheer on the Net, but people will pay attention to genuine, heartfelt expression. Maybe not lots of people. Everyone is out there trying to get noticed themselves, after all. It

        • http://ftheeiwasateenagequaker.wordpress.com Helen W. Mallon

          Hi, Summer. Real Quick-the issue with longer posts is that if you want people to read the blog, long posts can be problematic. Depends on your purpose. If you want to simply stretch your writing wings, go for it. If you want to build a community of readers, length is an issue.

          I believe that vulnerability is an asset. There’s a lot of (forced) cheer on the Net, but people will pay attention to genuine, heartfelt expression. Maybe not lots of people. Everyone is out there trying to get noticed themselves, after all. But it can only help your writing to be vulnerable and genuine, and to force the work out in order to be noticed can actually kill the fact that you have something to say. I have struggled with this myself…

          Please don’t worry about “voice”! When you wake up in the morning and talk to the cat, you don’t sound like your cousin Angie. You sound like you. When it comes to voice in writing, it’s that simple. Everyone has a voice, and the best way to cultivate a “writing voice” is to become more confident as a writer and learn the craft. The rest takes care of itself.

          Make simple goals, one at a time, and stick with them. Before you know it, you’re way ahead!

          Best of luck, Summer!

          • http://www.summerjarviswrites.com Summer

            Thank you Helen! And especially for what you said about voice. As for the length of the posts, for now, I have decided I am okay with it. I have something that not a lot of other people have, and that not a lot of other people will want to take the time to read, but I am becoming proud of it. I don’t care much to get a ton of readers right now, although I probably should, since I would like to publish eventually.
            I feel so much more confident now about my writing because of the things you all have shared. Thank you so much!

          • http://ftheeiwasateenagequaker.wordpress.com Helen W. Mallon

            I’m glad for you. Confidence is more than half the battle.

    • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

      One thing I’ve noticed about some of the better blogs out there (not mine BTW) is that certain days are for certain subjects. That might help to narrow the field in terms of topics and expand your areas of influence and expertise. For example, I’ll never blog on car repair or farming, but I could easily fill a month on antique re-finishing and foreign missions. That old adage of “write what you know” can comein handy.

      • http://www.summerjarviswrites.com Summer

        That’s good advice Jennifer. I was kind of doing that on my blog- I had some recipes, some motivational type stuff, some memoir type stuff, but for some reason I wanted to narrow down my focus a bit. For now, I mainly have memoir type stories. I think the reason I narrowed it down is because I started to know myself better as I wrote- but I had to write a lot of stuff before I could really see myself, and I’m still in the process.

  • http://swingsandkeyboards.blogspot.com Kirk Kraft

    Wow, Heather, #1-5 hit me where I live. I feel one or all of these at any given time when writing one of my two blogs. I didn’t set out to blog to promote a book or my writing. My first blog, now titled “Head Full of Mush”, began while our family was immersed in my youngest daughter’s liver disease diagnosis and subsequent transplant. As I prepare to write a book, I now see what a blessing that blog really was but I still can’t help feeling I’m not an “expert” or that perhaps it’s a bit too self-centered. My other blog, more focused on writing, has been challenging to write because as a pre-published author, I’m still unsure if what I have to say holds any significance for others. I have no plans to abandon either blog. Quite the opposite, in fact. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Kirk,
      The other day I said something to my husband about how I wanted to be less self-centered. He said, “But wait. You do that for a living, don’t you?”
      He was joking, but it feels true some days. What I’ve found though is that the inherent apparent selfishness of writing a blog actually makes me constantly aware of this issue and always asking myself, “What’s in this for my reader today?” “Who cares?” can be a great question.

  • http://kellslalonde.blogspot.com Kelly Lalonde

    “This is exactly what I needed to hear today!” Ha! Ha! But still, so true. I’ve recently resurrected a blog I started 3 years ago and had abandoned rather too quickly. Now that I’ve learned a lot more about writing, networking, and the business of writing, I feel more committed to keeping it going. Plus, since I’ve had family and friends talk to me about my blog entries with great enthusiasm (“I’ve got everyone at the office reading it.” and “My mom called me today to tell me to read your post and I told her I’d already read it.” I mean, seriously, do I NEED to know anything else??! This is soul-feeding muse-juice!!), I now feel the “pressure” of providing material that at least a few people are checking for! It’s an excellent way to exercise the ol’ writing muscles and the best part of it is that I’m having a blast doing it. Of course, it does fill me with terror every time I hit the Publish button and realize I’m back to square one – in need of a new idea, but it’s certainly a great way to keep the blood pumping! It’s also a great distraction from finishing those query letters I’ve been working on now that my first manuscript (a memoir!) is completed! “I think I’ll get that letter to Agent X spit-shined and get this sucker sent out,” I’ll tell myself one fine morning. And then, “Wait, the stats tell me I’ve had 3 more pageviews on my blog today? And I haven’t posted a new entry for 4 days? What is wrong with me? My public NEEDS me! I better come up with something good this time…”
    Thanks for sharing the aha!s. I’m thinking now I need to add a couple more blogs onto my reading list as well…I’ll see you there, Heather!
    ;)
    Kelly Lalonde
    Knockin’ on the Attic at http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/YUhXgx

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Kelly, thanks for sharing your experience. What a kick you are having. So glad for you and I’m sure you’re inspiring others. I agree that knowing people expect to read something–even if it’s a few friends–inspires you to post. Pretty cool.

  • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com/ P. J. Casselman

    I like blogging about cheese. I like cheese. Cheese is made of milk and that comes from cows and goats. They live in pastures. Sheep also live there. Where there are sheep there is a shepherd. The Latin word for shepherd is “pastor.” I am a pastor, so I like cheese.

    Good food for thought, Heather. Thanks for guest blogging!

    • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

      Up REAL early, eh Casselman?
      I like Brie best.

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com/ P. J. Casselman

        The time stamp is in an earlier time zone, but I was up late. My college age daughter was not home yet and there was a storm. She may be a hot shot social media assistant in the PR department at school, but she’s still my little girl. Yep.

        John Cleese last name was originally Cheese.

        • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

          I hope it wasn’t a bad storm, did she get home okay? You’re a good father, to stay up and make sure all is well.
          And HA! Cleese has always been Cleese! I checked! But he did work in a cheese shop.

    • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Interesting path of logic, PJ. :)
      And some more food for thought. LOL!

    • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

      I cheddar to think what comes next…

      • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        ;)

      • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

        Good grief, the things I miss when I have to be busy at a real job.

        • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

          Yes, but after all the usual suspects display all their “wisdom” you can ride up and save the day!

        • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

          We missed you!

    • Jeanne

      Hmmm, that is an interesting topic. What do you say to those who are lactose intolerant? :)

      Thanks for the chuckle. :)

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com/ P. J. Casselman

        I think we should try to be tolerant of people even of they are from Lacto.

      • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

        Ahahahaha!!! I snorted Diet Coke all over my laptop on that one…Huh. Now think about how truly bad that sounds.

    • http://permissiontobereal.blogspot.com Shauna

      You might find this amazing, but I actually DID blog about cheese! In April this year I jumped on the blog-wagon and my maiden post was about cheese–mozzarella in fact!

      Coincidentally, I posted it the day someone made a comment about mothers “never working a day in their life” and knowing so little…so I titled it “Microeconomics: A case study in risk and resource management.”

      There’s not much of a “real take-away,” but if you need a 300 (or so) word laugh, I’m your gal!

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com/ P. J. Casselman

        I enjoyed reading that post just now. To say a full-time mom never worked a day fails at a level that is so deep to argue with the person would be like trying to un-melt cheese.

  • http://merceyvalley.blogspot.com/ Mercey Valley

    Heather has hit the nail right on the head, as these are the exact same sentiments I also held. The key points that cause the most grief are also the ones to learn to get around or deal with creatively. Blogging is both a love and a pest, but most always pretty fun :)

    Definitely agree about the “tightness” word factor. I think we could all take note on that one. In the end, if we want to remove a post or change it, we have that ability. There’s so much to be said for a decent blog!!

    Thanks, Heather. See you again on Twitter ;) You remain an encouragement.

  • http://terripatrick.wordpress.com/ terri patrick

    Yep, this post is just what I needed to read today.

    I’ve been blogging since 2009, after having “written” my memoir. I had created a website to use for extras and pictures regarding my memoir and to market it for publication while I returned to my passion hobby, writing novels.

    But a memoir is past and a blog is present.

    I will be posting about my blogging experience on my author marketing 101 site next Friday. And, neither my memoir or one of my novels are currently published. So I am “just” a blogger.

    The most important thing to remember about all the flash social media processes is that they are used to share more substantial fare, like blogs and websites.

    Now, because of this post, I have a few other points to make on my own post for next week. Yes, blogging can become a professional process where posts and topics are scheduled a week or more in advance.

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Terri, thanks for sharing your experience here. I had the experience of having written my memoir before I began to blog, too. Only I discovered that my memoir was bogged down by a bunch of stuff that wasn’t story and belonged in my blog. I probably might have crumbled when Rachelle said, “Strip everything out but the story, drop the theme related chapters and make them tension driven.” It helped a lot that I was also just starting to blog and realized I say there what I wouldn’t get to say in my memoir. It was genius of Rachelle.

  • http://www.nancykimball.blogspot.com Nancy Kimball

    Heather, I began blogging because that’s what writers are supposed to do (I was told.) And like many have already said, wasn’t sure of my focus. These were the two that were the hardest to overcome.

    #1 – I didn’t know I was trying to blog for or what they wanted.

    #4 – Every post I made and then linked to on my facebook felt like stepping onto the seat of a chair in a crowded room and clearing my throat until the band stopped playing. Okay, I have your attention… now what?

    But the more I hung around great blogs like this I realized I was using my blog as a facebook page, which by nature is a catch-all and visitors to it expect that. So once my author page was established in facebook, I had to decide the fate of my blog. The timeliness of your post is uncanny, because this week I realized exactly what my blog niche should have been all along.

    As a pre-published author and shameless hero junkie, I found a way to play to my strengths, my love of literary heroes, and be more efficient with my time dedicated to blogging. The fiction heroes I will be featuring on my blog are from the books I’m already reading to influence, study craft, or simply enjoy. Not to mention it is going to be a lot more fun for me. And it won’t hurt that the followers I will add going forward are hero junkies. Heroes are what I write after all. This platform building isn’t as daunting now as when I first started out, and I hope that helps inspire someone still hanging back.

    • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Great idea, Nancy!

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Nancy, what great advice! If it’s not fun and interesting to you it won’t be to anyone else, either. Finding a “niche” is such a key thing. I also tell writers to write the blog that only they could write–what is their unique experience of life or unique passion in the world? Then, if possible, overlap that with something broader–like writing, or like recovery, or like spirituality.

  • Pingback: Read This, Read That « Sober Boots

  • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

    11 years ago tomorrow I began an online journal. We’d lost a baby and I was beside myself with grief. I had argued with God and found myself too furious to speak to Him. My best friend told me about her online journal. I needed to be nameless and vent and pour out what I couldn’t say to my other friends. My best friend understood. She’d lost 4 babies. FOUR!
    So I started talking to the ether. That was 2000 entries and 11 years ago. I have made friends with many of the people on that blog/journal, but I have closed it off to only a handful of select readers. I’m protecting that special environment from whatever fray I jump into next. It’s almost like my inner circle that I need to keep me from losing my “before”.

    I recently re-fired my Blogspot blog. I’ve even vlogged! It’s been quite fun getting more public about things and entering the writer’s world of blogs and “hey, here I am!”
    I’m social by nature and it doesn’t faze me to hype myself. Some say I do it too well and too willingly.

    • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      I saw your premiere vlog, Jennifer. Great job! :)

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Jennifer, what a great testimony. Keep it up!

  • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

    Heather, thank you for being transparent about your battles with alcoholism and God bless you on your path of sobriety.

  • http://www.josephjpote.com Joe Pote

    Great post, Heather! And your findings about blogging closely parallel my own discoveries.

    Blogging has helped me learn to present my message in very abbreviated form, cutting to the core message.

    It has also helped me better focus my primary message. Yet, at the same time, I have learned to sprinkle a few lighter posts for every deep post. Sort of a mixture of variety that keeps coming back to the central theme.

    And…it has proven to be fun! :-)

    • http://www.josephjpote.com Joe Pote

      Oh, and on your blog-too-short-to-say anything-useful point, I have also discovered the benefit of links. I can pack a lot more information into a brief post by linking it to other posts, or to other sites.

      People who want the short version don’t follow the links, but they’re available for those who want to read more.

      • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

        Great point. Plus the people you link to see the pingback and notice you and are curious and come check out your site!

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com/ P. J. Casselman

        Joe, you’re a preacher at heart. The love of rabbit trails is a prerequisite. GRIN

        • http://www.josephjpote.com Joe Pote

          More teacher than preacher, PJ, but yes, either way the rabbit trails are a necessity! :-)

          Since covenant and redemption are frequently recurring themes for me, I even created two pages just to discuss the definition and use of these terms. That way, I can provide a link to the page and not feel compelled to explain my meaning in each post where these terms are used.

  • http://www.artesianministries.org Donna Pyle

    Heather, you hit it out of the park with your list. Wow! I’ve certainly thought (and wrestled through) each of those. Especially #4 about the personal aspect. But you address it beautifully: “Even if your blog is personal, it still has to be for and about the reader.”

    I finally started blogging two years ago and it has helped bring my readers into focus so much clearly vs. than the other way around. A surprising and wonderful discovery! And it has certainly improved my writing – just like anything else done with repeated diligence. This post is going in my “for future reference” folder on those days when blogging feels anything but fuzzy. Thanks again!

    • http://www.sueharrison.com Sue Harrison

      I agree, Donna. Blogging improves our writing! A FREE source of education!

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Thanks, Donna. You are such an encouragement to me. Always.

  • http://jackiesbackporch.blogspot.com Jackie Layton

    #3 A blog is costly to me.

    I’m not published and wonder if the time I spend blogging is productive.

    It seems like I should be studying writing and actually working on my current WIP.

    But I try to post twice a week and hope to bring a smile to my readers faces each time.

    Thanks for encouraging us to keep blogging.

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Jackie, I think you’re asking the right question and Rachelle blogged about this recently. You are doing well to keep working on the craft and honing your skills.

    • LC

      That’s exactly where I am. I’m not published, don’t have a product to sell, and I think the world can well do without yet another aspiring author blogging about writing or publishing.

      At the same time, the effort I put into writing blog posts (about what?) will come out of the time I have available for researching and writing my long-form fiction.

      If the blog isn’t to be a public form of talking to myself, I’ll have to devote time to promoting it — that will also get carved out of the limited amount of time I have available for my real writing.

      Can someone explain the cost-benefit equation here?

  • http://www.sueharrison.com Sue Harrison

    I love your aha! moments, Heather, and I’ve experienced most of them since I started blogging. After I finally conquered MOST of the technical problems connected with blogging and settled on what I should be blogging about (that took a while), I had another aha! moment – “THIS IS FUN!” Who’d a thunk it?

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Amen to that! I can’t believe how much fun I have blogging. In fact, that’s probably key to keeping it up. If you’re not having fun you probably won’t last. :)

  • http://www.juliegarmon.com Julie Garmon

    I nodded while reading this post. I had those same excuses/fears, but here’s what I’ve discovered. I didn’t start blogging because I wanted to. I was asked to blog for Guideposts. My mother, also a Guideposts writer, and I blogged for them for a year and a half–incredible experience! We made new friends, learned a lot, and actually, it was fun to see what God seemed to stir in our hearts each week. When our blogging time ended, I started my own blog from my website. I’ve been doing it for a year now. Still feels like jumping off a high dive every week, but the water’s warm.

    Also blogged for teenage girls for five years as girlsgodgoodlife.com–loved this interaction with teens!!!

    :-) Wonderful post.

    I’ve been reading for a long time–first time to comment.

    xoxo
    Julie

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Julie, wow. So glad you jumped in and found the water warm. What a gift to be invited to blog. Thanks for commenting and for your encouragement.

  • Jeanne

    Heather, what a great post–especially for someone like me who’s nervouse about jumping into the deep end of this blogging pool. I’ve been thinking about what I would say in a blog, on a regular basis. Ideas are coming slowly, but the biggest thing holding me back is worry about whether or not I would have enough to say, enough topics, to keep a blog going and fresh. You’ve given me some great food for thought. Thanks!

    BTW, I love how you did the myths and Aha’s in this post. :)

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Jeane, thanks for your encouragement. It sounds like you are well on your way. I think it’s helpful to study how other bloggers keep coming up with material. Also trying out different formats is helpful–list pieces, for example. Here’s the other thing. If you write a personal blog it really can be a spiritual practice to have to step out into the open and not know if you’ll have something to give. It has taught me a lot about the manna way of life. Best wishes!

  • http://www.jessicathomasink.com/blog Jessica Thomas

    Excellent list! Very insightful. I’ve had all these misgivings at one point or another, and truth be told, I still battle them. Your ‘aha’ moments serve as great reminders for why I’m doing this. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • http://Dabneyland.com dabneyland

    Sigh.

    Heather, you mentioned every reason I hesitate to blog. Thanks for the kick in the pants. Or skirt. Either works.

    Dabney

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Danby, so glad I kicked you! That sounds wrong somehow. ;)

      • http://Dabneyland.com Dabney at Dabneyland.com

        Not when you’ve got fancy boots on. Kick away.

        I’m also writing an inspirational memoir. I read your comment earlier about stripping everything out but the story. Can you share more? Did Rachelle blog about this?

        Dabney :)

        • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

          Great question, Danby. Not sure, but if she has I can’t find it. I’m happy to share more with you, although keep in mind that what is true for one project isn’t always true for another. In my case, I was trying to write a memoir, but because I was convinced memoirs don’t sell in the Christian market, I had in mind to write a story-driven book in the Christian living style. So, yes, it would feature my story a lot but also allow for a layer of reflective voice, where I comment on what I learned and try to speak to the themes that arise. I was pretty sure publishers still thot Xn readers expected “take-away” or a small little lesson. Because I was a substantive editor for many years in the Christian market, this felt normal to me–how things are generally done–especially if your story wasn’t big news and you’re not famous. My husband generally thought this was the right direction too–but he’s also a Christian non-fiction editor who never does memoir. So when I first showed it to Rachelle and she wanted to take it on, this was the direction. R gave me great revision suggestions and I went for it–for another year! Then, I finally got it back to her again and waited. I thought I finally had it. But when we met she told me the good news–it turns out I can write a scene and there is a story here. The bad news–she recommended I strip out all those Xn living parts–where I’m trying to make a point and I’ve left the story itself. In her opinion my book would work best as straight memoir. Some people think that for too long Xn publishers have sort of bastardized (my word) the genre of memoir. R sensed an openness to memoir in the market and really thought that was the way I should go. Her advice was clear: Add more story; forget thematic chapters; try to end on a tension point versus wrapping it around as I’m prone to do. Don’t arrive somewhere with a bow, keep us turning the pages. I wanted to kill her. For a few days. Especially since she also thought I should start blogging right away. But she was SO right. SO right. And because she was right, it was easier than I thought to do what she said–even though I had no feeling left in me for the project by now. None. It was dead to me. I had to go solely on brain and what I knew of memoirs. Next time I turned it in she said Wala! And then she shopped it and we had a ton of interested publishers–despite my not having much platform, not having published in seven or eight years, and it being a sticky or potentially stigmatized subject. I don’t say this to brag in any way–only to give other writers hope who feel they have some of these same obstacles in their way. All that said, I also think (and i think Rachelle would agree) that the choice between a story-driven inspirational book and a memoir is sometimes a difficult call to make. I’m thinking of another author who is writing a personal story of sorts but is including plenty of exposition too and is not ordering her book chronologically. How does a writer know which way to go? Ha. Good question. But I’ve gone on too long. Maybe I’ll write a post about this–because I think it’s a great question. If I do, I’ll let you know, Danby. Better yet–Rachelle! We need a post about this! :) Feel free to ask me any questions or write me at heather@soberboots.com. I love hearing from readers. And as you can see, I’m a blabber. :)

          • http://Dabneyland.com Dabney at Dabneyland.com

            No, you could never go on too long when talking about a subject near and dear to my heart. Your response was perfect and I feel honored for the personalized session from an insider expert.

            Okay. So, confession time, (I haven’t figured out why I’m so chicken to say this–I guess because it still doesn’t feel real) my memoir was picked up earlier this year by Tyndale when I attended the Writing for the Soul Conference. Through a weird string of events, I also ended up with one of the best agents around—at least we have that in common ;). Since I don’t have a background in writing (I’m the speaker who was nudged into this craft), I feel there is much more to learn. But, I loved what you said earlier about ending the scenes with some sort of action. (I think that’s what you wrote.) Either way, I appreciate the time you took to respond.

            Can’t wait to read you book when it comes out!

            Dabney

  • http://dirtygirlswriting.blogspot.com Lauri Meyers

    Great post and great reasons to start blogging. #4 and #7 were my main reasons to resist too.

  • http://www.lettersfromawhoremongerswife.com Danita Clark Able

    Thank you for featuring Heather Kopp on your blog. Thanks to Freshly Pressed, I found Heather a few months ago. Demographically, I probably wouldn’t be considered one of Heather’s ‘target’ readers…I’ve never had a problem with alcohol nor have I lived with an alcoholic. Yet…I’m drawn to her blog. I admire the way she exposes the ugly, gritty dark corners of her life…the way she provides hope.

    Heather ~ Thanks for the advice on blogging! You are still in touch with us newbies,! Each time I write a blog article, just before I click Publish Post, I cringe. That feeling of being over-exposed surfaces, bringing with it a load of insecurity. But something you said to me in a blog comment wins out over my insecurity: “Keep writing”.

    I’m looking forward to your memoir!
    Danita

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Danita thanks for your kind words here!

  • http://www.henwoodtitles.webly.com Brian Henwood

    I’ve been writing for a few years now, but only just started to explore the daunting and frightening process of becoming a published author. I’ve spent the last few weeks browsing sites like this one, reading advice columns, and trying to figure out what my next steps(s) should be. Perhaps it’s because I’m still so new to this game, but I find it difficult to come up with anything worthwhile to blog about. What I have noticed, is that many of my peers seem to share the same doubts, fears, struggles that I am already being faced with.
    Do you think a blog that details my many missteps, and tries to help the next person avoid them, would be valuable? There seems to be plenty of blogs from agents and established writers, but I’ve not seen one yet that says, “Here’s what my query said, and why the agent told me my plot looked flimsy. Next time I will do more than outline my premise; I need to show that my idea (plot) is fully developed.”
    Othan than that, I have no idea what i could write about on a regular basis that would bring people back to “see” me over and over again. I’m a pretty boring guy :)

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Brian, you’re right that it’s a common complaint–not knowing what to write about. For novelists, I think it’s especially hard. Those of us doing non-fiction sort of have a topic already and it’s often fairly obvious what to blog about. I think writing about lessons learned is always a great idea as long as we can do it from a standpoint of gritty honesty and not a “teachy” tone. For example, my husband kept having to teach me one silly but important trick: Don’t say, “i’ve learned that…” Say “I am learning…” Now you’re on the same level as you’re reader. It’s also great to invite responses with questions. You sound very teachable and so I bet you’re going to find success.

      • http://www.summerjarviswrites.com Summer

        Heather, I really agree about the not preaching part. Show instead of tell, I guess?

    • LC

      @Brian: There’s a huge surplus of not-yet-published-author sites talking about their writing processes, querying, rejections, and so on. That’s a huge reason why I haven’t bothered starting one myself.

      • http://www.henwoodtitles.weebly.com Brian Henwood

        Thanks for the heads up LC, I’ll try to come up with something else. Maybe I need to go get a life so I have something to talk about. You think people want to hear about how much time I spend staring at a computer screen?

        All joking aside, Thanks for saving me from being just another tiny fish in the sea.

  • http://4ambassadorsofchrist.blogspot.com/ Jarm Del Boccio

    Great post, Heather! I am learning to be transparent, and not be afraid to reveal bits of myself, if others can benefit by it. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Jarm, isn’t that a good feeling? It scary at times, but once you give up on having everyone like you-pleasing everyone–it frees you to be honest with the people who do you like you or care about what you write about. I know that a lot of people might think I reveal too much–that I should pull the curtain. But those people can go elsewhere and the people that are looking for something candid can benefit. You can’t EVER please everyone. So be yourself and you’ll find out who likes you! Thanks for the comment.

  • http://crowproductions.com Joan Cimyotte

    Yeah, yeah. Blog. Yeah. Ok. Great. Now, how do you get people to look at it? I’ve been blogging for my novel and my art. I use twitter and facebook to announce a new post. I’m still not getting any comments and visitors to my sight is small. This is what I’m trying to figure out. What am I doing wrong?

    2 of my blogs are; minerspassblog.blogspot.com/ crowproductionsbyjoan.blogspot.com

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Joan, I looked at your blogs. Beautiful work! I think you should bop around and study other people’s blogs. Your tagline: “This is a forum to talk about my novel” might send the message that unless a person has read your novel, they won’t get much out of your site. Your art site is beautiful too. I think the main issue with blogging is that other people just aren’t that interested in our personal projects unless we find ways to make them about the reader–a take away for them. It doesn’t have to big some big, obvious knock on the head. But they need to say, “Ah, I relate.” Or, “Wow, I never looked at it from that angle before.” I wish you luck, Joan! You’re certainly very talented. :)

      • http://crowproductions.com Joan Cimyotte

        Thank you. And thanks for the advice.

    • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

      Sometimes, when I think no one is reading my blog, I remember that in the early days there were lots of “lurkers,” folks who read but didn’t comment. Those that don’t comment often have their reasons for remaining silent. Once in a great while, someone comments that my post was just what they needed for that day. And that makes it all worthwhile.

      • http://crowproductions.com Joan Cimyotte

        That is good to know, Cherry. I keep on plugging along.

        • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

          Oh, by the way, since Heather recommended you click around and look at other blogs, you’re welcome to come visit mine :)
          einefeistyberg.wordpress.com

          • http://crowproductions.com Joan Cimyotte

            I will check it out!

  • http://www.katecary.co.uk Kate Cary

    OMG! How do I get a stats graph on my dashboard??

    • http://www.colindsmith.com/blog Colin Smith

      If you use WordPress, Stats comes free with Jetpack. Check out the WordPress site for more info.

      • http://www.katecary.co.uk Kate Cary

        Thanks, Colin! :)

    • http://www.fragmentsandfriends.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Stats also come free with blogspot.com.

  • http://www.colindsmith.com/blog Colin Smith

    This week I’ve been celebrating my first year of blogging. On Tuesday, I posted an article listing ten lessons I’ve learned about blogging, and some of these coincide with articles that have appeared on Rachelle’s blog this week. For example, remembering that blogging is not my writing career–it can help my writing career, but the actual book-writing must come first (something Rachelle noted on Tuesday). Also, on the “transient blog” objection raised above, I’ve found that some articles are “hot flashes”–they get a lot of attention the day they go up, but interest wanes quickly after. Others, like book reviews, are “slow boilers”–they get little attention the day they go up, but even six months later they’re still getting daily hits.

    Good article, Heather! I hope it encourages more writers to take that first step into blogging. :)

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Colin, great comments! I totally agree with your point about slow but steady and hot flashes. I have been fascinated by how people respond to different topics and approaches–or don’t. You can learn so much. I’ve also noticed that some kinds of posts garner lots of fb re-posts, but few comments. Others will get tons of comments but if the topic is less upbeat and broad–fewer fb reposts. People like to repost positive things versus hard or personal or intense. But I don’t let that stop me or control me. Some pieces get few reposts but tons of reads. My blog today is a good example of what I’m saying. “Gratitude Diet” has a lot of reposts (for me, anyway) but the hard, personal piece about my step-dad, though it drew readers, wasn’t as likely to get shared to friends. Fascinating isn’t it?

  • A Quinn

    Thanks for the great article. It addressed some common concerns. But here’s mine: I’d love to start a blog, but I have so many different interests, I don’t know where to start. Some of my interests include marketing, cooking, parenting, and child literacy. Surely I can’t have one blog that covers all of these topics, seeing how they appeal to different target audiences? And I don’t have time to write five different blogs. Asking me to pick just ONE topic is like asking me to choose my favorite child! Lol. What to do?

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      In a way that’s a wonderful problem to have. Enthusiasm is a huge bonus. You might try writing a couple posts on each topic and see what catches fire in your soul. Parenting is such a huge topic and the stories to inspire are endless. That’s the one that caught my eye. Also, if you think in terms of a “felt need” audience–parents are it! Good luck!

  • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

    “Someone will say, ‘That’s just what I needed today!’”

    That happened to me this week! 0.0 Since I am currently unpublished, I’m getting my feet wet by writing a blog for writers. While my following is still small, I’m getting into the practice of posting several times a week (hint: “schedule a post” is a magnificent feature). Sometimes, yes, I get the “talking to air” feeling – but then again, sometimes I get feedback on posts I never expected anyone to read, like “I’ve thought about writing a fantasy language, and I’m glad you posted on it, because I didn’t know where to start.”

    It’s incredibly validating, it’s good practice, and it makes me be creative to find things to blog about. It also holds me accountable, and that makes me productive in other areas. It’s even given me ideas for what I want to put into my eventual author blog and website. And it’s improved me as a writer, because it makes me read writing-related articles for one of my regular features that end up helping me improve my own craft.

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Juturna, Wow. You are definitely on your way! I can tell you’ve got the determination it takes. Thanks for commenting.

  • http://www.marcusbrotherton.com Marcus Brotherton

    Thanks Heather, great insight.

    I’ve felt many of these same things in the blogging process.

    Thank you.

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Thanks, Marcus! Dave was just mentioning to me the other day how successful and in demand you are these days. Congrats! And you’re blog is great.

  • http://cynthiawashburnauthor.blogspot.com Cynthia Washburn

    I started a blog last month and wondered if I would have enough to say to keep it going with twice weekly posts. Blogs that publish something every 2 or 3 months would have a difficult time keeping an audience, I imagine. I try to remember I am writing for readers, not writers for the most part; I don’t go into the craft of writing very much.

    I try to imagine that as I write the blog I am talking to a friend or acquaintance who is interested in my books and the themes and issues that are in my books. That helps focus my post.

  • http://www.meghancarver.blogspot.com Meghan Carver

    My blog is really growing right now, and I’m feeling the effects of #7. I’m getting a lot of good comments, but I still feel like I’m revealing myself too much. (One of the major problems with introversion!) My husband proofs all my posts, so I know I’m not, but that’s why I like fiction. It’s not about me. It’s about made-up people. Right now, my rule is that I won’t post anything I wouldn’t say to a girlfriend in casual conversation after church. And, in the meantime, I’m developing a thicker skin!

    • http://www.katecary.co.uk Kate Cary

      That sounds like a great rule! I keep an editor in my pocket who occasionally pops her head out and tells me “NO!”

    • http://www.summerjarviswrites.com Summer

      Meghan, I feel the same way! I just love memoir so much, though, and am not ready to give it up for fiction. One thing that has helped me is saving my posts for a little while to make sure they still ring true to me after a couple of days, and at that point I can edit better, too. I had “content is king” in my head for a while and wanted to get a ton out there as fast as I could, but I have learned the benefit of sitting on my writing for a little while.

  • http://thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/ Wendy Paine Miller

    I am your audience. Just wanted to throw that out there. So excited to read your book, Heather!

    I worried about blogging being a time suck. But I’m careful about that and I don’t let it eat too much of my energy. I’ve also found it fuels my creativity far more than I originally thought it would.

    ~ Wendy

    • http://talesfromtheredhead@blogspot.com Jennifer Major

      Wendy, you have a FANTASTIC blog, and you are one creative girl!!!

  • http://juliesunne.com Julie Sunne

    Yep, blogging for all of the above reasons, even when I don’t feel like it. Points well said.

  • http://www.iholger.wordpress.com Inez Holger

    Like so many others, I have come kicking and snarling to the practice of writing a blog. Actually, I can’t quite call it a blog beause I am still reluctant to reveal too much, plus my hope was to focus on the nature of God more than on myself. [Much to my surprise (horror!) a very detailed essay published in a print format literary journal ended up on the web and I'm still jumpy about that one.] As a result I have ended up with longer articles, so to speak, and not too much of a diary format.
    Any advice when the topic still bears much stigma, even in the church?

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Inez, I totally get your hesitation. Alcoholism still has a lot of stigma attached to it, too. But that’s one reason I write about it. I also get the hesitation to feel like you’re putting the focus on yourself. It feels like you’re saying, “Aren’t I special? Aren’t I unique?” I was talking to father who’d lost a son in a plane crash not long ago and he writes but said he didn’t think he’d write about his grief process because his experience wasn’t unique. “Lots of people lose kids. I’m not special.” And I told him that’s exactly why he has something to say–not because his pain is unique but because it isn’t. Ultimately, when we write about ourselves but also have the reader in mind, we end up talking not just about our lives, but the reader’s too. Which is why it’s so important to expand our discussion from the personal details into the broader themes we all struggle with. Even if you don’t ever directly address the reader, they can process with you if you invite them in. And they can also say, “I’m not the only who feels this way!” Thanks for commenting!

      • http://www.darlenelturner.com Darlene L Turner

        Hi again. I just wanted to comment on this because I too was reluctant to blog about some personal aspects of my life. However, I felt God tugging at my heart to do it because you never know when God can use your experience or situation to help someone else. So, after much prayer and years, I decided to go for it and I talk about going through my divorce and discovering my husband’s homosexuality under “My Story” in my blog. Very personal, but I tried to bring it back to the reader at the end of the posts.

        Inez, I encourage you if you feel God asking you to share, then go for it. (I know, easy for me to say! :-)) You never know who in your church could be struggling with the same thing.
        Darlene

        • http://www.iholger.wordpress.com Inez Holger

          The topic is schizophrenia and it’s hard for me to imagine how my students (teens) would react, or how future employment would be affected….
          Those are my two most prominent concerns. I guess I am counting the cost… In the meantime, I will keep plugging because I know for certain there are many Christians who have children and spouses with the illness, but who keep it well hidden. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  • http://lindsayharrel.blogspot.com Lindsay Harrel

    I worried I’d blog and blog and blog…and no one would read it. That I’d be putting my heart and soul into it…and there would be no interaction, no comments back.

    Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case. Well, it was for awhile. But I’m glad I didn’t let the fear of…well, invisibility and rejection…stop me.

  • http://www.sally-apokedak.com/index.htm sally apokedak

    I started blogging in 2005 and my problem is that I loved it so much I set up a couple of blogs to serve different audiences. But that got to be too hard. One or the other of the blogs was always flourishing, while the other was neglected. I haven’t yet come up with a good way to integrate all of my interests into one blog. I suspect I’ll have to take my spiritual blog and rewrite the posts so they are aimed at younger readers, and then I can put them all on one blog that will be aimed at teens.

    If I ever get a contract from a traditional publisher or if I decide to self-publish, I’ll revamp my website and organize and integrate everything.

    But I love blogging. I love blabbing with whoever decides to stop by.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    For what it’s worth, my publisher’s marketing rep suggested that I make my blog (Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart at blogger.com) a weekly sermon. Since I’m writing Christian fiction, I should concentrate on delivering a message that would make people think, and make them curious about my book. (“Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart”, due for release on July 10).

    He specifically warned against making the blog a “me, me, me” thing, with a recitation of what I’m doing or how I feel. While it’s important for the readers of the blog (and, hopefully, the book) to get to know me as a person, he felt that aim would be best served by addressing specific theological themes that I’ve brought up in the book (or in future books).

    It’s not easy, and requires a lot of thought, but on the plus side it’s opened up some new avenues for me to look at in my creative work.

    • http://www.iholger.wordpress.com Inez Holger

      Andrew, thanks for the insight.

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      I agree with your rep. Most people don’t care what we did or ate or read today. But then again, some people–friends and family mostly–actually might. I found I like to write personal blog stuff that isn’t necessarily valuable enough to post but does let people know what I’m up to if they want to. So I have a personal journal/blog that’s not something you can subscribe to or part of my posts–it’s just there for those people who actually care enough to go look at it. I think of it as a big facebook post that’s less intrusive. I don’t like to fb every little thing, so I write Raw instead. Does this seem super self-absorbed? Probably. To some people, for sure. But enough people read it to keep me from feeling totally stupid for doing it. And I enjoy it. it’s such a relief to set my editor aside. So I keep it for now, anyway. Until Rachelle says, Get that dumb thing off your site! :)

    • http://www.summerjarviswrites.com Summer

      I’m sort of on the other side of the fence here. I like reading about other people, if they write well and make it interesting. I would rather do that than be preached at. It seems like there are a ton of blogs that do that- but you are the only you. Of course I am not a professional so what I say doesn’t really mean anything much. I’m trying to learn how to write about me without having it sound like me, me, me. I’m having fun with it, although it’s hard to judge on my own whether or not I’m succeeding!

      • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

        Personally, I like to know something about authors I like, as people – what their lives hold, what’s important to them, how they see the world in the light of their daily experiences.

        The basis for my rep’s advice was that I need to build a platform, something I can offer in speaking engagements.

        Chronicling parts of my life would be fun, and I’d like to do it, but I think it’s maybe for later, when I’ve got a bit of name recognition. Also – I just flat-out wouldn’t know what to say, right now!

  • http://www.darlenelturner.com Darlene L Turner

    This is awesome Heather! Like you, I struggled with blogging, but finally took the plunge. For me, it was the time commitment to blog every week that held me back. How can I concentrate on my book when I need to come up with a fresh idea each week? However, I’m so glad I did it. I love when I hear comments like “How did you know this was exactly what I needed to hear today?”!!! And yes, when we blog something personal, it’s hard, but our readers love it when we put ourselves out there. It makes us real.

    I not only have finished my book, but have had a great start on building my platform by blogging. Good for you for doing the same.

    Thanks for this post!
    Darlene

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Darlene, good for you! Love hearing about people’s positive experiences. Thanks for commenting here.

  • http://www.rachellewrites.blogspot.com Rachelle Christensen

    Totally love all of these Aha’s. I’ve been blogging since 2007–gasp, didn’t realize that! But I started blogging for a little part-time job and it has turned into so much more. I agree that it has helped me to become a better writer and make creative connections as well.
    Thanks!

  • http://theliteratemind.blogspot.com/ Shari

    This post spoke to me today. I am in this place of knowing I need to act on my inspirations. All the angels are guiding me to take this next step.

    I discovered your blog, Heather, through Jeff Goins 15 Days of writing (What Great Writers Do) and this “going public” piece is terrifying me as my inner critic is so obnoxious. By the way, your blog is amazing and I thank you for writing your story.

    I am now writing consistently 2 hours a day. I have begun my first book proposal to Stenhouse, an educational publishing house, but am now at a standstill as my critic, is saying, “Who do you think you are????”

    I also KNOW I need to develop more of an online presence. I started a blog last summer as a literacy coach, but neglected to keep up on it and have not posted since January. Honestly, I don’t think anyone ever read it, so I quit.

    If I created a new blog, I’d want it to be so much more than just work related. There is so much more to who I am and what I do, that I somehow need to get out there, but I’m fearful of putting myself out there beyond my work, as a literacy coach.

    I really need some human guidance on this.

    Shari

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Shari, I love your honest response here. It’s true that it feels ridiculous to put yourself out there–seems presumptuous. But it is also a good spiritual practice in letting go of what others think. When you scan a blog do you judge the person who wrote it harshly–and if you did, would you think they should be super concerned about your opinion? Sometimes I use this line of questioning on myself to remind myself that it’s just as silly to think anyone is watching me that closely or judging me–just as much a mistake of self-centricity–as it to think: Who am i to blog? Easy to say, of course. But so hard to do! I love that you are wrestling so honestly with this idea. I think you’re going to have a great blog if you continue in that vein. Best to you! Heather

      • http://theliteratemind.blogspot.com/ Shari

        Heather,
        I can feel you authentic concern for all of us trying to get better at following our calling. Your consistent replies to each person are a sign of that.

        You truly are being true to who you are and helping others as a result.

        I am going to keep wrestling with the idea of starting up a new blog this week yet and see what it becomes.

        Thank you,

        Shari

        • http://www.summerjarviswrites.com Summer

          Good luck Shari!

  • http://beingjune.wordpress.com/ Julia

    I struggle with ALL of these, but I recently pushed past them (no, that sounds too confident for it to be the truth; there was some kicking and screaming involved) and started a blog. It’s a personal blog, but I figured it would at least get me comfortable with the idea of blogging. So far that hasn’t happened, but I’m gonna keep at it! Great post.

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Julia, glad you joined the blogosphere!

  • http://careann.wordpress.com Carol J. Garvin

    Your #s 1, 4 and 7 summed up my feelings before I began blogging four years ago. I was uncomfortable about becoming visible, but once I began visiting other people’s blogs the focus was less on me and more about the conversations.

    Since I don’t have a book to promote yet, my posts aren’t only about writing, although that remains a priority. I’ve been blessed by the relationships that have developed and the interaction that takes place. The writers’ cyber-community is an awesome place I would never have found had I not ventured into blogging.

    • http://www.soberboots.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

      Carol, I love your point that blogging is also about the interaction that takes place. So true!!

  • http://brandyvallance.blogspot.com/ Brandy Vallance

    Great post! I have struggled with some of these reasons, hence the gap in my posts (And all the traveling we do). However, I’ve been meaning to jump back in for a while. You’ve given me that motivation. :-) I started updating some of the features on my blog this morning and plan on writing a new post later today. Thanks, Heather! And thank you Rachelle for your constant encouragement through blogging. It means a lot!

  • http://www.authorpeterdehaan.com/ Peter DeHaan

    Congrats on your first guest post. Well done — and I like you own blog, too.

  • Lisa Ham

    Great post, Heather! I like your answer to #4 – that’s the one I’ve struggled with most as I’ve dabbled with blogging. I’ll have to look for that sweet spot. You’re so right about #5 – when I do write and post, it always energizes me more than it drains me.

  • http://www.lisajordanbooks.com Lisa Jordan

    Love your post, Heather. I’m blogging with reluctance. Consistency and finding my niche are my struggles, but I’m getting through them one post at a time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and congrats again on your book deal!

  • http://misswriterlycrankypants.blogspot.com Linda Clare

    Yay, Heather! So many writers really don’t yet know what they want to be when they grow up and have blogs to reflect their different interests and talents. I heard a great presentation: each blog post should answer 3 qs for the reader: 1) Why should I care? 2) How can I apply this to my life? and 3) How does this connect with what I already know?
    My plan is to create a one-stop site with blogs integrated. I didn’t know any better at first so I started with Blogger instead of the more preferred WordPress. But there has to be a way to get them on my planned site w/o losing all my many followers, right? Miss Crankypants will cry if she has to start over.

  • http://vernabowman.com verna bowman

    Heather – you hit every AHA point I’ve struggled with since I started this blogging journey . . . I am also writing a memoir, and thought blogging would only get in the way . . . but instead it has been a sweet addition, and I’ve “met” so many wonderful encouragers and faithful readers to keep me going!

  • http://www.stephanielreed.com Stephanie Reed

    Thank you, Heather! “Aha!” made me smile seven times.

  • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

    I blog because I love to write.
    I blog because I, like most humans, want to know and be known. I began blogging in 2006 while searching what desire God had placed in my heart to be working on for the rest of my life. I had just finished a bachelor’s degree and was therefore in the swing of writing and ready to write something other than boring textbooks, yet I wanted to be helpful and write truth. My DIL was blogging and hosting a Bible study through her blog. Several of the blogs she followed were young mothers in their early 20s. I saw by the frankness of their comments and questions that perhaps here was a place I could be of encouragement and sage advice and maybe give back for the wonderful mentors I experienced in MOPS when I was a young mom.
    And so, I wrote – randomly as to subject or length. I wrote blissfully, with no criticism (at the time I was also writing for the High Timber Times and chafing under the editor’s sharp pen). And I wrote – and still do – with total disregard as to audience. I figured if I thought it or felt it, there were others out there who thought or felt the same. I simply put out the bait to try and find my soul mates; but I want to do it in as excellent a way as possible. In 2009 I began hearing that platform was important, so I embarked on the chore of focusing and rearranging the site a bit. After all, my degree IS in organizational management.

  • http://www.meredithtowbin.com Meredith Towbin

    I started my blog two months ago and post four times a week. Honestly, it can be very frustrating at times. I feel like I put in all this work, only to have a handful of hits on some days.

    I’m finding I spend a huge amount of time on my posts, and I’m trying to figure out how to reduce the time I spend writing while still keeping up the quality. I wonder how I’m ever going to find the time to start writing another book when all my time is sucked into blogging!

    I am enjoying it a lot, though. I get to be goofy and have tons of fun writing whatever the heck I want.

  • http://flowerpatchfarmgirl.blogspot.com/ Flower Patch Farmgirl

    I read this title on my blogroll as “7 reasons to quit baking and start blogging.” I was intrigued, because I just blogged while a peanut butter sheet cake bakes in the oven.

    And now we see where multi-tasking gets a girl.

    • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

      You too? That’s how I read the title in the first place.

  • http://www.barbarahaleybooks.com Barb Haley

    Sometimes I balk at writing another post because no one has commented on the last one(s). Anyone else feel this way?

    • http://www.leaveworrybehind.com Jean Jenkins

      Barb, I rarely get comments on my blog, either, but I also post it to Facebook and often receive feedback that way. I think Facebook is increasing visibility for the blog. Have you tried that?

  • http://Katherine.e.hinkson.com Kat Hinkson

    #7 is one of my fears. What if no one reads it or worse yet what if my family reads it and makes some really really really awful comments. The ‘aha’ moments actually make me want to pursue a blog.

  • http://www.leaveworrybehind.com Jean Jenkins

    Heather–thanks so much for providing so many reasons to keep blogging. I’ve been an infrequent blogger, but I’m now committed to blogging once a week.

  • http://www.skimhenson.com S. Kim Henson

    I can relate to feeling over-exposed and insecure. Weird thing is, the only cure for the insecurity is to write and be over-exposed. At least for me, that’s how it is. Wish I could wiggle out of this one somehow, but it helps to know you and other bloggers sometimes feel the same way. Thanks, Heather. Great first guest post!

  • http://deborahmilstein.com Deb

    “Posts are like Twinkies, they last forever.” Love this line! Thanks for this encouraging post and humane advice.

  • http://www.keithkreager.com/index.html Keith Kreager

    Thanks, Heather. I started my blog on Sunday and I’m having a lot of fun with it already. I realized, after some quick math, that I’ve been working on my novel for over 1,000 days now. I’m blogging about my experiences. Thanks. again.

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  • http://www.joannaaislinn.wordpress.com Joanna Aislinn

    I’m late commenting but had to just the same. (The tab for this has been on my desktop for a week, lol.)

    As a blogger this is a great reminder to keep on keeping on (as the saying once went ;)). Thanks, Heather. This post will be added to one of my upcoming ‘must-read blog post mash-ups’ very soon. Thanks!

    And thanks to you, Rachelle, for hosting Heather.

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  • Ann Averill

    Heather you hit several nails on the head! I don’t blog yet, even though I’ve finished a memoir about teaching in an urban middle school and the toll that took on my soul. Even though I know every agent I submit to will want me to have a platform, publishing on the internet makes me feel so exposed, vulnerable, transparent, and insecure, especially when I don’t even know who my readers are. I spilled my guts in my memoir,but even shopping that is intimidating for the same reason. I felt compelled to write what I experienced and how it changed me as if God made me the guardian of a story he wanted to tell. But it’s still scary to to put your sore spots out in public. I guess I just have to trust that God really does use our weaknesses and see what happens. Even writing this is a big step. Yikes.

  • http://www.kelleyjleigh.wordpress.com Kelley Leigh

    What a joy to find Heather here!

    Sober Boots is a great example of solid platform building from someone who was initially reluctant to blog…and I’ll attest to the fact that Heather keeps the conversation going with her readers!

    Thanks for the tips, Heather!
    <3

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