Starting a blog is a great way to build an author platform and a great way to show potential publishers and clients how serious you are about writing, but your blog shouldn’t actually be about writing. I’d even go so far as to say your blog should focus on anything you’re passionate about except writing.
As serious writers dedicated to building a career from our craft, we spent a lot of time thinking about writing. I follow half a dozen blogs about writing and I’ve read some great books on the subject. I’ve participated in Nanowrimo and other writing challenges numerous times. Writing is at the center of my life, so it seemed natural to blog about writing.
You probably feel the same way. If you sit and think about it for even five minutes you can probably come up with a dozen ideas for writing-related articles. You’ll probably even get excited about a few of them.
But blogging about writing could be a huge mistake for two reasons:
1. There are already thousands of writing blogs. Every writer who’s serious about building a career from their craft has at some point considered creating a blog about writing. An online presence becomes more important for writers every year, and we all know a blog is a great way to build one.
Still, an online presence has been essential to a writer’s success for a long time. And writers have been blogging about writing since blogging was invented. Some of my favourite writing blogs have been around for ten years or even longer. Many of the most successful bloggers, the ones we’ve all heard of, started back when the internet wasn’t so crowded. The age of their websites gives them extra credibility with Google, and frankly, many of these sites offer fantastic advice.
There are also thousands of writers in different career stages, from the writer who just started their first novel to the writer who’s published a dozen, who blog about writing with varying levels of success. Each one might be able to offer a somewhat unique perspective, but in the end there’s only so much information to be shared about writing.
All of these factors combine to make writing an extremely competitive blogging niche. Deciding to blog about writing is setting yourself up for a struggle. These days there are hundreds of voices clamoring for attention in almost any niche, but in most other niches your writing skills will actually set you apart.
If you think about all the different things you’re interested in, sooner or later you’ll stumble upon one where the competition is a lot less fierce than writing, and you’ll probably be glad you did.
2. Writing about writing means you’ll mostly attract writers. In a way, this is great. I’ve mentioned before how many of the writers I’ve interacted with here on the blog have gone on to become my biggest cheerleaders. Some of them have become close friends and I’m confident some will read my books when they’re actually published, but it’ll probably take them a while because every writer has a massive To Be Read pile. No matter how quickly a writer devours books, there will always be more. I’ve stopped accepting review requests because I will never have enough time for all the books I want to read, and I know many others who have done the same.
The people you really want to attract are readers. You want the people who spend most of their leisure time reading, not the ones always trying to carve out time for writing. You want a wider slice of the population than just those interested in writing their own books. You want the fanatics who turn their love of your genre into cosplay inspiration instead of novel inspiration.
And here’s the thing about your readers: your readers don’t just read. They watch movies and television, probably in a genre similar to your book. If you write fantasy or science fiction, you can bet your readers are interested in history or technology. Nobody is interested in only one thing.
If you can share something else you’re interested in, you can connect with readers on an entirely different level than you do by sharing your writing journey. These days readers want to know more about you than your passion for writing. They assume you’re passionate about writing, but they’d be fascinated to learn that you make your own costumes for fantasy conventions or to read what you’re learning about space as you do research for your next project.
If you can find something to blog about other than writing, do it. When you start making real connections to readers you’ll be glad you did.
What topic–other than writing–would you be most interested in blogging about and why?