This is a guestpost by Scarlet Standard blogger Emma Burnell as follow up to our writing workshop in February
Why I started blogging
I felt that I had something to say that was missing from the debate. I wanted to be helpful and offer my advice and expertise to the Labour Party but no one was banging down my door. Because I am a little bit gobby, I decided to create my own space and hope something came of doing so.
Why should you start blogging?
Do you have something new to say or a new way to say it?
Do you have a perspective to offer that is missing from debate?
Do you have a passion for writing and the commitment to keep it up?
If so – BLOG!
The process of blogging
Having ideas for blog regularly can be really tough. Every time you think of something you want to write, make a note of it straight away. I keep a list on my phone which I update regularly so that when I have writers block, I can always go to the list to pull up a topic.
Get into the habit of writing regularly. Although those who edit blogs I have written for will snort at my saying this (Sorry Mark Ferguson!) deadlines help. Manage your time and your commitments. Blogging rarely pays and rarely pays often enough to replace your full time job. You have to find a way to work around that.
Read other people – a lot. Blogging can be a conversation. Use what others think to inspire you to add to or refute their argument.
But don’t ape other writers. They are already fulfilling their role in the world and they are better at it than you. Find your own voice.
Develop your voice and your writing. You will never stop getting better. Write in the way that suites you and keep at it.
Learn the basic rules of writing and then learn how to ignore them.
Make sure you always edit your writing. Be able to kill ideas you were really attached to but don’t work.
Think about what you want your post to achieve. Who is the audience you want to reach? That should help you decide where your blog post belongs.
Do not send editors finished blog posts. They often won’t be able to publish them. Send a pitch of no more than 3 sentences outlining your key argument.
Be prepared for a lot of rejection. It happens to us all. Keep at it and find somewhere else that does like your idea.
Promoting your blog
Tweet it/Facebook it - but not too often. Don’t drive people crazy and don’t tweet it at lots of famous people in the hope of a retweet. Only tweet it at others directly if it make sense to a conversation.
What happens next:
Engage with dialogue about your post but on your terms. Your blog is not a democracy – it’s up to you what comments you do and don’t publish. You also don’t owe anyone on Twitter a response. But a certain level of engagement does help drive traffic and you also learn something from it.
Be aware of what blogs who publish your stuff are like. Some will have a culture of nasty comments and some will be more refined in what they do and don’t publish.
Be prepared to be attacked. But do not accept it as fact. Block anyone who is abusive – your time is too precious.