Social Media for SCBWI: How Not to Blog

Everyone, it seems, tells writers they need a blog, or at least a website. You have probably already decided whether you want to or not. If you decide against it, that's that!

There is a lot of advice out there telling you what to write if you do start a blog. But what about things that you might not think of? Are there traps bloggers fall into, or common mistakes to avoid?


The writer of Words and Pictures' own popular Blog BreakNick Cross, reads hundreds of blog posts a year. He agreed to give us a list of a few things you probably shouldn't do. 

That artistic journey could take longer than you plan
Don’t start a blog expecting to chronicle your artistic journey from unpublished writer to bestselling author. I’ve seen a few blogs structured along these lines, and it’s definitely something I had in mind when I first started my own blog (www.whoatemybrain.com). What I hadn’t realised was I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, especially as there were so many steps on the road to publication that I couldn’t control. 

Remember that your blog is not just a promotional tool or a way of tracking your own progress.

When success didn’t come immediately, I lost focus of what my blog was about and could easily have given up on it. Remember that your blog is a body of work in and of itself, not just a promotional tool or a way of tracking your own progress.


Don’t blog unless you have something to say. Some people (amazingly) blog every day, while others only post once every six months. While it’s beneficial to have a blogging schedule, find the rhythm that works for you and don’t fall into the trap of posting just for the sake of it.

You don't have to follow the crowd
Don’t write the blog post everyone’s already written. 

For instance, we probably don’t need any more posts on the following subjects:

·       How to avoid procrastination
·       How to show and not tell
·       Why voice is important
·       How to write a query letter
·       How to format a submission
·       How to cope with rejection

There are always exceptions to this, and if you can find a brilliant new spin on these topics, then go ahead. For instance, a post on when it’s more appropriate to tell and not show (especially for younger readers) would be provocative and useful.

You don't have to be positive all the time
Don’t be afraid to talk about the bad stuff. A culture of defensive positivity has taken hold in writing circles over the past few years, as the fear of saying the wrong thing on social media forces professional writers to take extra care over every utterance. But bad stuff still happens every day, and as writers we will inevitably want to explore what that means and to seek catharsis through the written word. 

Don't be afraid to talk about the bad stuff. Most likely, there are others who will empathise with or find comfort in what you’ve written.  

Feel free to talk about whatever you want on your own blog, be that good, bad or something in-between. But before you hit publish, take a step back and ask yourself a few questions: Does this hurt anyone directly? Is it grossly offensive, libellous, copyright-infringing or otherwise illegal? Does it present a side of you to the world that you would rather not be seen?


With a blog, you are the publisher – you have the power and the responsibility.  


Nick Cross is an Undiscovered Voices winner and has recently received the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award, for his short story The Last Typewriter.

Read Nick's latest blog post for Notes from the Slushpile here. His children's short story The Drowners can be found in issue 9 of Stew Magazine.

5 comments:

  1. Great post, Nick, as ever. I have certainly found that the pressure to remain positive is intense - and yet some of the best responses have come to posts where I've shown vulnerability. And some of the posts I've got most out of reading are those that 'show it how it is', the good, the bad and the ugly. It's not all six-figure publishing contracts, book awards and accolades out there (not even close!) and there is a lot of value in sharing the reality of a writer's life. In my view. ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely, and you know I appreciate the candour you bring to your blog.

      Very few of us bounce out of bed every single morning feeling positive about all aspects of our day, and the ones who say they do are probably lying!

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    2. Great food for thought as always, Nick. And heart-felt thanks to all who do blog thoughtfully, like you. Much appreciated.

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  2. Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky6 October 2015 at 10:32

    Great article, wise words indeed!

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  3. You made some respectable points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most people will go along with your website. see this

    ReplyDelete

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