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10 Tips to Becoming a Better Blogger

September 14, 2011
In September 2007, I attended the North Texas Christian Writer’s Conference. At that time, I was a year out of getting my Master’s, I’d interned for two well-known Christian publishing companies, I’d been published in several magazines and contributed to two teen books.

But I was itching for more. I just couldn’t put my fingers on what it was.

That’s when I sat under the writing workshops of authors James Watkins and Christopher Maselli. I took to heart their advice:

Every writer needs to have a blog.

Christopher had a workshop dedicated solely to helping you start a blog. I wrote down all his notes, came home, and started what you’re reading today on WordPress.com.

I didn’t know much about blogging, I just wanted a space to write and the opportunity to hear from readers. The same is true today.

Sure, I research how to write good blog posts. I subscribe to CopyBlogger.com. I frequent blogs of writers and authors I enjoy and respect. But at the end of the day, I simply write from my heart. I figure a day will come when blogging is no longer cool, and that’s okay because I’ll still keep writing.

One of my newest readers, Meg Pieroway, asked if I had any tips or advice about blogging as she’s launching a Christian blog soon. I smiled when I read her comment because I was already thinking about writing something about my journey in blogging. So thank you, Meg, for the nudge.

I hope these tips will help many of you as you pursue your passion to write.

10 Tips to Becoming a Better Blogger

1.) Be Yourself. You’ve heard it over and over, but it’s true. Learn and grow from bloggers you love, but remember their voice is not yours. Take advantage of the fact that there is no one like you in this world and that’s how God wanted it to be. There is someone who needs to hear your voice.

2.) Write When You Don’t Feel Like It. Emotions come and go, but the truth is that you love to write. Take the first step and start typing. I’m pretty sure you’ll fall in love again and get hooked into some kind of post. Either way, you’ll be glad you chose discipline and commitment over your feelings.

3.) Never Publish Your First Draft. Writing is an art and takes time to craft. Write your post, sit on it for a few hours or a day, and come back to it to edit, shorten, proof-read, simplify, and tighten. You’ll be amazed at what you want to change and reword to make the post better.

4.) Don’t Get Hung Up On Blog Traffic. It’s exciting when you get 500 hits a day on your blog and you check the stats throughout the day to watch them soar. But in my experience, blog traffic can be a major distraction and can put you in a good or bad mood.

You’re writing for God, yourself, and your tribe or niche. Stats are important to make sure people are actually reading, but keep first things first.

5.) Reply to Readers’ Comments. Your readers are responding to your posts partly because they want you to know they’re reading. And deep down, they’d love your response. Who wouldn’t? This doesn’t mean you have to respond to every. single. one. but you want them to know you care.

6.) Work Hard at the Craft of Writing. Discipline always requires sacrifice. The writing life isn’t an easy road and success doesn’t happen over night. Some bloggers are successful right off the bat and their blog turns into a book. But for the majority of bloggers it takes years to hone your skill, know your audience, and find your voice. Writing on a regular basis will pay off.

7.) Share Your Blog Posts on Facebook, Twitter, & Other Social Networking Sites. Who needs one more post in their news feed, right? Well your post might be the one that someone desperately needs to read on that particular day. Social networking sites are a perfect way to get the word out about your blog and to connect with readers. And they’re great for finding other writers with your interests.

8.) Be Discerning With Self-Promotion. In the publishing business, having a platform and being willing to market yourself is crucial. That’s just the rules of the game. As writers who follow Christ, there is a fine line when it comes to the sins of pride, vanity, and boasting.

I haven’t figured all of it out yet, but be cautious and discerning in the ways you let others know about your work. Check your motives and your heart. Is your purpose to draw attention to yourself, or to edify and equip?

9.) Mark Your Writing with Authenticity. Our generation craves it and the Lord knows the church needs more of it. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable or share your weaknesses and struggles. People will relate to you all the more if they know you’re human.

When I read posts, I often ask: Where is the conflict or struggle? If one doesn’t exist, I question it. Conflict is a natural part of life.

10.) Don’t Ever Give Up. I wanted to quit blogging at one point. It was difficult and I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, in the timing I desired. I eventually discovered that it was all about me and God showed me I needed to get out of the way. He had bigger plans for my writing. And he used many people to encourage me in that, especially the words of a friend and reader, Scott McCreedy.

There were also times I wrote to please people and that did nothing but hinder me. So I renewed myself in my passion to write and didn’t worry about those latter things. Now, I see blogging as another tool for God to use my writing however he wants and I’m just happy to get to do what I love.

If writing is a gift God has given you, push back whatever lies are roaming around in your head and keep at it! This world needs your voice.

Now it’s your turn to chime in. What have I left out? Blogger or non-blogger, what do you think it takes to be a great blogger? 

Above photo credit: lsgeekster.blogspot.com

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2011 12:02 pm

    Great words Samantha! Something I need to heed, considering that I haven’t really “written” in a while. Time to get back to writing for me! Needed that encouragement…

  2. September 14, 2011 12:10 pm

    Thanks Andy. You do a great job blogging and telling a story. I’m glad you are going to get back at it.

  3. September 14, 2011 1:13 pm

    What a fabulous post!!!! I needed to hear #3 because I almost always post immediately after I write. I just attended a writer’s conference a few months back (She Speaks) and they emphasized this and I already forgot it! Love your take on self promoting vs. doing what it takes in the writing industry but with the right Spirit and heart behind it. I’m trying to think of what to add but can’t come up with anything. I’ve heard that “how to’s” are really good titles and excellent blog posts because it offers something to the reader. I love what you’re doing over here on your blog and it’s refreshing to read someone who is comfortable being themselves.

    • September 14, 2011 8:55 pm

      I’ve heard She Speaks is great! I love writer’s conferences and it’s been a while since I’ve been able to attend one.

      Thank you for the encouragement Melody. I always enjoy your insight.

  4. September 14, 2011 4:20 pm

    I would add “do’t compare yourself to other bloggers.” Sometimes hard to do – but we each have our own voice.. our own niche. Just like in high school, we won’t all be in the “cool” kids club. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t using us or that someone doesn’t really resonate with our writing.

    • September 14, 2011 8:58 pm

      Great addition Dionna. I didn’t say it outright but #1 definitely means I also have struggled with playing the comparison game.

  5. September 17, 2011 7:36 am

    Loved this post Samantha. I love that you try so well to let the gospel inform every aspect of your life.

  6. September 20, 2011 2:39 pm

    These are excellent!

  7. Shawntele permalink
    September 25, 2011 4:17 pm

    Thanks for these pointers – very good advice!

  8. September 25, 2011 4:22 pm

    #’s 2, 3 and 4 and important ones. Well, they’re all important, but those are my favorites. Personally, I write at night, then edit, and re-write in the morning’s before hitting the publish button. This way, I know I got a fresh perspective on what i’m publishing and I know it’s good enough.

    I’ve also baked writing into my daily routine. So by now, I force myself to write even when I don’t feel like it. Though I usually feel like it, heh. If anything, I”ll just change up my atmosphere to let the creative come out.

  9. September 25, 2011 4:27 pm

    I think you covered the essential points beautifully; thank you so much for sharing this! This comes at such a great time as I blog regularly to find my own writing voice. It’s a challenging yet rewarding journey. I agree with point # 9, in being authentic with your voice no matter what. People want to see your struggles just as much as your triumphs. Not being afraid to be vulnerable and human is key.

    Thanks again for sharing :)!

  10. September 25, 2011 6:00 pm

    Thank you for the pointers. As a new writer and developing my skills, I find these tips helpful and encouraging. Thank you also for giving me the motivation to keep going. 🙂

  11. December 19, 2012 5:56 pm

    These tips were great and really helpful! Thanks 🙂
    I haven’t been blogging for long and sometimes it can be difficult to know how your coming across.
    Any feedback on how I can improve or what I’m doing well would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks again.

    http://dorothydeerest.wordpress.com

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