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What makes your writing worth reading? What keeps people coming back? You can post your blog all over Facebook and twitter. You can sign up for AdWords, and create multiple boards on Pinterest. These steps will get people to your page, but how do you keep them there, and how do you make loyal followers?
This is a constant fight I am having. I started this blog with absolutely no know how. I’ve been learning on the fly. I spend more time researching the steps I should be taking, more importantly the steps I should have already taken, than I do writing. When I started I had a full time job, which ate up most of my time. Since then, I’ve been a little unlucky and now I’m continuously looking for work. It has been a relentless struggle. The one thing I used to love more than anything in the world, writing, is now starting to feel more like work than something that makes me happy. My writing is faltering, my blog views are decreasing, and it’s my own fault.
I’ve read every article I can find on blogging tips. There is a never-ending flow of information on the subject. I made it to the 10th or 11th page on my google search reading almost every post along the way. Somewhere in all of that information, in all of those ideas, I lost myself. I lost what made me want to start this blog to begin with. My first few posts were very personal, I left a lot about myself on the page. They were about my journey into blogging. After those are where things started to go sideways. The next few seemed to come out a little opinionated, and I offended a few people. As I spent time reading others people’s ideas on how to write a blog, my posts started to sound more like them and less like me. And all of this transpired over only a couple of months. It was a very distressing course of events, and it was unfolding very clearly… behind me. I felt the impact clear enough though. Writing became almost depressing.
I was telling this to the woman I’m dating, the genius who helped me Fight the Critic, and again her brilliance struck me. “So write about it.” That’s it. That’s all she said. Write about it. Dammit. My own idiocy scares me sometimes. I stated in the beginning I was going to journal my progress for all to see, and now I’m telling her about it when I should be writing it. These ups and downs, they are part of the journey. If I want to be true to myself and true to you, my readers, I have to write about them also. All of the little losses are as important as the wins. All of the depressing moments, the blue periods, should be chronicled. If for no other reason than my own sanity. Just putting pen to paper with heart rather than sales in mind will bring me back to where I want to be, and what I want to do. I want to write. I want to help people.
Heart. There it is. That’s the answer to the question. People will come back, again and again, if you write with heart and feeling. You have to believe in your words and your message. If you pour your soul onto the page, they will love you for it.
Now heart isn’t the only answer. Writing has two basic uses, entertainment and information. If you don’t fall into one of those categories all of the feeling in the world won’t bring you lifelong readers. I hope to be part of both. I try to make my information entertaining. I’m sure I’m not always successful, I have a bit of a twisted sense of humor. Although I do try to keep it pretty tame here.
Writing has to follow a story to keep people engaged. It needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. Even if you are being strictly informative, it has to flow. You wouldn’t tell someone to pour the eggs into the skillet, before telling them to crack them into a bowl and scramble them. Readers will come back for information that helps them achieve a goal, no matter how big or small. Their goal could simply be to make breakfast. If you help them in their pursuits, they will remember you, and tell their friends about you.
While reading all of those posts, I noticed a trend I didn’t really understand. A lot of bloggers see the blogging community as them against you. As though we are all fighting for the readers in our prospective niches. Now don’t get me wrong, if someone only reads one blog a week than I hope it’s mine, but who enjoys reading blogs and only reads one. That’s like saying someone who enjoys horror will only read Stephen King. That they will wait months between books because no other author is good enough for them. That’s simply ludicrous. There are more readers out there than any one of us will ever see on our sites, and we aren’t fighting for their attention.
Actually I have decided that the best course of action for me, is to help others as much as I can. I am going to start linking posts that I have come across that are particularly informative and relate to my current posts, or that were entertaining and I feel that you would enjoy. Now I know that my help isn’t going to make a huge impact. Right now being linked to my site may not make any difference at all, but hey, who doesn’t want the free exposure. I believe we are all in this together. It doesn’t take any extra work from me to throw a link up of a post that helped me, so why not let it help you too. If I have linked your site and you prefer I remove it, just comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is one of the first bloggers I followed when I started my site. Stop by and see what she has to say, she is very passionate about what she does, and she does it well.