To blog or not to blog: A new writer’s question

blog-new-writerOne of the things I look forward to when I visit my Facebook page is seeing that red number on the Message icon. I usually find a question about the writing life from one of my readers.

Here’s a recent message:

Darla,

Do you think that a writer in progress should create a WordPress blog while they are developing as a writer or should they wait? How comfortable (having your writing out there) were you when you first decided to create your pages? You have a great page!

Today’s writer has more opportunities than ever before to share her work. The questions my fellow writer has asked, though, are common to new writers as we start to wonder about the hows, whys, and whens of joining the social media world.

Should you start a blog, even though you’re still learning the craft of writing?

Yes.

I think blogging is a great way to share your work and become a better writer. Here’s how I did it in a slowly-but-surely way.

Use WordPress.com

A family member introduced me to WordPress right around the time I began to think about restarting my writing life. I loved the way my words looked on a blog screen, in a tidy space that made me feel published. The set-up process is fast and easy. Here’s my post that gives 10 reasons to choose it as your blogging platform.

Keep it private … for now

No one has to see your work until you’re ready to share it. Afternoon Tea, which is now my writing collection, was a private blog for two years. It wasn’t until after those months of training that I opened it up to the world. Soon after that I created Darla Writes to share what I’m learning.

WordPress gives you the option to keep your blog out of the search engines until you’re ready to go public. In the meantime, use that privacy to practice your craft.

Share with family and friends

There will come a day when you’ll decide that it’s time to let go of your fears and share your work with family and friends. For me, it was a few months after I started blogging.

Sure, you’ll feel anxious (and possibly a bit queasy). But after you’ve settled down, email your site link to supportive people and enjoy the encouragement that’s sure to come.

That step of sharing is a huge one for new writers. It will take you out of your comfort zone and turn you into something exciting: a writer who has readers.

Learn the ropes

Spend time learning how to use the WordPress blogging software while your blog is still semi-private. Experiment with different themes until you find the one that suits you best. Visit blogs and leave comments.  Subscribe to the ones you like and become an active member of the blogging community.

Write, write, write

Work on your craft daily and publish some of your work on your blog. There was something about seeing my stories on a website that increased my confidence and my desire to write. I had so much fun with it that I branched out from nonfiction writing and tried my hand at short stories and photo fiction.

Make it public

Only you will know when it’s time to start sharing your writing with the world — taking your WordPress blog from private to public. But don’t wait until you think you’ve perfected your craft.  There are bestselling authors who tell us they still yearn to write better.

Allowing strangers to see your work is just another step towards becoming a better writer. And the WordPress community is a good one. It’s full of people who are eager to help you on your writing journey. Comments on my posts are always encouraging, and when I ask for critiques of my work, the responses are kind and constructive.

Remember, this is only one writer’s experience. The journey for each of us is as different as we are from each other. You might not want to wait as long as I did before sharing your work. That’s great! If you’re ready, then head on over to WordPress.com and say hello to the world.

You’re on your way to becoming a better writer.

Do you have a blog? How did you prepare for sharing your writing with the world?


You might also be helped by these posts:

Ten reasons to use WordPress for writing

Just do it: Tech and age don’t scare this elderly writer

Afternoon Tea: Sharing my writing with the world

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10 thoughts on “To blog or not to blog: A new writer’s question

  1. I never thought of making it private! I literally just started my blog and am still setting it all up and getting everything in shape. I have some filler posts and such up right now just to get the feel for the layout and such. I should probably make it private until everything is ready to go live! Doh!

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  2. Thank you for this article – it was just what I needed to read at this point in my life. Your words are now my inspiration to not be afraid and jump straight into this fascinating world that I have dreamed about for too long.

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  3. Great information! Thanks for the sharing. I agree with Marylin it is encouraging and realistic.
    Enjoying the journey.

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  4. Great advice, Darla. I didn’t take time to learn the ropes of blogging before diving right in. When I began blogging, I didn’t know about making it private. If I had taken the time, I might have saved myself a lot of the missteps that comes along with starting anything new.

    However, I also have to recognize the fact that if I let myself overthink or overanalyze a decision, then I would have taken the safe route, like I usually do. In this case, I bet I would not have started a blog at all, because in the beginning I was self-conscious and apprehensive about sharing my words with the world.

    By jumping in I was “out there” and I had to follow through because following through on a promise is good manners. (Good manners trumps fear more often than not for me.)

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