I've been thinking about the creative aspects of blogging lately. And thinking about what I can do to make my blogs more valuable to my readers. What follows is the beginning of my exploration on art, writing, and blogs. Because more and more people these days are 'Saying It With A Blog.'
Blogging is many things to many people. Companies view blogging as another form of advertising--a way to make advertising dollars go further, increase brand recognition and to attract a customer they may have been missing using other techniques. Bloggers view their craft differently. In truth, to most of us, blogging is really a 'short story' about a specific topic. Blogs are used to communicate our thoughts and feelings as well as our expertise to others. What bloggers do best is SHARE.
What do bloggers blog about? If people are talking about it, you'll find a group of bloggers writing about it. Some of us act as a 'editorial page' for the local news. Some of us provide information about a specific industry. Some of us blog about our own special interests, from crafting to education to our children. And yes, some bloggers even blog about the blogging process. There is a blogger for every interest, and if you can't find one, start one yourself.
If you don't know anything about the craft of writing, no one is better able to help the nascent blogger than NY Times best selling author Stephen King. King has sold over 350 million copies of his works so someone is reading what he writes, that's good enough for me!
I can hear the wheels turning--Carrie? Cujo? Christine? Yes, that Stephen King.
But King also wrote a book called On Writing. This gem of a book has the story of King's rise to his current position as a NY Times Best Selling author. In it he tells the reader exactly what he thinks makes a good writer.
This is a book (like so many of King's) that has earned a place on bookshelves everywhere. The man knows his CRAFT!
In his book King says "I've written because it fulfilled me. Maybe it paid off the mortgage on the house and got the kids through college, but those things were on the side--I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."
Joy! Buzz! This is so much how I feel about blogging. It's why I get up excited every morning about blogging. I don't need caffeine, my buzz comes from writing. Like many professionals, bloggers have conferences. One of the biggest was this weekend in NYC, BlogHer. No, I didn't go to BlogHer--too crowded, too expensive, not enough time. Instead I went to PhillyHomeHer12.
PhillyHomeHer12 was coordinated by the book maven and social media whiz, Pam Brown Margolis. Pam is also the author of her own blog called The Unconventional Librarian. This mini conference was held at Towne Book Center in Collegeville PA where you can find Pam most days helping patrons with all things literary (and some not so!) The bookstore was nice enough to host us as well as provide information on their store and cafe and some exciting upcoming events for adults and children. Towne Book Center could easily become a home away from home! Check their web site and see who is coming to Towne soon. Later Pam arranged for us to enjoy dinner at Firebirds Restaurant. Good food and good talk = great conference!
PhillyHomeHer12 was a small group of women bloggers that all shared one thing--PASSION. Passion for their craft. Their blogs weren't 'work' they were labors of love. A way to share thoughts and enrich their own lives as well.
Like King, they didn't write for fame, they didn't really care if anyone ever tapped them for the top spot speaking at one of the huge blogging conferences, they cared about the connection with their readers.
King said "Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well."
I heard these bloggers say the same thing King said, maybe they used slightly different words but like King, they valued that connection with their readers. They valued helping even just one reader over all the fame and fortune.
This was the true value of this conference. Meeting with women who took joy in enriching the lives of others. Women there were happy to share their expertise with the newer bloggers. Happy to include them in their group and make them successful.
So the Tip For Today is:
Blog for the joy of it. For the connection with just one person. It will enrich your life as well. You'll find writing with this attitude makes you a better blogger, true to her own voice. So go out, write joyfully. Write for the jazz! And have a better blog!
And while you are waiting for my next installment in this series, order King's book from Towne Book Center--and support your local independent bookstore! And be sure to stop in and see Pam and the rest of the group at Towne Book Center where they sell more than just books! (Hint: Start Your Christmas Shopping early at Towne!)