When I began blogging in 2007, I posted answers to questions that creative writers were asking me via email. Soon, I expanded by posting information that writers needed, even though many of them didn’t know it yet. Once in a while, I vent frustration by blogging about pitfalls gaping before the unfortunate writers whose aimlessness keeps them from asking questions, using new technology, and coping with disruption. My blog is like me: didactic and unflavored, but potentially useful.
When writers ask me how to decide on the focus or topic of their blogs, I recommend that they make their blogposts either a) helpful and informative or b) entertaining. Controversy also attracts attention, but few writers can withstand the criticism and deflect the rage that a contentious blog can provoke.
New bloggers need one more bit of advice: don’t do what’s already been done better. Standing apart from the herd is easier with blog content that isn’t available elsewhere. Prior to launching a blog that is meant to draw attention, a writer should look around the web at the current offerings of the best bloggers. In the business sector, this preliminary step is referred to as gathering competitive intelligence. Skipping it is referred to as cluelessness (including the lack of awareness that makes a person think she’s a better writer than she is).
Some writers are naturally more entertaining than most. We gravitate to their blogs to be amused or transported. They don’t need to inform us. They don’t need to break the news or fan the flames.
Once in a while, I notice a blog that has it all—a combination of usefulness, entertainment, and originality. Yesterday, I saw one called Fiction on Foot, written by Olivia Rosane, who says:
This blog is my attempt to reconnect myself with the world around me by taking walks and paying enough attention along the way to write a story inspired by what I see.
My lengthy blogroll includes other respectable examples. Have you seen a great blog lately? What attracted you to it?