It is important for a writer to have a blog. The question that usually follows that observation is “how and where do you get a blog?” First off, there are many different types of blog programs out there. I use WordPress. It’s free, it’s simple to set up and it makes my life so much easier when I have to post an entry. These days, most websites will have a program that allows you to download WordPress without knowing anything about sites. It’s just ‘click’ and it’s done. All you need to do is select how you want it to look.
So what do you do once your blog program is installed? From the basic program, you have a choice of two types of ‘add-ons’, called ‘themes’ and ‘plug-ins’. Themes are programs that make the website look the way you want it to look. There are hundreds of sites that sell or give themes away. The WordPress site has hundreds of themes for free. Plug-ins can help you send your message across a variety of formats or keep spam on your site to a minimum, if not non-existent.
“JetPack” is a wonderful plug-in that makes my life much easier. It allows me to post on Facebook and Twitter as well as on my blog, all at the same time. It, too, is only one click to install and a life-saver in terms of time spent not writing stories. Three posts for the price of one, so to speak, and spam-watching, too.
What if I don’t have a website for a blog? You can go to www.wordpress.com and use their free blog, but with webspace being under $5 US a month, it’s hard not to consider getting your own domain name. Domain names are only about $15 a year, so it’s not that great an expense, just over a dollar a month. Your web host can help you with that, too. Goodreads.com also allows an author to have a blog with them. Free blog sites are fine when you’re just getting started, but having a domain name in your name is so much more satisfying to the ego and it’s usually tax-deductible.
Now that you have your blog installed and looking the way you want it to look, you need to have some content. Blogging about your book(s) is simple enough, but there’s only so much you can say about it. What else fills the space?
I treat my blog as sort of a writer’s diary, where I post special things that happen, as well as bits of day-to-day information – my reviews, my book reading dates and chat dates and times, are a few of the things I post. I sometimes post things about “Der Reizen”, or whatever book I’m working on. It helps me to sort things out in my own mind. I’m starting to post ‘memorable’ quotes from the books. I look at the post when I’m not feeling the magic of writing and, somehow, the magic in the quote comes back to me and I can progress.
Blogging is also a good way to chronicle your journey as a writer. You can go back to the beginning of your posts and see just how far you’ve come. That, more than anything, is an ego-boost that new authors need. “I have a book published, done a book reading, created a book trailer. This is my journey and it’s great!”