Blogging your way to a book – some hints and tips
If you want to write a book, writing in bite-sized pieces is far less daunting than sitting down to write a complete book. And what better way of adopting the piece-by-piece method than blogging your way to a book.
What is a blog?
A blog (or weblog) is a type of website where you can write (post) your own thoughts and ideas (a bit like a diary or journal). New posts are listed at the top so as visitors to your blog can easily see what’s new. Posts can include text and images and other media such as videos and they can also include links to your other posts or to anything else on the web. Blogs usually have a comment section where visitors can add their own comments and so this means that blogs are not only a great way of keeping in touch with family and friends but they are also a good way of meeting and communicating with other like-minded people wherever they are in the world.
Even though writing your own blogs may be something new to you, reading blogs (like this one) is something you probably do quite often and so you already have a pretty good idea about what makes a good blog post.
Blogging your way to a book – could you do it?
There are many writers who have started out with a humble blog and then turned their blogs into books, but this does not mean that anyone can blog a book or that all blogs are suitable for converting into books. Non-fiction lends itself much better to blogging than fiction. For example, writing fiction is not a linear process. Most fiction authors edit and rewrite as they go along which often involves cutting and adding material and so publishing a book chapter by chapter (i.e blog by blog) would not be appropriate or desirable. Non-fiction genres, on the other hand, such as family histories, nostalgic memories, travel stories, anthologies, how to do something, self help, problem solving, business advice etc. can typically be told in self-contained pieces (blogs).
Make a plan
Even though blogs are a good way of overcoming the daunting prospect of writing a full-length book, blogging your way to a book successfully means that you need a clear idea about the subject/topic for your book and a plan of what you want each blog post to include. Without a plan you may find it hard to reach your ultimate goal.
It’s great writing practice
Writing a regular blog post is an excellent way of practising and improving your writing. If you are a new or inexperienced writer it can be hard to get started and so by committing to writing regular blog posts (daily or at least weekly) you will soon gain confidence and find that writing becomes easier and more enjoyable.
You’ll meet new people
Whether you want to restrict your blog posts to family and friends or reach out to a wider audience, if you post regularly you will soon find that people will be reading and commenting on what you have written. A blog is a great way of connecting with others and learning and benefiting from their feedback and comments. The blogging community is generally encouraging and supportive and there will be new friends out there who eagerly await your next post. Listen to what they have to say and use their feedback and comments to help you develop your ideas and improve your writing.
Blogging is free
Blogging doesn’t have to cost you anything. If you are a beginner and want something simple and easy to use then your best option is a hosted blog. WordPress.com and Blogger.com offer free, basic-level hosted blogs which are ideal for the novice. If you want some additional features such as setting up your own domain name, you will have to pay a small amount each month but it is still a very cheap way of getting your story and name out there. Click here for more information about finding and choosing a blog host.
You’ve written some great blogs so what next?
Well, if you want to create a book that is readable, rather than a collection of blogs thrown together, you will need to do quite a bit of revising and editing. Your blogs are not your final manuscript. They are just the first draft and will need a lot of editing and possibly some additional material to turn them into a book which is worth reading. For example, you will need to think about the order in which you present your blogs and whether you want to include them all. Whether you want to keep the titles/headings you needed to use to catch your readers’ attention online or whether these should be changed to more coherent chapter headings. You will also need to check the content of each blog to ensure that they will flow as a longer narrative.
The final stage in blogging your way to a book is to convert your blogs into a book so pop across to my post Create a book from your blogs – in 8 simple steps for some handy tips.