Writing on the internet can be the most brilliant, rewarding experience. It can bring you glowing feedback, recognition and new friends galore.
It can also bring you criticism and misery, but I don’t want to focus on that today.
In just over a year of blogging, I’ve learned a few things about sharing my writing online.
You can build a community
The internet can connect people from all over the world; it doesn’t matter how old you are, what you look like, or where you live, somewhere online there’s a space for you.
By writing about your interests, your thoughts and your life, you’ll find other people who share your problems or ideals. It can put life into perspective and motivate you to achieve your goals, with the support of your online tribe.
There’s a whole world out there to explore
The world is a big place; connecting with others can make your life a little bit bigger too.
Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve embraced new opportunities more than ever before. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone to travel to new places and attend events, often all by myself. I’ve networked and I’ve discovered new writers and bloggers whose work I love.
I’ve shared my work online and I’ve been amazed by some of the people it’s introduced me to.
Find your voice
One of the most common pieces of advice that a blogger will hear is to find a voice for your writing. You’ll be told to write as though you were talking to your best friend: be chatty, be conversational, be friendly.
It’s the best way to engage your audience.
It can take a while to get into the rhythm of writing online, but it once you find your voice, the words will start to flow more easily. The more you write, the more your work will develop a natural polish.
Writing with honesty gets the best response
Of course, finding a voice also means being authentic. There’s no point being fake or writing in a style that isn’t natural to you, just because you think it will bring you more readers. Forced cheer or affected formality will only get you so far, because ultimately, they will prevent your readers from getting to know the real you.
Think about the blogs you enjoy reading the most. How are they written? The blogs I read regularly have a strong personality behind them; they don’t necessarily reveal every detail of the blogger’s daily life, but they share ideas and their perspective on life. It’s this that keeps me coming back.
And I’ve found that personal posts can end up being the most popular with readers. You might write a fashion blog or share cookery tips, but if you choose to share a post about something personal to you, the response will often be greater than you expected.
To your regular readers, you’ll become a friend of sorts; they’ll feel that they know you or they’re a part of your life. They’ll offer you support and advice and be there if you want to discuss your issues some more.
And you never know, by speaking out, you could be helping someone who’s been struggling alone with the same problem.
It’s best to write for a real, live audience
SEO, keywords and grammar all matter, but they aren’t everything. Yes, it’s important to write well and construct your posts in a way that will maximise your search engine exposure (if you want anyone to read them).
But remember who you’re really writing for. If a search engine was the only one who ever read your work, how would you feel?
Write naturally because somebody is reading. Everything else will come with practice and experience.
You can’t please everyone
Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. No matter what you do, who you are, or how talented you might be, someone out there won’t like you, just because.
Concentrate on the people who do enjoy reading your writing and don’t try to change yourself into something you’re not, unless you can genuinely grow or improve.