What To Blog About If You’re Not Published

While June might remind us were already halfway through another year, it is also this blog’s blogiversary month!

I published my first post in June 2017. That kicked off the 117 posts I’ve published since.

I launched my blog to extend my writer platform. I’d already begun querying agents and publishers and had been rejected, but was still two years away from signing the small press contract I was offered in January 2019. I wasn’t published anywhere and didn’t have a book out to plug.

So what does a writer who isn’t published write about?

Writing, of course! My first post was titled Just Start, which was, and still is, a life motto of mine.

While I’m still another 6 months away from being officially published (the first book in my YA series, Blackbirch, is coming early 2020), I’ll continue to practice what I preach and blog about writing.

If you’re in a similar situation and have nothing published but still want to blog, here’s what’s worked for me, and ideas I’ve seen work for others.

What I Blog About

How To Write

While you may wonder why anyone should listen to advice about writing from someone who hasn’t yet proved they can, it can be done.

Anytime I touch on this topic, it’s coming from a place of learning. If I blog about how to write, it’s sharing tips I’ve learned that have helped me write better or improve my craft, not a this-is-how-you-must-write post. Readers can either use the tips too, discard them, or share a better way in the comments.

Making The Time To Write

One of the ongoing battles of the writing life is making the time to write.
A lot of my early posts centered on productivity, and I still love to blog about it when I have a new tip. Being organized is sometimes the only reason I get any writing done, and I hope those kinds of posts help others too.

If you’ve got a magic trick that has worked for you or a writing routine that allows you to get words down regularly, share it with the world. Writers love to know how other writers write.

What You’re Learning, As You Learn It

My writing journey of the last few years hasn’t just been queries, rejections, and signing a contract, it’s also been about learning to write.

I’ve learned more about writing by blogging about it than I ever did from paid writing courses. Most of my writing tip posts come about because I’ve reached a point in my own work where I needed to know how to do something.

Recently this has included following a scene with a sequel, and mastering show, don’t tell. In the last two years, checklists for repeats and weak words have been a big help to me, and I know from the comments, other writers too.

If you’ve been working on improving your craft and feel as if you’ve nailed it, share your tricks with the world. Us other writers would love to know what worked for you.

Writer Events

This is a new type of post for my blog, mainly because the first time I attended a writers conference was in May this year (2019). It was an informative, eye-opening experience which inspired a month’s worth of posts. And next week my blog will cover the YA masterclass from The Emerging Writers Festival I attended this week. If you get the chance to go to such events, blog about it.

A Bit of Inspiration

A lot of earlier posts revolved around inspiration—what inspires me to write or keep going on days I don’t feel like it or have received rejections. I found writing about these topics emotionally healing, and hopefully, they helped other writers dealing with the same things.

If you’re finding yourself lacking or brimming with inspiration, share it with your fellow writers. We appreciate knowing other writers are experiencing the same highs and lows.

Sometimes A Rant

When you decide to take writing seriously and commit to creating a book, or sending your work out into the world, you quickly learn that writing is hard. Some days you can’t put a decent paragraph together, and sometimes this lack of writing “flow” goes on for months.

You lose your motivation; you get overwhelmed by the writing rules, and you can spend years dealing with rejection after rejection. Ranting about those things when it’s appropriate can help you work your way back to loving writing, and it can let other writers know it’s okay to feel their way through the disappointments. Just don’t publicly name names or make every post a rant. If writing has become that disillusioning, it’s time to take a break for your own wellbeing.

Other Blogging Ideas

Short Stories Or Poems

I don’t have these things to post. The closest my blog has to a creative narrative are the occasional posts which include writing examples. Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed this has had morphed into the ongoing adventures of Jenny and Carla. They shared a dark secret in How To Spot And Eliminate Stage Directing In Your Writing and survived being stalked by a serial killer in 4 Reasons To Use Action Beats When Writing and will continue to pop up in future posts.

If you have short stories or poems and have the confidence to post them, share them in your blog posts and let others enjoy them too.

Book Reviews

Sadly, I don’t read books regularly enough to warrant blogs dedicated to reviews (trust me, you’d be frustrated waiting for review posts if you followed this blog for them).

When I manage to read a book, I add it to my Goodreads, but there are plenty of bloggers who regularly post reviews and it’s a great way to build up your content and introduce others to the fantastic books out there. One of my fave reviewers is Blue Fairy Tales, who tells it straight about books she does and doesn’t like.

Diary-like Posts

Some writers like to let you know every thought in their head, whether or not it connects to writing and can be apt at doing it. If you think this is something you’d like to explore, try it. For inspiration, give A Crack In The Pavement a read. Bryan has cornered the market on spontaneous, entertaining posts about anything and everything.

Inspiring Media

L. Stevens at Everyday Strange is great at this, often filling her blog with You-Tube links to music, and images of fascinating insects or art pieces.

Reblogs

Chris from The Story Reading Ape does an amazing job of sharing everyone’s work. I’ve found many great bloggers and posts by following his feed.

Writing Prompts

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I post a weekly writing prompt based on photos I take. While these haven’t made it to my blog, I have seen other blogs add writing prompts as a regular post and have enjoyed them a lot. Give it a go if that’s your thing.

So there you have some ideas about what to blog about if you’re not published. I hope they’ve inspired you if you’re thinking of taking the blogging plunge, or looking to add some new content to your blog.

I also hope you’ve been enjoying my posts for the last couple of years. Here’s to many more!

— K.M. Allan

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

52 thoughts on “What To Blog About If You’re Not Published

Add yours

  1. Hi K.M. I always enjoy your posts and find them entertaining and informative. Congratulations on your publishing contract, it’s great that all your hard work has paid off. I love hearing about new authors being published, it inspires me to keep going.

    Something I have found helpful is having assessment services review my work. I have had mixed feedback, which is hard to take at first, but the advice has been sound and lead to improvements in my novel.

    I am so glad that you are sharing your experiences with those of us new to the world of writing.

    Cheers

    Naomi.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Naomi 😊. I’ve used assessment services in the past too, and feel the same way you do about them. I also found finding the right beta readers helped. That has been the biggest improvement to my writing in the last few years, learning from the beta feedback given to me, and pushing myself to write better. Good luck with your MS 😊.

      Like

    1. Thank you! Totally agree. Isn’t there that unspoken rule that you never talk about politics or religion because all it does is lead to negativity? I think there’s enough of that in the world already, and I wouldn’t want to see those topics on a blog where all I want to know is how to hit my word count regularly enough to finally finish writing my book 😅. Thanks so much for reading.

      Like

  2. Happy 2-year-anniversary! Doesn’t time just fly?
    CongratZ on your publishing. The wait must be killing you.
    I do creative writing from prompts and they teach me and give me a lot of joy.
    Your posts are appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😊. Yep, it really does fly. You definitely need patience in the publishing industry. Everything takes forever. That’s awesome that writing prompts give you so much joy. They really can be great inspirations.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy anniversary. I have appreciated so many of your posts. So many links, so many rabbit holes. I spent days, at one stage, just reading them all and taking copious notes. It got me writing again after a ten year stretch of nothing. I started to blog so that I had something out there in the ether. Some anecdotal, some poetic and some about the process writing has taken me on. I decided to just put it out there. I have managed about one a month. For me posting on my blog is about being brave. I haven’t submitted any work for publishing yet, I have several incomplete works in progress, one day I’ll be really brave and submit something. Thank you for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know this. This is exactly why I started my blog, and why I’ll keep it going even when I have those days when I wonder what the hell I’m doing or if I can even write. I’m so happy to hear that blogging has helped you start writing again. It is brave to put your work out there, and it’s wonderful that you’re working your way toward submission. It’s a scary process but worth doing. Keep going and keep being inspired. You’ve certainly inspired me with your comment 😊. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Let me clarify, it was your blog that inspired me to start writing again. Then later I started the blog as a sort of date to myself. A place to share my writing. I am very grateful.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m at that glorious place in life where I’m recently retired (I taught elementary school for thirty-one years) and have the time to try all of the things I’ve ever wanted to do. (Nothing like picking up the guitar for the first time when you reach age sixty.) I never dreamed of starting a blog, but here I am. I look at blogging as one more opportunity to practice writing. Thanks for all of your insightful suggestions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congrats on your retirement! Totally agree with you that blogging helps with writing. I’m a much stronger writer since stating my blog. It also helps you hit word counts and deadlines. Glad to hear you like my suggestions. Good luck trying anything and everything 😊.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for these tips! I feel like I’m still trying to figure out exactly which way is up in terms of blogging, determining what makes sense to write about, and what people would be interested in reading. It’s a very open platform. I’ve found though that the time it takes to construct a blog post helps me think through things more myself, so I end up growing from the experience of writing it. Best wishes, and wishing you a great day!
    Jimmy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jimmy. Those are the best kind of blog posts: the ones that help you grow too. I’ve found it’s hard to predict what’ll work. I’ve written posts I thought were my best work and it hasn’t resonated, and other posts I did last minute that got the highest number of views/likes. Just write what you like and you’ll find your audience 😊.

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on Lorraine Ambers and commented:
    Setting up a new blog can be a daunting task. Especially if your a blossoming writer hoping to use the platform as a means to find your audience. What do you write about? Is it too soon to start if you haven’t published anything?

    K.M.Allen offers wonderful tips and advice which are motivating and inspiring… a must read for anyone wondering what to blog about.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Ethereal Seals: Dragonsoul and commented:
    Writing is a curious activity, especially blogging. To some, blogging comes with difficulty, others it just clicks or flows smoothly.

    How do writers churn out their words on blogs? What do they write about? Here’s a fantastic post from a fellow blogger who discusses these questions in depth. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Suburban Syntax and commented:
    Some great tips from published Y.A. author K.M. Allan. These are specific to author/bloggers (a bit of a niche) but still extremely useful. Unpublished writers are urged to “build a platform”, but it can be hard to come up with content ideas when you lack the authority of previous publication. These are all great content topics she’s listed. I say that because many of them are the type of content I posted myself here on Suburban Syntax prior to becoming published myself. The system works!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem. It was a post I wish I had thought of! In fact, I started reading your list and saying “hey, that’s exactly the type of content I was making before I got published”, so I had to reblog.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Love these ideas! I adore blogs by published authors and their insight, but I also love reading updates from those in the same boat as me, trying and trying to find an agent or publisher. Sometimes I struggle to think of what to post, but this has given me some ideas of posts I hope will be interesting or insightful. Thanks, Kate! x

    Liked by 1 person

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