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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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