In the words of fellow blogger Jennifer Aaventura I’m doing my ‘homework’.
It’s Saturday night, and technically, I’m at work. As I’ve mentioned many a time, at night I may masquerade as an ‘author‘, but by day, I’m very much a nanny! And tonight I’m babysitting … So with my two wards safely tucked up in bed, I’m doing some blog homework.
I’m very new to the world of blogging, but it doesn’t take a genius to realise that true membership of this international club is two-way. You can’t just receive comments, subscriptions and ‘likes’ … you have to give them too.
And so every couple of evenings I try to take a few hours to read the work of fellow bloggers.
Like I said, I’m very new to all this … but I’ve already begun to form some blog etiquette, which I think I would recommend to other bloggers.
1) If anyone posts a comment on my blog, I try my best to reply to it personally.
2) I try to check out the blogs of everyone who likes, subscribes or comments …
This second one is proving to be a bit of a slow process, as I’m sure anyone who has ever been Freshly Pressed will tell you … I have over 400 ‘virtual presents’ to write thank you notes for …. and whilst I *think* I’ve now replied to all the comments, I know I still have a lot of blogs to check out.
But the thing to understand, is that neither of these tasks is a chore.
For a start, the ‘blogosphere’ (a word I’m still not too sure I like!) is a sociable place FULL of potential, as I mentioned in my post ‘ The Writers’ Network‘. What better place to commune with fellow authors, readers, publishers and agents? What better way to gain tips, insight, inspiration and feedback, from a forum that isn’t just made up of your friends? (see the Writer and Her Sidekicks)
Back when I lived in Vancouver (I now live in a small mountain village) I used to attend a weekly Writers’ Group … and whilst it’s obviously great to have feedback on your own work, I also loved reading and critiquing other peoples’ work … especially when that work was something so departed from anything I would ever write. It reminded me of uni … in a good way!
Reading other blogs broadens your mind. I like to think of WordPress as a kind of huge free magazine. Some of the blogs I have read in the past weeks have been far better than any magazine articles or newspaper reports I have picked up. And just because none of us are being paid for the stuff we write on here, shouldn’t diminish the value of our words. The thing with WordPress, is I’m inspired to look at blogs on topics I wouldn’t necessarily pay money to read about … and yet often these are the articles which interest me the most.
Secondly, by taking the time to get to know the readers of your blog, you can begin to understand your readership, and perhaps tailor what you are writing to those readers. You can join in with discussions, present your take on something, or simply offer them a whole host of new readers by adding a link to their blog on your blog … just like this! Here is the link to the original post by Jennifer which inspired me to write this – Blog Surfing, One Peace at a Time.
Finally, think of it in dating terms!
When you are getting to know someone, those in the know encourage you to ask questions. It’s great to talk … but everyone enjoys talking, which means it’s also important to listen! Which means, in the blogosphere, it’s not just a question of blogging, you also need to read too … otherwise the relationships you forge with your readership will only be a temporary one!
PS If you’d like me to check out, and comment on, your blog – please post the link below! I’m still struggling to trawl through all the comments on ‘So Am I an Author Yet?!’ so it would be great to have links for reading all in one place!!! Thank you 🙂