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10 Things My Blog Taught Me

10 Things My Blog Taught Me

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Published by JM Murray
When I started my blog three years and 586 posts ago, I wasn’t sure where to take it. I knew I wanted to connect with other writers so I used that as the theme. Now, thanks to the 430,000+ people who have visited, I know much more about the ‘why’. Yes, it’s about getting to know kindred souls, but there is so much more I’ve gotten from blogging. Like these:
When I started my blog three years and 586 posts ago, I wasn’t sure where to take it. I knew I wanted to connect with other writers so I used that as the theme. Now, thanks to the 430,000+ people who have visited, I know much more about the ‘why’. Yes, it’s about getting to know kindred souls, but there is so much more I’ve gotten from blogging. Like these:

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Published by: JM Murray on May 12, 2012
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11/24/2012

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10 Things My Blog Taught Me
By Jacqui Murray
When I started my blog three years and 586
 posts ago, I wasn’t sure where to take it. I
knew I wanted to connect with other writersso I used that as the theme. Now, thanks tothe 430,000+ people who have visited, Iknow much
more about the ‘why’. Yes, it’s
about getting to know kindred souls, but
there is so much more I’ve gotten from
blogging. Like these:
How to write
 We bloggers divide ourselves into twocategories: 1) those who write short, under-1000-word posts and 2) those who write in-
depth, lengthy articles. I’ve chosen the former. I like
pithy ideas that readers can consume in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. As a result,
I’ve learned to be frugal with my words. I choose verbiage that conveys more than one
-words-worth of information and I leave tangential issues for another post. Because I realize readers areconsuming on the run, I make sure to be clear
 – 
no misplaced pronouns or fuzzy concepts like
‘thing’ or ‘something’.
 
Prove my point
 This part of writing transcends what print journalists and novel writers must do. Yes, they do it,but my readers expect me to support ideas with links t
o sources. If I’m reviewing a book, I caneasily link to the author’s website for deeper reading. That’s something that can’t happen in
paper writing. Sure, they can provide the link, but to put the paper down, open the laptop, copythat link 
 – 
I mean, who d
oes that? In a blog, I get annoyed if someone cites research and doesn’t
provide the link.
What my voice was
 I write thrillers. To pen a good thriller, you have to do what James Frey suggested in hisexemplary guideline for thriller writers, including:  1.
 
Have no bland, colorless characters2.
 
Have a hook at the end of each chapter3.
 
Be fresh in your writing4.
 
Keep the clock ticking and the excitement mountingFor me, that means keep my writing relevant and engaging with hooks that make readers comeback for more. Literary fiction writers do it differently. My blog approach matches my novels.
 
How to work through the dry times
 
I rarely have writer’s block, but when I do, I jump into the blogosphere and see what my
colleagues are writing. In my novel, I discovered that researching would water down the dryspells. The same thing works for blogging.
How to persevere
 Three years of 
 blogging and I’m still waiting to make it big. What’s that mean to me? I want that
knock on my virtual door from
 or 
 asking me to come on board as a paid
house blogger. Truth, that probably won’t happen and by now, I wouldn’t know what to do if I
stopped personal blogging.
How to market my writing
 I try lots of ideas to market my writing, but thanks to the blogosphere, I know what everyone elseis doing. I can try as much or little of it as I want. For me, I found a comfortable baseline and add
a few pieces every year (this year, it’s Pinterest).
 One point worth mentioning is headlines. Usually, all you get from a reader is seven seconds
 – 
long enough to read
the title, maybe the first line. If that title doesn’t seem personal and relevant,
potential readers move on. There are over450 million English language blogs.Tha
t’s a lot of 
competition. I better hit a home run with that title.
There are lots of opinions out there
 
Often, I share my thoughts on the pedagogy of writing. Sometimes, I’m surprised at comments Iget. They might touch a corner of the idea I hadn’t though
t of or be 180 degrees from my
conclusions. It forces me to think bigger as I write, consider how people who aren’t me will readmy words. That’s both humbling and empowering. I think I’m much better at that than I used to
be.
There are a lot of smart people in the world
 In a previous lifetime when I built child care centers for a living, I read lots of data that saidpeople thought the education system was broken
 – 
but not in their area. They consideredthemselves lucky because their schools worked. Well, as I meandered through life, I realized that
applies to everything. People are happy with what they’re comfortable with andfrightened/suspicious of what they aren’t used to. Through blogging, I get to delve into those
ideas with
them because we feel like friends. I’ve found that lots of people are smart, intuitive,engaged in life, looking to improve the world. I’m glad I learned that.
 
How to be responsible
 Yes, blogging is demanding. I have to follow through on promises made in my blog profile and
 posts. When I say I’ll offer writing advice weekly, I have to even if I’m tired or busy with other 

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