There’s more of a learning curve to running a blog than you might think. First, there’s the blogging itself, which is kind of like riding a bike in the sense that for a while, you fake it until you start feeling more confident. For someone like me, who prior to Foes of Reality mostly wrote fiction (and liked hiding behind it, thank you very much!), there’s the whole issue of finding your non-fiction voice. A fair number of posts down the road, I still sometimes find myself a little jealous of bloggers whose writing feels as if they’re sitting across from you at a coffee shop, while for me, each post is a little article that I put together like a puzzle and then stew over – often for a few days.
Then there are the technical details: endless fiddling with WordPress until you reach the sweet spot between things being just right, and giving up. In the case of Foes, which I run with my friends Dan and Miranda, there are ongoing compromises, as we hash out what we want the site to be now, and moving forward. Then there’s growing the darn thing – taking a brand that we’ve put a lot of thought into and trying to get the word out, which brings me to guest posting.
At first it seems like madness: are you kidding? Just committing to the first blog was enough! And yet… urban blogging legend holds that guest posting is a good way of driving traffic to your blog, and it makes sense; people see your brilliant (ha!) writing at another site, and follow the link back to you. Search engine analytics start believing that you exist, and you appear higher in search results. Okay… I’ll do it! But it’s still insane…
Once you embrace the possibility of it, you start thinking of ways that it could be fun. The same sites you’ve been reading for months, suddenly you look at differently, wondering how you might fit in. Is their content similar to the content on your site, or different? Where is the overlap? What could you contribute that would be fresh?
In five weeks, I have a post about creating novel outlines scheduled to come out at Mythic Scribes. Mythic Scribes is a cool site that I’ve been visiting for a while – a community of fantasy writers, talking about writing. It seemed like a great place for me to guest post at, and after a quick query to confirm that what I had in mind would be of interest, I was on my way.
There were some surprises: the lead time, for one (it wasn’t bad, just surprising), and how strange it felt to write about my own process – something that to me is very personal – for public consumption. More on that when the post comes out.
I can’t tell, yet, what impact it might have. My takeaway at this point is about the part of guest posting that I’ve experienced: finding somewhere to post, and deciding what to post about. To me, the fun so far is in putting something together that hopefully will add to a conversation that I’ve been enjoying more passively up to now. Once you get started blogging, you realize that it opens the door to exploring things you enjoy more deeply: you don’t just read – you read, think about, and share. My hope is that guest blogging will allow me to expand that benefit to other areas: we don’t write about writing at Foes of Reality, but I can write about it at Mythic Scribes. I guess the next question for me is what else would I like to write about, and where?
So what about you? If you blog (and even if you don’t), have you guest blogged anywhere? Would you? How would you decide what to post, and where?