If you’re a writer, you probably have a blog. If you are a writer without one, or you want to experience life as a writer, you should probably have a blog. Like few things, there’s absolutely no reason not to have one. It’s a painless, free way to improve your writing, to find an audience without fighting for it, and to even find out what is and isn’t working for you as a writer or for that audience.
If nothing else, blogging is sudden access to a platform through which you can do a few things that you simply can’t do anywhere else. A blog allows you to write however often you want to and in however much detail you feel compelled to write in; it sidesteps the issues of finding an outlet for your writing, as well as the tedious requirements that would otherwise need you to keep things either extremely brief or go in-depth about something. That decision is yours to make on a blog, and you have as much freedom as you’d like to take risks, especially as you’re simply getting started.
Furthermore, the mere act of writing more often will improve your writing. By rereading what you’ve already finished, you’ll see places where you have improved, where you want to improve, and where you need to change things to make your work more effective, and a blog gives you all of those things for free, as well as an easy chronological index of your work through which you can see trends, growth, perhaps moments of frustration, and how you worked through them.
The blog, unlike other mediums, is also interactive by design. By enabling comments you allow anyone who feels compelled to do so to interact with you — to give their own thoughts, feedback, and opinions on the subject your blog addresses — and to let you know what’s working best for both of you. If even more information is what you want, you can set up a service like Google Analytics, which will give you remarkably detailed breakdowns of who visits your website, when, and where they’re from. A Google Analytics readout will let you know, down to towns and cities, who reads you, how many hits you’re getting on a regular basis, and what search engine terms brought readers to your blog, all details worth knowing if your goal is to increase your reader base or develop strategies to better cater your content towards your readers.
Finally, the blog creates an online portfolio for anyone who might be interested in you or the work that you do as a writer. It’s a showcase of the things you’re interested in, how you approach them, and your talents in a way that few things are or possibly could be. As opposed to press clippings, which come through following an editor’s processing and the restrictions of your format, the blog is you, uncensored, for the world to see, and it just might sell you better than anything else.
Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.