Last week I wrote about blogging for authors, and hopefully gave you lots of ideas that have helped you generate content ideas for your blog.
But after you’ve been running your blog for a while, you’ll inevitably lose momentum.
Oh no, you’re saying. I’m fired up and full of ideas. That won’t happen to me.
It will. And it pays to expect it.
You’ll be busy writing/ editing publishing / marketing your books. Your day job will get in the way. Your family will need your time. Or you’ll just be busy having a life.
Or maybe you’ll run out of ideas.
If this happens, don’t panic. You’re not a bad person because you skipped a blog post. Your readers won’t beat you up.
If you’re out of ideas or motivation, ask your readers what they’d like you to blog about. You can do this two ways: directly, or indirectly.
The direct way is just to ask them. On social media or via your newsletter, ask them what they’d like to hear about from you. You might be surprised by the answers. And it could give you the energy and motivation you need.
The indirect way is to look at your site stats. If you’re using the Jetpack plugin (one of my favorite plugins) or you’re on WordPress.com, you’ll be able to see your site stats in the same format as the graph below, which is for my site over the last few weeks.
Take a look at which posts on your blog are getting the most traffic. Look at the comments, and the comments, likes or shares on social media.
Ask yourself: what type of post does my audience engage with the most?
I did this a while ago for my fiction blog, and I was surprised by the answer.
You see, all the experts tell authors not to write about ourselves. It should be about the books, the characters, the worlds.
But the posts (and newsletters) with the most engagement were the ones about my writing process.
These were the posts people were commenting on, and liking. They were the emails I was most likely to receive replies to. I’m convinced that readers are fascinated by writers, in much the same way a football fan is fascinated by how their favorite player becomes the phenomenon they are.
Before I became a writer, I was fascinated by published authors. I would go to literary festivals, read articles, hoover up information and tidbits about how they wrote.
And it seems my readers feel much the same way.
Yours might not. They might like your posts on world building, or your short stories, or your ‘how to’ posts. If you ask them, and you look at your stats, you’ll know.
And it’ll give you ideas for more posts.
But What if I’m Really Stuck?
Sometimes even asking your readers or looking back over your old posts doesn’t give you inspiration.
Sometimes life really does get in the way.
If you don’t have the time to blog, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just take a pause, and come back to it when you’re ready. If you make it official, rather than just letting things tail off, then you’re more likely to come back to it.
I run a second fiction blog for my comic sci-fi, which I write under a different pen name from my thrillers. I was posting updates, anecdotes, funny photos and short stories to that every week last year.
But then in late 2018 I realized I didn’t have the time to focus on that, plus my thrillers, plus my nonfiction in 2019. I needed to prioritize.
So I wrote to my subscribers and posted on my blog, telling them I needed to take a break, and why.
I will return to that blog later this year, and I hope my readers will stick with me. But by telling them what was happening, I made it much more likely that I will go back to it. I haven’t given up. I haven’t let it slide. I’m just taking a break while I prioritize other things.
You can do the same if you need to. You have my permission! (You don’t need it.)
Running a blog is great. It can give you an opportunity to flex a different set of writing muscles. But it’s not as important as writing the actual books. So if you need to prioritize, do so.