I’m not a blogging expert, but I’ve been blogging for almost a decade now and I want to share what I’ve learned the hard way, over the long haul, by trial and error.
As a blogger, open the door, stay fluid, be a mirror.
Writing to people via email and online has value, yet will never replace talking with someone face-to-face, hearing their voice, looking in their eyes.
Having said that, in this post I’m sharing what I’ve learned about how to write and share words digitally, in a way that doesn’t feel so cold, hard and lonely.
1. Find YOUR way to engage your audience in an actual dialogue.
You might think of your audience as your “tribe” or community, society, your gang or crowd. Your people. (In this post, I’m using “people”.)
Whatever you call your people, however you think of them, find YOUR way to open the communication door to them, keep it open and get them talking.
Okay, maybe the door isn’t open 24/7. Keep your boundaries, but be accessible to your people and listen closely to what they say and how they say it.
Your people are the reason you’re blogging in the first place.
I feel more inspired to blog when I believe that I need my people as much or more than they need me because this real or imagined “need” gets my creative and social juices flowing.
Some bloggers like to converse on their website, through a comments thread right under their posts, monitoring the comments in the thread over time as people share their thoughts and questions.
My way is to share the post with my newsletter subscribers first and invite them to comment to me via email rather than on my website.
I prefer talking with my subscribers rather than the whole wide web because the conversation is more intimate and focused.
Conversations with the whole wide web overwhelm me. They also feel too random, disjointed, involve too many voices— and sometimes get downright mean or plain silly.
But this is just my preference. Some bloggers are great comment moderators and draw out graceful, meaningful world wide conversations. More power to them. They are the gods and goddesses of the whole wide web.
Here’s more about what I do and why…
- I either include a link to my email or say, “hit reply and tell me…..”
- I often do 2 versions of each post. One for my newsletter people and one for the whole wide web.
- How much time elapses between the original newsletter version and the website blog version depends on how different the versions are and how inspired I am to write the new version.
- Usually, by the time the newsletter post makes my website blog (hours, days, weeks later— if ever) I’ve already mulled it’s message over with my subscribers.
Sometimes my newsletter people totally change my mind about what I originally wrote to them. This is GOOD.
2. View the whole process of blogging as an open-ended experiment.
Don’t continually re-invent the blogging wheel, but view your blogger role as open-ended and fluid. It’s less scary this way and also more fun.
Share your experiments with your people.
Combine #1 above (talking with your audience) with experimentation. You’ll become a part of an open, flowing creative body of people whose groove you are helping to guide.
You can invite them to be a part of the experiment itself. Or, once the experiment is complete, tell them the story of the experiment, what you learned and ask them what they think.
3. Be a mirror to their mirror.
When you write a post, hopefully your people helped inspire your thoughts and you as you type you feel like you’re talking with them.
WITH them, not TO them.
You hear your voice through their ears and you hear their voice through your ears.
Let them answer as you type, let them ask questions.
However, you’ve also, hopefully, written something that makes YOU feel sparkly and pushes YOU to grow.
Your people are your people because you all like to talk about the same things.
So, what you write mirrors both you and them as separate, unique individuals that meet in a shared conversational field as ONE.
In asking for and listening closely to their responses, you’re seeing them, but also yourself. This is unity. This is tribe, community, society.
Your people are your human connection to life-force.
Love them and create for them by being a mirror to their mirror.
When you sit down at your laptop to type, join them, they’re waiting for you.