Saturday, October 4, 2008

Five Steps to Effective Blogging Transfers to Articles

Rather out of the blue, I decided to pen a series of articles. I have a specific audience in mind and certain magazines that I want to target. Incidentally, I know little about non-fiction writing. The few things I do know include the following: one normally queries before one writes the article, one typically has sample articles to send in, and one is usually an expert (or has interviewed experts) in the subject to be written about. I'm currently zero for three.

In thinking it over, however, it occurred to me that keeping a blog teaches a variety of skills needed in the non-fiction world. If you're self-disciplined, if you've perused other blogs to see what catches your eye then replicated the patterns on your own, and if you've read articles on effective blogging, well, then, you're already on the right track. (Disclaimer: This is not to insinuate that I know anything about effective blogging.)

Five Steps to Effective Blogging:
  1. Review your own blog: look at the posts that have garnered the most comments.
  2. Do you have a catchy hook, five (or three or ten) easy steps, and a conclusion?
  3. Is your language clear yet lyrical or full of imagery or simply succinct?
  4. Consider the layout: do you use bullets, numbering, and other format buttons effectively?
  5. Do you separate long stretches of prose with spaces or pictures or lists?

Well, then, you're ready to turn your blogging skills into cold, hard cash. Or something like that. Oh, I know. You're a fiction writer. You pen fantasy or sci fi or chick lit or whatever. I understand that. I'm there with you. But peruse a call for submissions sometime. See what tickles your fancy. Most magazines pay by the word or the article. Best of all, it's a way to get your name in print, which is precisely what that last paragraph in a query requires.

The Writer Gazette is a website with a ton of resources for writers. My favorite part is the Call for Submissions page jam-packed full of magazines looking for writers of talent. I've read your blogs. I've read many of the magazines. I have zero doubt in my mind that most -- if not all -- of you on my blogroll have not only the skills but also that delightful mastery of word-smithing integral to successful writing. Just think on it...You might surprise yourself.


Anthony said...

I write enough at work. It is either/or for me. I chose fat manuscripts! :-)

There is only so much time in the day for some.

Inland Empire Girl said...

What a great post. Now I have to go and evaluate my blog. Do you have a rubric for that? lol.

Alex Moore said...

@anthony: fair enough. the truth is that these particular articles were ones I intended to write for myself regardless. i just thought that perhaps i could tweak them enough to send in somewhere:)

@iep: umm...working on it as we speak:)

Anthony said...

Of course, a year from now I will probably be stuck in traffic on the way to work and you will be working from home writing all day.

Then you can send me mail and go HA HA neener neener.

Kameron said...

For a while, I tried my hand at non-fiction web articles via Helium. Like Anthony, because I spend 8 hours a day writing technical documentation, I had to choose how I wanted to spend my personal writing energies. I chose blogging and my own manuscripts.

I have found some opportunities to turn blog posts into articles on the same topic, but it takes almost as much effort looking up opportunities as it does developing new articles.

Alex Moore said...

@kameron: I have to agree that I find the whole "searching for article publishing opportunity" far more exhausting than it should be. It works for some people (at least they make it look easy) -- but I can identify with the desire to focus on the writing that fulfills.