Reading is one of the most important inspirational sources for writers. The more I read, the more ideas I get about tools to try out, things to research, topics to write about.
I read a lot. Especially online. I subscribe to 392 RSS feeds via Google Reader. I recently started sharing interesting articles I read in my Google Reader and I also share articles via my Twitter and my StumbleUpon accounts.
I also read books. It is good to rest your eyes and get away from the screen for a while. It helps to get fresh ideas, a different point-of-view and another perspective on Internet topics.
I just finished reading Blog Blazers. The book features interviews with 40 different bloggers. I only knew 10 of the bloggers before I read the book so it was great learning about the new authors and how they run their sites.
Some interesting advice from the book
Here are the top 5 things that the 40 bloggers in Blog Blazers mentioned about their activities.
- Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. New bloggers are very eager and push very hard. Then after some time posting frequency starts to slow, then you see the famous “sorry I haven’t posted in a while” post. Blogging is a lot of work and it takes up a lot of your day. It is not about writing one key-post, it is about performing day after day. Be available to your visitors and build loyal readers one by one.
- Show your face, make your site personal. Always incorporate your own thoughts and analysis. Personal opinion counts and person behind the site makes the site stand out. Take a side, give your opinion, state something. Don’t censor yourself and don’t be afraid.
- Share insights. Don’t mistake content for reporting what other bloggers are writing about instead of adding something new. There are too many sites that are just sharing things already out there. You need to add value. Go one step further than others and use original data and interviews.
- Learn to edit yourself. Some bloggers spend more time editing the material than writing it. Good writing is tight and your final draft should be around 30% shorter than the first one.
- Create opportunities for yourself. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to build your authority, name recognition, and personal brand. Most benefits bloggers get are not from direct advertising, but from opportunities they get because of the site such as book deals and speaking engagements.
What I’d like to see in Blog Blazers
All the bloggers were asked the same questions. That is fine, but there were no follow-ups. So some bloggers respond with a one line answer, some respond with 10 lines. In many cases I would have liked to see a follow-up question asking for more details on what the blogger just mentioned. A two-way conversation which would expand on the answer, and explain it would have would have brought Blog Blazers book to another level.
Just read as much as possible, and note the interesting things that you may want to research and write about on your site. You will no longer be stuck without ideas and without inspiration for your upcoming posts.