I received a shock the other day. The boyfriend actually asked me how I come up with blog posts. Now, this may not seem shocking to the general reader since I have a blog and have been pretty good about adding content, but it was a shock to me for two reasons.

  1. The boyfriend’s job involves finding ways to integrate his company’s product with social media.
  2. He was the one who insisted I start a blog and, in the early days, I asked him how to find things to blog about. I guess the tables have turned.

If you saw my post from 9/27/10, you will recall that one of my responsibilities at work is to find ways to use social media in my office. This is easier said then done. My office more or less acts as a consultant for national parks. Our client base is internal and we don’t get clients in the traditional sense. Figuring out where we fit in the social media world is no easy feat. Much as figuring out how an unpublished author can find a place in that world was quite the struggle.

Making the Most of Social Media

I know there are tons of blog posts by people far more experienced on this matter than I am, but to be honest, I didn’t find a lot of them to be that helpful. I am not a published author. I am not a non-fiction author trying to build my reputation. I am a fiction writer, and I write for middle grade and young adults. What in the world am I supposed to tweet, blog, Facebook, etc about?

Finding a Blog Topic

Before finding a blog topic, you first need to know what you are going to blog about. I decided to blog about writing, books I enjoy, publishing news, and the occasional blog about my writing progress (I didn’t want it to be all about my progress). By choosing these areas to focus on, I am killing two birds with one stone. I am forcing myself to stay apprised of things in the industry I am hoping to break into, while also creating and maintaining a blog.

To get ideas, I read a lot, and not just mg/ya books. I use Google Reader to have blog feeds sent to me so I don’t have to keep accessing things online. I also find new articles and blogs through Twitter. When I have time, I conduct Google searches on topics that I think might be interesting to my readers. If I find something interesting, I do more research and then write about it. If applicable, I link to the source that inspired me.

Of course, sometimes I get inspired from things around me. If I just had a breakthrough about character development, I may write about it. If I read something in a book and can’t decide how I feel about it, I may blog about that. The options are endless. Once you get started blogging, the inspiration starts to come to you more naturally. Just like any kind of writing.

Scheduling in Blogging Time

I try to blog every other day, but this can become quite time consuming. To get around the unpredictability of the work week, I set aside several hours every weekend to create my weekly blog posts. During the week I save interesting stories/articles or send myself short emails with the beginning of an idea. One easy way I keep track of links is through delicious.com. This is a network that allows you to save links and attach tags/notes to them. You can sign on from any computer, so it doesn’t matter where you are. If you have Internet, you have access to your links.

By tracking what I read during the week, I have some options for my upcoming posts come the weekend. All I have to do is a little research and a little writing. Then I schedule them to go out. Easy peasy.

Do you have any special tricks for blogging? Do you ever worry you will run out of ideas? Are there other subjects an unpublished writer can/should focus on in their blog?