“How do you keep BLOGGING fresh year after year?” is the prompt for Monday, April 22nd in BlogHer's NaBloPoMo. Because I'm creating an A to Z theme this month, I am freely rearranging prompts to fit my needs. This is the “B” post.
I have given this a bit of thought and I have identified 5 things I do to keep my writing fresh.
Blogs have evolved this century. Sites may live on for years, but the odds are that blogs associated with sites will change in character as interests, fashions, and available data change.
Over the course of the last 10 years I have started many blogs that are now defunct, some are dormant, and others keeps chugging along.
There is nothing said anywhere that says that a successful blog has to be continued. Businesses evolve and change. You can start a completely different blog or you can re-name and repurpose a blog. It is totally up to you.
HAVE DIFFERENT BLOGS
Blogs should be updated quite regularly to be the fresh information sources that Google loves to index. Let your content go stale and you may not be dismally absent in web searches. I'm quite prolific when it comes to blogging, but even I could not write about the same topic every day. Some days I want to vent about topics that are not appropriate for the topics I cover on my business sites, BoomHer.net and HillResearchServices.com. That is why I have my blog, this blog, which allows me to rant about non-professional topics should I chose to do so. Between the three virtual venues there is always an appropriate stage.
I actually have more than three major topics about which I blog, as I suspect most writers do, so I parse my blogs by the use of several categories within the major topic area of the blog. Try to keep the categories to a handful of topics you really want to write about again and again. Tags can be used for finer-grained topics pertinent the specific post. These structures can help generate fresh posts by seeing what topics may have been neglected in recent posts and act as a reminder or prompt.
My blog writing is mine. I do with it whatever I want. From time to time I reorganize everything. When a blog no longer fits with its author's interests or needs any longer, I recommend filing away the content in digital form in a safe, retrievable storage medium. You can choose to take the blog down or leave it up with a final post that links to where you are now writing. I've done both. Many of the posts I once had up at nfhill.com are being slowly reworked for HillResearchServices.com. My posts from my activist days are still quite accessible at buildpeace.blogspot.com.
Update your data in storage from time to time by transferring all data in that device or medium to the latest, greatest storage medium. Why? Well, my first writing was hand written, then it was printed out, then it was stored to 3 inch floppy discs, then CDs, and now cloud or memory sticks as well as backup drives store my data, both writing and images, so I can continue to retrieve and rework ideas about which I've previously written.
Digital hoarding has not become much of an issue as yet, so saving everything you write is still quite do-able.
Every time I have an idea for a blog post when I am writing another post, I start a draft post about it with just enough words to convey the idea and save it. Do this. Every once in a while, such as when you are running dry of ideas, you can go through your old draft posts and see what great ideas you have had in the past and develop one of those. Another take on this is making a list of topics, titles, or ideas from unpublished drafts and storing that list in a file labelled “topics,” if you wish to do some clean-up of your drafts stored for your blog to free up server space or organize your dashboard.
READ and DO STUFF
Nothing generates ideas like the simple act of interacting in the www, the wide, wonderful world. Too many of us have decreased the number of books and magazines we read now that digitization is the norm. Electronic books and magazines actually make it easier than ever to read great contemporary writing and classics. Set up your feed readers to deliver content from your favorite magazines. For books there are eBooks to purchase from innumerable vendors and classics can be downloaded at archive.org. Network with online blogging groups that complement your writing style and interests. Participate in blog hops and read the best writers in your niche. People watch while writing at a library or cafe. Meet up with like minded people out in the physical world through Meetup.com.
You can keep blog writing fresh in the same way that people develop luck. The more you work something the more likely it is that luck will find you in that area. Freshness in writing favors structure, organization, and recordkeeping in aware, busy people.