So you wanna ________?

So, you wanna start a blog?  Recently a high school aged guy reached out to us asking how to get people to read his blog.  He had a film blog in which he reviewed movies, and no one seemed to be interested.  I was pretty flattered that he would reach out to us for advice, and I had to be honest with this guy in terms of us not having a blueprint.  But, I was able to put together a few notes that could perhaps help him along the way.  I can’t say for sure whether or not these notes will be useful, but for better or worse here are the pointers I offered.

  1. Figure out who you’re writing for.  If you’re writing for yourself, then readers and subscribers shouldn’t weigh heavily in your formula for success.  If you’re writing to be part of a community, then that will come from interacting with others who share your interests whether it be film, rock climbing, vegan recipes, or M.A.S.H/Terminator fanfiction post skynet (Sarah Connor meets Corporal Klinger).  If you’re writing to attract readers and subscribers, then you’re going to have to work on standing out.
  2. Standing out can come in lots of different ways.  When we started theDIHEDRAL, writers and readers in the climbing community were primarily focused on the greatest climbers sending the hardest routes, readers were also interested in dirtbags, dirtbag lifestyle, and dirtbagging (although that interest has died down a little bit).  And while we at theDIHEDRAL have the ability and interest to embrace great climbers and dirtbags, those topics were well covered.  We decided to zig while most others in the climbing world were zagging.  Concerning film reviews, the “market” is even more saturated.  There are so many film review blogs and websites, not to mention magazines, newspapers, and tv shows devoted to the topic.  Even someone like Roger Ebert would have a hard time breaking into the conversation if he were alive today, let alone some random blogger with no credentials going by the name of MovieGuy69 (that wasn’t his name, but if it was I would have recommended getting a new name).  If you’re writing about movies, or food, or climbing, or investing, what can you say that hasn’t been said a million times by a million different people?
  3. Be yourself.  This one should be obvious.  Readers have a pretty easy time seeing through insincerity.  
  4. Write well, or at least well enough.  I for one will read something poorly written if it holds value in other areas.  If the topic is something I’m generally interested in I can ignore a few missed words and punctuation marks.  So, if you are going to have a weakness, make sure to compensate in other areas.  Great storytelling > Bad Punctuation.  Interesting Topics > Poor Spelling.  Entertainment > Rough Grammar.  Ideally you want to do your best in all facets, but there is a little wiggle room for errors in some areas if you can be great in others.      
  5. Post regularly.  If you are taking this goal seriously, then make it a priority.  Regularly doesn’t have to mean often, just post on a regular basis.  If you want to post every week, then pick a deadline, and go live every weekday at the same time.  If you can only post once a month, that’s fine, but make sure it’s the same day and time of the month each time.  Soft deadlines don’t have a tendency of finding success (depending on how you measure success).  Give yourself a hard deadline and stick to it.
  6. Finally, emulate those who you look up to.  I tell new climbers the same thing all the time.  Learn from those who have been doing this for a longer time than you.  I have writers who I look up to, climbers who I look up to, and faculty mentors who I look up to.  I am a better writer, climber, and teacher because I have been able to surround myself with better writers, climbers, and teachers.

So, if you are looking for some ideas on how to start a blog, these ideas may help along the way.  If anyone has further ideas, I’m sure that MovieGuy69 and anyone else just dropping in would welcome the advice. 


46 Replies to “So you wanna ________?”

  1. I’d like to meet this kid. I only call him kid because I’m old enough to be his grandmother. 🙃 I write a lot but it’s just brain spill with no theme, no real focus. But people still read me. I don’t know why, and I just don’t ask.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. To me, you offered this person some good advice from a realistic perspective.

    Everyone has their own reasons and motivations for why they write blogs- whether it is through their passion for writing or whatever else.

    And there is so much out there where many topics are common and sound repetitive or whatever.

    I cannot tell him what or how to feel but his main goal should focus on doing what he loves instead of primarily drawing people.

    If he solely relies on others for validation he will be disappointed and discouraged.

    Maybe if he tried writing for himself through personal fulfillment it would not matter to him how many views he receives.

    If he genuinely puts his heart into his writing and be creative, offering his own uniqueness that may somehow differ in his choice of topic (movie reviews) then maybe eventually he will develop a following or visitors on a regular basis.

    When I first began blogging years ago I did not do it to gain an audience I did it for my love of writing, creativity, and self expression. I did not care if people liked or did not like but I always had people who did come and read. If nobody came to read I would still write- writing is in my blood. One does not have to be the best writer just as long as one gets joy from their passion or doing what they love and from what they feel inspired to do.

    So maybe he should blog from his heart and develop a style of his very own that may stand out or add some entertaining features that would engage his audience in some way as you mentioned, and in time he will attract and gain followers/visitors who will come back to read.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Of course he would come to you for advice. 14,000+ followers can’t be wrong. I think #1 is subject to change over time. I started writing so my family would know I was alive at the end of a long day’s ride in some distant place. Since I”m not currently on a transcontinental trip, that had to change.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Your posts are well written and always entertaining. No matter the subjects. I just blah de subject blah and pass a half hour writing whatever grammar I feel is okay……but know it’s not okay. I’ve written enough educational essays with pencil question marks and lines scribbled under to know Thesaurus isn’t my middle name. It’s just all a bit of a well being exercise for keeping the 66 year old mind active. Brilliant attitude and generosity for being a feedback mentor for this blogger. Shows your philanthropic nature. All the best.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I started my blog to capture some of the homeschool ideas floating around my head and then I realized other people may be interested too. Not a lot of people…yet, but I have at least met cool blogs in the process.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Good advice! Honestly I don’t know for whom I’m writing — me, mostly, I think. It’s kind of a conversation which I’m pondering ending, but who knows….

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Motivation seems to come in waves, sometimes it’s a lot to keep up with, but not sure that I would be doing if I wasn’t writing here, there are a lot worse things I could be doing for sure.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yep. I’ve gotten some great things through my blog, too, sometimes even inspiration and connections (hello Carrot!) that I value. So, I think I’m here for the nonce, (I got to write nonce…)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You’ve offered good advice. I am a stickler for good writing (and editing). Also, I think it’s so important to create a blogging community: people you read and comment on and vice versa. Keep a dialogue going. I lose interest in bloggers who don’t respond to comments in a timely manner (or ever – what’s up with that?!) Or those that don’t even allow comments. Pfft!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I write because I like to and I have a blog about different things, I found though that the less I stress about readers or likes the better I do

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Please excuse my ignorance of me coming to you rather than looking up the answer online. (You blew me away.) What is a Dihedral?

    So precise and pristine with your words. I imagine as a climber, you are as exact as you are in using your language, and I imagine you speak at least two of them fluidly.

    After reading your post and being quite new at this, your writing hit a lot of high notes for me. Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. WOW, you should write a “So you wanna _________?” post for us on how to give a compliment. This was such a nice comment to read, thank you!

      A dihedral is the interior corner where two walls meet. In climbing they are really fun, because it opens up options that aren’t present on a singular flat wall. But ‘dihedral’ seemed to work for our site too, since it is our little corner of the world.

      Thank you for asking, I’m always happy to talk about climbing!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. (I’d accidentally hit “send.”) What I was meaning to say is that climbing is a fantastic goal. I climbed a LOT as a kid, up the trees as far as they’d allow me; and I’d climb steep mountains, although not utilizing gear. (Just baby ones.) Now, I have a fear of heights that I should conquer. That’s what I was dying to say. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What is that? Right now, I still like jumping from rock to rock in streams and hiking up in the mountains. Got plenty of them here in Utah.

        I’d ❤️ finding out about bouldering.


      3. Utah is such a beautiful state, you are in the right place for rocks, that is for sure. Bouldering is climbing up short routes, there is no rope or harness. There are pads at the bottom of the rock in case you fall, but the heights tend to be between 10-15 feet, so the anxiety induced by higher/longer routes doesn’t usually kick in.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. So this “bouldering method” you speak of–will prepare my skill and guts for shorter and less perilous treks, allowing me to get my feels in check before venturing into the more perilous climbs? I’M IN!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Exactly. I think you love it. I am obviously a little bias here, I think everyone would love it, but it is absolutely worth trying!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. what you said is the sacrosanct truth and like any truth, it must be respected in its pure form! being yourself and persevering are the right formula for fast and rapid growth.🫂

    Liked by 2 people

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