#1: Your personal life
Don’t worry – I’m not talking about explicitly personal secrets, or anything you feel uncomfortable sharing. It’s up to every writer to draw their own line as to what they feel is appropriate to share.
There’s a lot of abstract elements of your life that can be shared without needing to give too much away. Author and actor Wil Weaton, for example, recently blogged about strange dreams that he’d been having in the night.
If you’re inclined to share a little more, perhaps author Stephanie Klein’s blog, full of stories about the school run and other joys of parenting, are a good example of what you can write about.
The benefit of writing about your life is it gives your readers an opportunity to meet you, to know what’s going on in your life, and to become invested in your story. Think of personal stories as the little chunks of chocolate in the free sample brownie of your blog.
Human stories are very compelling, which is why personal blogs are so popular. In reality, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you’re willing to share – your main goal here is to show off your writing skills so that readers will be interested in your books.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to define ‘world-building’ as any supplementary literature that adds additional insight to your novels. This could be deleted scenes, backstories for minor characters, or hints at what you were thinking when you put the story together.
A fantastic example can be found in the blog of John Finnemore, a writer for the BBC. In a series of blog posts, he went through every episode of his popular radio sitcom Cabin Pressure, taking the time to explain his thought process while writing, giving insight into characters, and providing some deleted material from the episode.
Sharing tidbits from your storytelling has two benefits for your blog: firstly, it gives existing readers a reason to stick around, and secondly, it gives new readers a few free samples of your world, that will draw in their interest and help persuade them to buy your novel.
Your blog will benefit greatly from a few posts talking about your writing process – what books inspire you, how you go about crafting your stories, and what you do when you get stuck.
Television producer and author Lee Goldberg, for example, uses his blog to talk about some of the people and stories that have inspired him. Another blog post from Wil Weaton gives a humorous look at the internal struggles he faces while trying to write.
Fellow storytellers will relish the chance to read your personal thoughts on the creative process, and even those who don’t write their own stories will be eager to see what you have to say. A good blog that gives insight into writing is worth its weight in gold, so opening up about your experience will be a great help to growing your readership.