Ta-Da. My blog has had a little makeover while you were away. Do you like it? I hope so, because that's one long evening of putting things in circles I'll never get back.
The time had come to rebrand my blog. The title 'Shop Girl Diaries' was niggling me. Not only am I no longer a Shop Girl writing about shop life but my title didn't coincide with my URL which has always been emilybenet.com.
My good Twitter friend @Isabelwriter suggested 'More laughs than Brontë' and after a highly intelligent text message conversation (below) with my friend @PieraLizzeri (green) I decided to go along with it.
If I'd put 'More laughs than Michael McIntyre' I'd be stressing out right now, but having to be a little more light hearted than a Brontë seems doable.
Whenever I'm about to lead a Blog Workshop I always review my blog and make improvements. It's the nature of a blog to always be changing and developing. The main thing is to keep returning to the reason why you started a blog in the first place and what it's all about.
Ideally you should know what your blog is about BEFORE you start. It might sound obvious but the word 'random' is forever popping up in people's headers and descriptions of their blog. You know the type. Welcome to my blog, it includes my random thoughts about random stuff that inspires me at random... O-kay, but why should we care?
I'm bored of the idea that if you're creative then you're probably not business minded. Why can't we both? We can.
Now say it like you mean it. WE CAN!
Writers are despairing about the publishing industry, how tough it is to break in, how no one's taking risks. This certainly feels true, but instead of curling up in corner and rocking ourselves to sleep, we should be asking ourselves how we can increase our odds of succeeding.
For a start we need to be very clear about what it is we're doing. We should be asking practical questions about our identity, branding, and brainstorming our USP (unique selling point). Just imagine you're a shop keeper and a salesman brings in a brightly coloured blob. Please sell my blob, they say. As a shopkeeper you might have already bought quite a few blobs off the previous salesman and be feeling anxious about buying another. You'll want to know what's so special about it, what makes it different from the other blobs and also how you're going to convince your customers to buy it. It's not even being business minded, it's common sense. Can you describe your book/ blog/ script clearly? Because if you can't and you created it, who will be able to?
How I see it, we are living in a DIY world in which we can make things happen as long as we're able to muster the energy and enthusiasm. It's not easier, but with the internet, we can do a lot more by ourselves. If the publishers don't come, there's always self-publishing and plenty of freely available tools to spread the word. I'm not saying you should compromise on style or quality to satisfy one type of shop keeper, just accept if it's not going to work for them you'll need to pursue a different avenue.
But I don't know anything about self-publishing, blogging, social media and all that jazz, you say? And I say, I didn't know how to use Gimp Photo Editor until I spent an evening following online tutorials, and now I've got a new header with circles in it, yippee. You can learn all this stuff step by step. All you've got to do is keep asking the right questions. What excites you? What do you want to achieve? What's the next step? Because the way we create may be random, but there's no reason why we can't be practical and focused about how we choose to share it with the world.
Well that wasn't funny... Maybe I should change it to 'more laughs than Steinbeck'.
Want to learn more about Blogging? My next Workshop is happening soon!
Blogging and Social Networking for Beginners / Improvers
On Saturday 19th October
10.30am - 3pm - £40.00
@ 77 Tower Bridge Road, London