Thank you to everyone who has followed along, shared, and commented on the Get Serious About Writing blog series (one more day to go!). I have done several blog series in my four and one-half years of blogging, and each one teaches me something new. Especially if you are in a blogging rut, a blog series can give you focus, energy, and direction.
Blog Series: A series of blog posts tied together by a theme or purpose
My definition of a blog series is looser than some others because I want it to include “blog marathons” of consecutive blogging days not necessarily tied together by a theme or topic but defined by a purpose. For example, your blog series might just be blogging every day for a month (a “September Blog Series”), with no chosen topic but with the purpose of daily (or some other regular) blogging schedule.
Another difference is that a lot of advice about blog series focuses on marketing—reaching your audience, selling a product, establishing a brand. While all of those things can be important for writers (do a Google search for “How to write a blog series”), I am more interested in what blog series can offer us as writers—what we personally get out of committing to a blog series.
So, without further ado…
7 Reasons To Do a Blog Series
1. To establish a blogging habit.
There is no better way to jump into the discipline and routine of blogging than to plan and commit to a blog series. Set a schedule, announce your intention, and stick to it, no matter what. You will build confidence and find your blogging rhythm. See BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for some good examples.
2. To practice imperfection.
Blogger extraordinaire Leo Babauta writes that a couple of ways to overcome our self-doubt are to “Stick to a habit, not listening to the negative self-talk that normally holds you back” and “Learn through repeated attempts that it’s okay to fail, that you can be okay in failure.” Actually, all of his other suggestions apply to blog series, too, so be sure to read “How To Get Over Your Self-Doubt.” Blogging is by its nature imperfect. As careful and thorough as we try to be, at some point we have to stop at a convenient point and move on to the next post.
3. To find your voice.
One of my informal (unbeknownst to her!) mentors, Joanna Penn, recently talked with Trevor Young about how blogging changed her life and helped her to find her voice:
“It took me quite a long time to get going… I only developed my voice over the years of blogging. So it all just takes time, and I think the best advice for people is just to start, and be aware that it will be crap for the first year, and then you’ll find yourself by trying.” ~ Listen to full interview
In the same interview, Trevor Young agrees that “the sheer act of blogging” helps us to find our “true voice.”
4. To discover themes and passions.
Once again quoting Joanna Penn, “If you don’t blog or podcast about what you love, it won’t last very long.” However, discovering what we love is often easier said that done. A blog series can help us to know what feels authentic and what doesn’t, what resonates with readers (often a good sign of authenticity), what makes us excited.
5. To learn more about a topic.
Most of the bloggers and other writers I know are life-long learners (aka knowledge nerds). We love to learn, and we never stop asking questions. When our lives get busy, though, as they are apt to do, finding the time to indulge our curiosity can be a challenge. A blog series helps us to set aside time and mental space to indulge our curiosity (for a terrific example, see Katherine Wikoff’s “The Northern Soul Project“).
6. To share knowledge.
Writers also are generous with the knowledge they have, and a blog series is a great way to share that knowledge with others. Whether you are learning while blogging about the topic or writing a series about a topic you’ve already researched, you can free your inner teacher and connect with your audience at the same time (see, for example, the multi-author “Gluten-Free in College” blog series).
7. To kick off a new book or other project.
Finally, you can use a blog series as I have done here to announce and preview a new book or other project. In this case, I’ve been writing the blog series as I’ve been putting the book together, and the posts are meant as a taste-testing of sorts rather than a strict outline, as much to help me to organize my thoughts as to give you an idea of what’s to come, but such a series could also be much more formal and tightly organized.