ADVENT DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).
This is the second year running that I’ve done a blog advent, updating the blog every day. But why? It’s certainly a big commitment. But there are good reasons…
The biggest task of all for a writer is to write. It sounds stupid, but to actually sit down and write… takes a lot of effort. Personally, I always think to myself, ‘if I do it now, I won’t do it right.’ It’s not me being lazy – it’s a genuine concern. And I know I’m not alone.
But once you start, it’s fine. Enjoyable. And this blog advent is a strict regime: you have to do it once it’s started! Sure, it’s tough, but when you’re on a roll…
I’ve clocked up nearly 8,000 words in this blog advent alone. That’s nearly 8,000 words more than I had at the start of December. It looks much better than a blank page, believe me.
A blog advent stretches your skills. I don’t get up and know what I’m writing. It’s improvisation. It’s reacting to what’s going on around you; what you feel like writing; and what you want to say.
Sure, there’s some planning involved – but plans change. I knew, for instance, that I wanted to do a Doctor Who quiz again this year, with a separate post for answers. But I certainly didn’t know when I was going to do it. They went up merely when the time was right.
It’s a skill that comes in handy if you’re trying to write daily; if you’re trying to get into journalism, or continue your career or even just hone your trade.
Learning new things
On the search for new content, I learnt a few things. Not necessarily things that I’ve even turned into a post – but things that I researched just because they interested me. The idea of perceptual adaptation really grabbed me… and who knows? Maybe I’ll write a post about it once day.
A bigger audience
Google loves a regularly updated blog: one with links, and a range of topics; quotes and pictures and videos. The more content – no, the more good content you have, the bigger an audience you’ll reach. Maybe someone will find your blog by searching for Looney Tunes cartoons, but then visit again and again (even subscribe) because they’re also a fan of The Killers or Doctor Who.
Showcasing your work
Also, the more content you have, the more work you have online to show off your skills. Editors, fellow journalists, friends: they all need to know what you can do.
To be able to show editors you can be responsible and stick to strict deadlines is invaluable. This is what editors need to know.
Yes, they also need to know you’re good at what you do – but proving yourself reliable is half the battle.
And if you don’t think that updating your blog every day isn’t a challenge… try it. And if you still don’t… I’m impressed. Also, a little concerned.
Writing style is important, as is understanding language, syntax, grammar, spelling, rhetoric… I could go on. To develop these, you have to write. Something which forces you to write is surely a brilliant thing to help your writing grow.
Naturally, your writing shouldn’t ever stop evolving – or else, why be a writer at all? – but a little annual kick along the way must help.
Who I Am
Your blog is a reflection of you. Remember that. Everything on it says something about you. So tell people who you are.
Oh, and by the way… Thanks for reading.
Have a very Merry Christmas.