So...you have decided to blog. You have set your purpose, you know your audience and you have begun getting your thoughts out. Now what? Again, I am no expert and just stumbled into this blogging thing, but here I will share ideas, as people have asked.
I think the next step is to review all that you have written and find/define/refine your voice. Voice, in this instance, is how your readers will connect to you. From reading your words, what will they conclude about you? This is where you get to decide how you want to be portrayed. Just like we share with our students, our voice may be different depending on our purpose. So I suggest that you connect your purpose and your writing and find the common thread, your voice.
In my blogs, I choose to just be me. No frills, no airs, no hiding behind big words...ME. I would hope that through my writing, you know my heart. Writing my Thesis Paper, that was all mind...now I am ready to show my heart. If you ever meet me, the hope would be, that you already know me. You would already know my purpose, my beliefs, my ideas, my quirky attempt at humor. When I write here, I KNOW there are so many mechanical errors, and I'm ok with that. This is not an academic piece of writing, these are my truest thoughts and feelings...and in it ellipses, run wild. This is very different than any writing I do for my job or when I was in Grad school, and I like it.
What is the voice that you want to your readers to hear? There are so many to choose from: academic, philosophic, expert, ad visor, learner, are you vulnerable, are you matter of fact, disrupter, thinker, questioner, friend, foe, encourager, inpspirer? Once you decide, look at your writing through that lens. This is where I would suggest you do your first revision. Does this voice come across in your words, your style? Hone in on it, use laser focus as you revise in this step.
Are you ready to publish? Again...that is up to you. There could be a few more steps, which may or may not be discussed in later posts. You will know when you are ready. Don't rush it, this is a process. You are going through the writing process, just like our students.
On another note, I have been receiving some questions regarding blogging...thought I would share them with you. Again, I am no expert, I have taken 0 courses, these are just my free flowing ideas.
Question: How do I know if my blog is too long?
I know that my attention span is quite short, and if a blog is too long, I either skim or click out. That being said, I KNOW mine tend to be too long. Here is that "limbo". I have tried to cut mine down, after I have written, but then part of the message gets lost. So, this is my advice and what I always told my students when they asked "How long should my paragraph be?". It should be as long as you need to get your thoughts across. This is why I suggest that your first writing is always a "word vomit"....get all the ideas on the page. Then go back and see if it makes sense, are there things that can be taken out? Sometimes, there is SO much information, that it can be turned into multiple posts, such as these ones. Ultimately, it is your call. This is YOUR work and YOU decide.
Question: How do I know when I'm ready to publish?
The answer to this one is sticky. I always publish, too quick. I know if I don't hit that button, I will spin on it FOREVER and it will consume me. For me, I just need to publish after one quick reread. But here is the deal with me, after I publish, I literally edit or revise it 15-20 times. This just seems to work for me. It is all in your comfort level. If hitting that button is causing you anxiety, try a "pilot" post. Write a very short post about why you decided to blog. Maybe 1-2 paragraphs. Publish it and then walk away. Let it linger out in the Bloggesphere. Breathe. See what happens, any bites, comments, questions. Then reflect, assess and keep moving forward. Take that first step, it's usually the hardest.
Here is where you will find practical tips, tricks and ideas. Hope you find some useful!