When I was 16, I started a blog about writing.
I did this because Meg Cabot had a blog and I really wanted one, too. I wanted to create a space to talk about what it was like to be an aspiring writer — even though I’d only published one (anonymous) essay in a magazine, and nothing beyond that.
Many people would have held back, worrying they couldn’t start such a project because they didn’t have enough “authority” on the subject to do so.
I said, “Forget that,” and did it anyway.
And that’s where my journey as a writer truly began.
Since then, I’ve somehow built something people really resonate with. I write about things writers are thinking about, and we have a good time (at least, I do).
I started out not really knowing much. And now I know a lot more.
I started a blog as a non-expert — and you can, too.
Here’s how I did it.
Being honest about my experiences
Some people read blogs written by people who have experienced things similar to them. When I was in high school, I’d had many writing “experiences,” even if, technically, I didn’t have much professional “experience.” So I spent the first few years writing about my life as a writer. Sharing my thoughts about storytelling and how hard it was to explain writing to non-writing friends.
I have never tried to pretend I know all there is to know about writing. Before I could technically call myself an expert, I never tried to play things off like I was. All I wanted to do, originally, was create a place where I could write about writing. That’s still what I do here. It’s definitely a lot easier now that I actually know what I’m talking about. :)
Writing relatable content
I may not have known much about how to get a book published or how to balance work and other aspects of living. But I did know the common struggles of the writing life — “writer’s block” and coming up with characters and worrying about being good at something I loved.
These are all things most writers can relate to. It didn’t matter that I was younger than most of my readers or that I, to be honest, didn’t have much “real life” experience. People want to read stories that make them go, “Oh yeah, I totally get how that feels. #relatable”.
Just being me writing about things I like
People come to blogs for the info and stay for the personality behind the words. This is one reason I remain the sole author of Novelty Revisions posts. It’s not just about what you have to say, but also the way you present it. You bring your own unique voice to a reader.
I never worried about sounding “professional” or making everything perfect. What you’re reading comes straight out of my brain. This is me. These are my thoughts and opinions and words. I’m assuming that at least some of this blog’s regular readers keep coming back because they haven’t gotten sick of me yet. I appreciate that, by the way.
Yes, I was a writer when I started this blog. That’s why I started it in the first place. But I wasn’t technically qualified to talk about writing in any sort of “professional” way. If I’d waited until I had a full-time writing job before blogging about the thing that interested me most, it probably never would have happened.
You don’t have to be an “expert” in something you like to write about it. As long as you’re doing it for the right reasons, and you’re not hurting or misleading anyone, what’s the harm?
Do it. You probably won’t regret it (much).
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.