5 Tips for Starting a Blog

This article was first published on Youth Central, December 2014.

In 2012 I started a blog at mabelkwong.com. You might call it a “multicultural blog”.

On my blog I write about cultural customs and what it means to be someone of Chinese heritage living in Australia. Every now and then I also write about my experiences as a young writer.

Why I Blog

It can be challenging for young people to establish a career in writing in Australia, let alone get their foot in the writing industry here. Countless times I pitched articles to publications only to have editors tell me my articles weren’t what they were looking for.

I get to write what I want on my blog, whenever I want, which is a great freedom to have. Having a blog is also an opportunity for any writer to build an online portfolio.

5 Tips for Becoming A Better Blogger (and Writer)

Blogging has stretched me as a writer in many ways. I’ve learnt valuable writing skills by drafting, editing and publishing articles on my blog over the last couple of years.

Here are a few tips on how you can polish your writing skills by blogging

1. Blog Regularly

Having a blogging schedule encourages you to sit down, actually write and get better at it. I tend to set aside time on weekends and draft my blog posts then.

Two years ago it took me a week to write one blog post (a short article roughly 800 words long). Today, it takes me at most three days to write a blog post.

The more you blog, the more you learn how to get your points across clearly. The more you blog, the more writing comes naturally to you.

2. Blog About Different Topics

Many writers like writing about a certain topic because they’re comfortable writing in a certain style. However, this can get boring.

When I started blogging, I wrote about cultural stereotypes and reviewed food festivals week after week. After a few months I got tired of this – I was repeating the same ideas over and over again.

Then I started to look at multiculturalism from a lifestyle angle, writing posts such as “Why Some of Us Wear Shoes At Home” and “Why Is Sushi So Popular?”. This new approach made me feel excited about blogging and writing again.

There are endless topics you can write about on your blog – it’s not compulsory to blog solely about one topic. Trying your hand at writing in different genres and on different topics helps you become a more flexible writer.

3. Share Different Perspectives

Blogging can challenge you to think of two sides to every article and story that you write.

In my first few blog posts I only explored the positive side of Asian customs and festivals. Some readers left counter-arguments in the comments section of my blog. This made me realise that including different views in my articles makes my stories more objective and eye-opening.

4. Check Out Other Blogs

I began browsing blogs a year after I started blogging. After starting to regularly read several travel blogs, I was motivated to write about my own travel experiences in Malaysia and Singapore, something I had never thought of before.

There is so much you can learn from reading other blogs. They can be great sources of inspiration.

5. Be Honest

Sharing personal stories can be hard, but sometimes they get your message across more clearly.

The more I read other blogs, the more I realised I loved reading the personal anecdotes that bloggers shared.

Almost two years after I started blogging, I boldly posted about personal racism encounters and my experience making friends from diverse backgrounds in Melbourne. I started getting more comments on my blog – my stories were connecting with readers.

Sharing your unique stories is what makes your writing more interesting and thought-provoking. When you do that, you’re writing with your own voice.

Start Your Own Blog

If you’re a writer, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start a blog. It might be intimidating at first, since there are so many other bloggers and writers confidently writing about their interests and passions, but like every new adventure you embark on, it takes time to settle down and find a routine.

There are many places where you can get a blog up and running. Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress and Wix are some of the many blogging platforms out there. They offer hundreds of customisable blog templates and the option of building a blog on their platforms for free.

I chose to host my blog on WordPress for these very reasons. I also chose WordPress because there is a large community of WordPress bloggers who are always eager to read and comment on each other’s blogs within this platform – I often feel respected as a writer because of this.

Blogging might even give you the confidence to pursue writing opportunities. After a year and a half of blogging, I felt brave enough to pitch a couple of articles to Youth Central. I got those articles published on the site and shortly after that I landed a gig as one of their roving reporters. And this gig has been nothing but lots of fun.

So start blogging if you love writing. Who knows where blogging could take you as a writer?