How to Start a Blog in 53 Easy Steps

Part One: Decide to Become a Blogger

Word to the Wise

Becoming: (adj) flattering a person’s appearance; (noun) the process of coming to be something or of passing into a state.

Step 1: Notice the Book Riot annual call for writers. Remember this time last year when you decided to apply then never did. Decide that this year, you are actually going to apply.

Step 2: In preparation for applying, brainstorm over 50 ideas for clever posts about books. Pat yourself on the back, you’re halfway there!

Step 3: Get really busy with life. I mean really busy. Overextend yourself with a demanding job and a long commute, while also raising a child and running a household on your own. Top it all off by taking a class at community college to improve your job skills and do more “art”. Do not write anything.

Step 4: Realize you have not written anything, and decide, “I’ll go for it next year. That gives me an entire year to prepare the most perfect bookish blog posts the world has ever seen!”

Step 5: Have an epiphany – if you didn’t go for it last year, and you don’t go for it this year, there’s about a 0.000000006% chance you’re actually going to work on your blogging skills in the next 12 months. And the likelihood that you’ll do it the following year is the square root of that. In fact, the following formula applies:

La = √(Ti÷n)

Where, La = the likelihood of accomplishing something,

Ti= the amount of time you’ve already invested in it

and N = the number of months you’ve put it off already

Step 6: Re-commit yourself. The deadline is tomorrow, you’ve already got those 50+ great ideas for topics. Sit down. Write.

Step 7: Type out that clever middle paragraph you’ve been crafting in your head for weeks now. Ahhh, that feels good, doesn’t it?

Step 8: Realize you have nothing else to say on this topic, or, at least, nothing that sounds in the least bit clever or engaging. Oh shit, I have to be clever and engaging? All the time?

Step 9: Repent all the mean things you said about a certain-other-blogger and how incredibly dull all her posts are. (I mean, really, who can read that drivel? It’s worse than teen angst poetry about the boy you have a crush on, and at least that can still elicit emotion, even if the emotion it elicits is utter cringe-inducing humiliation…)

Step 10: Re-recommit yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to get it written. You don’t expect to actually get chosen to write for Book Riot, because there are a metric s*ton of really amazing book bloggers out there already. This is more about fulfilling a promise to yourself.

Step 11: Write. Just write. Write anything. You will learn two things: 1) blogging is f’ing hard – you have to find a voice that is authentic and engaging, but not forced. Turns out, all those brilliant ideas in your head don’t translate into brilliant, poignant, funny, thought-provoking blog posts as easily as you thought they would. And 2) You cannot be a perfectionist if you’re going to do this. Nothing is ever going to sound just right, and the only way to get better is to practice. (Bonus lesson #3 – you way overuse lists. Seriously, get that shit under control, you’re confusing people.)

Step 12: Finish your two sample pieces. They suck, but they’re yours. If you had infinite time, you would carefully hone them, craft more compelling sentences, and use every word to knock your audience out of the park emotionally.

Step 13: (optional) Decide never to use sports analogies. Ever. You know nothing about sports. Don’t kid yourself.

Step 14: Submit your shitty samples. Feel an overwhelming sense of pride – you’ve overcome yourself and actually finished a thing you promised yourself you would do. You make you proud. High five yourself. Realize that high fiving yourself is clapping and you look like an idiot. Thank God no one saw that. You should probably close the blinds though, because it’s midnight and your light is on, and oh God – what if your neighbors saw that??? What if they can see you slouched over your laptop in your unkempt bed and your scrungy old-tee-shirt pajamas???

Step 15: Now that the outside world is properly screened out, give in to the burning desire to tell someone what you’ve just accomplished. Text your two closest friends. Wait – why are you texting all those people? You don’t seriously want all those people to know you’ve put yourself out there for an incredibly cool opportunity that requires real talent, do you, you egomaniacal narcissist???

Step 16: Read your best friend’s reply text: “That is so freaking awesome! I want to apply!”

Step 17: Come to the final realization, text it to her: “OMG DUDE, WE SHOULD TOTALLY START OUR OWN BOOKISH BLOG”

Congratulations! You’ve made the important decision to commit more of the time you don’t have to a project that will require dedication and patience. There’s no way your perfectionist self is going to hate you for this! And your anxiety totally isn’t going to tell you that everything you write sounds dumb and you’re disappointing your dearest friend by not being more on the ball and writing more regularly… Trust me, the rest is going to be a cakewalk!

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