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Focus On: Fiction and Poetry Blogs

Did you know literature was an Olympic event until 1948? Of course, all creative submissions had to reference athletics in…

Did you know literature was an Olympic event until 1948? Of course, all creative submissions had to reference athletics in some way, and many think the quality of the work suffered as a result. That’s why blogging is such a great way to develop and showcase your creative writing – there are no restrictions or limitations beyond your own imagination!

If you primarily write fiction or poetry, or if you’d just like to try your hand at a poem or story, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Focus. Sheer invention can be tough, and Facebook beckons just over on the other tab. Try minimizing distractions while you’re working. Hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door, turn on some classical music (or put in earplugs), and give the Distraction Free Writing mode a try.
  • Format. When posting poems on your blog, getting the spacing right can be tricky. But there’s no need to sacrifice your perfect formatting to the HTML gods. This article has some tips to help you format your poems exactly as you envision them – whether you’re writing haiku or concrete poetry, or whether you just want some extra breathing room between your stanzas.
  • Add visuals. While stories and poems are all about the text, a well-chosen image can add visual interest and color to your posts. Many creative writers also dabble in drawing or painting, so if you have original work to share, go for it! If your work was inspired by a video, photograph, or song, add it to your post. Or go the other way and make your writing the focus with a clean, minimalist theme.
  • Participate. Perhaps fleeing to a cabin in the woods was the traditional way to finish a novel, but these days participating in a group writing challenge online might be more effective – and more fun. For some motivation, check out sites like Nanowrimo.orgstoryaday.org, or NPR’s current revival of the Olympic poetry tradition.
  • Imitate. The best way to improve as a writer is to read and imitate excellent writing. If you’re blocked, nearly every literary magazine these days has web content. There are some fantastic lit mags on WordPress.com, and you can also browse the poetry and fiction Topic pages for writing inspiration.

Are you a novelist or a poet, or do you aspire to be? What tips do you have for how best to feature creative writing on a blog?

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  1. I feel that being original is a very important factor, be it any kind of blog for that matter. We can imitate the style of some other bloggers, however that personal touch can only be added by being original, by projecting what it is that you think and message it is that you want to convey from your blog.

  2. Blogging is one of the unique ways that people with talent who are not recognised can get thair work out in the open.An amazing thing really. It is shocking how my support you can get from strangers from across the world….. when there is non from the people closest to you :D I am so happy to have my voice back

    1. Right on! I was urged by some of my dearest and nearest to have my blog started, only to find that they would not actually follow my postings consistently. Anyway, the experience of sharing is awesome, and that is what most writing is for, isn’t it?
      You can visit http://www.avadapalabra.wordpress.com by the way -prose and something like poems in English and Spanish. Comments, insights, shares, etc. welcome ;)

    2. I found out that those closest do not always support writers…Blogging has opened doors for me by allowing me to connect and share with other authors. We learn from each other.

  3. Elizabeth, Love the info you are supplying. I am a published author of a childrens fiction book that doubles as an ESL text. I am also published for poetry and journalistic articles, but my next step is to publish a second book using the same characters from my first (a series) and to publish my poetry into its own or my own collection. Any input would be greatly appreciated as I am far from a professional writer eventhough my BA is in English Professional and academic writing. Thanks, J E Wilson (Jeff)

  4. This is useful information, thanks.
    It’s always interesting to look at the blogging world from a slightly different perspective. Makes me think I need to add more creative writing to my blog to give people a taste of the style, rather than just talking about my fiction and why I write.
    Great! Thank you again,
    Amaya Ellman

      1. I found what works for me is to have my actual writing in one blog and writing about writing in another. I am completely new to the arena and have to push myself to make sure I write something every day with the blogging. When I was writing in an unpublished form, it was easier to write (no audience) but harder to write (no expectation). With a blog I know I have to be more disciplined…some nights I get to bed rather late as a consequence!

  5. I use poetry in my blog enjoyingthebible.wordpress.com to lay the basis of what I want to talk about. I use a few lines of my poetry as reference and then I write ideas to think about.

  6. I write fiction in partnership with anime series reviews, so my inspiration usually comes from a series (or my dreams). It’s best that when writing chapter-long fiction stories that the writer has made a map noting the sequence of KEY events. :)

  7. Q: “What tips do you have for how best to feature creative writing on a blog?”

    I go for the heart of a piece, 500-800 words cut from the middle. Jump right into the most dramatic or comic scene. Blog readers won’t sit still for long narratives or description.

  8. Really, so I could have been wearing a silly or amazing outfit in several years… Anyways this tips are definitely helpful especially for a beginner like me. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Be spontaneous, let the story or poem flow without minding the spelling and such, the’ll be time for editing later.
    Make the story/poem relatable to your audience; let it resonate with your readers.
    Use your audience’s language, obviously :-)

    1. Dive in! The blogosphere is a great place to showcase your work. On my blog I place snippets from my poetry and fiction that I think will resonate with my audience.

  10. Thank you so much for featuring Creative Writing Blogs in The Daily Post. I write poetry and short fiction and also teach writing in schools and community settings. I blog about the writing process; what inspired me to write a poem or story and I share details of my writing workshops so that others can use my materials and ideas in their writing work. I do struggle with presenting my work effectively, especially poems, and, after reading this article I’m thinking of starting a second, purely poetry blog using Manifest. I wonder if I’d be able to put a permanent link to it, for instance in a drop-down menu?

    1. Absolutely! You can create a menu navigation tab for a custom link with the custom menu feature.

      I think maintaining a separate blog featuring some of your creative work that you can then reference in your primary blog on writing techniques is a terrific idea! :)

      1. Thank you for your reply Elizabeth! I’ve already started a new poetry blog (www.andotherpoems.wordpress.com) so I’ll have a go at linking it to my primary blog. Very best wishes to you. :-)

  11. I am really excited to get involved with this site. My main focus is to have to opprotunity to express myself through spoken word and I hope to encourage others as well. These tips are very helpful to me and I strive to establish quality content and build strong relationships with like-minded people

  12. The best thing a fiction writer can do on a site like WordPress is to use the accessibility of poetry and other forms of fiction to discover other writers’ works. You grow from writing a lot, but you also grow from reading and discovering other people’s works; critiquing and interpreting them. Establish connections and communicate frequently with other writers. Collaborate. Don’t just tell and don’t just show — “involve” your readers. :)

  13. The visual aspect, weaving in photos, drawings, etc., is something we’re still working on for our site, The Haberdasher, but it’s definitely an important element to mix in. Plus, some of the most interesting new works are inspired by the interplay of text and image.

    For those interested in creative writing and conversing with other writers, please drop by and visit The Haberdasher (http://lehab.org) — built on WordPress, of course. It’s a site by writers for writers that features author interviews, critical reviews, writing tips, and literary conversations. Feel free to drop by from time to time and comment on our recent posts, or contact us to contribute a review or commentary of your own.

    We’re also accepting work for our companion literary journal, Floodplane: http://lehab.org/submissions/creative-journal/.

    Happy Writing!

  14. Writing a series of stories or chapters (like posting a new chapter of a novel you’re writing each week or such) can be a great way to get critique and motivation! When I posted chapters up, I felt a need to update every other day to satisfy fans.

  15. While I post information about my books – and often jump in on blogfests, where I post an excerpt from one of my novels, usually targeted to a different theme, my blog is primarily for me to connect with other writers and with readers, and to show the whole me, not just the writer-me. Occasionally, I discuss my writing process, but I like to show people a more well-rounded version of me than just the writer aspect.

    I also have a private blog for my beta-readers, where I post chapters as I get them done and they can leave their feedback. This works very well.

    1. Great idea, the beta-reading! If only I could force myself to writing consistently beyond the short story or “chaptered tale” as I call some of the stuff I write.

    2. This is also a great idea for anyone hesitant about putting their work out there: create a private blog and share your work only with your trusted readers first.

      1. Ha! I’ve had more feedback from total strangers than from most of the people I know…maybe I just don’t know the right people?

    1. My poetry focuses on inspirations from my spiritual background but totally relatable to anyone. My fiction, however is more urban fantasy with a focus on everyday people between the ages of 18-30…so far.

  16. i’m new to blogging and i love writing my “mostly” true stories but i feel like my real genre is in short stories and essays, do you think blogging is the right medium for me? i’m struggling to keep my posts under 1,000 words. i have a few that are well over.

  17. For the past two years I’ve been hosting in my Literary blog a Poetry event called Poesý, this year on August will be our third. Is both in English and Spanish and it has been amazing. Beside writing stories and about writing, I like to reblog WordPress blogs about literature to share with my readers. And everytime I write I need to add a photo or a drawing to accompany it, to add, as you said, a visual interest to it.

  18. I like the tip to imitate. In his book Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon dispels the myth an artist has to create from nothing. For me, creating from nothing is counterproductive. Instead, I try to immerse myself in my influences.

  19. I love the diversity of writing bloggers present, and you can quickly tell when a writer/blogger has spent time thinking about their posts, and develop their writing. Great article!

  20. Just a personal insight on my experience with Publicize. I try hard to come up with attention-grabbing titles for my poems (and I’ve actually been successful a number of times), but it’s still hard to make my friends and subscribers on Facebook click them straight from Publicize. What works more for me is to turn off Publicize when posting a new entry, then after publishing a post, I click Share on Facebook, and this enables me to write a more flexible teaser sentence on top of the link as an added enticement for my Facebook friends and subscribers to click it.

    For example, my most recent poem called The Fine Print of Ever After was inspired by what could have happened between Cinderella and Prince Charming after they got married. So on top of that link after the Share, I wrote something like, “After the wedding, Cinderella must have taken months before finally resisting the urge to clean the castle everyday. I bet Prince Charming was very frustrated.”

    From experience, the simple Publicize only causes about 5 people to click (I have about 2,000 combined friends and subscribers), but a Share with a good teaser sentence over it has given me up to 155 clicks and a dozen comments, bumping the post on other people’s Newsfeeds, making it more visible and enticing more people to click, and so on. (The teaser sentence becomes a springboard for discussion as well.)

    Just my two cents. :-) Hopefully WordPress creates or updates a feature to accommodate this, someday.

  21. A large amount of my posts are poetry, but the rest are miscellaneous randomness that almost always contains a picture. I’ve found that the poems stand out nice against the brightness of the posts with pictures. It’s kind of refreshing to see a block of text with plenty of whitespace after all the other posts. I like your suggestion in Participate about getting a challenge for motivation. I’ve been writing a book for years now and haven’t really gotten any farther than a few chapters. Will definitely try those out! Thanks!

  22. I love having an accessible platform for my writing. And keeping to a regular posting schedule helps me get in the habit of creating regularly. There’s links to descriptions of my current projects and I’ll occasionally post excerpts as well as entries in writing-related blog hops that I participate in.

  23. Thank you. I understand about visuals in general, but sometimes it’s good to allow the words of a poem to create the pictures in the minds of readers. It’s interesting to present poems in different ways, and learn from the kind feedback. Best wishes, Ellen

  24. One thing I urge readers to do is GIVE FEEDBACK. Most writers are craving constructive criticism and ways to improve and satisfy their audience. And communication makes us feel like we’re not just throwing our words to the heavens, never to be seen again.

  25. A) Write about something you know.

    B) Don’t write about yourself, your family, your job, your home life and your pets unless your life is really novel material.

    C) Spell check, grammar check, punctuation check. Repeat. Reread before posting.

    D) Think about what to leave out as much as what to leave in.

    E) A blog that says “I blog to write. I’m practicing my writing. See me writing in my blog? Please like my writing in my blog about me talking about blogging about writing” is really not writing, it’s blogging about yourself [not] writing anything.

    F) Don’t be afraid of criticism. Steven King’s novel Christine was rejected something like 53 times before being published. Jimmy Buffet refused to change his lyrics in a song about his grandfather to get his first recording deal, and wrote “Making Music for Money” in response.
    (“The Captain and the Kid” was recorded in its original form!)

    G) Have fun and laugh off the critics. (Unless you’re writing for a paycheck!)

    H) Don’t let your creativity be dependent on “external validation”. It’s easy to get caught up in the self-serving and heady war of “likes & followers”. It’s about you composing your material the way you imagine it to be.

    I) Stick with it. Most of us write “for ourselves”, it is a spark of creativity. Whether you become a Pulitzer winner or everyone you know tells you “Stop writing things. You stink.”, keep at it.

    J) Don’t take anything too seriously. It’s only life, after all.

    Take care and keep in touch,

    Pazlo

  26. All writing is in some way creative, so one should attempt to speak one’s mind without being over-influenced by the styles of others. Also remember that there are major differences between literary genres (poetry, drama, novels, short stories etc.) and writing is inevitably modified to fit each one. Punctuation is also really important, because even on the internet it is extremely significant.

  27. I writer roleplaying game material, and the handy thing about my blog is it lets me use some of the spare bitrs and pieces that fall out of any piece of non-fiction during the editing process. In the old days I’d have prepared them as magazine articles, but instead I can put them up as little bonus pieces for my readers.

    The only unhandy thing? My blog often lies fallow for long strecthes of time, when I’ve overcommitted to various publishers and every spare moment is going into my drafting. I find it very hard to commit to a blogging schedule.

  28. What I wish is that I had some tips on how to find one’s audience. I’ve found that many people avoid fiction and poetry on blogs, but it’s what I do best and the work I prefer. It’s hard for a writer, who wants to keep getting better and would love feedback, to get past the desire folks have for a certain kind of shorter, lighter, snarky slice-of-life sort of blog post that I can’t produce quite as regularly as I’d like.

    This summer has been awful in terms of eyes on my writing (stats) so I’ve decided to write a sci-fi/love story serial and do the best I can, just because.

    When I kept up with the Freshly Pressed page, I don’t remember seeing any fiction on it. I wonder why that is? No really — I’ve got a few writer friends using WordPress who have mad, literary writing skills. I’d love to see one of them on that page. They deserve many more eyes on their work.

    1. Zeus bless thee, Spark In Shadow! for several reasons. Chiefly for advocating the recognition of literary blogs as something as deserving as “cool pix contests” or glossy, colourful, cool-looking blogs (I shudder to think I should “include catchy images, interesting quotes” sort of stuff as it is actually advised “to get Freshly Pressed).
      Further, I oh so second you on your view of quality v. prolificity (does that word even exist?).
      I, for that matter, keep in my boots and will die with them on when it comes to what I write and how I write it. If I wanted to be “popular” I’d keep a Twitter account and shot witty phrases and sharp remarks off my arse instead ;-)

    2. I feel your pain there. So far I have over one hundred subscribers to my writing blog (twitter followers included), and I think it is due to three things: post title, content, and tips/giveaways…

      Even now I had to revamp my blog and do less book reviews and more useful posts on writing. Also watch your top posts and referral links in your stats…this tells you a lot about what people are loving about your blog.

      As a fellow writer it is difficult to engage readers and it took me three years to really gain a following and even now I wish to gauge my readers’ interest more.

      Good luck!

  29. I keep reading some sort of comment and -no offence meant- the same question keeps coming to mind: what is it with posting “excerpts of what I write”? I mean, if you’re, say, “saving it for the bigger audience”, or perhaps your work will actually be published, then we’re not referring to the same as for goals. I simply mean to share what I write, in the sense of making it available for all to see and “enjoy”, out there, in the open, exposed, vulnerable and everybody’s.
    IMHO, excerpting belongs to the realm of commercial enterprise, “getting inspiration in others’ work” is for academic writing, while literature is for sharing, meant to be thought-provoking, enriching our life both in the act of creating and reading.
    Keep it up!
    Cheers

  30. I don’t think I’m near qualified enough to offer any sound advice, but I’d like to share what works for me – to write every day. Sure, 99.99% of what I write is scrap-pile destined after editing and all, but it’s the .01% that’s usable that excites me. If I don’t write every single day, I’d always think about writing and never actually get anything done, so I just have to push through the muck to find the gold. It’s why I started my blog, for motivation and to actually finish a story that’s long been holed up in my head :)

  31. I’ve noticed sharing a photo prompt or other prompt that you write from and challenging others to show what they are prompted to write by it is a great way to get (and give) interaction between writers. I also enjoy responding to prompts from other bloggers. I notice that my non-writing followers read these posts more than even the most creatively posted story or poem without the shared challenge aspect. Doesn’t work for everything, of course, but it’s a fun way to create a buzz about writing.

  32. I’m an aspiring writer. I think I keep an original approach when it comes to blogging. I think it’s all about just determining from the start what you want to blog about, then sticking to that. I keep to three main categories of posts and lately I’ve been debating on posting my short stories. However, I want to wait to hear back from some contests/publishers before posting them freely on the net.

    I love WordPress for writing, in general, because Tumblr is much more ADD and it’s almost looked down upon there if you are posting more than two sentences. Twitter is more writing-friendly than Tumblr lol, but WordPress is my personal favorite.