How Blogging Can Help You Write Your Novel

How Blogging Can Help You Write Your Novel

Too many of us take on blogging as a chore which we believe is necessary to gain a readership for our fiction, or from the velleity to “generate passive income”. These are certainly admirable aims, but I think that blogging is a time-consuming way to achieve them if you don’t find intrinsic value in the practice. While struggling with the desire to make my blog as useful for readers as possible, and at the same time work on my novella series, it occurred to me that with a little management it wouldn’t be too difficult to repurpose some of the “by-products” of novel writing, and turn them into (potentially) valuable blog posts. At the same time, you can encourage yourself to think deeper about your novel, your writing process and your readers, and hopefully spur yourself to greater feats of literary excellence. It doesn’t hurt that you’ll also get in plenty of writing practice! :)

Note: You may be able to adapt the technique to blogging a book (i.e. blogging about a subject with the intention of turning it into a novel or non-fiction book) but that is not its main purpose. Also, I won’t be going into detail on how to start a blog or any technical details pertaining to its maintenance, as there are so many great posts on those subjects already.

The Writer’s Advantage

As a writer you already have several advantages over someone approaching blogging from a different discipline. You’re used to…

  • Writing a lot.
  • Writing regularly.
  • Writing in a way that draws the reader in.
  • Telling stories.
  • Creating personas.

All of these are important to blogging, but even better, you already have many novelling “by-products” that you can share with your readers on your blog if you can only rethink them a little.


Look through your novel notes. What are some subjects you’ve researched? Do you have tangential pieces of fiction that you’ve written but never shared? What notes have you made about the writing process?

Blog Post Criteria

I fully admit that striving to fulfil these criteria may take away from your novelling time, but putting some thought and work into your blog posts is well worth your while in the long run. As such, I recommend checking your post ideas against the following criteria…

Each blog post must do at least one, preferably all of the following:

  • ☐ Provide value
  • ☐ Arouse (urgent) curiosity
  • ☐ Appeal to identity

AND, most important of all, it must conform to your own guiding principles.

Beware of posts that are:

  • self-aggrandising,
  • purely opinion-sharing,
  • aimed at making you look good or (worse) others worse,
  • aimed only at selling,
  • or have no discernible purpose at all.

Provide value:
There are many types of value, and people find different things valuable, of course. But even an attempt to provide something valuable to a reader can demonstrate your generosity. In an indirect way, providing free information/goods/services also tells the reader that you have an abundance of resources which you can afford to give away, and that you care about them enough to spend your time and energy towards doing so.

My idea of value is generally something that is actionable; something that the reader can take and use right away, whether it be something intangible, like a tip for making their character more realistic, or something tangible, like a sheet of pretty stationery to write on.

Arouse (urgent) curiosity:
This is the one I find the most difficult, especially without resorting to sensationalist tactics which don’t quite sit right with me. Nevertheless, as writers it’s a problem we’re very familiar with. How do we convince someone to pick up our book in a bookshop or online? How do we cajole the reader into giving us their full attention chapter after chapter? Use the techniques you already know from writing your novel and apply them to your blog post as best you can.

Appeal to identity:
Identity is a huge influence on the way we act. We’re willing to do almost anything to uphold and bolster our idea of ourselves, and are VERY reluctant to do anything that is “just not us”. Once again, as an author you’re familiar with the importance of writing for your target audience, of making it clear what genre you’re writing in, and what you convey about your own personality through your style and story. All these can (and should) extend to encompass your blog.

Types of blog posts for writers

Here are some suggestions of types of blog posts you can generate from the behind-the-scenes documentation of your novel. You can download this worksheet and use it to brainstorm ideas. These post types are really useful when you don’t know what to blog about, and you can even repurpose them as pre-launch content.

Stories / excerpts

Example: See my sidebar >>>
The best way to acquaint readers with your writing… is to show them how you write! You may have stories that you’ve already written that relate to your novel, or you may want to share a chapter or two from the final book. Make sure the fiction you provide for free is of a quality equal to that which you provide in your novel.

How this helps you write:

  • You can use your free stories to explore your story through different points of view, and thereby broaden your knowledge of your world.
  • You can do warm-ups or problem-solving exercises and turn them into flash fiction or short stories.
  • You can explore alternative endings, different plot decisions and different styles without worrying about “wasting” them.

Research summary

Example: Poetry After the Steam Engine
This is a particularly easy type of post to construct if you’re a historical fiction writer. You’ll doubtless have lots of information on your period that will interest potential readers of your novel. But even if you’re writing in another genre you’re bound to have researched something; perhaps you took a trip to visit your setting in person, or tried a dish you wanted a character to describe, or read up on a writing technique. Posts that collate and summarise your personal research are great because they provide the reader with valuable information, they relate very closely to your novel, and (if done right), they also have the potential to be very interesting.

How this helps you write:

  • It can help motivate you to research a subject more thoroughly, and force you to understand it well enough to describe it to someone else.


Example: Steampunk Novellas I Love
Similar to research, but this type of post is an opportunity to highlight your favourite books in your genre or the influences on your writing, or to connect with a reader’s fandom (an ideal opportunity to appeal to identity).

How this helps you write:

  • It’s good to remember to read other writers in your genre, and you may even use your post as a basis for networking with them!

Draft comparison

I can personally attest to the curiosity factor of this type of post, both as a writer and a reader. I find it absolutely fascinating to see how a writer’s first draft differs from their final draft, or how their original outline becomes a full-length novel, and I don’t think I’m alone. Here are a couple of suggestions for creating a post like this:

  • Choose a reasonably short extract so that you can discuss it at length.
  • Try to make sure your edits show an impressive and interesting improvement.

How this helps you write:

  • This will give you a clearer view of how you edit material. You may discover that you have a chronic grammatical error which you repeat in every first draft, or that you can devise a more efficient method for editing.

Day-in-the-life / writing journal

I have an intense curiosity about other people’s workdays. I was a religious follower of the Daily Routines blog before it became a book, and I like to grill people I meet as to their quotidienne quotas, habits and habitats. Nevertheless, these types of posts could probably benefit from some practical advice for the reader, or be bolstered by interesting images.

As for a writing journal, I hope you’re already keeping one (or it’s keeping you)! I find mine a huge help to get the day-to-day dross out of my head and to remind myself where I am on a project. Why not share a few entries from yours and see if your readers find them interesting?

How this helps you write:

  • Keeping a writing journal helps you get day-to-day nonsense out of your mind and quickly recall where you left off a project. You can also use them to reflect on your reading, on problems you’ve encountered, or on your growth as a writer.


A description of your various working methods – how you plot your story, find the right word, rewrite a sentence, etc. – is a great reference for other writers and for your future self.

RELATED:  Worldbuilding Cities

How this helps you write:

  • If you spend a little time creating or clarifying your systems for drafting, rewriting, or formatting, you will find it easier when you come to write your next masterpiece. Trust me on this one!

Commentary / analysis / reading guide

I think it would be interesting, especially for the more literary writers amongst us, to take a section of your work and discuss its details at the textual and metatextual levels. Highlight allusions or other details that the reader might miss, and deconstruct your word choices.

How this helps you write:

  • You might have done plenty of this sort of close textual analysis when you were at school, but how often do you do it with your own work? Dissociate yourself from the emotions attached to your words and focus on the dry, statistical, linguistic elements that comprise it.

Responses to readers

If you receive interesting questions from readers, why not reply to them in a blog post? It will save you the trouble of answering the questions repeatedly, and you’ll show that you have great readers who engage with your work, and that you care about them in turn.

How this helps you write:

  • It’s always good to keep your readers at the back of your mind, and engaging in conversation with them will certainly inform your future novelling decisions, hopefully for the better!

Freebies that allow readers to experience the book

You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional designer to do this. In fact, until you’re sure you know what your readership really wants, it may be best to experiment with free resources. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Find a public domain bookplate image or design one yourself. Sign it, and offer it as a download for your fans.
  2. Choose an inspiring quotation from your book and create printable posters or digital wallpapers from it. There are plenty of apps that can help you do this very easily.
  3. Find or create objects or ephemera like ones your characters interact with. These can be: newspaper articles, invented novels, recipes, artwork, music… Be creative!

How this helps you write:

  • If you try #3, you may discover new things about your character. Holding and studying objects that a character comes in contact with can really help you describe both the object and the character’s reaction with better understanding.



This post is an opportunity to discuss your visual inspirations. Curating images has become something of an internet obsession, and I think we all find value – however fleeting – in eye candy. If you take photographs you could also share photos of yourself, your “natural habitat” or anything else readers might find interesting.

You can also use a Pinterest board to collate your images, thus:

Follow Eva’s board | STEAMPUNK | on Pinterest.

How this helps you write:

  • I’m sure you’re already doing this anyway! Who isn’t inspired by images? But pulling them all together might help you discover connections you may otherwise miss.

A discussion of theoretical/speculative questions about your world

This is easiest for the speculative fiction writers, of course, but with a little ingenuity I think authors of other genres can write a discussion like this too. For example:

  • what if your villain hadn’t had a traumatic childhood?
  • what if a character had come to a realisation earlier?
  • what missing technologies would regency steampunk require?
  • do daemons have weight?
  • etc.

How this helps you write:

  • This is yet another way to gain depth and insight into your characters and your world, especially if you find yourself stuck in a rut with some aspect of your story.

Audio or video readings

I’m quite sure all writers read their work aloud after they’ve written it. Recording yourself reading and then listening to your recording several days later can show up any awkward sentences or unclear phrasing. You don’t need to be a professional voice artist or have professional equipment to do this. Your readers will appreciate your honesty even if your recording isn’t perfect. It’s also great practice for doing public readings in the future! Video is another way to share a book reading if you feel so inclined. If you need some guidance on reading out loud, Mary Robinette-Kowal has an excellent series of videos on the subject.

How this helps you write:

  • It can help you spot any awkward wording, confusing dialogue tags, or boring bits.

Music you listen to/your characters would listen to

Music is arguably a better tool for evoking emotion than the written word. This post type is a great opportunity to share playlists of your favourite writing music, your character’s music, or music you think would make a good score to a scene in your novel.

Not all your readers will enjoy your taste, however, and you don’t want to drive them away because of this, so I would recommend putting some extra thought into this post type.

How this helps you write:

  • Listening to music while you write is a great aid to visualisation.
  • Listening to music from cultures/places/people you’re writing about can be a good technique to understand them better.

Favourite tools/techniques


I love reading about the tools and techniques other writers use, and of course I can’t resist new pens, pencils and programs! You can tell readers about your workflow, your magic fountain pen, or how many pencils you eat up in a day.

How this helps you write:

  • You might reconsider or change up your tools and techniques once in a while to see what effect it has on your writing. Typing or handwriting; pen or crayon; paper or whiteboard?

Discussion of other decisions (e.g. naming)

I’m quite sure that writers make hundreds of story decisions a day. Sometimes it’s good to draw a reader’s attention to these decisions so that they realise what a tough job this is and how much though goes into the simplest storyline.

How this helps you write:

  • If you’re having trouble making a decision, it’s always better to write about your problem-solving process than simply to think it through in your head. Be wary of asking for reader advice, however, unless you’re sure you’ll like the answers!

Invent your own post type

What are some other things you want to share about your novel and what are some novel ways to share them? How about a weekly, handwritten letter from one of your characters? Or a glossary of your monthly favourite words (possibly coined by you) with their etymologies and a discussion of why you like them?


Download your worksheet. Brainstorm 3 blog post ideas / headlines for each of the post types, and check them against the criteria.

Pick 1 idea for each post type, preferably the one that ticks most boxes. Now get writing!

Note: Headlines are everything! If you need help, this post from Buffer is quite good.

P.S. Not all my examples follow all the criteria. I’m working on updating them! :)

What to keep in mind when writing

Your blog post should:

  • ☐ Demonstrate the time, effort, suffering and acumen it took to write your novel.
  • ☐ Allude to your writing – either a previous blog post or your novels. When you need an example, look to your own work, but don’t make the whole post about your novel, if you can help it.
  • ☐ Draw in your ideal reader and discourage readers who won’t read/understand/like your work.


If you’ve already been blogging, return to previous posts to see if you can improve them by checking them against the blog post criteria, and clarifying your purpose for writing them.

Keep on Track

Your blog can keep you accountable for meeting your writing deadlines if you commit to a posting schedule. Another way to combine the two practices of novelling and blogging is to use your writing to-do list to dictate which blog post to write first. I designed a weekly blogging schedule for you to use for just this purpose!


Print out the schedule and fill it in or open up your planner and pencil in the blog post ideas you’ve come up with.

That’s all for now!

I have a few upcoming posts on this subject: How to Plot Your Novel & Your Novel Launch at the Same Time and How Marketing Can Help You Write Your Novel. If you’re interested in reading either of these, please subscribe to receive email updates:

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I write about literature, language, love, and living off your pen. Also, fortifying fiction, personal amelioration, and tea.

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