start a blog

You heard.

It might seem like the interweb is filled with movie blogs. All reviewing the latest releases with unique quirky voices. Or 5000 words on the legitimacy of Michael Bay in the cinematic canon. Or 400 words on why Guardians Of The Galaxy sex dolls NEED to happen. And you’re right, it seems like that because it absolutely is like that. And it’s about to have one more. Yep, yours. If you want to be a freelance writer in any capacity, it’s a good idea to start a blog. Much like the obligatory gallon of coffee, drip fed slowly on a daily basis via an IV, blogging needs to become a habit.

Why should I start my own blog?

Look, here’s the thing. Say you’re starting out. You’re determined. The little notepad you keep in your jock is brimming with crotch funk and creative ideas. You really want to get published.

You want to pitch an editor.

There’s reason number one. Alright, so not all writers had their own blogs before they established a relationship with an editor. But that’s the nature of the beast: times they are a’changin into WordPress, Tumblr, and Drupal sized chunks of information. If you’re going to approach a website, or magazine then it shows initiative if you’ve created your own blog.  Not only that. It shows you can create content on your own (you’re a generator, you’re a generator!). The regularity of your posts proves you have staying power (you’re not going to grow bored and start making artisanal cheeses.) And, the actual mechanics of creating and maintaining a blog, will alert potential employers to the fact you possess blog back-end knowledge.

It’s also a necessity. There’s rarely anywhere I pitch and submit to that doesn’t ask for a link to both my blog AND published work. But don’t worry about that second part for now.

It Will Make You A Better Writer

film journalist film blogger how to be a freelance writer

That pipe could be yours.

Having a spot to host your opinions, reviews, thoughts, lists (shopping ones do well, I find) – is going to be hugely beneficial.  Why? Because you’re a damn blogger! The very concept of a blog means you’re going to have to keep adding new posts to it regularly. If you don’t, well, visitors grow bored of seeing your review of Iron Man 2 on the front page every time they visit.

A blog is not a website. And vice versa.

Last year when I started this site, I opted (via the click of a button) to host my blog posts on my front page. It looked well spiffy. But the above problem occurred. I was working. I was trying to secure more writing work. All my spare time was spent coming up with pitches, cooking dinner and cleaning up the cat’s poorly-aimed excretions. I didn’t have enough time to keep writing specifically for my blog.

A year passed.

I still got work – but my website looked bloody awful. Not the design. That was obviously out of this world. The fact that I hadn’t reviewed anything new for so long looked poor. Like I didn’t care. So I updated my site.

If you choose to host any content on your site, and promote it: expect people to come back! You’ve got to. If they return, they’ll want new stuff to read. Potential future employers will want to see that you’ve got the stamina.

So you will become a better writer. Because all you’ll be doing is writing.

I’m crap at HTML, CSS, PTA, and all those acronyms! How on Earth can I build a blog?

how to be a freelance writer freelance blogger

If this bastard can do it, you can!

If you can operate a social media account (and get those filter things to work on Twitter), you can run a blog.

A chimp could create a blog.

My go-to has been WordPress. There’s also Tumblr. And Blogspot.

Get onto Google and search for ‘how to start a blog.’ There’s a TON of useful tutorials written by people better versed in the specifics of blog platforms than me.

Pimp Thine Words 

A blog means you can self-promote. Of course, anyone with a Biro and a white t-shirt can do that (a can of Tenants Super often helps with the creative part). You can hook up your blog to Facebook. Twitter. Google+. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Which I recently learned should not be pronounced Pint-erest. Like I’ve got an interest in pints.

Keep your eye on social media. See what’s trending. Oh, you’ve written on essay on the homosexual ‘easter eggs’ you’ve spotted between Thor and Cap in The Avengers? BRILLIANT! (Actually, if you have, send me the link.) See if it’s trending. See if any other people on Twitter are discussing it (and chances are, if it’s anything to do with Marvel they will be). Reply. But don’t be an arse and just paste your blog URL as a reply onto a HA-YUGE Twitter conversation. It’ll be ignored.

There’s so much cross-promotion available at your fingertips you’ll be sick of the sight of your own name once you’ve finished. Trust me, it will help.

You never know where someone may read your work.

So You Want To Be A Film Journalist (And Get Paid?)
Of course you do! Hence this series of posts based on my years of veritable experience in paid freelance film journalism. You can learn from my mistakes and then steal all future jobs out from under me. Thanks for that.
  1. “anal cheeses” ? I don’t wish to appear an ingrate, but nein danke…

    J Fenton