500 Blog Posts Later…

On April 22nd of 2015, the previously unheard of, Morgan Hazelwood, otherwise known as ‘me’, began blogging.

Nearly six years later, I’m still at it, and today, I’m celebrating my 500th blog post.

Thank you all for reading, for making sure I’m not shouting into the void. If you’ve been around for a while, you might know some of this, but for the rest of you, stay tuned to read about my blogging journey.

Why I Started Blogging

Back in 2015, I’d finished drafting my first full length manuscript. It wasn’t ready to be queried, or published at all. But, it was done.

And, one of the pieces of advice I kept seeing was to set up an author website. It didn’t need to be a blog, but social media platforms rise and fall, whereas a website is something that you maintain, you control, and is a way of putting your best face forward.

I’ve done web development professionally, but I knew I wanted my time at home to be spent focused on my writing, not on futzing with the backend of my website. WordPress, at the time, was free and had all the features I was interested in.

I looked at author websites and decided what I liked best.

I created an ‘about’ page, a ‘contact’ page… but then what? I didn’t want an empty website just aggrandizing myself. Of course, not being published, I didn’t have a page about where to buy my stuff.

So, I decided I’d write a few blog posts. Not regularly, of course not! My writing time was for my NOVELS, you see. But, I couldn’t just leave the site empty.

When I Caught the Blogging Bug

My first ‘real’ blogpost wasn’t until May 1st. I figured I’d post about my writing experience, the questions my friends and family had asked me. And then, May 26th, I decided to attend Balticon 49, the day before the local science-fiction and fantasy convention began. Luckily, my dad had already intended to go and offered up crash space, so all it cost me was some food and the price of a badge.

I’d attended conventions before, but now that I was a writer, I wanted to do research. Before May of 2015, I believe I’d attended maybe five panels in my life, despite attending in the ballpark of 20 conventions. Many as a child, a few as a college student. And I’d begun working as staff at a local anime convention. But, not actually attending anything.

That first year, I hit 17 panels, but wrote only eight blog posts about the year, covering 15 of the panels and workshops.

I kept up my near weekly blogging until that September, when my now-ex-husband and I separated and I started a new job. And then I moved. I still blogged at least once a month, mostly 2-3 times a month. And I have yet to miss a week since February 25th 2016. Every Thursday, like clockwork, you could find my blog posts.

A year later, I started turning my blog posts into vlog posts. As I’ve mentioned before, just because I *hate* email and would rather get my writing tips in a blog conglomerator, called an RSS feed, doesn’t mean I don’t understand that other ways work better for other people. And, if by recording my talking head and sharing the article in an auditory manner helped me reach more people, I was willing to add that time to my process…

Why I Keep Blogging

I can’t say that blogging never gets in the way of my writing. Because of the self-imposed deadline, I often — no. I DO prioritize the blog over my own fiction writing.

But why? You ask.

There are always a multitude of reasons someone does a thing. For me, let’s see…

  1. It’s a way to track — and to share my journey to becoming a published author (and hopefully, one day, beyond)
  2. It’s a way to review my panel notes and put them in a form that makes the take-aways obvious to me.
  3. It’s a way to share my panel notes to those who cannot or prefer not to attend writing panels (panels aren’t the best way for many people to absorb information)
  4. It’s a way to give back to the community — with query corners, author spotlights (well, maybe more effective once I become a famous author, but you’ve gotta start somewhere), writing tips, and writerly musings
  5. It keeps me focused on my own writing. When you talk about your writing every week, it’s hard to forget your dream. It stops me from deprioritizing it.
  6. Can I say, momentum? I hate breaking a streak! Once I’d gone 3 months without missing a Thursday, it became harder to tell myself to take a week off. If I’d managed to keep blogging when things were harder, what’s my excuse now? And, that’s carried over to my videos. Since I started Vlogging in 2017, I’ve never missed a week there.

Should You Start/Continue Blogging?

Note: if you write non-fiction — being an established expert and having a strong following is seen as a positive. For fiction writers, it can be a bonus, but it’s not required.

If you enjoy writing blog posts — or at least, find some satisfaction out of it, do it. Otherwise, you can skip it.

You don’t have to write essays. You can share pictures, quotes, whatever content makes you happy, as long as you keep a consistent tone/theme.

My Blogging Stats!

I’ve published 113 write-ups of convention panels and conventions themselves, 38 Query Corners, 66 Author Spotlights, 11 weeks in review. I’ve done 21 posts about the querying process. There have been 4 stories and 6 posts of my poetry, although I’m saving first publication rights for most of those, so you don’t see a lot. 39 musings that I called “essays”.

Only 3 guests posts. I’ve realized I don’t like having another voice on my page in ways not tightly controlled. I’ve posted 11 times about #PitchWars and 27 times about NaNoWriMo.

Confession: 20 of my 500 posts were just the reshare of the video version, before I started linking the vlog post IN the blog post.

My all time stats are: 42,399 views and 1,822 comments. My best day was 155 views.

But, I do promote my posts as “Writing Tips and Writerly Musings.” Hopefully, it will encourage you to learn that, including the convention panels, 244 blog posts, or nearly half of mine, have been specifically about the writing process.

I’m pretty sure that means I’m staying on topic.

My Most Popular Posts!

At 2,986 lifetime views, more than 8 times more popular than any other post is: 10 Questions To Ask Your Beta-Reader

Next up? So You’ve Decided To Write A Novel — Here Are 7 Tips To Get Started with 366 views.

Top 10 Tricks For Writing A Better Query Letter comes in third at 360 views.

Filling out the top 10 are:

I Can’t Read My Own Writing

The 5 Stages of a #PitchWars Hopeful

5 Big Things I’ve Learned About Editing

Agents and Editors Share — Pitches We’re Sick Of

Introduction to Hopepunk

“Coming of Age” versus YA

Morgan’s Complete Guide For Attending A Convention

My Future Plans

I do like to remind myself that the blog (and the vlog (and the podcast)), exist to support my writing and not the other way around. Although, my blog and the tips I share here have helped me get a couple speaking gigs, and I wouldn’t say no to more.

I’m not sure that I will continue to hit so many convention panels, though, because there’s only so many new panels or fresh takes out there. Plus, I’ve been pulled in to start working more conventions, so it’s harder to attend them.

But? I’d like to keep blogging for the foreseeable future.

Have you ever blogged or vlogged? Have you thought about it?

If you do, what do you like about it. If you don’t, or stopped, what’s stopping you from picking it back up?


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