Today I’m interviewing Lydia, who has some really interesting insights on blogging. Let’s get to it!
Lydia Schoch is a speculative fiction author and blogger who is working on her third book and lives in Toronto with her spouse. When she’s not doing bookish things, she lifts weights and dances in order to remain physically prepared for any zombie apocalypses that 2020 might still have in store for us.
Hi Lydia! What pushed you to start a blog? Is the reason you continue to blog the same as why you started one?
Years ago I met my friend Nathan who blogged in order to provide his loved ones with updates on various overseas trips he was taking. I enjoyed reading about his adventures so much that I thought I’d start blogging about life in college so my loved ones could keep up with me, too.
I’ve had several different blogs since that one for all sorts of reasons. They were generally a mish-mash of topics ranging from humorous conversations I had with relatives/friends/customers to updates about how school was going.
One of these sites catalogued funny, interesting stories from my childhood as a preacher’s kid: http://pkstories.blogspot.com. The rest of them are no longer available anywhere online to the best of my knowledge.
I settled on my current blog because I realized it works better for me to blog about a handful of different topics (books, fitness, science fiction, and mindfulness) than it does to force myself to talk about only one thing or to not have any guidance on what to blog about at all.
While you blog mostly about books, there are posts on other categories as well. Do you consider your blog to be in a niche or not? How do you balance posting in all categories?
My vision for my current blog has not changed much since it began because of how much practice I had figuring out what works best for me with my previous blogs.
Niche blogging is something I have mixed feelings about in general. I enjoy the structure that comes with sticking to the same number of topics, but I also feel a little constrained by it sometimes. Not every blog post is going to neatly fit into one single category or box, and there is such a thing as talking a specific topic to death.
In my experience, sites that are very strict about what they’ll discuss tend to run out of material after a few years. This is even more true for small or obscure niches.
Going off-topic occasionally is a good thing as long as you have a clear vision for why you’re doing it and what you hope your audience will get from it!
What are your favourite kinds of posts to write? Are they the same as what you like to read from others?
My favourite types of posts to write are the ones that provide a slice of life. That is to say, they’re the ones that show other people what the world looks like from my perspective as an immigrant, Canadian, member of the LGBT+ community, person living with food allergies, etc.
These are also my favourite types of posts to read from other bloggers. There’s something beautiful about reading descriptions of what other people’s lives are like no matter who they are or which part of the world they live in.
We all have so much to learn from one another, especially when it comes to positive stuff that the nightly news rarely if ever covers when discussing people from country, culture, or demographic group X.
What’s perfectly ordinary to you might be fascinating to someone else (and vice versa!)
What are your favourite and least favourite aspects of blogging?
My favourite aspect of blogging happens when someone is so passionate about your post that they write a response post to it. This has only happened to me once or twice, but it made my day.
At its heart, blogging is like a long conversation among an endless number of participants. Your posts are your portion of the conversation, and if you’re lucky you’ll prompt someone nearby to speak up with their perspective after they’re heard yours.
My least favourite aspect of blogging are typos. Why do they exist? How on Earth do they survive so many attempts to root them out? Ha!
How would you describe your “blogger identity”? Does it resemble your real life personality?
I’d describe my “blogger identity” as someone who is upbeat, health-conscious, a little nerdy, and occasionally funny. I’m the sort of blogger who looks for the best in everyone and tries to make everyone feel welcomed.
The big difference between my blogger identity and my real life personality is that I’m quiet and shy in person. It takes a while for me to get to know someone well enough to share all of the lovely thoughts I have rolling around in my mind.
Do you think every blogger should have a linked social media profile? Why or why not?
Yes, I think every blogger should have a linked social media profile if they have the time and energy to keep that profile active. There are wonderful blogging and writing communities on so many different social media sites that I’d urge every blogger to tap into for networking purposes as well as for meeting other folks who share the same hobby or profession.
My social media accounts discuss many of the same topics I blog about, albeit with far more retweets of fluffy animals than any blog could hope to keep up with.
If you started over with a new blog today, what would you do differently?
I’d be tempted to write under a pseudonym if I started over with a new blog today due to the fact that I’m a woman who is also a member of a couple of different minority groups.
While the vast majority of my blogging experiences have been positive, harassment happens…especially when you’re a member of one or more minority groups.
Sometimes I do wish I had that extra layer of protection from the small percentage of strangers out there who do not have good intentions.
As it is, I believe that all bloggers should be careful about what they share about their personal lives regardless of whether they blog under a pseudonym or their legal name.
I’ve seen people do things like discuss an upcoming vacation complete with specific details about where they’re going and when they’ll return. I’ve also seen folks share photos of their home, workplace, school, and other sensitive information that could make it easy for a stranger who didn’t have good intentions to find them in real life.
By all means share pieces of your life if you wish, but take basic safety precautions while doing so!
Do you think being an author has changed or affected your blogging experience in any way?
Yes, I believe that blogging improves the stories I write and vice versa. The more writing practice anyone has, the better they become at it. There’s also something to be said for growing comfortable with many different styles of writing within the fiction and non-fiction genres.
Knowing how to write a succinct blog post will make it easier to write a descriptive passage in a novel that doesn’t have a lot of room for long, flowing paragraphs. Or, if you prefer more poetic, flowery writing, practicing them in a blog post is a wonderful way to know exactly what you’re doing when you’re 200 pages into your novel.
What are your biggest takeaways from blogging?
Blogging is like learning how to swim, drive, ride a bike, or speak a new language. Definitely do some research first to discover the basics of it, but jump in as soon as you understand what it is you want to accomplish. The most important lessons about how to craft an attention-grabbing headline or a thoughtful post are ones you’ll pick up along the way.
I’ve seen bloggers thrive while breaking the rules as well as while following them to a tee. Everyone needs to discover what posting frequency, topics, theme, etc. work best for them.
As far as blogging affecting my real life, I’m grateful to have made several lifelong friends through it. Honestly, what could be better than that?
Name some bloggers who inspire you!
Nathan Waddell is my friend who first inspired me to blog. He’s been telling funny, sometimes bear-themed stories about his life at Homie Bear for eighteen years now!
Dini’s fabulous sense of humour at Dini Panda Readsalways makes me smile. I also appreciate her commitment to talking about mental health and why no one should ever be ashamed to seek help if or when they need it.
The admiration that Greg at Greg’s Book Haven has for vintage book covers is contagious. He does such an incredible job of finding old books whose covers speak to modern readers.
Jess at Jessticulates should be in charge of the official welcoming committee for the bookish community. She’s so friendly and welcoming to everyone who crosses her path. Her bookish discussion posts are unique, too!
Sammie at Bookwyrmsden is so knowledgeable about the fantasy genre . I’ve picked up countless book recommendations from her posts.
Thank you for doing this interview, Lydia!
If you like reading my blog, there is a pretty good chance that you will like Lydia’s too. Do check out her blog and socials!
Many Blogletters interviews have been posted so far and you can click here to see them all!
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Do you think blogging improves writing skills for writing books as well? In what other ways do you think blogging helps improve skills? Tell us in the comments!