Big thanks to Stephanie Scott and the Windy City chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America) for inviting ChiYA to talk about group blogging at one of their bi-monthly meetings. We were honored by the invitation, and we had a blast talking about how we started our blog and why we love blogging together!
Our one-year “blogiversary” is coming up later this month, so our RWA talk offered a great opportunity to look back at the past year and discover how much we’ve learned. Here are a few of the highlights:
- The Value of a Writing Community: Writing is an often solitary activity, so it’s vital to find a community of other writers to help guide and support you along the way.
- The Benefits of a Group Blog: You don’t have to come up with a new post every week. 🙂 Seriously, it helps to share the burden of posting new content each week, and it’s great to be able to swap blog dates when life gets busy. It’s also wonderful to have a diverse group of writers in terms of backgrounds, genres, and interests. For example, we can share all the different places we’ve traveled, workshops we’ve attended, and podcasts we listen to. Finally, it’s so much more fun to promote each other’s posts than to promote our own!
- The Joys of a Place-Based Blog: Although ChiYA covers a lot of writing ground, we are rooted in one physical location: Chicago. We love highlighting our favorite places to write in the city, the public art that inspires our writing, and the local museums that feed our muse. We also enjoy running place-based giveaways, such as tickets for advance screenings of movies based on YA books, and sharing local writing resources, such as a Chicago-specific guide to NaNoWriMo. And of course, since we all live in the same city, we have the luxury of getting together in person to brainstorm about the blog or just gush over our favorite books.
- Blogging as a Way of Building Community: Our blog has been a great way to connect with other YA writers in the Chicago area and beyond. We’ve been thrilled that other writers have reached out to us through the blog—including Windy City RWA! We also love to highlight local YA events, engage with some of our favorite authors at regional conferences, and connect with fellow readers and writers at national conferences like ALA.
- Blogging as a Way of Giving Back: Publishing can be a rather opaque industry, but we’ve all learned so much from the information that other writers have generously shared online. Our blog is one way to repay this favor and help other up-and-coming writers. We do this by talking about sometimes difficult topics like entering the query trenches for the second (or third) time, what happens after you sign with an agent, and writing diversely in YA.
- Blogging as a Source of Creativity: Teaching others is one of the best ways to understand a subject yourself, and blogging is a great way of digging into the craft of writing. This blog helps us work through writer’s block, build our characters, and remember why we write in the first place.
In the end, this blog is about building community and better knowing both ourselves and our writing. Thanks to everyone who has joined us on our blogging journey so far. We hope you’ll stick around for the next year! And thanks again to Windy City RWA. Be sure to take a look at their schedule for a full list of their fantastic programming.