Blog Squadron – Mission #7: On Why We Joined the Squad & Our Best Piece of Advice

Blog Squadron: A collaboration of Star Wars Bloggers

Star Wars blogging is a wonderfully rewarding hobby (Career? Lifestyle?!) and the seven people on this panel have a lot to say on the topic! This article is the final stop on the #BlogSquadron World Tour of questions we asked ourselves about what it means and what it takes to be a Star Wars blogger.

We each have lots of reasons for getting involved in this project, but the guiding motivation for all of us is to help new bloggers, or those considering writing about Star Wars, to gain some insight from folks who are out there doing it. Read on for the best advice each of us has ever gotten about writing. Then, if you have missed any of the previous posts from our whirlwind tour,  check out the links at the bottom of the page. They cover topics such as finding inspiration, editing tips, and how to share your work.

But first, a brief introduction to the writers:

Blog Squadron, standing by

Matt ApplebeeFar, Far Away Radio.com

Jessie StardustTatooineDreams.com (Star Wars/SWTOR) and PassionatelyCasual.com (Star Wars:The Old Republic podcast site.)

Patty Hammond: I currently write for my own EverydayFangirl.com and also for The Future Of The ForceStarWars.com and TheBeardedTrio.com.  I have previously wrote for The Cantina Cast and The Detroit News Geek Watch Blog.

Bryan:  I’ve posted on a few blogs along the way, but I’m exclusively on hyperspacepodblast.comnowadays.

Sophie: My personal blog is outerrimreviews.wordpress.com where I am chronicling my journey through the Star Wars Expanded Universe. I also write articles for farfarawayradio.com

Johnamarie MaciasTheWookieeGunner.com

Saf: I write sporadically for ToscheStation.netMakingStarWars.net, and TheWookieeGunner.com. I also write about Star Wars on my own site, NotSafForWork.com 

What led you to want to participate in this project about Star Wars blogging?

Matt: I really liked the idea of how this project takes blogging, which is normally a kind of solitary road, and turns it into a more communal task. I also really wanted to provide up-and-coming bloggers or those who are interested in starting a resource to look at and hopefully learn something. To state it in Star Wars speak, I wanted to pass on what I have learned.

Stardust: I wanted to participate because I am a causal. And most people thinking about blogging, or any Star Wars content creation, are probably looking at the real movers-and-shakers and thinking “there is no way I could get to this level.” I am here to represent attainable satisfaction in causal content creation. And I am here to leech ideas and inspiration from the rest of this illustrious group while they sleep! Muahahaha!!!

Patty: I have been seeing many online looking for advice on how to start blogging in general and of course Star Wars in particular.  I think it is fantastic that this collaboration is bringing bloggers together and sharing our experiences.

Bryan:  Honestly, I appreciated the idea of someone putting an emphasis on Star Wars blogging, and the written word in general. Even I’m guilty of giving up on writing as much as I used to in order to pursue making a podcast. I’m going to go into the shame corner for a little bit now, be right back…

Sophie: It can get a little bit lonely blogging to be honest! With podcasting, you generally have a co-host with you to share all your Star Wars feels with, but with blogging, it’s just you and your computer! When Matt suggest this little enterprise I jumped at the chance not only to offer what little nuggets of wisdom I possibly could, but also to offer the reassurance from a relative blogging ‘newbie’ that it’s really not so scary once you take the leap! The Star Wars blogging community is extremely friendly and welcoming. I want people to know that there is a whole online family waiting to engage and scream about Star Wars with them. And that if you decide to start blogging about our favourite GFFA – ‘these are your first steps to a larger world…’

Johnamarie: I think it’s important to share our experiences and advice with others because that’s exactly what we would have wanted back when we started our own blogs. I also participated because I wanted to share my process and demonstrate how it could be drastically different from what someone else does. It’s important to keep in mind that there’s not just one way to blog. There are different methods, approaches, and techniques involved, so when you start your own blog and things are working out differently for you, don’t feel like what you’re doing is wrong. Experimenting and fine-tuning are part of the process.

Saf: I think Matt is one of the coolest people ever, so of course I wanted to be involved in a project he’s organizing! I also know that I, in some ways, have managed to gain a small platform within parts of the blogging and podcasting community, and I’ve now been doing this for something like three or four years so I’ve got a bit of experience under my belt. I think it’s always important to share information to make it easier for the next generation of creatives. If I can help newer fans and writers in some form, then I’m happy to do exactly that.

What’s a really great piece of advice you’ve been given by another writer, or read and tried to follow?

Matt: The best advice I got was from one of the people in the blogging DM I mentioned. (See Mission #6: Sharing and Social Media.) He reminded me that in our modern times, many people read our blogs on their phones, so it’s better to keep the paragraphs shorter rather than longer so it seems like it reads quicker. That one really blew my mind because I never really thought about how the size of the screen that would impact the reader and their willingness to read through an entire post.

Stardust: This is funny– I came up with this question and yet it is the only one that has stumped me! I guess if I had to pick one piece of advice it would be: you don’t have to have all the answers to start a conversation. Don’t try to pretend to know stuff you don’t, people can tell when you are bluffing. Write clearly and naturally and don’t go wacko with the thesaurus trying to look smart. You are smart. Let your ideas shine. And pay attention to grammar and punctuation, because errors can be discrediting, especially if you are trying to make a persuasive argument in your writing.  Okay, so that was like three pieces of advice. But they were free.

Patty: I mentioned this already.  It is to write and share what you love.

Bryan:

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Sophie: Kurt Vonnegut summarised it perfectly – “Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”

Johnamarie: “Just because it didn’t find an audience, that doesn’t mean it’s bad work.” J.K. Rowling wrote that a few months ago on Twitter, and even though she was talking about her Harry Potter novels and novel writing in general, it’s the kind of advice that can be applied to a variety of situations, including blogging. Don’t worry about the numbers, the site hits, and the followers. Focus on the content first and be proud that you wrote something to completion. It may not find its audience right away, but what you wrote exists now and it’ll continue to exist for future fans to find.

Saf: The best advice I ever got was “stop using so many damn commas,” which I promptly ignored. So, my advice is do whatever the hell you want and keep practicing until you can say you’re proud of what you’ve made.


I would like to thank Matt Applebee for creating this project and bringing us all together to talk about something we love, as well as thank the other participants– skilled writers who have a lot to teach. I am honored to be a part of this. And to you, the reader, thanks for joining us! We hope to keep this conversation going, answer your questions about Star Wars blogging, and encourage you in any way we can. You can submit your questions or comments here or on any of the other posts of the series.

Until next time, Blog Squadron signing off!


The Previous Missions of #BlogSquadron

Mission #1: Finding Inspiration and Blogging Platforms

Mission #2: Blogging ideas and Motivations

Mission #3: Writing Style and Editing Tips

Mission #4: Writing Process, Quirks, and Routines 

Mission #5: Themes and Getting Started

Mission #6: Sharing and Social Media

 

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Xwing

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