So, you read The Higher Tempo Press and you think, “gee, that seems easy, I could do that better than those guys.” However, you have no idea what to do, where to start or how to go about building an audience.
Well, have no fear because I am here to give you just a few tips and ideas for getting into writing. I should stress that these points are hardly groundbreaking but they are useful.
Find a Name
I mean it’s a bit obvious but a name is something that can be stuck with you forever. For example, my blog is called The Long Ball – a simple name that relates to football and it’s easy to remember.
There are a lot of ways you can go about names: you could use your own name or go under an alias linked to FM. There’s thousands of different names waiting out there and you just need to find one you’re comfortable with.
If you want an alias then I might even be so bold to suggest things like FMOverload or The Complete Forward as potential starting points.
Find a Platform
A big decision this one – do you go it alone or do you look to get in with an already established website?
Well if you go it alone, it is certainly harder because you are starting from scratch. That means your initial posts may not necessarily be popular but we will cover that. The main positive is that you can customise your blog to your personal tastes. I’d suggest WordPress as a site to host a blog as it’s the most customisable without having to pay out for anything. Additionally, you can be in control of when and what you put out on your blog which is an extra bonus.
The other option is to join a website like The Higher Tempo Press. While you won’t get to necessarily control the look of your work so much, you will get an instant audience for your work. Additionally, you will work with like-minded people that will be more than willing to help you out with any issues you may have or to give your work a second look to ensure it’s the best it possibly can be.
However, there is a third option that is a bit different. If you don’t fancy writing thousands of words in one go then you can always do live updates of a save. This can be done on Twitter where you can share screenshots of your save game by game or whenever something big happens or over on FMSlack where you can set up your own channel and update people in there.
The important thing is that you choose whatever platform is the best and most comfortable for you.
What to Write
The hardest part for anyone who wants to write is to figure what to write. We’ve all been there and it’s a tough spot to be in. However, there are a couple of tips that might be able to help you get past this.
Firstly, find out what you enjoy. There’s no point writing something you don’t enjoy doing. So, if you love making weird and wonderful tactics and analysing them then write about that. If you love going through a long, arduous save then write about it. My golden rule is that if you can hold court and talk about something forever and enjoy yourself while doing that then you should write about it.
Secondly, find a style that works for you. If you love reading short and snappy posts daily like the Anglo-Saxan Chronicle then that could be the way to go for you. If you enjoy sectioned season reviews then that could be the way for you. Again, it’s all about comfort and enjoyment because if you commit to daily posts and hate the stop-start nature of it then you will quickly fall out of love with writing.
How to Write
Don’t overthink things initially. Write naturally and you’ll reap the rewards. There’s nothing worse than forcing yourself to write something because, frankly, it turns out crap. I know because I’ve done it more than enough times in my lifetime.
I’m not going to sit here and preach about good grammar and whatnot. I’d suggest if you’re not confident in your spelling and grammar then use a word processor to write your piece in then transfer it over to your blog.
Building an Audience
If you go it alone then this section will apply to you. We all start from scratch with writing. You begin as a nobody then work your way up if you want to. The important thing is to not be disheartened by a lack of views on a piece. It’s happened to everyone. Even the big names in the FM Community started with minimal views. Remember, one view is better than zero views so that should always be your goal initially.
If you do want to boost your audience though there are a couple of simple things you can do to help yourself. Firstly, promote. Promote the hell out of your work because you are your own marketing machine when you start. Make use of the Twitter hashtag #wearethecommunity to target it to like-minded readers and use the FMSlack channel of the same name to get it to a potential audience of over 600 people at the time of writing.
Secondly, you can try and do a guest blog on another blog or website. Some people, such as myself on my Long Ball FM blog or Keysi Rensie, are more than happy to host guest posts from writers but all you have to do is ask anyone on Twitter or Slack. The worst they can do is say no and as my mother would always say, “if you don’t ask then you don’t get”.
The final point is to always be active. Be active on social media, be active in FMSlack and be active on your blog. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to talk FM 24/7 but speaking to people if you feel strongly about something they tweet can go a long way to building up friendships and respect within the community.
And of course, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are stuck. I know I certainly am more than happy to help anyone who wants it and more than happy to read anything you want me to. Just tweet me @LongBallFoot and I’ll do my best to help out.