If you’ve been following me for more than a couple weeks, you know that I publish discussion posts. I’m a thinker, an observer, and occasionally a philosopher. If a topic captures my attention and makes me think for more than a few minutes, it is probably worthy of a discussion post. And I’ll talk about just anything within the book blogging world. Well, as long as it doesn’t incite a lot of drama. Many times I have scrapped a post or completely rewritten it because I felt the original post was too inflammatory. And although I want to encourage discussion, I don’t want to create unnecessary drama. But, enough about me.
I have heard many people say that discussion posts are difficult to write, or they don’t know what to write about, or they’re afraid no one will respond. I understand that. To a certain extent, those are all thoughts I’ve had myself. But I also think that discussion posts are not as scary as we think. A discussion post doesn’t have to be life-altering or a unique topic or even in-depth. A discussion post isn’t a discussion post because the resulting comments and discussion are incredibly insightful and long and amazing.
A discussion post creates discussion. Period.
The discussion post of mine that has received the most comments is when I talked about being in denial about reading YA. It is 122 words long. (This post, on the other hand, is already double that and I’m not finished yet.) Most of the comments were short, but everyone talked about what THEY were in denial about. And it was FUN. Everyone’s responses inspired me to take the “in denial” idea and turn it into a feature. (I have since admitted being a cover whore and being addicted to free erotica.) I mean, we all have things about us that change or that we don’t always feel comfortable talking about. That is something many of us can relate to, even if whatever I’m in denial about is not what you’re in denial about.
Discussion posts capitalize on common ground. And book bloggers have SO MUCH COMMON GROUND. The books we read, our book reading habits, our book buying habits, how we blog, how we organize (our books, our blog), how we use social media, our pet peeves. Do you see how the possibilities are virtually endless? In fact, just about any experience we have is conducive to a discussion post. Why is it so hard to comment on certain reviews? Discussion post. The blogging behaviors that make you go, “Huh?” Discussion post. Twitter peeves? Discussion post. One day I discover that my reading/buying habits have changed because of blogging? Discussion post. Having people mention that they don’t know how to write discussion posts or are afraid to start? THIS DISCUSSION POST RIGHT HERE!
If you’re an active participant in the blogging world and you observe what happens, you can write a discussion post. It doesn’t have to be life-changing. It doesn’t have to be in-depth or insightful. It doesn’t even have to answer a question. It could call for help in discovering an answer, or call for opinions from other bloggers. A discussion post doesn’t have to be in response to a big situation or fuck up in the book world. It could be in response to a comment you received that got you thinking about something. It could be in response to someone else’s discussion post. (Alissa has written a couple FABULOUS discussion posts after reading mine, and Kristilyn wrote one about her experience in blogging for herself after I wrote about blogging for yourself.) You can take someone’s idea and BUILD on it, so that you develop the idea further or offer additional perspective on the topic. Not only does that create discussion–it creates community.
So remember: discussion posts 1) capitalize on common ground and personal experience, and 2) encourage discussion of ANY kind.
What is the most difficult part of writing a discussion post for you?