Blogging tips with Louise Pentland

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By Jade Craddock

Louise Pentland may be best known as a vlogger extraordinaire, with her own YouTube channel, Sprinkle of Glitter, and her blog of the same name, but last month saw Louise make the leap to novelist, with her debut fictional title, Wilde Like Me, so who better to ask for tips on blogging and vlogging. ♥

You’re well-known as being a successful blogger and vlogger, what got you started on the blogging route and how important has that been to you personally and professionally?

Starting my blog was actually just a bit of a late night whim in September 2009 when I was bored! I wish all the things I started when I was bored had turned out this well! I’d enjoyed reading quite a few other blogs and I was attracted to the idea of sharing my thoughts in a really passive way. People choose to read a blog and choose to interact with it so I felt it would be a warm audience, given that they’d made the choice to be there. As it’s grown, it’s become my job and of course this has meant I haven’t had to return to office-based employment like I had planned (I took time off to have my first baby). Professionally it’s been really rewarding to learn about and immerse myself in a new industry and to reach the yearly career goals that I set myself.

Do you think your experience as a blogger has helped to develop your writing?

Blogging has absolutely helped develop my writing because it’s allowed me to keep exercising that part of my brain and keep the cogs turning. With anything, if you don’t do it for a while it’s much harder so the rhythm of blogging has been great.

And in what ways has your blogging experience helped you as you’ve made the switch to writing a novel?

I was surprised at how hard it was to transition from blog style to novel style actually. I thought it would flow really easily but in actual fact it was quite a difference and I had to really focus on it. I think though having had such a warm reception from my blog posts for all these years has given me the confidence to try something new and to push forward with it.

What are the main challenges when you turn from writing as a blogger to as a novelist?

The main challenge from hopping into novel writing from blog writing is the structure. A blog post for me is typically short and to the point. There’s no real story arc and few or no characters to think about because I’m normally just writing my own thoughts. When writing Wilde Like Me, I had to constantly think of all the different people in the book and what they would be thinking and how that would make them behave. It was more of a challenge but a good one!

And what didn’t you know or expect about writing a novel/being an author that most surprised you?

Ha! I was most surprised by how much work there was after I’d submitted the first draft. I was pretty naive in thinking, ‘Oh lovely, that’s the bulk of it done, I’ll relax now’, but alas, line edits are a thing!

How important do you think it is for authors to have their own blogs and vlogs these days?

This is a really tricky question because in all honesty, I don’t know. I think it’s always helpful to have a social media platform so that you can keep your audience informed of upcoming events or book offers but I don’t know how essential and entire blog or bank of vlogs is. I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this.

What makes a great blog and vlog?

This is the magic question because if there was an answer, we’d all be doing it. Essentially a piece of content like a blog post or a vlog is judged by the individual who likes it. Every individual has different tastes and so everyone likes different things. The key is to work out what your audience likes and see if you can provide that. For example, my Youtube audience really enjoy longer, chatty videos or vlogs that showcase day to day domestic life, so I try to include a lot of that. Some audiences though might enjoy high energy, high action content so it’s just a matter of working it out and perfecting it! Good Luck!

And what should bloggers/vloggers absolutely avoid?

When you start a blog or vlog channel you should set yourself up some boundaries. These are different for everyone and are based on your own comfort levels. I have one friend who won’t give away her surname online whereas I’m comfortable with this. I have friends who show the fronts of their houses in footage whereas I’m uncomfortable with this. When I first began 8 years ago, I didn’t swear or use bad language but now I feel alright about letting my potty mouth be free. You ebb and flow. I would say the only thing that should be the same across the board is honesty. If you’re going to do something, do it with honesty. Don’t say you like a product if you don’t, don’t say you think something if you don’t and don’t portray a life you don’t have. The beauty of blogging and vlogging is that it’s so personal, there’s no middle man, so always be authentic.

Louise Pentland is an award-winning lifestyle and beauty vlogger . She is a UN Global Ambassador for Gender Equality, was shortlisted for 2016’s Glamour Woman of the Year and recently won InStyle ‘Best High-Street Fashion YouTuber’ and the Shorty Award for ‘Best YouTube Guru’. Her non-fiction book Life with a Sprinkle of Glitter was a number one bestseller in summer 2015. Wilde Like Me is her first novel and is out now.

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