Blogs We Love: Livia Blackburne
Livia Blackburne blogs about the intersection of writing, neuroscience, and psych. Learn more about her life as a recovering neuroscientist turned writer and then check out her blog here!
Why did you start your blog?
As I was getting more serious about writing, I tried to learn more about craft. I was looking for a blog that described writing techniques, with different tricks to add to your writer’s toolbox. After looking for a while, I decided to start my own. I thought it was a topic that I could write sustainably on for a long time. There were always more books, and/or techniques to learn. At first, I didn’t talk much about psychology on the blog, even though I was pursuing my doctorate in cognitive neuroscience at the time. That came later, when a friend of mine e-mailed me an article on neuroscience and writing. I blogged about that, and it turned into one of my most popular posts, so after that I started blogging more about neuroscience.
How do you spread the word about your blog and get people reading it?
I spread the word about my blog mostly through Twitter. I made sure my twitter bio was intriguing. My focus the intersection between neuroscience and psychology. So when I followed people, they’d check out my profile, they would click through to the link to check out more. After a critical mass, people start sharing your articles for you.
What is the funniest topic you have ever written about?
One of the more entertaining topics I’ve written about this was my attempt to write a male point of view. Most of my fiction is from the girl’s point of view, but once in a while, I write men. I have some articles describing my failures at writing realistic boys, as well as a series called Operation Chest Hair, in which I analyze books with male characters in an attempt to write them more authentically.
What is the most important topic you have ever written about?
There is so much in the media now about neuroscience studies, and if you don’t understand the technology that’s used, it’s really hard to know what the study actually means. So I have one blog entry that describes basic neuroscience imaging techniques, and another one that shows about how neuroscience can be overly seductive. There’re actually studies that show that when people see an article with a brain picture, they automatically believe the article to be more scientific. You have to be aware of this, and remember that it’s still important to think critically about these studies.
What are your own personal and professional goals as a writer?
I would like to develop my fiction career more. I think the next milestone for me will be when I can start making a living wage as a writer.
The most important thing is to remember that a blog is not about you. The question you should be asking is not “what should I write about,” but rather, “what do people want to read about.” If you write your blog with the goal of helping others, you will gain an audience.