22 June 2014

Are you still blogging?

This is the blog about blogging.

It's in my contract that I must blog about blogging no less than once per calendar year. Coming off my annual blogcation, in which I do not blog for a week or two, it seems a worthy topic and comes at just the right time.

Recently, an author friend of mine declared: "I really don't want to blog any more. Am I the only one?" 

That unleashed a plethora of responses (edited for clarity):

"I'm with you- I never get the time to commit to it."

"I don't like it, so I don't do it."

"I hate blogging."

"I used to blog weekly but then it felt like a chore rather than fun. Now I only blog when I feel like it....maybe once a month."

"I only like recapping TV shows" [or book reviews, etc.] "that's why I still do it. Otherwise my blog would be done for!"

"Blogging is how I blow off steam!"

"I don't blog as often as I'd like. My writing time is at a premium so I tend to be on my stories rather than the blogs."

"I like to blog when I'm not working on a book. I think feeling compelled to do that is partially responsible for my disenchantment with blogging."

"Author interviews generate a lot of initial interest, I think. But craft posts might have a more enduring appeal."

And my response (trying to be as clever as tolerable):

I have seldom felt pressure to blog. I just happen to have something to write about once a week, except this week, and maybe next week, but I call it a blogcation and I'm happy my few readers are happy not to have to read anything I blog about, because we all know it's mostly an exercise in overt narcissism--mine, not theirs--and so anything I write inevitably falls into the category of self-promotion, and we cannot have any of that by God! lest we be accused of self-promotion; but I ask you, and this is not a blog post by any means, if I do not promote my own work, wouldn't it stand to reason that I lack confidence in my work? I mean, isn't that what people would think? Or perhaps I'm just talking to the hand....

So it all seems to come down to two big questions: What / Why, and When / How. These further boil down to two opposing positions:

  • Blogging is necessary to have a "presence", to stay in touch with fans, to help other writers.
  • Blogging takes away time from my real writing, I have nothing to blog about, I've run out of ideas.

Please help me understand this blogging obsession. Comment below, if you feel the urge.

Question #1

Do you blog? If you blog, why? If you do not blog, why not?

My friends and colleagues who are writers seem to blog more than the usual everyday riff-raff, or maybe I just hangout online more with friends and colleagues than the usual everyday riff-raff. However, my friends and colleagues who blog tend to say one thing: "I blog to stay in contact with potential readers." Coming in second is "I blog because sometimes I have something I just have to say to the world." (my paraphrase)

In fact, my decision to start a blog long ago had little to do with my career as a writer. The idea of a blog was new to everyone at that time. I thought it might be fun. I could riff on whatever the topic of the day was. Just like recess; a play time. Then I learned that blogging is a serious business. I could even make money from blogging, some blogs told me.

I quickly realized, however, that I had few opinions about most things (politics, social issues, aggravations, etc.), so I lapsed. There were a few "gems" I'm still proud of. When my first novel was on the launch pad, the blog was there to help promote it. Probably my reason to blog now is so that, far into the future, there will be a steady stream of posts on whatever, without lapse, for the alien archaeologists to discover long after I'm gone.

Question #2

What do you blog about? When do you blog?

Blog topics! Here is the mother load of blog topic lists by Molly Green. Go here first if you don't know what to blog about. I'm serious.

Blogs on particular topics related to what I'm writing about, such as this one on the reality of vampires by Amarisgrey.

Blogs about blogging, such as this one about blog headlines by Josh Coffy.

Blogs often focus on what to do or not do in self-publishing or indie publishing. Here's an example from Kristen Lamb's blog. Or this example by James Altucher on ProBlogger which flips it around.

Blogs may offer advice about writing, writing craft, grammar and usage, or other topics of interest to writers. Here is an example from The Writer's Bureau by Janice Hardy.

Blogs on topics of interest to writers, such as what to do when querying an agent or publisher, such as this one by Rachelle Gardner (one of my favorite blogs).

Granted, many of our favorite blogs or the "best" blogs are written by someone with a company backing them up, someone with time and resources.

However, even the rest of us can blog about something. Who knows what will be of interest to our friends and colleagues? Even if not every blog stops me in my tracks, I still like to keep in touch, see what they are doing, and maybe glean some useful idea. So I want to encourage everyone who is blogging to keep blogging.

If you don't feel like blogging on any particular week, just post a cute bunny picture so we know you are alive and well. Or, in the alternative, post a link to someone else's blog, perhaps with a comment similar to "What she said" to give us some closure. Or just say "Howdy!"

Please take a look at the blogs I follow (in the column on left of this page) and give them a click, a read, a comment if you like what you see. They have all been personally approved by me.

(C) Copyright 2010-2014 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

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