Lately, blogging has become my obsession. I jot ideas while I’m walking the dog, stopped at a stoplight, in the middle of meetings. I pore over pictures on Flickr to find images that embody the tone or emotion I’m trying to capture. I get excited about writing posts. I write them quickly, with abandon, which I don’t always do with my fiction.
You want my blogging advice?
I give you my blogging advice.
Then, says Wendig, blog because you want to, not because you have to.
Because, as he points out, blogging rarely will find you an audience or sell your books or get you noticed or do something else transformative for you or your writing career. If you have to strong-arm yourself into blogging, you’re doing yourself a disservice by wasting precious time that could be spent writing other stuff. [bctt tweet=”If you have to strong-arm yourself into blogging, then don’t do it.”]
For those who find blogging a pleasure and not a chore, Wendig provides some great “advisory points” about smart ways to run your blog. My favorites are these:
That last point is what keeps me blogging.
I started this blog because I wanted to connect more with my students. I wanted to put my craft theories on virtual paper so that students could revisit the parts of my lectures that resonated with them. I also thought I might be able to win some readers for my fiction.
Laudable goals? Maybe. But not good enough reasons to blog. Because guess what? Blogging is writing, people. It takes time, it takes thought, it takes commitment. And, every other millisecond, someone else is ranting that blogging is a dying art (most recently because screenshots are killing the need for blogs). Plus, there are so many friggin blogs out there, and so many that go unread.
So blogging may not seem like a wise investment of time and effort. But here’s what I’ve discovered: blogging is helping me become a better writer. It’s helping me find my voice. It’s forcing me to get the stick out of my ass and stop taking myself so seriously. To think about what I really believe and write about myself and issues I care about (like women speaking up for themselves and keeping their surnames and feeling invisible as they age) in a more honest, thoughtful way. Which, in turn, allows me to write fiction that’s more free and honest and real.
Those, I’ve decided, are great reasons to blog.
So, all you bloggers out there: Why do you blog? (Scroll to the end of the page to comment.)
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I’m SO. GLAD. you’re blogging! It’s been a pleasure to learn things about you that there’s not time for in class. And the writers’ resources here are such a gift.
I consider myself a former blogger. From 2007 to 2014 I churned out 749 posts. Early on, it was a way for me to rekindle my writing passion: part diary, occasional soapbox. Suddenly writing wasn’t a solitary void of an endeavor. I grew addicted to the instantaneous feedback–cushy audience reactions, never critiques of my prose. I didn’t gain a huge readership, but I did acquire a few loyal readers who sent deeply encouraging notes. Those notes, I’ll admit it, were taped to the door of my medicine cabinet and definitely impacted my path.
I also made a handful of lifelong friends–fellow bloggers who understand me in a way non-bloggers, non-writers never will–the kind of friends you take plane rides to see and spend hours, eyes locked, in unplugged conversation despite the fact that you’re both addicted to social media. Our blogs were a way to check in on each others’ lives. I loved their voices, and unlike emails from good friends, I loved that they, like me, were willing to broadcast their memories and opinions.
In 2011 my blog became the place where I went to grieve someone I loved who died unexpectedly. On one hand, my words and the readers who sent condolences were the gauze that held my limbs together for more than a year. On the other hand, the accumulation of public love letters became an elephant in my living room. The posts about him, 90 of them, were eventually changed back to “pending drafts”–pulled from public–because to keep them up was a betrayal. Blogs themselves can become players in stories, agents of conflict. Not for me. I’m a fiction girl now.
I wanted to keep posting this year, but attempting any regularity has pulled me away from the harder work of learning to write short stories. Confession: I still love going back to read my old posts. That’s another reason I recommend blogging. So Current You can entertain Future You. Journalling can’t compete in this regard: we write better when there’s an audience.
I blog because I want other people to love Nigeria, my adopted country, as I do, and know that it is a country and Africa is a continent. Even though you say it’s not a great reason, I also blog to tell people about my book!
I find myself wanting to do this more and more. I want to blog about my favorite topics mostly. Metaphysics and the arts would be the most important to me. Does anyone know what sites welcome guest bloggers in these areas? I would especially say mysticism [ as I’m writing a book] and poetry writing music reviews or personal opinions. Thanks! Teresa
Totally agree with you, Colette. I also believe it helps create an audience for your fiction. I know I’d be screwed if it didn’t blog, as far as potential readers go. I also love the comraderie of the writing community. But to view blogging as a chore instead of a passion, no.