It’s blog, it’s blog, it’s better than bad, it’s good!

So I was up last night following two interesting Twitter discussions.  The first, found with the hashtag #yalitchat, was a group of writers, editors, agents, etc, all discussing Young Adult literature.  It’s a regular occurring chat with a different focus each week.  Last night focused on knowing when to start sending out querries on your manuscript, but mostly ended up focusing on dealing with rejection!  That chat then spiraled out into another chat, found with hashtag #askagent.  My eyes were going blurry, and really, it is damn hard to keep up with the ever spiralling refresh of new tweets.  One interesting thing that came out was a comment from an agent that aspiring writers shouldn’t have a blog that deals with writing.

This left me with a bit of a cunundrum.  I just started this site, ummm, on April 3rd (just had to go check!).  It was so strong in my mind that it had to be about writing and my journey as a writer.

See, the web is filled with advice.  So much advice, that frankly, it can be overwhelming.  If you search for how to succeed as a blogger, the common pieces of advice you receive are 1) Blog what you know and love 2) Keep on topic or else you’ll never gain readers and/or lose those you already have.  So, if I want to be a writer and spend a great deal of my free time writing and researching to improve my writing, what is it you think I love?  Well, this is a bit of a pickle.

So I go to a few of my favourite authors’ blogs to see what they write about.  Guess what, they write about writing, their interests, and what they are currently doing to publicise, or sell the rights to, their work.  The advantage existing authors have is that they are already paid writers.  They can write about damn near anything, and their existing fan base will come check it out.  Neil Gaiman goes all over the world, meets tons of interesting people and does all that because of his existing body of work.  Now, take me.  I’m not published.  Hell, I don’t even have a finished manuscript to show.  If I wrote about my day, it would read something like, “Today, I woke up, got the kids to school, put some laundry in, emptied the dishwasher, checked my email, ate something, picked up the kids, watched TV, ate something, put the kids to bed, wrote, went to bed.”  I’m totally gripped by that, aren’t you?  No?  Damn…

Simply put, the average joe who is trying to work toward fulfilling their dream of being a writer probably doesn’t lead that amazing lifestyle that people might be interested in reading.  We’re just like you.  Maybe.  So what does an aspiring author do with their blog?

Balance.  That’s right, balance.

Side note: Notice my blogs these past two days boil down to one word?  Yesterday was Why? and now today is Balance.  Now back to our regularly scheduled program….

I guess having a blog that is filled with nothing but advice on writing when I’m not even a published author is, um, pretentious?  Really, why should you listen to me?  What the hell do I know that you don’t?  Nothing.  So what I’m doing is sharing my experience.  It might be right, it might be the most wrong thing in the entire world for you.  But it doesn’t hurt to try, right?  An aspiring writer’s blog, from what I can tell, needs to contain a balance of advice, pointing readers to things we find interesting, book reviews, personal experiences, maybe even some whining about how our writing makes us feel insecure.  After all, writing is as much about discovering yourself as it is your characters (ooh, that’s good, I’m going to tweet that!).

So there you have it.  Balance.  Long winded to get to that simple answer.  But you know what they say, it isn’t the destination, it’s the journey.  LOL!

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3 Comments

  1. “An aspiring writer’s blog, from what I can tell, needs to contain a balance of advice, pointing readers to things we find interesting, book reviews, personal experiences, maybe even some whining about how our writing makes us feel insecure. After all, writing is as much about discovering yourself as it is your characters” – Hear, hear!

    I’ve linked to your blog just this week (I think through ILBNH blog), and, like you, am an aspiring writer. I was encouraged to find another such person working out his thoughts as he works in this (to the outside world) strange and mysterious and (to us who do it) often mundane and difficult way. In fact, something you said – I think the original post ILBNH linked to – so struck a cord that I linked to it on my blog. For me, at least in this stage of my work, writers blogs are about tapping into the writing community as much as putting yourself out there as a writer for readership purposes. All to say, I hope that agent’s advice isn’t too universal.

    In fact, I know it isn’t. I attended some sessions at the Virginia Festival of the Book last month. One of the sessions was about publicity. The panel included three successfully-published and (at least somewhat) known authors and one writer’s publicist. All of them – but especially the publicist – advised keeping up a blog and getting a following that way. She said twitter and facebook were good, but to use them to direct everything back to one source, your blog – for a host of reasons that I’d have to look up my notes to recount. But at any rate – there you have it. Another voice on the matter.

    Hope your writing goes well today!

    • Thank you for coming and for your thoughts! I really appreciate it. It’s good to get as much information as possible. I’m still feeling a little new and raw with this blog to be pushing people to it too much. Maybe another couple of weeks of posts under my belt.

  2. (Mistaken. So you don’t think I’m crazy . . . I didn’t link to your actual blog – I thought I knew better than to do that without checking with the author first! – but linked over here to your Using Familiar Style post from ILBNH, and then posted a few links on the topic.)

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