I posted my first entry to my first blog on December 31, 2003. Since then I’ve posted hundreds more, created five other blogs, joined many communities, and spent hours and hours pointing and clicking my way through the blogosphere, leaving comments and making friends. It’s no wonder that one of the questions I get asked over and over again is: should I start a blog?
The answer is . . . it depends. That’s because the answer really lies in another question: why do you want to blog?
There are many good, valid reasons to blog. But the most important one is because you want to. Blogging is a big commitment. Creating a regular online presence takes a lot of time and energy. It cuts into writing time. It can help or hinder your career–although just how much isn’t really measurable. So for it to be worthwhile it has to feed you personally in some way or other.
The best blogs are interesting, updated on a regular basis, and interactive. They have pictures and lots of white space so they are easy to read. They might be funny, contain inside information, essays on the craft, or cute stories. Most importantly, they draw you back to them.
Problem blogs contain rants that go out-of-bounds or contain TMI about something that shouldn’t be broadcast into cyberspace. An example of this might be chronicling one’s journey to pubbed author by including verbatim responses from agents who have rejected your work. So, in addition to all your writing pals reading this, prospective agents can too. Not a good idea.
Does blogging sell books? I don’t think anyone knows. It can help consolidate a fan base. It can spread buzz about an author, but, if used purely for marketing, blogs get boring.
Blogs are a great way to create a community and become a part of the friendly blogosphere. They are a great way for pubbed authors to stay in touch with their fans on a regular (or semi-regular) basis. But it’s important to remember that not everyone who reads your blog is friendly, nice, and trustworthy. A blog requires a careful mix of candor and caution. You don’t want to divulge personal information that would let people find you or your family. For that reason many bloggers will use nicknames when blogging about family members and are careful about posting photos. Not everyone wants to be a public figure.
Want to blog but don’t want the responsibility of providing constant content? Consider group blogging–like this!
Obviously, this is just the tip of the blogberg. Got questions I didn’t answer? Put them in the comments, and I’ll answer them there.
I do it because it’s fun. It’s the most regular scrapbook/diary I’ve ever kept.
on April 9, 2007
Yay, Gillian! Glad to hear you’ve found a personal reason for your blog. For it to have rekindled the writer in you is wonderful. Blogging is a form of selfpubbing and a very valid one.
I think that’s one of the things I like about blogging. It gives me an audience, which is great because I don’t have one yet for my books. Blogging also fulfills an inner need I have to editorialize about things. I also like to play documentarian, which I do with photos and trip writeups.
on April 9, 2007
Hey there, Gina.
I started a blog to exercise my writing muscles. To get back to a regular writing habit. Most of all, to enjoy writing again.
As a newbie blogger, I had the freedom to write without the angst of knowing it had to pass somebody’s scrutiny. Nobody was reading it, so it didn’t matter what I wrote. Just like my first attempts at writing a novel!
Now I have a few people who check it out, but I’m comfortable with that.
Blogging brought back the joy of writing for me, which got me back to working on my novel, which led me to submit it to an agent…