When I published my first book and realized that I’d have to – you know – actually get out there and introduce myself to the world, the notion was alien – When you’re used to living quietly (or actively) in your own imagination, coping with the physical world on autopilot and channeling every experience into your work and into your characters, the idea of putting yourself forward and talking about – gulp – yourself is pretty daunting.
The book came out a year ago this month, on the 2nd of October 2012. It took me the rest of that month to research “blogging” and put together my own site, which I launched on the last day of that same month.
Everything was pretty new. Getting the technical side of things sorted out was actually not too bad, it was the “What will I write about?” that was much harder. I felt that there were only so many ways I could say, “Hi, I’m a writer.” I thought it would be hard work. Worse than that, I thought it would get in the way of writing.
So, what happened?
First I simplified things by ignoring the world. That’s right. It’s easy to get nervous when you think a bunch of strangers are watching you, judging you. The truth is it’s not like that at all. Anyhow, I decided to write as though I was writing to close friends and telling them about my day (or whatever). That took pressure off to “perform” and helped me to relax.
A year will have gone by next week. In that time I have produced and published my second book, and grown from blogging once a week to blogging about five times a week.
Here’s what I have found:
What I thought would be a promotional chore and a headache has turned out to be a great motivator.
The WordPress blogging community is incredibly friendly. I have found some wonderful sites, I chat with some of the nicest people you could ever meet. It has become part of my day now to see what’s going on where, to comment where I wish, to exchange ideas, to share, to have a laugh – and then get on with my day.
I am kept in an excellent mood always, thanks (at least in part) to this exchange.
Blogging regularly also promotes a steady output of the written word. If you’re a writer, this will improve your productivity and your creativity – you have to keep mentally mobile just to keep on coming up with stuff to write! It’s a great exercise.
The interesting thing that I have found is that it hasn’t slowed down my story-writing at all. In fact, I was staggered that I produced book two (which was mostly a story that wasn’t planned for at all in the series layout) in nine months. Now, that’s good for any book, but this one was over 550 pages long, matching the first (almost), which makes it an excellent achievement.
Now, before you get too excited about how maybe I’ll finish the third book before July next year – after two fat books written and published back-to-back, I took some needed time off, so I expect the third one to take the full year (sorry to disappoint).
So, blogging has proven to be fun, restful, productive, motivating and stimulating, and forms good writing habits.
That’s a win-win!
So what about you? What do you love about blogs or blogging?
I love writing about the fun we have with wine. For me it’s an outlet. But it can be a hell of a lot of work too! Writing is only a small part, it’s all the reading that goes with it. 😛
You mean like… reading the labels? Only teasing! I enjoy your blog, you tell a good tale. We’ve even starting buying wines you’ve recommended. You have good taste.
Haha! 😉 Wow, you’re the first to have actually admitted to trying the wine we mention, And you survived!
😀 Yes, we’ll now follow you anywhere – except for that one you wrote about with the purple haze and the dead flies and (my added) a great potential need for medical assistance.
On the plus side – you’ve introduced us to Brokenwood, which we had not tried before.
We can both thank Neal for that one! 🙂
Yeah, that was scary! 🙂
I didn’t come to the blogging world for the interaction or sense of community, but it turns out that’s what I like best about it. 🙂
Hi Chris! 🙂 Exactly. I wasn’t expecting it at all.
For me it’s the exercise. The unexpected gift has been browsing Freshly Pressed and finding cool stories I never would have found before.
Agree there! I find that with pictures, too. There are some amazingly beautiful pictures, and funny ones, too. You never know what you’re going to find. 🙂
Pictures are awesome. Sometimes there’s a whole story in just one. I have folders where I collect them — I probably have a few hundred each for “motivation,” “fantasy / scifi,” and “cool photography.”
Yep, I do that too. Just to look at – I love scenery ones especially, but just about anything beautiful or stunning will grab my attention. Sounds like we think alike 😀
The one thing I am terrified about when I publish is going out there and promoting. I am socially inept and have a habit of retreating when I feel I have said or done the wrong thing. I will get over it for the sake of my dream. I mean, I have to?
First thing is first though, getting my editing skills up to par.
Hi Nina. You are not alone. No one likes to put a foot wrong, yet everyone has done it at one time or another. That’s mostly why I chose to blog “as though writing to my friends” so that I didn’t feel I had to be perfect and mistakes wouldn’t matter so much.
I’m also lousy at promotion – and socializing. I’ve spent my entire private life writing. My thoughts and emotions were all – and I mean all – tied up in characters and plot. When I was much younger, I thought all I had to do was look after the story side of things, and the agents and publishers would look after the rest – I didn’t have a clue about the publishing world. Even now I’m sure I’m not doing it right. Yet things are picking up, so I must be to some extent.
I understood that having a blog was something I needed to do – but it was not something I really wanted to do, until I discovered it was actually fun and I was surrounded by like-minded people fearing and feeling the same things as I did and do.
I also naturally retreat. For all my experiences and adventures, I’m more a hermit than a social creature. I don’t enjoy parties, for instance. I don’t like crowds, or noise, or cities – I don’t invite people to my home. I even have the telephone switched off more than it’s on. I just plain don’t like intrusion. 🙂
I’m strong in the written word and I can talk ’til the cows come home via Blogsville, so that makes this a perfect medium for me. I don’t have to show up anywhere at any given day or time. I know writers who are opposite – talking to groups face-to-face, holding classes or doing social events, going to book fetes, all that, yet they won’t go near the Internet. The Internet just doesn’t work for them – they don’t like it or feel too inept to cope. To their way of thinking, the Internet is just a step too far. And here I am doing just the Internet and nothing else – I won’t even join a writers’ group. Then, of course, there are those who mix-and-match.
Points is, it seems to me at least, that there are many forms of promotion and you get to pick which medium works best for you. One of the writers I spoke about in the above paragraph is well known locally and sells quite well in the area – I’m not well known locally (I never show my face), yet I’m selling books across the world. I’m not talking mega sales, but probably as many as the local author is locally.
I think it all balances out. Start off with what you’re comfortable with, then splash around in the not-so-sure areas and see what works for you.
The fact that you’ve got a blog means that you’re collecting friends and like-minded people around you already. When I looked at blogging, I read how it was best to do it that way, to start one six months or a year before you published (to help drum up interest for the event). Sound advice, I’m sure, but I just couldn’t do that. For me personally, that was scary – to promote something that didn’t actually exist yet – so I set up my blog after the event, making me a slow-starter.
A big waffle this, my apologies (hope you have a cup of coffee to keep you going). There’s heaps of sound advice in Blogsville, as you’ve no doubt noticed, and I’m sure it works in many combinations. My personal belief is that no one should dive deeply into any field without exploring it and growing comfortable.
I’m sure when you publish, it will be great. It takes time for a reputation to build – so keep blogging and just be you. Everything will gradually build for you and get stronger. That’s something I think we’re all learning.
The thing I love most about blogging is the coffee & the ability to seem slightly less useless to my cat. Sad I know, but not everyone needs to set the bar high…..
I’m sure your cat is greatly inspired by you. Both of mine think I would be better employed teaching them how to use the can-opener.
I agree, though, the coffee is good.
I confess I had never opened a can until the cat showed me how.
Sure thing. It’s exciting when blogging brings one close with persons of similar interest; persons who are willing to share ideas and stories. Write. Post. Your virtual friends are a click away.
As always, I’m grateful for our friendship.
Hi Uzoma. 🙂 I wholeheartedly agree. Blogging makes every day an exciting adventure, you don’t know who you might meet and connect with. I, too, am grateful for our friendship and I love to see whatever you have up next on your blog. I don’t get in there every day, but I will always catch up with your latest.