Musings of a blog writer… What exactly are we trying to achieve?

I wrote a whole blog post about writing dialogue yesterday. Today I reread it and it bored me, so I deleted it. Which leaves me with a blank spot on my computer screen where I need to have five hundred words of genius that will attract the beautiful curious. Hmmm…

This is the thing about setting up a blog, isn’t it? We are all told, as writers, that a blog is an integral part of our platform and that we must update it with Spartan discipline and Swiss regularity. Yes, well. You’ve seen the Simpsons, right? I think there’s a reason we share a last name. Someone did their research.

Admittedly, I update my blog more often than most. Since I have a lot of ‘spare’ time (I wouldn’t have so much if I were more disciplined about my writerly tasks) I update my blog daily. Have you ever tried to come up with an original thought, or at least an original twist on an unoriginal thought, every day? It was fairly easy for the first month or so. Now? Not so much.

And yet I haven’t been able to admit defeat and post less regularly. For one thing, I’m a slave to my blog stats. I get a happy tingle when daily hits go above 70. When they go over 100 I give a little sigh. Blog stats are your key to more or less instant gratification. And you don’t have to wait six months for sales to give you the happies. Twelve hours of retweeting your blog link gets you the same result. Well, it does for me. Granted it doesn’t bring me income, but it makes me happy. Let’s take this one step at a time, shall we?

I know these posts are supposed to be informative on some level, so I guess I’m saying, do you update your blog regularly? Do you post about writerly topics? I know I get much higher hits on the ‘helpful’ posts, like my ‘Building a Fantasy World’ series. However, my most popular post of all time was Those days when you just don’t want to write which didn’t contain any particularly helpful information. It was all about me and my issues and yet it is nearly twice as viewed as the next post down (Traditional publishing means less work? if you’re interested πŸ™‚ ).

While a blog should be informative and helpful in order to gain a following (because, no one spends all day reading non-fiction that doesn’t benefit them somehow – that’s the nature of the human beast) I think it’s important not to forget that we are human. Above all else we crave forgiveness for our flaws. Not only that, but we want to know that everyone else has the same flaws, that we are not alone. We want to know that everyone else is suffering exactly the same way we are. Maybe you’re the only writer on the planet currently suffering through writer’s block. Maybe you are the only one who ever had an off day and just doesn’t want to do it anymore.

Maybe. But probably not. In the end you’re human, and I think it’s important that everyone else sees you as such. If I had a platform like Bob Meyer or Kristen Lamb and the knowledge and experience to back it up, as they do, then I would always be informative and helpful. I hope. Mainly because I would have more information and be able to offer more help. But I don’t. So I can’t. All I can do is say, Hi! This is me. How are you today? And hope for the best.

By the way, please don’t forget: voting on the next episode of Elemental Races continues through Saturday. Go here to read the story so far and vote on what happens next!

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About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
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18 Responses to Musings of a blog writer… What exactly are we trying to achieve?

  1. Ryan says:

    I gave up on my blog. After spending time with my wife, at work, and doing all those hobbies I love doing, I found that I was quickly running out of hours in the day. I could be more disciplined, but I find that I’m more creative when I’m relaxed and unrestricted.

  2. I only post on my blog when I have something worth saying, and that is about once a week. If you really really want a post going up every single day you can always put out a call for guest posters, and keep their posts around for those rainy days when you just can’t come up with anything yourself. Then at least it’s not all on you πŸ™‚

  3. Akoss says:

    Hm… so this is why you tweet your blog posts so often. πŸ˜€
    I only blog when I want to share something I’ve learned. So my blog posts interests or subjects “grow” along with my writing journey. I do occasionally blog to be silly because that’s just me.
    Let me know if you need guests to blog about something. Right now I’m following some writing advices by chapter and sharing them on my blog. But any other subject that might interest me, feel free to ask.
    And to finish: yes we’re all humans and we like the attention. πŸ™‚

    • I should probably be more restrained about the blogging thing, but so far I’ve found things to say which are important to me. A reasonable number of other people seem to find them interesting, so that’s ok πŸ˜€ I’ll bear you in mind for guesting – thanks for the offer πŸ˜€

  4. Dannie says:

    Anne. If nothing else you practice and hone your writing. But in your case this is a very good muse with some good things to think about. Thanks. I still haven’t the courage to blog and I keep telling myself it would get in the way of my novels. Truth is I need to do it to learn a new style. Thanks for showing me the way with good points.

    • Glad to be of service. I found initially that it helped get my brain into the habit of writing something every day. Now that writing every day is a habit I’m having to move my blog writing time to the evenings for the following day, rather than on the day, so that I start the day with my novel and not my blog. That way I have half a chance of staying offline long enough to do something constructive with the work in progress πŸ˜€

      It also gives me more of an opportunity to connect with people, which is, of course, the primary reason for doing it. But the social side is enjoyable as well πŸ˜€

  5. I try to post 3 times a week. Right now I’m doing the A to Z challenge so I’m blogging every day but once it’s over it will be back to 3 times. I think that’s fine for me. I haven’t really struggled coming up with ideas and every so often I do something completely unrelated to writing. I just don’t think the blog would be as fun if I stayed on topic all the time and going off lets readers learn about me.

  6. Angela Perry says:

    I blog to help, entertain, and inspire. At least, that’s what I hope to do πŸ™‚

    I post 3 times per week. Having a schedule keeps me for procrastinating or posting so much I don’t have time to write (both of which I’ve done on occasion). Monday is my helpful/personal/thoughtful post day. Wednesday is when I post a picture I find inspirational. Friday I post a flash fiction about the picture and link to other people who used the image for inspiration.

    Does it work? I dunno! But I figure even if no one reads my blog, it gives me writing practice and a way to order my thoughts.

    • I feel the same way, about this and Patricia’s statement about letting readers learn about you. I think that’s important, especially in today’s publishing atmosphere where readers increasingly want to interact personally, at least on some level, with the author.

  7. Nancy Beck says:

    I used to try to come up with blog posts on a regular basis.

    Burned out on that.

    Due to illness and other personal stuff, I gave up on my blog…for about a year.

    I first tried to start up a new writing blog on WordPress (the free one), but abandoned that because I’m so used to using Blogger.

    Now that I’ve revived my original blog and am committed to posting only twice a week (and occasionally more often), I’m a lot happier. And I’ve finally got more than two people following me (I’m up to a staggering πŸ˜‰ 24 followers).

    I understand the desire/obsession πŸ˜‰ to post every day, but I don’t know how people do it. (Does anyone do that?) My suggestion, if I may? πŸ™‚ Pick two days of the week to post (I’ve picked Wednesdays and Fridays), and try to keep to that schedule.

    You won’t have to constantly wrack your brain. (Who wants that? ;-))

    You’ll keep to a regular schedule, without burning yourself out.

    And one of the days (Fridays), I actually cheat (heh, heh) by searching out YouTube videos and posting them. Sometimes they refer to writing, sometimes they don’t.

    But then I only have to come up with one post a week. That’s something I can do. And I can do it on a consistent basis.

    πŸ™‚

    • I’m not working at the moment, so the blog keeps me feeling productive. It’s more for my personal sanity that I post every day – seeing the hits and the comments makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself and also allows me to interact with other people, albeit remotely. I’m hoping to start regularly writing a flash piece for Fridays and of course my serial “You are the Hero” just started and that’s going to be on Tuesdays. What with one thing and another I won’t have to come up with a new topic every day, but I would like to keep posting every day πŸ™‚ Just what works for me. I’m glad you found what works for you. Consistency is the key. The last thing you want is to burn out because you can’t maintain the flow.

  8. Trisha says:

    I don’t have a plan for my blog…I kind of started it for me, and to meet other writers. I never intended it to be a resource for other writers, or useful in any way…beyond entertaining on occasion, I guess. πŸ™‚

    • It’s nice to hear that πŸ™‚ I certainly didn’t have a plan when I started this one. I only set it up because of Flash Fiction Fridays – I realised that if I wanted to join in and get my writing out there for other people to see, I needed a platform to show it off. And the blog was born… πŸ™‚

  9. E-Book Magic says:

    I found that I was spending too much time writing for my blogs. I reasoned the time I spent writing posts could easily be spent writing pages for my books. I missed the instant gratification (as you described) but I loved seeing my productivity increase as a writer as well.

    • Yes, I have that problem with Twitter. Thankfully it doesn’t take me very long to write blog posts but I do need to start writing them the evening before so as to make more novel writing time in the mornings.

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