Why Blog?

Last week, around the time that Martha Alderson guest-posted over here, she and I were talking about blogging in general–why to do it, how to do it “right,” how to make your blog useful, to its readers and to yourself.

So I thought I’d talk about it a bit here. Just a bit, and then I’m going to give you some links to other people’s take on it.

I first started blogging for fun and to connect with other kids’ writers. I still have this other blog, where I talk more about my own projects–the ups and downs–and just silly life stuff.  This blog totally met its objectives–I’ve “met” such wonderful writers there (and even met some of them in person, too). I get support and education about writing for kids. And, honestly, I just have fun blogging.

Then I got the contract with Writer’s Digest to write The Critiquer’s Survival Guide, and I started thinking about promotion. Frankly, it’s a bit tough to think about blogging to promote your book, or yourself, but—equally frankly, it’s the smart thing to do. In my first blog entry here, I talked about what I wanted to do with this new blog. My overall goal is to provide truly helpful, supportive information about writing, marketing, and–yes–critiquing. I hope the blog becomes something just as important for my readers as it is for me.

And, yes, I want to keep having fun with both blogs.

I browsed around the web and found out a bit more about blogging–different reasons for doing it and some good ways to make your blog helpful. Take a look & see what these people have to say.

And let me (and everyone else!) hear from you. Do you blog? Why? What’s the best tip you’ve ever received about how to blog? Feel free to drop the URL to your blog in with your comment!

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16 thoughts on “Why Blog?

  1. Great question. I blog b/c I love the friendships with other writerly folks. And I get flushed out every time I post. It’s material I actually WANT to write about, vs. everything I crank out at work.

    That said, it’s hard keeping correct time-priority… I’ve not worked on my novel b/c blogging is a time-suck!!! This is the hardest thing to manage for me.

    Thanks, Becky!!!!

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  2. beckylevine says:

    Gottawrite–

    Yes, it’s a balance. It does feel great to write about WRITING, and to hook up with other people thinking along the same lines. But it can start to use up too many hours, if we’re not careful!

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  3. For almost two years, blogging seemed to take up most of my free time. It took having a baby to break me of the habit in all honesty.

    Still, I keep three blogs going. Each has a different focus, though there is some overlap. One I write my more personal entries, another is dedicated to politics, and the third I write about my journey toward publication. I write an average of one entry per week, and I spend perhaps two hours a week keeping up with other bloggers. Like you said, it’s a balance, and we need to be careful not to tip the scales.

    If not for my blogs, I would not have sold – at current count – thirteen of my self-published novella (the rest family and friends purchased). It sounds like small-beans, but with little promotion as yet, and published less than a month ago, it’s a larger number than I expected.

    The best tip I ever received about blogging? Keep it interesting as well as informative. That means writing about a variety of subjects, and include the humorous as well as the serious.

    Readers come back because they won’t know what we’re writing about next – even if the overall focus doesn’t change. Yours is a perfect example.

    Since you gave permission (thank you for the opportunity to promote ourselves), here are two of my blog links:

    Writing: http://www.almarquardt.com/blog
    Politics: http://almarquardt.wordpress.com/

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  4. beckylevine says:

    Alma, Wow–I’m impressed that you have three blogs and that you manage to keep them up-to-date without going crazy with time management. Congrats no selling your book, too!

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  5. In my opinion, for what little that’s worth, I think blogging is a must for writers of all genres. If you don’t write your own, you should find ways to be a guest on another writer’s blog.

    Many writers, readers, and fans make their rounds each morning reading the blogs of their friends and/or favorite authors.

    Blogging is also a great way to network. I run a little blog and I can’t begin to tell you how many doors have opened for me since I started it nearly a year ago.

    I’ll be the first to admit that blogging is a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort. The keys to a successful blog are maintaining current information (I post something new every single day), and taking an active role in the blog by responding to comments and following up on questions from readers.

    Since the topics of my blog can sometimes be a little sensitive I receive more email comments and questions than I do on the actual blog. I respond to each of those too.

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  6. free2cr8 says:

    I tried my hand at blogging earlier this summer and then I stopped. It was a personal blog about various things with no real focus.

    And as I became more invested in writing, I started my second blog called The Write of Passage (free2cr8.wordpress.com) which chronicles my writing journey’s ups and downs with tidbits of helpful information (I hope) along with a comic series for writers I started called The Write Stuff (free2cr8.wordpress.com/category/comic-strip).

    I am enjoying it a bit more this time around because I think I’ve found my comfort zone. I’ll be checking the other bloggers sites you mention above as well.

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  7. beckylevine says:

    Hey, Lee–you must be feeling a lot better! So glad!

    Since you didn’t put in the URL of your “little” blog, I’m going to, for anyone else who stops by. Lee Lofland is a friend and a great writer. He’s the author of Police Procedure & Investigation, from Writer’s Digest Books, and his blog. The Graveyard Shift (http://www.leelofland.com/wordpress/) is a huge resource of law-enforcement information for writers.

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  8. beckylevine says:

    Free2cr8, I love both your blogs. Your comics hit the writing nail on the head, so often!

    I think you’re right about the focus–it really helps to feel like you’re writing about “something.” 🙂

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  9. Hi Becky,
    I liked this post. I’m thinking about this issue too right now. The links you included are great. I don’t have any answers at this point. . .I’m just ruminating on the process at the moment. Thanks for bringing up the topic.

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  10. beckylevine says:

    Mary-Frances, we’re all ruminating. I think so much of what we here about blogging is intuitive–making ourselves known through our blogs should equal promotion, right? But I don’t know how much data there is out there to back up that feeling. I guess it’s a good thing I have fun with it. 🙂

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  11. Great blog. I get asked why I blog all the time, by everyone I know who is not a writer, who is everyone but two people.

    I started my own blog in August. I wrote a book over the summer, it’s trite but it’s something I just had to do. And I found that energy, all those words, still needed to come out after I was done. Here I had been doing the thing I loved, four thousand words a day, and all the sudden I was to stop? Nope, that wouldn’t work.

    So I started blogging just to practice. I emailed the link to friends and was surprised when a few of them read it. And then when other people read it. I learned a lot about the commuity, and I’ve really enjoyed finding blogs like this. Where I live, it isn’t exactly populated by writers and the like, so it is so nice to come somewhere like this and see ‘real’ people writing and succeeding.

    Obviously I have too much time on my hands – sorry that was so long!

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  12. beckylevine says:

    Kristin,

    Thanks for commenting. From what I saw in a quick pop over to your blog, you’re a good writer. I love that you couldn’t stop once you got started! And, whether the book you wrote is “trite” or not, I hope you’re going to take some of that “time on your hands” and consider coming back to it to play with revision!

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  13. I’ve been blogging for some time, but not typically.

    My blog (http://chblog.ozarkattitude.com) contains mostly news stories that will be or have been published in a weekly paper I contribute to. The most recent posts relate to the Illinois Governor scandal.

    Most, however, are about – the reason I started blogging – a proposed airport I’ve been fighting for 20 years, first as an activist/community organizer and later as advocacy journalist.

    My loyalty has always been to my longtime readers. I’m driven by “the people’s right to know.” So, I tell them – with the blessing of the newspaper owner. My blog allows me to tell them in a timely manner.

    The only posts that are not published stories are issues I’m personally compelled to share.

    All that is subject to change as I transition from reporter to writer. Thanks for asking Becky.

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  14. beckylevine says:

    Carol,

    Interesting. I know there are this kind of blog out there, but I haven’t read many personally. I think it’s a great way to advocate for what you believe in.

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  15. janflora says:

    Good question Becky! I am looking forward to checking out all these blog selections too! I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately and may even expand my thoughts on “writer’s flow”…I started blogging last year just as a personal outlet to write some of the many thoughts and ideas floating in my head… After years of not writing much, I was back at the keyboard and instead of a block I had a deluge of ideas and opinions but nowhere to share.
    At first, I was focusing on books and my reaction to the world [media, politics, publishing, etc.] I have started concentrating on writing as a possible career, so lately I have written more personally about my own balancing act. I am also determined to use my ability to write for good change in the world, so I have done some activist posts and blog actions, which are fun. AND I just learned about blog carnivals which I can’t wait to participate in 😀
    I now love blogging. I have made so many connections with other bloggers, writers, activists, bookworms and parents; I have learned so much about the world, publishing and well, everything, because there really is a blog or site on just about every subject out there! 🙂 Most of all, I have gotten back to writing and have gained confidence in my skills, ability and self. Honestly, I wish I had done this years ago.
    Now, my blog is a big mix of all things books/writing and I have gone from occasional posts to weekly. If anyone wants to visit I am at http://janflora.wordpress.com

    Write on!

    Like

  16. beckylevine says:

    Isn’t it a wonderful way to connect with people? I think all of us writers love to read about the way others are doing their paths!

    Like

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