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Why Writers Should Blog

24 September, 2015

Do writers need to blog? Or is it a big time-waster when they could be working on their writing project?

Anne Allen gives her take on this issue, with 10 reasons why blogging can help writers and their careers.

When writers tell me they want to start blogging, I usually ask, What do you want to get out of it?

Some writers think blogging provides a sure path to becoming rich and famous. They aren’t aware of how time consuming it can be to post regularly and build up a readership.

Others start a blog because they want to share information and develop a community. But it can be demoralising if only a few read their blog, fewer still sign up to get posts, and even fewer leave a comment.

So why keep blogging?

If any of my posts help other writers, that’s great. But when I set up my blog, I decided to use it to help me discover more about writing.

Developing a number of posts about writing issues has enabled me to—

  • assess writing issues and ideas that catch my attention
  • write more succinctly, due to my self-imposed maximum of 1,000 words
  • become attuned to writing matters, given that writing one post often leads me to material I can use for a future post.
  • find and read the work of others who blog about writing.
  • learn what interests readers by checking which of my posts attract the most clicks.

I’m not a consistent blogger. But I don’t beat myself up about that. Blogging doesn’t need to be an iron-clad contract.

It’s like fishing. When I publish a blog post, I’m dropping the line with the bait and waiting to see what it attracts.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 December, 2015 7:57 pm

    Thanks for your post Marsha, I’ve recently started a blog with the intention to write on it in a regular kind of way, but the days they do fly by! I have a number of small projects I want to continue to follow up in my blog, and my aim is always to improve my writing. I find that deciding to hit ‘publish’ on a post that is otherwise than perfect is very important for me: this you don’t get when you just write for yourself. Knowing there is the potential to be read also reminds me to reduce any preachiness in first drafts, and also to try to restrict the wordiness. I don’t find that bit easy, but I know that with each revision the work does improve: to this end I like your idea of restricting to 1000 words. I recently participated in the How Writers Write Fiction MOOC with University of Iowa and the deadlines and word limits were a fabulous way to hone in on purpose swiftly and edit ruthlessly. I’m using twitter to help me brevify too… I’m sort of late to all of these parties, but boy are they fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 10 December, 2015 4:37 pm

      Hi Theresa, thanks for the comment. When we have a clear purpose–perhaps to maintain a blog or be active in a writing group–we also learn to be on the lookout for good ideas to write about. And with that awareness, it’s easier to keep going with our writing. I find such activities inspire writing more than trying to freewrite generally.

      Like

    • 10 December, 2015 7:35 pm

      Theresa Turner wrote: “Knowing there is the potential to be read also reminds me to reduce any preachiness in first drafts, and also to try to restrict the wordiness.”

      Yes, that’s what keeps me in hand: after all someone is having their precious time taken up by reading my stuff (that’s if they do…..!). It’s up to me to not abuse their time by putting out material that has to be waded through; I’d want my writing to be ‘zero-attention-span’- proof, where the reader could just skim over it and still get the point of what I’m trying to say.

      This editing and pruning is what makes good writing take so long – and by then I’m probably exhausted by all that concentrating – and in danger of putting out writing that’s claggy and wordy and needs too much wading through!

      Like

      • 11 December, 2015 5:26 am

        I’ve become a more impatient reader and skim lots of material. But when I discover writing that’s evocative, beautiful in terms of both style and sense, I slow down to enjoy it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • 11 December, 2015 10:54 pm

          Trouble is, I feel there’s not enough people like you, Marsha, and too many what I call ‘semi-literate’ people: people who actively dislike reading, and/or those who have never been acculturated to see writing as a positive thing.
          And of course, there are the un-educated who have hardly been taught to read at all (yes, even in a supposedly first-world country like the UK).
          And there’s all those dyslexics too, many of whom would be not inclined to read!

          Like

  2. 27 September, 2015 5:35 pm

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, for people who have health & energy issues, it seems realistic not to start blogging, which can become another energy-drainer.

    I’m lucky that I’m naturally wake up early, 5am most mornings. But the downside of that is that evening events take much of my energy.

    Many people who are not interested in the demands of keeping up a blog enjoy communicating on a smaller scale. They contribute their tweets or over time build a Pinterest collage on what interests them. And more bloggers are following suit, keeping their posts to a few sentences or paragraphs. I wouldn’t rule out connecting some day in a way that suits your interests and restrictions.

    As for RL, I wish I had an answer for that. I have frustrating days when I put aside my plans because more pressing issues appear out of nowhere. Maybe that’s why I keep trying to practise equanimity, hoping someday to achieve that state!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 27 September, 2015 6:28 pm

      Actually, I’m probably ridding myself of a small bit of my ‘frustration’ and connecting by posting comments and replies on other people’s blogs, like I do with yours. Maybe this will have to be the height of my great ‘writing career’ in this life.

      I feel that successful prolific writers actually have to be almost selfish – and/or to be lucky enough to have/pay someone else to do all their chores and to cook their meals. As well as having boundless energy of course!

      Like

  3. 24 September, 2015 7:38 pm

    I just LOVE the idea of blogging and having one’s own blog site….. (I so enjoy reading yours, Marsha) Problem is, I would be SO unprolific and so irregular (when I say ‘irregular’ I’m meaning more like months rather than weeks – more like only twice a year if lucky). I love reading and writing and going on forums, but – frustratingly! – my health isn’t always brilliant and I can get easily mentally-fatigued (yes, just getting through an ordinary day, would you believe it!) and need – or, should be having – around nine to ten hours sleep. Also, there’s that bo-o-oring – well, scary actualy – little thing known as RL (Real LIfe)…..

    I guess the only time I’ll be able to guilt-free-ly ‘drift and dream’ will be in the next life.
    Meanwhile there’s all those dreary chores that must be done, with recovery-time needed between each one (talk about ‘living on borrowed time’!).
    Consequently, I’m often behind, having not left enough time to fit things in, so there’s always those same old dreary annoying chores still needing to be done.

    When all I want to do is read and write, drift and dream, blog and blog and blog and blog…..and play.

    You are amazing, the way you manage to achieve SO much, Marsha! What IS the secret, I wonder….. maybe you are simply blessed with abundant natural energy, don’t need a lot of sleep, get out of bed easily, and RL is no big scary deal for you.

    I just cannot imagine that – in today’s world – an output of one blog a year – or a few comments in a forum – would ever get me anywhere much. Meanwhile, I just dream on…..

    Like

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