Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

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7 Reasons Why Writers Should Blog

May 31, 2015

blogging addictI’m a novelist at heart.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t. It’s time consuming and complex. But it is the writing form that calls to me.

It isn’t the only writing form I’ve tried, mind you. I’ve written essays, short stories, poems. Except for the essays (school related, primarily) the others will likely NEVER see the light of day.

First, because they are from a younger age, when I was experimenting with writing forms, and thus they have that cringe-inducing youthful earnestness to them that is still embarrassing.

Second, because they are not my strong suit and I know it.

I chose novels, or novels chose me. Whatever. My point is, this is where I spend the vast majority of my writing time. In Novel-Land. Working on novels.

When I’m not blogging, that is.

Somehow, I became this blogger–with short comics to go along. So I became this blogger/comic person in addition to a novelist.

I just launched a SECOND blog with comics, even. One about environmental activism.

WHY AM I DOING THIS?

WHY do I share my precious writing time with blogs and (short) comics?

Thinking on this led me to realize the awesomeness of blogging.

I think no matter what kind of writing you do, blogging is an excellent accompaniment.

Here’s 7 reasons why:

1. Reflection & Refinement

My blogs tend to be auto biographical, acting as a mirror that reflects back where I’m at, what I’m thinking. Not a journal, not a diary. It’s more polished than that (Get it? Okay, I’ll drop the mirror analogy).

It’s not stream of consciousness. It’s applied consciousness.

I focus on a concern, worry at it, explore it. Refine my communication of it. Isn’t that the essence of the writing life? Well, there it is in micro, when you blog.

2. Short and Sweet

Blogs are not meant to go on for pages. There is NO pressure to write FOREVER. It’s liberating, especially for a novelist who is typically aiming for a 90 000 word count.

3. Daily Flexing

I write on a consistent basis, either novel(s) or blogs/comics. If the novel is stuck or moving slowly, I can tap into the jazz of blogging and get the writing flowing again. I can access my creativity sideways.

4. Uncomplicated

Blogs do not demand intense historical research, complicated character emotions, a clear thematic statement, subplots, etc. Pick a topic. Write about it for a few paragraphs. DONE.

5. Let it Go

When I finally click the ‘publish’ button, I’m trusting that feeling inside that says ‘it’s done’. I’m letting it go. I’m not getting stuck in a self-recriminating editing rut. I’m trusting my writer’s voice. I’m trusting my writing intuition. It’s done. Let it go.

6. Writerly Pride

There is something supremely satisfying about finishing a piece of work and sending it out into the world…to be stumbled upon by unsuspecting Twitter followers or Google searchers.

I am writer, hear me roar.

7. Connection

I was once asked in a Facebook thread to sum up ‘what writing meant to me in one word’. I wrote: connection.

Thanks to the internet, I can be part of a writing community! I can contribute to the inter-connectivity of writers supporting and sharing! Maybe someone will not only find my blog but actually READ IT!  In the same way I sometimes stumble across other people’s blogs, and read it!

Sometimes what I read resonates! Maybe what I wrote will resonate with someone else! Just the possibility of that happening is VERY COOL.

So what are you waiting for? Start blogging!

Unless you are a writer/blogger all ready, in which case, you get what I’m saying, right?

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Self Promoting Without Cringing?

July 8, 2010


I’ve decided to try out Social Oomph to help manage my ‘on-line productivity’. Essentially, it lets you write Tweets ahead of time and program when they will be magically revealed…I’m using it to send out  the occasional ‘promotional’ blog tweet (for when I get back from holiday), highlighting some previous blogs/comics that haven’t been seen in awhile.

So I’m sitting here typing out a mass of promotional tweets…and I feel like my own ad-man. Its not a comfortable feeling. It’s like I’m putting adverts out hither and yon, so when your driving down the information highway you see:

Billboard #1: Hey Everybody! Come visit my blog!

Billboard #2: For a good time, come visit my blog!

Billboard #3: Did you see the sign? Did you visit my blog yet?

Billboard #4:Why haven’t you visited my blog yet?!

Billboard #5: Hey, You! Yes, You! You need to get your butt over to my blog!

Well, you get the idea…

It’s not just due to Social Oomph. Anytime I send out an ‘updated blog post!’ notice I experience the same feeling of self-consciousness….the Self-Promotional Heebie Jeebies…

I kind of just make myself write the thing, then close my eyes and click ‘send’…because of course I want readers. I write to be read, preferably now, when I’m alive. I’m certainly no Emily Dickinson, scribbling feverishly behind closed doors, hiding it all in a shoebox to be revealed after I’m dead…

And therein lies the crux. I want you to read this, but I don’t want to push it on you. I want you to know about this…but I don’t want to be impolite and bring it up all the time.

There seems to be a fine line between being a self-promotional Guerrilla Girl with the requisite moxie and derring-do to stand out from the crowd and be heard…and being an obnoxious, obvious pusher of ME ME ME. (How many promotional tweets is ‘too many’, for instance? Is one a day okay? Two?) It’s a line I don’t know how to walk very well just yet.  So I’ve been erring on the side of caution. (Perhaps too much caution?)

So far, I’ve been watching to see how others manage it, to get a sense of what’s considered okay or the norm. I also think building relationships is key, as is participating in the the writing community at large. You get to know and be known that way. Social media should be more than just pushing your own ideas; it’s a conversation. A dialogue, not a monologue.

When it comes time to publish my novel, whether as an indie or traditional, I know I’m going to have dig in and do even more self promotion. I hope it gets easier with practice. It seems to. Twitter and blogging have certainly made me build up my promotional muscles…and maybe Social Oomph will help me get an even more flattering self-promotional figure…

But if you’ve any suggestions on how I can do this without cringing, I’d love to know!

PS. This blog by Jody Hedlund (@JodyHedlund) inspired my own reflection on this matter.

PPS. Her blog is I also where I first came across the terrifying idea of hosting your own ‘themed book launch party’…

PPPS. If, by chance, one day I have to give my own ‘theme launch party’ I’ve decided its going to be an all out Regency Extravaganza with me in my best Jane Austen-esque ball gown, a buffet of Regency delicacies (like turtle soup), a whist card table in one corner (gambling optional), an open bar in the other (port, cordial & sherry mostly, with perhaps some home-brew Raspberry cordial), and quadrille dance lessons every quarter hour!

PPPPS  This is another helpful blog I’ve found re: authors using social media by C. Hope Clark (@hopeclark)

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5 Writing Super Powers I Would Like to Have

June 16, 2010

In a previous blog/comic, I talked about how I had a particular Writing Super Power—‘The Power of Concentration’—which allows me to write in the midst of video game music, Dora The Explorer TV shows,  ringing telephones & my husband playing the electric guitar (which lately has been replaced with the Ipad accordion & bagpipe apps)…

I’ve given some thought to it, and here are five more Writing Super Powers I would like to have:

1. Time Bending
Now I can ‘fast forward’ through tedious chores like sorting the laundry…and I can use ‘slow mo’ to make the good writing times last!

2. Time Travel
No more worrying about ‘historical accuracy’. Just travel to Regency London, don my pelisse and my pattens, and take it all in with my 5 senses! (Ew! So the Thames really did smell like a sewer in the summertime…)

3. Idea Projection
No need to fumble for my writer’s notebook when I’m in line at the grocery store! Instead, I just ‘think it’ and I send myself an email! My ideas are all safe & sound for when I get home!

4. Internal Critic Alert & Zap Gun
No more ‘I’m a terrible writer!’ or ‘I can’t do it!’—whenever those self doubts & anxieties arise, the alert sounds, the gun zaps and it’s all positivity, all the time! ‘You go, girl!’

5. Disappointment Deflector Shields
No more feeling down because the only person who visited my blog today got there by mistake (they were looking for online poker)… Instead, whenever discouraging events arise, I just say ‘Shields Up!’… so I can keep my head down…and keep on writing…

Wow! Don’t these Super Powers sound great? Now all I need is my ‘Writer Super Hero’ suit, and I’m all set….

PS. Can you think of any others?

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Why I’m Enthralled With Blogging…

June 8, 2010

 

On April 19th I made my writing goal official by sending it out into the electric ether via my blog (see my first blog ‘Hello Universe‘). I did it again a week ago, this time restating it on Twitter:

I have made the pledge: one year from today, my novel will be finished…(!)

Meaning that by next June, when I turn 40, my novel, my piece de resistance, my 10 year-ish labour of love, will finally be finished…

So obviously I should be squeezing every last drop of writing time out of my busy life and making my writing goal happen…

The trouble is…I am spending all of my writing time blogging! And I can’t seem to make the switch back!

Blogging is just so much more attractive right now. It’s like my novel’s handsomer cousin has shown up and whisked me away in his silver Porsche! (Vroom! Bye y’all!)!

Here’s why I think I’m so enthralled:

1. Blogs are shorter.
No ‘50,000 and up’ word count before you pass the finish line! Yippee!

2. Blogs are more straightforward.
No need to weave the complicated strings of plot, character, setting, theme, mood, imagery, etc. Just pick one topic and dive in!

3. Blogging is a form of self-support.
I work through my ‘writer issues’ in my blog. I self-reflect on the writing art, explain my processes to myself, & laugh at my foibles—which supports my larger writing life, keeping me from being too serious & grumpy.

4. Blogs can be read immediately by someone other than my husband.
With your blog, you can get reader interest & feedback NOW and that’s a positive WOW moment for a writer, to feel like you’ve communicated, you’ve made a connection—without having to jump through the traditional publishing hoops—

BUT…

What about my novel? We’ve got history, depth; a long-term connection. I do still love it. I know I’ll come back to it…eventually…

Blog vs. Novel. Novel vs. Blog. Why must I make a choice? There’s got to be a way to have both. There’s got to be a way to have everything…

I have a sneaking suspicion the answer lies (yet again) with The Writer (i.e.: me) giving up more time sleeping…just to have more time writing…

‘Writer’s Insomnia’, indeed!

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I Need A Business Cap…

June 4, 2010

Here’s a quote from Twitter that struck me awhile back: It’s by Colleen Lindsay, a lit agent in New York City. On May 31, she wrote:

“Writing may be an art, but publishing is a business. It’s best that writers remember that.”

Well, heck! No wonder I’ve been having panic attacks about query letters and story pitches, about trying to ‘sell’ my writing! It’s because I’m an artist! A writer! A dreamer! Not a business person!

I have a writing cap. There is no business cap in my closet.

But I really, really need to get one, it seems. (Can you get them off E-bay I wonder?). Not just for when its time to ‘pitch’ my novel (which isn’t done yet). But for now. Right now.

For my blog.

I started my blog on a lark, for ‘fun’. Then I went on Twitter, primarily to connect and share (which has been great! I love the Twitter writing community!)…but of course I wanted to get my ‘blog’ out there so the masses could appreciate my pithy commentary and sense of humor re: the writing craft….

Before I joined Twitter I had about 7 readers (friends, friend-of-friends and family). Then I went on Twitter and I had a one-day spike of 20 (20! Do a happy dance!), but that leveled off immediately to about…7 readers (and a big thank you to you all, my loyal follows, i.e. friends, friends-of-friends, and family).

My husband has encouraged me to tweet every time I put out a new blog post, which I started doing (feeling awkward, I’ll admit). But even still there’s only about…7 readers!

Maybe I need to tweet something like “Naked Pictures of Brad Pitt!”. That’ll bring the traffic in for certain…but they’ll all hate me forever once they realize I don’t have any blurry shots of Brad skinny dipping in Italy. And then no one will ever tweet me or visit my blog site ever, ever again. Not to mention Brad Pitt will probably sue me….

See why I need a business cap? Even a used one?

Hey, maybe Colleen Lindsay will lend me hers for a small fee…