Saturday, 3 November 2012

A Blog about Blogs

Oh dear. Blogs have been getting a bit of a kicking recently, haven't they? Various writers have come out publicly and announced that they've abandoned theirs, as the effort and energy put into them doesn't seem worth it. Others have thrown their metaphorical hats into the ring and admitted that they have reduced their blog posts from regular to intermittent, and that they don't follow, read or comment upon other writers' blogs any more as they no longer have the time.

I posted my first blog on May 5th, so obviously, I am not in a position to comment, but equally obviously, that has never stopped me in the past: I like blogs. I write this one, host interesting guests on it, and I read and comment on other blogs too. 

A blog is a way of getting instant feedback and staying connected to the world beyond one's mentally enclosed writing space. For those who don't want to tackle a whole book, a blog is a satisfying outlet for their writing talents. For the marvellous poets whose blogs I read, I guess it is the only way to reach readers, as poetry is an even more restricted field than prose.

I also value the discipline of having to produce a complete piece of writing nearly every week. As a procrastinator who, if they ever made it an Olympic sport, would be up there on the winner's rostrum, it as a good way to stay focused. And I freely confess that I have learned practically all of what I know about blogging and social media from reading other people's blogs.

Interestingly, for the first time in 17 years, several of my Yr 13 students have reported being told at University visits that a blog would be an asset to mention on their personal statements (Art and Design, and English and Creative Writing seem to be the courses that like them). Never happened before, and speaks volumes about the status blogging has achieved in the mainstream academic world. 

So I'm carrying on blogging. If for no other reason than it took me ages to lug The Pink Sofa up three flights of stairs to the tiny garret at the top of Hedges Towers, where I write. And I've just finished assembling the white birch coffee table, which I had to do in Swedish as they sent the wrong instructions. 

How about you, though? Bloggerphile, or bloggerphobe? Feel free to share your thoughts...

53 comments:

  1. Great post, as always, Carol!

    I'm a fan of blogs, as long as I don't have to write them. Everyone else's blogged thoughts always seem to flow so nicely - whereas, as soon as I have a guest blog to write, my mind empties.

    Unless people want me to regale them with the risks and issues logs from my current NHS projects, which my mind is crammed with? No, thought not.

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    1. Thanks Juliet. When are you going to start blogging? Your fanclub awaits!

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  2. Yours is one of the few I read...!! Oh, hurrah - have a few people finally realised that YOU DON'T HAVE TO BLOG ALL THE TIME JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE ONCE TOLD YOU THAT ALL WRITERS MUST HAVE A BLOG???

    If your posts are interesting and well written, (and preferably not about your 'Indie Author Journey') people will read them, follow your blog, comment on them and pass them on. Which makes the whole thing worth doing. I always went 'pfft' about blogging - I use mine only when I have something about which I want to write; I cannot see the point of 'trying to think of something to blog about' - BUT lately I have found that I'm getting more blog followers, and a fair few people have told me that they love my posts, and even asking when my next rant will be... oh dear, maybe I ought to think of something to blog about this week....!!!!

    JOKE!! What I'd suggest to anyone is - if you have something to say, write about it. If you haven't, don't. Spend the time writing your novel or going for a nice walk. And don't get me started on all these 'blog hops' and 'blogger awards' - absolutely NO OFFENCE meant to all the very nice people who have invited me to take part in these things, but really!

    To sum up - if you're writing because you have points that are leaping out of your head to be made, write your article (I hate the word blog). If not, write your poems/short stories/number three in your epic fantasy series, whatever. I'm still not convinced that blogging drives people to buy your books - and you run the risk of becoming known as a blogger, not a novelist, too.

    Amen - I can feel a blog post coming on....!!

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    1. Oh TT! Where would I be without you!!!There are some bloggers who are vanilla, and blog because it's the 'done thing' - though any mainstream publisher will now insist that you have a blog - I went to the RNA London Chapter meeting couple of weeks ago and the editor of Choclit said they expect ALL their writers or prospective writers to have a blog/use social media. Funny thing: Charles Dickens' Household Words, publ. 1860's reads, in many parts, like a blog!!There. Historical precedent!

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    2. I heartily agree with you. Unfortunately, not all pub houses agree. As a first time published author, I'm their marketing b**ch, meaning I am contractually obligated to blog/FB/Twitter/bloghop/monkeydance. Really, anything they decide might sell a couple of more books.

      I refuse to endlessly tubthump for myself or other house authors, and I find publishing articles tiresome. So they get zombies, rants, random thoughts...things that amuse me, and I hope entertain anyone who shambles by.

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  3. I blog because it's fun - when it stops being fun, I shall stop doing it.

    But I do wonder if they have run their course as a way for writers to develop a platform. I bump into the same people - on their blogs, on comments to other blogs - and we are all funny and thoughtful and supportive. I'm happy with that for now, but can see why some people are wondering if they are worth the effort. And it will be interesting to see how many are still around to comment when they don't have a blog up themselves.

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  4. I love blogging. I've met so many great people, like you, through my blog. I wouldn't give that up. :)

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  5. For me blogging has been an end it itself: a way to get started, an outlet for exploring subjects I like to write about, and most importantly, a way to connect with other people, especially writers. For long stretches of time these things have been enough for me.

    I have actually made some surprising connections and benefited in ways I did not expect and have generally found blogging to be a delightful experience. It's definitely better than what I did for years before: writing in journal and after journal and putting the journals on a shelf or in a drawer. It's a vast improvement on that! I've also enjoyed reading the blogs of others and have learned a great deal about different styles and approaches.

    If I were trying to make money or get famous, I can see how I would get frustrated with blogging. Not that I would be upset if these things happened but I guess it depends what you want and what you expect. Thanks for coming to the defense of blogging!

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    1. I've met amazing people via this and other blogs too, Carol. I don't see it as necessarily as a money maker - I can probably count on the fingers of one foot the paople who've bought my books as a result of reading my blogs. But it's the fun and feedback that I like, and as you rightly say, the chance to experiment with writing styles. Thanks for your comments!

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  6. For me there is no better thrill~
    Than the life I lead as a Bloggerfile~
    To abandon such should be frowned upon~
    So I urge...Dear Bloggers...Do Blog On!~~~~

    ( I enjoy reading your stuff...it's good stuff...Long live the Stuff! )

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    1. I wish I could reply in verse/ But far from good, it'd only be worse/Than trying to say thanks a lot mate/ your comments I appreciate. (Move over William McGonagal)

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  7. Carol, I've been blogging for six years now and I love it still. I spend more time reading blog posts and commenting on others's blogs than I ever do on FB or Twitter. I have learnt a huge amount from blogging and bloggers all over the world. I have friends now in Australia, Canada and even Finland through blogging, and I have even met and visited some of the more distant bloggers. The point is that it does take discipline to keep it up. My feeling is that if people didn't flood Twitter quite so much, their followers might have more time and interest in clicking on their blog posts. I don't know for sure as I'm still learning about Twitter, but I do know that I sometimes find the sheer numbers of tweets mean that I just skim over them until something jumps out at me and it's often linked to an interesting blog. I shall, myself, remain true to my blog and I just hope my friends writing contacts will keep coming by.

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    1. Respect! I'm just edging towards 6 months! I agreee, Twitter can bombard - I also post links to my blog on my FB site, and so 'other people' can refer to it. I love the comments (such as yours) becasue they are more personal than on Twitter! Thanks again Val, and good to meet you!!

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  8. I love blogging, and love visiting blogs of friends/ followers. I love all the travel blogs with lots pictures. Don't think I will ever stop blogging, for it is a great outlet.
    Happy Blogging!!!

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    1. I agree - I love travel ones! Been to some great countries, via a blog!

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  9. Really enjoyed this post. Like you I'm a newbie and I love it! But possibly even more than the fun of it, I have learned so much from all the creative and inspirational writers I have met online. Blogging has opened up a whole world, a writing community, I would never have known about if I hadn't started reading others blogs, and writing one of my own.

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    1. Me too! And commenting on them. I remember when I got my first comment! It was like getting a 5 star review! Thanks for sharing - keep blogging.

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  10. I love my blog and can't see giving it up anytime soon!!

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  11. I began my blog as a travel journal for friends and family when my husband and I uprooted our kids for a family sabbatical. I immediately fell in love with the medium. Blogging allowed me to share our experiences through words and pictures and stay connected to others while on our adventures in foreign lands (like California). Since returning home, I have continued to blog out of pure addiction.

    Now that I have more time, I would love to support other writers through blogging and make new connections with like-minded folks.

    Thanks for starting this conversation! I will read on...

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    1. That's the nice things about the genre - you can do almost anything, meet almost anyone, and it's your own space!Thanks for your comments

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  12. Lovely to meet you too, Carol! Actually, when I started blogging, it never occurred to me to link it to my writing. That's only happened this year since I started on Twitter! I just like blogging for the contact it gives me with people in other countries and also with people who speak my language :) Even if I stop everything else, I'll keep on blogging. Twitter brought me to you, but it's your blog and this contact that will mean the most to me.

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  13. I'm not sure why this didn't post before but there are several reasons why I blog:

    I blog because it is FUN and a good discipline.
    I like reading other people's blogs to get a feel for their style and body of work
    It is sociable - you make some new friends by doing it, and since writing is a solitary profession, that is important
    It promotes your own work to some degree

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    1. Thanks Caro - I think you have summed up exactly how I feel in 4 sentences!

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  14. I blog because it has become a habit and because I made friends through blogging that I have kept in touch with for the past 4 years through blogging. I know as many details of their lives as I do with many of my close friends. I've 'been there' when they shared good and bad news. I've even met some of fellow bloggers in real life - these things matter to me.

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    1. Me too Dee. Not met anyone other than Tallii, yet, But agree about getting to know people.

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  15. I am tempted to say 'I blog therefore I am,' but I am only partly joking. Agree with Terry about not having a blog for the sake of it. Back in April I was doing daily blog posts as I had read it was a good thing for writers (I was a newbie). After a month, I thought WTF, I am spending more time on the blog than I am writing, although I have to admit, knowing I had to blog that I had done my 1000 words min per day, made me do it. I then changed my blog to a couple of times a week, and then as many will know (if they have been on Twitter this weekend) I have used it to facilitate my book launch. Plus I do guest posts for other writers, which I actually enjoy and it makes me read books, something I find goes on the backburner when I am writing. So I will continue blogging (and I enjoy it) but not to the detriment of my writing.

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    1. I started doing far more blogs than I do now. But good practice. I like hosting too ( May be sending an invite your way after Christmas..) as it brings different people to the site. Also, I like doing non-writing pieces - like my fight with the local council. Blogs are so veersitile. Bit like their writers!

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  16. Great post, Carol. I just forget about my blog most of the time. I'm always too busy writing and wasting time on Twitter and Facebook. Time wasting takes loads of effort.I do a blog for Choc Lit and I do like to read others. When I have a particularly good idea I might blog, but that's it. I think I should try harder and not be distracted be others. (That was on one of my reports when I was a kid.)

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  17. Hi Carol, blogging is fun for me, too, and it's great being in touch with other bloggers. I do occasionally feel the anxiety of not knowing what to post for the week when my writing/revision and teaching get heavier, but I try to keep in touch and at least post a picture or a few lines that will (hopefully) brighten a stray reader's day.

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  18. I like my blog and I'll never abandon it, but I do think blogs have lost the impact they used to, as more people migrate to the immediate fixes of FB and Twitter.

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  19. Mandy - the words'wasting time' are interesting. OK, I don't think it is a waste of time, but, you and Talli, I do think that blogs are more substantial. Twitter and FB are a bit like an instant snacky thing.A blog is a main meal. For me. I think it will be a sad day when people can't be bothered to write/read blogs. (yup, I take on board that you both have blogged FAR longer than me!)

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  20. I just started my blog last February and it definitely takes time away from my other writing. I also feel pressure to do it, since I post (or have basically promised to post) a "meeting" every Monday. But I love the feel of accomplishing a piece quickly, relative to a novel, and the instant feedback. Writing novels is lonely so the blog keeps me going.

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    1. Absolutely. And writing a novel is HARD WORK - sometimes it's nice just to do a little complete bit of work - like a lovely little chocolate...

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  21. I have very mixed feelings about blogs, especially those of newbie or want to be writers. It's not a judgement on writing quality, but more a case of wondering at whom the blogs are aimed. Most consist of pimping their own work or that of friends, which gets old fast, or tutorials on now to get an agent/write a query/find a publisher/etc. In other words, they seem aimed at other neophyte writers. I guess I question how effective they are in interesting those who are purely READERS. I wonder if having to look at the framework of a business might have a soupcon of Toto pulling the curtain aside, spoiling the often a magical experience of dropping into a story.

    As a lifelong reader, I have to admit that those types of blogs rarely get a second look from me. The ones I return to are the blogs that show who the author is as a human being; bits of their lives mixed in with thoughts, quirky observations, humor--the same things that bring a character to life in a novel endear certain authors to me. A bit about their writing process is welcome, of course, but the bare business bones... not so much.

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  22. Has anyone here thought of putting their writing on a blog? That's what I have always done - okay, I know I said I didn't link my blog to writing and that's true - about my main blog. However, my current work in progress is always posted on a separate blog and I have just a few friends who read each chapter and give me feedback. It keeps me going when I feel like giving up. As someone with a full time day job, I think the support of regular readers for the chapters of my books is the only reason I've managed to finish three of them! I'm struggling my way to my fourth - not easy with work and studies, but I plod on simply because I have a few great friends across the world who keep me at it! Blogging is brilliant for all sorts of reasons :)

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    1. A lot of people do post their writing - or exceprts from it. I'm going to do this shortly. think though, on a main blog, it might put readers off - that's why I like a variety of things and toipics on mine. Good luck with the book.

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  23. Hi Carol,
    Good blog post about blogs. I write my blog pretty regularly (usually 2 to 3 times a week) and started posting seriously in March, about the same time as you. The number of "visits" to my blog varies between 1,000 to 3,000 a month and looking at the posts that get the most reads it's the one that I don't plan, but come rather from a spontaneous thought. Do you find the same, Carol, or do you plan ahead? The one thing you do that as yet I don't is to invite guest bloggers, which is something I must rectify!

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    1. I plan, usually. Starting on Thursday, then working through to posting it on Sat. Sometimes I do just let rip - the Waterstones post, for instance, and yes, sometimes the spontaneous blogs to get the highest 'hits'. As for inviting guests - I've nagged you about this!!!! Do it. It's great fun, and draws a different traffic to the site.

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  24. Hi Carol

    Totally agree with everything you say. I love my blog. It's a shop window for my writing. I can't honestly see why anyone should buy my book just because I tell them it's good. However, if they read my blog they might get a feel for the way I write and see I set a certain standard. I try to keep it eclectic, fast paced and always different.

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    1. That's right. Blogs do give a flavour of 'the writer behind the words'. Tho god knows what anyone following mine must think! Thanks for leaving a comment! Hate to be sexist - but blokes are a lot less forthcoming! Which is a shame, for the very reaasons you outline!

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  25. Secondly to my comment above, congratulations on starting such an interesting discussion!

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    1. You never know what's going to provoke discussion - That's the fun of it. Interesting to see what next week's blog (bit more controversial) elicits. Thanks TT.

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  26. I love my blog. I've blogged for several years now, every week on a Sunday. It forces me to stop, sit down and think of words to put down - a task I could otherwise avoid until forever. It helps me to connect with my readers, people who've bought one of my books can look me up and read my views on...well, yes, mostly on cake and kittens and why sheep suck time and stuff like that, but it's important that I keep an online 'presence', just in case someone likes something I've written enough to want to talk to me.
    Sigh. No-one wants to talk to me...

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    1. Well, that is SOO not true, babes. Get Over Yourself! Agree that blogs are a good way to introduce yourself. I think they are part of the whole package - Twitter, FB, etc. After a while, your name and books slide subconsciously into people's minds. Then they buy them. Well, thats the master-plan. Failing dismally at the moment, but I'm sticking with it.

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  27. Bloggind is awesome! I will never stop it. It's great to talk with readers and have some feedback.

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  28. I agree with you Cazza! I find it's good discipline to try and write a bit of something not 'novel-related' every week or so. It stops me from disappearing up my own, er, 'plot' and gives me a chance to try and touch on movies and things that interest me, hopefully giving anyone who stumbles across it a bit of a laugh on the way!

    Anything else, like billions of hits or book buyers is a bonus - I'm gonna blog on til I bore myself or I get zero visitors, whichever comes first ;)

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  29. Blogs can be wonderful in another way. They help people to realize whether they are just parochial, frogs in the well who don't want to associate beyond their own boundaries - of nation, culture, race, gender, or what have you. If a blogger finds that he/she enters the blog space of the "other" as opposed to the "self" then he is a blogger indeed. Remember how Shakespeare kept peeping into Cleopatra's Egypt, Othello's mysterious identity, Shylock's Jewish experience, apart from the European world around him?

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  30. With a bit of encouragement from me, my friend & recovering locked-in patient Peter Coghlan has just started blogging and it's a great way for him to connect with fellow LIS sufferers. LIS is an extremely rare condition which the medical profession have yet to understand, so Peter's posts are not only proving therapeutic for him personally, but his experiences are helping others in a similar position.....both practically and by offering them hope.

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