I get a lot of emails from people (which I am SO behind on btw--sorry!) asking about my blog. How did I build it up? Why did I start it? Did it help me get an agent? Do I have any tips to help them build theirs? Do they NEED to blog to get published? On and on and on.
And I always give them the same answer: I blog because I love it.
Here's the thing: Yes, having an online presence *can* be helpful to you on your publishing journey in small ways--but it will never replace the importance of writing a dang good book. (For a much more articulate analysis of this, see THIS post by Beth Revis). And--more importantly--life is WAY too short to waste you time on something you don't enjoy. Blogging can be a big time suck. So if it wasn't something I enjoyed, no way would I bother with it.
I started this blog for one reason and one reason only: to connect with other writers.
At the time, I didn't have any local writer friends, and I had no idea how to find them. I knew I was to the point of needing CPs, and I had no idea how to find those either. Plus, I realized I had a LOT to learn about publishing. So I did some google searches and wound up in the blogosphere and realized: everything I need is right here. So I jumped in.
Never once did I EVER think: this blog will help me get an agent or get published. In fact, I never had any intention of posting any sort of writing sample or WIP snippet to show it to the world in the hopes of discovery (to this day I have never posted what my book is about on my blog--and I won't until it sells. I'm weirdly paranoid about that.)
All I wanted was to meet other writers. Learn from them. Follow their journey. Hopefully make a few friends. And boy, did I.
I'm guessing that's one of the reasons why my blog following grew. I was blogging to get to know people, and some of them--amazingly enough--decided they wanted to get to know me too. And a lot of you I'm now proud to call my friends. Sure, most of you have never met me in person, but we talk almost every day, either through comments or emails. Some of you read my pages. Some of you even take my panicked phone calls. I would be lost without you. LOST.
So I keep blogging. And I feel bad when I miss a post or a week--not because I'm worried my hit traffic will drop (honestly, I only check statcounter to see what crazy google searches have led people here--not because I care) or because I worry some of those little smiling squares will go away. It's because I miss my friends. I miss the interaction.
I definitely do NOT look at that number above the little smiling follower faces and think it proves I have any more talent or popularity or coolness than anyone else--even those with a much smaller number. Nor do I expect that it will help me sell my book, when the time comes. And you guys shouldn't either. Don't judge yourself by your number of followers. Don't panic about online presence and think you won't get an agent or book deal without it.
Blog because you love it. And if you don't, then I give you permission right now to stop. Go find something you do love. And spend your time on THAT!