Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For the love of blogging

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!

23 comments:

  1. I think some big blogs have helped pushed the author to the bestseller list though. But I've also found books I love and that did well where the writers has a blog but not a highly frequented blog. It really does come down to the writing. We have to be online to connect and b/c we enjoy it.

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  2. I love blogging too. I've learned so much and met so many amazing people. It makes you feel part of a writing community. Writing can be a lonely thing, so it's nice to know others out there like you.

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  3. I think blogging is a way to let people know when you get an agent, get published, etc. But like you say, it's primarily a way for us to connect, make friends, and help each other. I've become friends with so many people through following their blogs and now through being part of a blog too.

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  4. I find it interesting that so many of us got into it for the same reasons, even if at different times and in different ways.

    Personally I was ready to give up on writing before I started my blog, because I didn't know a single writer in my "real" life and it's very discouraging trying to do it all alone.

    Since I started blogging I've built real friendships with real writers who are all over the spectrum when it comes to levels of experience and success. It's changed my life, and I love it.

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  5. I'm glad I started blogging--it's a lot of fun to connect with people through posts and comments, and find others who are doing the same thing you are/have the same interests.

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  6. I do post original work on my blog. But I find that having the pressure of writing at least one poem a week is good for my production.

    It's not the only reason I blog, and probably not the best reason either. But it works for me.

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  7. Yay!! I;m all for blogging for the fun of it!!! Seriously!! If I wasn't having fun, I'd have pulled the plug a long time ago!! Take care
    x

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  8. The community of writers is just amazing. I, too, have virtually met many folks whom I would not consider to be friends.

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  9. This is a great thing to keep in mind, and something I think I'd forgotten about lately. Thanks for the boost!

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  10. This is sooo true! I've made so many friends by blogging. Friends who I just can't imagine NOT talking to on a daily basis.

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  11. I have found so many wonderful friends through blogging. It's amazing. But you're right, writers shouldn't blog because they feel like they have to, they should only blog because they love it. Otherwise, their blog will fail and they'll give it up eventually.

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  12. Definitely! Blogging is like writing--you do it cuz you love it, and the other things happen as a result (but it's not the purpose). I have a lot of fun in the writerly community; writers are cool people! (that means you!)

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  13. I began blogging for most of the same reasons. It wasn't until then that I realized I needed CP's and knew a lot less than I thought I did. I'm like you--I miss everybody if I stay away too long. It amazes me how close we can feel to people we've never actually met! My hubby laughs at me all the time because I talk about blog friends as if they were "real". I tell him you ARE REAL!! LOL. :-)

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  14. LOVE this post, Shannon - it's so true. You need to blog because you love it, not because you think it's a means to an end (a book deal). Because it's not. You need to write the book!

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  15. If you can believe it, I was just sitting here with Dove chocolate in one hand and a Mocha frappachino in the other (can you say sugar rush?), sulking over blog woes. I was feeling a little lost and like I'm in a rut and now I know why...I've completely lost sight of why I loved doing it in the first place. You've officially made my day :)

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  16. Amen. I've felt awful about my lack of blogging lately, but not bc I fear losing followers. It's like you said-I'd hate to not be there for my friends every day.

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  17. So, so true. Blog only as much as you enjoy - my motto for some time now.

    Thanks for the great post!

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  18. I'm with you. I started blogging to connect with other like minded souls because I had two itty bitty babies and no way to visit the REAL world. Now, I've stayed because I love the interaction. Nice post!

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  19. I think the best part of this post is that it comes down to whether or not you enjoy blogging and what you give and get out of it. We have so little time to do everything as it is; it'd be so silly to dedicate any of our time to something we didn't like.

    Thanks for the reminder!

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  20. Good stuff!

    You know, I've found a weird side effect of blogging. My writing voice is developing. I mean, I blog general writing stuff foreign cultures and philosophy and my YA novels aren't necessarily about that, but writing so consistently (I'm not an every day creative writer) helps my MS!

    I started blogging to keep the ppl in the West up to date with my Japan adventures. It was only natural as I got more involved in writing to open up a blog more focused on that.

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  21. Great post. I like connecting with others through blogging. I also like hosting authors and their books.

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  22. Okay, so this was the post that got me off my backside. I've been so wishywashy about my own blog, so worried about posting that I've barely posted anything at all. All I want is to connect with other writers too, so I'm diving right in. Thanks Shannon!

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3