A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on why I blog, where I explained that I blog because I love it. (if you missed it you can find it HERE).
But... over the weekend I had someone ask me, once again, why I blog--and this time it was someone live and in person, looking at the dark circles under my eyes (I've had quite a few late nights lately) and the way my skirt was falling a *little* too low on my hips (haven't had as much time to eat as I should) and the stray cat hair on my sweater (I didn't have time to use the lint brush before I ran out of the house in a mad-dash because--as always--I had 10,000 things to do and not enough time to do them) (have I mentioned how HAWT I've been looking lately?) and, well, I realized my usual answer of: "I blog because I love it" probably wasn't going to satisfy.
Let's face it: blogging is a lot of work. ALL social networking is. After all, you have to put yourself out there by writing posts, tweeting, sharing stuff on your wall--all of which should, in *theory*, be mildly interesting/informative/entertaining (which is much easier said than done, let me tell you). AND, you need to reciprocate. Respond to tweets, @mention people, "like" things, comment on blogs (which, sadly I'm kind of neglectful of lately--sorry guys, blame WriteOnCon!). Not to mention the emails (ohhhh, the emails).
All of which does beg the question of: WHY????
Why bother with this huge, time sucking thing?
"Does it make money?" the person asked me. To which I said, "No, if anything it costs me money because I like to give away a lot of prizes to thank my followers for coming by."
So then, WHY? Why use so much time and energy and effort for it? I can't possibly love it THAT much. What do I get out of it?
And here's the thing--the thing I tried to explain to them. I do blog because I love it. And the second I stop loving it I will stop blogging. But yes, it's work--and I try to treat it like a job. Because, to me, it IS part of my job.
No--writers don't HAVE to blog. But I do think they should--IF they can do it in a way that's fun and appealing and clearly shows that they enjoy it. Not because I think it will significantly increase book sales (I have a hunch that many of you who have clicked "follow" or "friend" will never end up buying my book.) Not because I think an editor will stumble across my blog and offer me a MEGA-SIZE BOOK DEAL because they loved what they saw. (ha, if I was counting on that I'd probably churn out posts with a few less parenthetical interruptions) But because I personally think networking is an invaluable resource.
I found my CPs through my blog. I found the WriteOnCon girls through my blog, and got invited to be a part of that amazing project. I also met all The Bookanistas through my blog. None of that makes me money--but all of it does help my career, either by improving my writing, letting me give something back to the industry, and giving me a TREMENDOUS support group to lean on during the frustrating or confusing tides of this business. Plus, I've met all of YOU, whose comments and support are 100% invaluable.
Not to mention, I've connected with agents, total literary rock-stars, book bloggers, teachers, and librarians through this blog. All of which helps me to be a PART of an industry that is centered in a state far, far away on the other side of the country and well beyond my reach otherwise. Which makes this whole dream feel REAL. Yeah, my book isn't on shelves yet. But I am part of his industry. A small, insignificant, largely unknown part--but A PART.
So I put the time and effort into blogging. I network. And I will continue to network, no matter how much "work" it turns out to be. Will I sometimes have to take breaks? I'm sure. Will I ever need to scale back? Maybe--who knows? But as long as I can, as much as I can, I WILL be blogging/tweeting/FB-ing/CONNECTING with people. Because it's important.
And...because I love it.
What about you guys? How do you feel about social networking? And how do you balance it with writing?