I don’t have to blog? Really? Why didn’t you say so? #amwriting #blogging #authorplatform

to blog or not to blog

When I started on my self-publishing journey, everyone (seriously, ev-er-y-one) said I had to build an author platform. An essential part of this platform they said is a blog. Like a good little girl (something I’m usually not), I set up a website and added a blog to it. In the beginning, I absolutely hated it. Hated. It. I could never think of anything to write and no one was reading it. Why was I even bothering?

On Monday, I read an article on blogging on how writers didn’t actually have to blog (see the original article here). Say what? Really? Why didn’t I read this three years ago? And why am I still blogging if I’ve been given an escape clause? I’ll tell you why.

Last year, I had a little hiccup with my copyeditor, which ended up with me having a few weeks of downtime while she edited my book. I absolutely refuse to start a new manuscript while in the middle of editing a book, which meant I finally had time to pick up my to do list. The first item on my to do list was to change my blogging platform. To my surprise and delight the mere changing of my platform increased my readership and number of followers. By the time I finally read the article on Monday about not having to blog, I was not as disillusioned about readership as I had been. And since my New Year’s Resolution was to blog often and consistently, I seem to spontaneously sprout blog ideas now.

My initial problems with blogging were blown out of the water. Here are some of the other reasons I continue to blog:

Showcase my writing style. I try – try being the operative word here – to write witty and funny blog posts. My books are – or at least the idea is that they are – funny. Blogging is a great way to show off my writing style and maybe, hopefully, gain some readers for my books.

Good practice. In addition to showcasing my writing style, blogging is a great way to practice my writing on a small scale.

Share my knowledge (such as it is). I write a lot of blog posts about writing. This isn’t because I’m an expert, but rather that I wish I had read about this or that topic when I started out. When researching a blog article about author interviews last week, for example, I found tons of articles on questions to ask, but nothing on how a writer should answer those questions.

Analyze marketing results. I’ve been embarrassingly lax in analyzing the marketing pushes I’ve done. Instead, I’ve concentrated on trying just about anything (except running through Times Square naked, although I’ve thought about it). When I got serious about blogging, I decided to write an article or two on marketing and this forced me to start analyzing what was and what wasn’t working.

I have a lot to say. All the above are perfectly valid reasons for blogging but one of the most obvious reasons I blog is because I have a lot to say. I’ve always been a nerd who likes to research anything and everything. I also like to discuss topics (some would say ad nauseam) and boy do I love to argue…erm… debate. Although I do try to stay away from political topics, my blog is pretty much a free for all. I’ve written about everything from trying to find English books to Istanbul to walking through a demilitarized zone to finding reviewers for my books. Some may say I never shut up. They would be wrong because – unlike my husband – I don’t talk in my sleep.

Do you blog? If you do, why? What keeps you blogging?

i think ie i blog

Why writing a blog is (sometimes) more difficult than writing a novel

Yeah, you read that right. Sometimes writing a blog is more difficult than finishing a novel. And now you think I’ve gone from slightly loco to completely bonkers. While I may admit to being slightly loco at times and often even bonkers, I’m trying to be serious here. On Sunday afternoon, I was staring at my blank computer screen and wondering what in the world I was going to blog about now! I may have been getting just the teensy weensy bit annoyed. Why oh why does writing a blog article seem like so much work? Oh wait – maybe this is a good blog idea. I put my thinking cap on and came up with three reasons why I struggle with blog writing:

  1. Brevity. Blog articles need to be short. I always aim for around 500 words. Seems easy, right? Wrong! Because the blogs are brief, they need to be able to capture readers’ attention quickly. Otherwise, readers are just going to move onto the next blog or newsletter or social media website. This translates into trying to write a catchy introductory paragraph for Every. Single. Blog. If I wrote my novels in this manner, I’d never get past the first page. Can you say pressure?
  2. Time. Another pressure point. One of the most effective manners to gain readers for my books is to have a popular blog. Unfortunately, a blog in which there is no content is never popular. One of my writing goals for 2016 is to write two blog articles a week. I normally don’t give myself deadlines for my novels. I just write and write until I’m nearly finished. Then, I decide on a deadline and start going balls to the walls. In my case, blog writing is can be more stressful on a day-to-day basis.
  3. Time (again!). Because of the time pressure, there’s no time for beta readers or editing. Logically, I understand that most readers accept mistakes in blogs more quickly than in a novel. I have to admit, though, if I read a blog from a writer which contains a ton of mistakes, I’m not going to read their novels. I end up reading and re-reading my blog articles until my eyes are blurry. And I still miss mistakes! Which, in turn, stresses me out.

Luckily, not all days are like yesterday. I have a lot of days in which the words for a blog article flow so quickly from my mind that my fingers simply can’t keep up.