Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's going on?

Yesterday, Theresa Milstein had a brave and honest post about writing and blogging, real life and choices, and the very real economic and opportunity costs and consequences of each. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you should.

Because I think a lot of us face those questions to some degree or other, as it seems a whole host of people have been/currently are/will soon be unplugged.

There are blogs out there telling you how to write a blog, blogs devoted to writing better blogs, blogs telling you how to make money writing blogs. None of which is wrong or bad. But blogging is time consuming.

And on top of everything else, it seems everywhere we look lately, blogs and platforms and branding are touted as not only necessary but de rigueur for writers seeking publication. Behler Blog weighed in here with a slightly different take on the subject that I thought was an interesting read.

All that being said, I'd like to ask: Why do you blog? What do you want it to be? Hobby? Job? Hybrid? Do you get what you want from it? How much time do you spend? Would you stop? Why?


  1. Interesting questions, and I'm having trouble answering them. Read my own blog to find out why.

  2. I blog because....hmmmm...well....I like it? Kidding. Well, I do like it. ;-) I blog because I wanted to share my publishing journey with other people/writers. I do get what I want from it, it's really a wonderful tool for me. I meet new people and learn stuff from other blogs. I spend A LOT of time on it. I didn't realize how time consuming it would be, but I like it - so it works. I would only stop if my blog consumed more time than I had...which hasn't been a problem thus far. Whew...that's good too, because I really like it.

    Matthew Rush is doing a guest blog for me today. Check it out on my blog if you get a chance. Thanks.


  3. Blogging is time consuming and when I first started I really didn't think about all the work I'd have to put into it. I spend at least a few hours throughout the day on blogger and if I was told to stop I would definitely give that person attitude because I love it!

    It's an outlet for me, it is also a place to learn about others craft and also get to know a little bit more about the publishing world. Now I would consider it a platform, however that wasn't the original intent. I had never expected to have anyone actually wanting to read my stuff or pay attention to it let alone comment! I suppose everything changed at that moment!

  4. I did start blogging as a way to join the writing community. Before I started, another blogger had suggested I give my blog a theme, that it's easier to focus the posts and ideas that way, so I borrowed a theme from my manuscript and have found the whole process to be very rewarding. Time consuming? Oh, definitely. But worth it :)

  5. I blog because it is fulfilling for me. I really, really like connecting with people with the same goals (and who are just as crazy) as me.

    Some days I don't feel like blogging so I don't. I try to not make it feel like work.

  6. Anne, I did. :)

    Justine, all great reasons to blog. I'm thrilled you get so much from the experience. I get that, too. So I continue to blog for probably the same reasons that I continue to write. And I will stop by your blog today. :)

    Jen, I think we all spend several hours a day on our blogs. :) I hear you about it being an outlet. And I think you're farther along your publishing journey than I am, so it's great you blog is a platform.

    Joanne, very cool that a theme from you MS became your blog theme. And it is a great way to join the writing community.

    Jade, you're right. It shouldn't feel like work. And us crazy people, aka people with the same goals gotta hang together. :)

  7. I started blogging as a business investment: I had heard that having an active blog made people more interested in a writer's site. It gradually became a place where I could let out my thoughts and ramble ... and the fact that people actually commented occasionally was an unexpected cherry on top. ;-)

    More lately, I've enjoyed reading and commenting on other people's blogs. It's great to see what folks are thinking and sound off in replies like this one.

    I sort of still keep an eye on "I shouldn't go too long without a post," but recently, that hasn't been a problem.

  8. I started my blog as a challenge to myself. I've always been a terrible diary/journal keeper, and I've had unsuccessful blogs in the past.

    So, as one of my New Year Resolutions, I decided that I was going to start a blog and write as close to every day as possible. I've come pretty darn close to that, close enough that I feel fulfilled.

    What I found out afterwards was that there was this vast community full of inspiration and support, and now that I've tentatively stuck my anchor in with all of you, I'm none too eager to pull it out.

    But could I give it up? Sure I could. I wouldn't like it, but the hurt would fade in time.

  9. This is a good question! I blog for fun, for a platform incase I ever get an agent and a book deal, and to feel a part of a community!

  10. I began blogging because I wanted to feel apart of the writing community. I've met so many wonderful people from doing it and I'm so grateful. I don't blog a lot about my novel, but I do blog about the writing journey in general - it's a wild ride and I'm proud to be apart of it.

  11. I started a blog because I read agents will want their clients to get one, so I started early. I never thought I'd actually get followers, so it's been a nice surprise. I was just posting little shorts, and people came to read them. I have a set time to blog each day before I go to work. When I get home, I write, but leave blogger up so I can comment when new posts go up where I follow so I can write and keep up with everyone. It is a chore at times, but a fun one.

  12. I blog as a hobby. I continue because I enjoy the camaraderie I've found here. On average I do about 15 posts a month - so half of the time. I spend about 1 hour per morning reading/commenting and then I check back in the evenings when I'm procrastinating on opening the WiP.

  13. Great topic! I recently responded to Elana Johnson's blog saying that I blog because I like to. I don't think about it much, I just... blog. I have my theme and my audience in mind, and then I take it from there. I did start blogging as a platform, I admit, but now it's become so much more than that. This is a community that I absolutely love, and whether or not I ever get published, I'm just so glad to be part of something like this.

  14. For me, blogging has been an exciting learning adventure. By going to other blogs, I've learned so much about the road to getting published. I also like making connections with other writers. Plus, it's giving me more confidence as a writer. I think I'm getting addicted ...

  15. I started in Nov. to be connected with a few of my nano-writing buddies for the month, with intentions of taking it down afterward. But we wanted to stay in touch, so I kept it, and it grew.

    It IS time consuming (not the posts...those I whip out in a couple of minutes, and I only post 2-3 times/week. But the best part of blogging is READING all of YOUR blogs...some of you are so funny, smart, thoughtful, interesting, etc., etc. And then I feel compelled to comment and say hello and give love, let you all know I'm listening, I'm reading, I care, I feel you.
    THAT is where the time suck goes down. But, I love you guys. You're my people. Part of my wolf pack.
    I have no system. I use a reader, but it tweaks often. So I just kind of win my way around, haphazardly, a little in the morning, a little at night.

    Have a happy Tuesday!

  16. Blogging has stimulated more writing and more ideas. I have made connections that could not happen in any other way. I post twice a week, read nearly every day, and it keeps the momentum going. I'm finally acknowledging the award you gave me, today, on my blog!

  17. Interesting post, as usual, and equally interesting links and questions.

    Not being a blogger, but just a reader, I can't really give an answer, yet from what I can gather it seems more a way to share one's thoughts with like-minded people, to be part of a community: a good, supportive and thoughtful community.

    If writing is a lonely business, this is the place where one can find friendship and encouragement, a way to exchange ideas and feelings: it might be time-consuming, but somehow that feels like time well spent, because – as it happens with many aspects of life – there's nothing more helpful than a good discussion with friends, to help us focus on goals or solutions.

  18. First off, thanks for pointing the way to Theresa's post. I'm the flip side of her dilemma, stuck in a job because I need a paycheck. For 25 years.

    Anyway, to answer your questions:

    As you know, I tried blogging. I'm very easily discouraged. I wasn't getting a message out at all. I had no idea how to get followers (other than my buddies, of course). I didn't feel I had anything relevant to say. So I quit.

    Am I glad I did? I don't know. Blogging at least made me write, or try to write, daily. However, I also felt like a bit of a failure. And I felt that ultimately it was a way for me to put off really writing--I could feel accomplished if I posted a few paragraphs but I'd never really write anything else.

    Thus, I quit.

    As far as branding it concerned, for me it seems like the cart before the horse. Until I finish something to legitimize myself, I don't think I should be trying to market my brand. I don't have one yet. Fanfiction writer extraordinaire just doesn't seem to be a brand that will get me anywhere...

    Is it?

    I'm just glad you have a blog where I can vent and not do the heavy lifting.

  19. There are some days when I just want to stop. I'm so afraid that if I don't read everyone's posts and/or comment on everything they have to say, I'm going to hurt someone's feelings. But the fact is that I'm only one person and I can only do so many things in one day. I can't tie myself to the computer when I have to get to work, take care of the kitty, clean, eat, shower, sleep, exercise, oh, and do that thing that started all this: write.

    I have met such incredible people through the blogosphere. I've often wondered why I can't find nice people like this in the "real world." And I want to continue my relationships with them, supporting them and having them support me as we seek publication together.

    It's good to know, though, that they all are feeling the pressure of blogging, too. Which is strange, considering how laid back most of us seem to be. At least we can know we all understand each other...

    in regard to blogging, anyway.

  20. I started blogging to beef up my writer's platform, but I found lots of other reasons to keep posting. Not the least of which is all the friends I've made in the blog-o-sphere!

  21. For me, it's a hobby. I want to and enjoy getting to know people and learning about the industry. I don't think my blog will help me get published or be the next big thing, but I enjoy it.

  22. Blogging has become both my foundation and my life-force as a writer. I can no longer imagine myself as a writer without this network of support and encouragement.

  23. I find this subject facinating. I would never stop blogging, I've met too many wonderful and supportive people in the blogosphere. Orignially, I started blogging because I thought "that's just what writers do". And, in part, that's true. But It has become so much more. A way to meet people and connect. I love it. It is, however, very time consuming. :)

  24. Sarahjayne, thank you very much for linking my blog. Today, I've had a tough, chaotic teaching assignment with hardly a moment to relax, but each time I've checked my blog, I've had more and more comments and followers. Now I know that it's in part because of you.

    Writing the post was difficult because I shared many of my insecurities and failings. I was worried that it was too maudlin, but it seems to have resonated with many people. The outpouring of comments has meant a lot to me.

    Why do I blog? I think I said it in my post. I started it to find the humor in subbing, but also to reach out to other writers. The blogging community has been more supportive than I could've imagined. But I think it's a mistake to just do it for a platform. If the blogger isn't writing from the heart or at least from a vast well of expertise, then the blog won't probably won't catch on.

  25. Hi Sarahjayne! Good question... I started blogging as a way to convince myself I was going to be a writer. Now I blog to mainly grow into my writing 'voice', but I love connecting with other people as well! Blogging though is a full-time commitment if you want to use it as a platform, and what with busy job, trying to finish first novel, commuting - I don't get as much time as I would like. But I'll get there one day!

  26. Lindsey, it’s interesting that you started as an investment and had it morph into something more relaxed and personal. I’m glad it’s working out for you.

    Summer, hee! I started my blog as a New Year’s resolution. And I’m glad you’re here.

    Aurie, thanks. And yay! for fun and community.

    Mary, it is a great way to find this community, isn’t it? And you’re right about it being a wild ride.

    Christi, wasn’t it amazing to see followers pop up like magic? I was blown away. BTW, your schedule sounds perfect.

    Tara, your schedule sounds perfect, too. And I so hear you about using the blog to procrastinate.

    Shelley, Elana’s blog is great, isn’t it? It’s very cool that you started your blog as a platform and found a community. I’m glad you’re here.

    Amy Jo, you’re right about it being a learning experience. And it is great for connectin. It’s easy to get addicted.

    Lola, ah, the good old days of NaNo. And you’re right. Reading is the time suck, but it is fun. And I’m happy to be part of your wolf pack.

  27. Great question. It's fun, it's great to connect with other readers and it's a brilliant way to build a platform. But it is time-consuming! I want to get around to everybody and sometimes I can't. I try to save blogging to the end of the day as a kind of 'treat' and to make sure it doesn't interfere with my writing.

  28. Mary, you’re right about the flow of good ideas through the blogosphere. And yay!for awards!

    Nym, you’re right. This is a place for writers to come together for help and ideas and support and it is not only helpful, it’s sometimes a lifeline to help us focus on the important stuff.

    Eva, I know that the whole blogging thing did not start well for you at all. I was kinda bummed to see you quit. That doesn’t make you a failure by any stretch of the imagination. But you’re right. It can be a way to put off real writing, which I’ve got to get to soon. I’m glad you can come here to vent, too.

    E. Elle, I hear you about being one person with only so much time. I worry about hurting other people’s feelings, especially if I’m following them and they don’t follow or ever comment even if I try to comment. But there’s only so much you can do with all the other demands on everyone’s time. And you’re right. It is good to know we’re all in this together.

    B., I’m glad you found other reasons to stay here. :)

    Nisa, I’m glad you enjoy it. That seems to be a really good thing. :)

    Shannon, very cool that blogging has become such a foundation for you. I’m thrilled if I’m part of your support network.

  29. Kimberly, very cool that you'd never stop even with the demand of time. And yeah, there are way too many great people here. It's also way cool you started because that's what writers do. :) I'm glad we met and connected.

    Theresa, you're welcome. Sorry to hear about the brutal day, but I'm glad you found the support of fellow bloggers.

    Jayne, thank you and you're welcome. I love your name. :) And I'm sure you will get there one day.

    Talli, that's a brilliant idea to save your blogging to the end of the day so that it doesn't interfere. I run right to your blog hoping you have some pictures or tales of desert. :)

  30. I blog for a lifeline. It IS time consuming, but it's worth it. Relationships developed here are special... and it's so much easier to find those with whom we have common ground. A lot of my friends in life are more friends of convenience or circumstance. Here, I've found my soulmates. (Okay, I'm being dramatic. I have great friends, but sometimes I find my blog-friendships just as fulfilling.)

  31. Blogging is definitely time consuming, but it gives me a chance to combine two things I love: writing and photography. Plus I enjoy following other writers' blogs. I've found new writer friends. I've discovered great YA books because of recommendations from bloggers I follow. And I've discovered some interesting tidbits that I can apply to my writing. What more could a writer want? (other than an agent and book deal).

    The only downside is the time it takes away from my editing. :(

  32. That's how it started: a repertoire, a portfolio of my work. But then it spiraled into something more personal. Now I do it for fun (and writing practice). I don't get any negative feedback, unfortunately...

  33. I blog because I have a writer inside of me who needs an audience! I also really enjoy connecting to people. Surprising how involved I have become in some of the bogs I read!

  34. I've been thinking about this a lot lately too. I love blogging, and I lvoe reading other people's blogs. but it takes up so much time. I only 30 min.of writing in today after several hours on the computer. that's not okay. I think after I've established myself and a platform, blogging will have to cut back. maybe once or twice a week.

  35. I guess I blog to amuse myself, or to connect in some way with others. I love reading other blogs so much and now I can interact more with amazing bloggers. But that is really only half an answer. I'm not really sure why I'm blogging, I don't currently have an agenda or any reason other than I want to.

  36. I blog because it's my online journal. It's so much better because you are writing for an audience. It's also more motivating for students if they can write with a purpose and for an appreciative audience.

  37. I started a blog to try and train myself to write every day and to network with other writers. I need the support! SUPPORT ME!! :D