To Blog or Not to Blog

blogging

One of my dear blogging friends, Paul, recently left me a comment asking me where I’ve been – in blogland that is, because I’ve been all over the place lately: I’ve been shopping, been to the movies, explored Melbourne with my Mum, been to Canberra to visit family… but I don’ t think that’s what Paul meant. It does however, bring me to the question of whether blogging is helpful to writers. I’ve read quite a few blog posts on this subject since I’ve been blogging and there does seem to be a divided camp: some say it establishes daily writing practice, and others say it distracts from the ‘real’ job of writing and is time that could be better used on other projects.

I’m hoping that cyber-queen Angela Meyer pokes her head into this discussion, because, frankly, I’d like her opinion(help)…  Yoo hoo…  Angela?

It seems to be, for me, that the more disciplined I get with my (fiction) writing, the less I blog. I struggle to maintain my energy for blogging along with struggling to think of things to write, which, oddly, never used to be the case. What does that say about me I wonder? Perhaps that’s not the point… I miss it though; miss the community which is much more sincere and like-minded than my Facebook community. (Sorry Facebookers, it’s merely the nature of the medium I guess.)

Maybe it’s just about the nature of what writer’s blogs are about? I mean, if you don’t want to post your actual work, writing about writing can get kinda boring. Believe me, there are plenty of writing blogs out there filled with posts about word counts. I mean, come on. That’s a bit. You know. Dreary. There are also some wonderful blogs about writing that are fabulously written and extremely informative. This one, for example (Angela’s too). But I happen to know that this writer is a brainiac, so, you know, that excuses me…

Hmm, I’ll have to ponder ‘pon it some more. In the mean time, you’ll be happy to know that a biographical short story I recently penned has been short-listed for a prize, I’m doing a reading from Beat at the Williamstown Literary Festival on the 2nd of May (in the People’s Choice awards), contributing to a panel discussion at the Emerging Writer’s Festival, gearing myself up for quite a few reviews for the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and biting my nails as I wait to hear about a 6 month Fellowship I’ve applied for to write my next book. Will let you know how it all pans out!

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9 Comments

Filed under Art, Family, Fiction, Humour, My Book, Reading, Short Stories, Submission, Writing, Zines

9 responses to “To Blog or Not to Blog

  1. Hello. I am just selfish. I say it is good for your writing so that I get to hear from you again. It sounds like you have everything under control, everyone has their own methodology. And in the end the only thing that is going to matter is whether you are happy with what you are writing, all the rest is persifal. peripheral.

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  2. Blogging is bad for writing, if you are working on a major writing project (a memoir, a novel). That’s my opinion. The reason I like blogging right now is that it keeps me producing most days, but I’m not working on a major writing project.

    My experience is that blogging takes too much time to allow a writer to do also hole up and write a book. And the time is not just writing and formatting blog posts (which, if you add images, can take a lot of time to prepare). But the whole aspect of being in a social network: visiting fellow bloggers’ blogs (which I do because I enjoy, not to get comments back on my blog), maintaining links (not a big deal but they need to be checked once in a while), that kind of thing.

    BTW, I enjoy when you post excerpts from your writing. I don’t often comment on those, partly because I know they’re works in progress. But I love seeing a writer’s mind work, and the writing is strong.

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  3. Ah Paul, but you are good for my ego, my dear. Thank you. I’m not sure about the everything under control bit, but there you go.

    Ybonesy, great input, and I totally agree. I’ve been very much ensconced in short story writing since I moved to Melbourne, and am now gearing up for my second book, so blogging has certainly taken a back seat. It is good to know, however, that you enjoy my posted excerpts; it’s hard to know sometimes how they’re really being received. You saying that the writing is strong is a wonderful compliment, thank you.

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  4. Ah Simonne, Simonne…what a great question..do you have an answer yet? Haha….I am writing a draft for a novel and still I feel my own personal push to blog twice a week….I see “burning out” somewhere down the road, and if and when that happens, you can know which one will get the boot, haha… in other words I hear ya! 😉

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  5. First of all, congrats on the shortlist and your other achievements! We’ll finally meet soon, I’m sure.

    Thanks Angela, and yes, I’m sure our paths will cross soon! Maybe at the EWF soiree on the 23rd?

    ‘Cyber-queen’ is a new one, and lovely. Thank you. I don’t know quite how to answer. The thing about blogging for me is I really, really enjoy it, almost as much as writing fiction. And I think this is the only reason to continue doing it. I think I’ve managed to find a balance, too, between blogging about different things (with a related theme/thread running through all of them) – thus, the readers are loyal, but as I’m always discovering new things, the material is hopefully all fresh. And I don’t blog works-in-progress, only extracts of published ones. I have faith in my non-fiction/reviews/personal writing, but am obsessively rigid with not showing fiction to an audience until it’s been ‘proved’. But that is not everyone’s choice.

    The panel I’m on at EWF will be aaaaaall about this stuff, so you must come along!

    But all in all, I say – blog only if you feel absolutely compelled to. If you love it. Not if it feels like an obligation.

    It’s clear in your blog how much you love it – hence why we’re all so loyal to you. And yes, I’ll be sure to be listening up when you speak about it soon! I’m not sure that I hold the same opinion about having my fiction ‘proved’. Fiction is so subjective that I think, ultimately, the only person who can truly prove it is myself, but I certainly know where you’re coming from on this point.

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  6. adairjones

    Brainiac? Could you call my agent with that one?

    He he, sure, no worries. (Brainiac describes you perfectly, my dear.)

    On the issue of blogging taking up too much time, I find that it can take over if you aren’t strictly disciplined. Initially, I posted everyday–just to get something up there worth looking at. Then, it was three times a week and now two. This seems to be the right rhythm–I think about content while I do chores, don’t spend too much time researching, and never let it interfere with my creative writing practice. Sometimes, though, it’s just the thing to get things flowing.

    Strict discipline has never been my strong suit I’m afraid, so maybe you’ve just identified where my problem lies!

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  7. I think the greatest part of blogging is the sense of being part of a community. The support, the variety of ideas and the experience that we offer each other is indispensible – time constraints ebb and flow and inevitably change the nature of our blogs and our capacity to contribute. Blog on, Simonne.

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  8. Brad, I couldn’t agree more. And thanks for the encouragement.

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  9. To me, one doesn’t need to choose. I was advised by my fiction-writing professor not to submit commercial fiction, if I wanted my literary fiction published. I still follow his advice today, submitting for academic respect, rather than money.

    That was long before blogs emerged, so I don’t know how he would feel about them. But one can write literary posts (poetry and prose), on his/her blog, just as well.

    I’m a member of a writers’ group that definitely upholds the literary tradition–there is no commercial writing here. I consider Michael the best poet of the group–so when he asked me to read in his place, because he wouldn’t be able to attend the April reading, I was honored.

    He had just begun a blog, and the poem he asked me to read was his first post. Yet he also wanted me to read a comment, and his reply to it. I questioned him about this, because I would have to reveal that he had begun a blog, in doing it. But he still wanted the comment and reply read.

    I read nothing of mine, that evening–only his work. I had to first explain to the other members (most of them elderly) what a “blog” was. Because they were obviously apprehensive about blogs, I explained that, though I would prefer a different term (“blog” does not befit these Internet journals–sounds too much like “blob”, “glob”, “slob”, “clog”, etc.), most blog-posts I’d encountered were actually quite literary, not to mention very well-written). And this seemed to ease them up. Of course I also revealed that I kept a blog, to give more creedence to Michael’s.

    Mission accomplished–the audienced discovered that the poem, and especially his reply to the comment, were definitely of equal value to Michael’s “hard-copy” writing.

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