Welcome to More Cowbell! Today is Thoughty Thursday when we examine whatever topic is kicking around in my brain for the week.
Today I’m thinking about blogging. There are people who minimize the importance of what a blog can do for your writing.
Not just your writing career. Your WRITING.
One of my fellow scribes made a comment to me a few weeks back that surprised me. The conversation went something like this:
Her: “Well, since you’re not writing right now—”
Me: (She shocked me outta my socks and I completely interrupted her.) “Not writing?! Are you kidding me? I write more now than I ever have in my life!”
Her: “Oh, I know you blog. But I mean you’re not writing on your book.”
Me: “Yes. I am.”
Her: “Really? I thought with all that blogging, you wouldn’t have time.”
I’ll admit I was a bit irked by the conversation at the time, but she got me thinking. She wasn’t trying to be mean.
Her process is simply different than mine – she’d never get anything productive done on my mish-mashed schedule. She’s a linear writer. I’m an ADD bite-sized-pieces writer. We both deal with the challenges that come with our particular styles.
I took three observations away from the above conversation:
1. NEVER ASSUME. (I’m sure you know this one already!)
This gal assumed, because blogs take her a long time to write, that it was the same for me. She knows I spent about 3 hours a day on the computer and she figured it was all spent on social media. Um, no.
Yes, I write fast (especially now that I’m writing more) but it’s more than that. Blogging warms me up for the other things I write, so I tend to do it first. You get lots of posts from me but, as you might have noticed, most of them aren’t all that long.
Often, the comments take more time than the actual blog.
For example, yesterday’s Reblog of Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone – Vol. 1 took me exactly 15 minutes from start to finish. I don’t typically post on Wednesday so it seemed like a great time to try out the whole “Reblogging” thing and it was fun.
2. Writing books doesn’t HAVE to be your only writing goal.
There I said it. Everyone isn’t going to write a novel. Even if they do, they won’t do it in the same way as the writer sitting next to them.
To me, that’s the beauty of this writing thing: everybody is different. Different ROCKS. Different makes the world go round.
Some of us here will write poems.
Others will write short stories.
Still others will do freelance pieces.
Yes, you need to finish what you start, but saying you’re not a writer if you don’t write novels is like saying a romance writer is less than a thriller writer. Or that a mystery writer is less than a YA writer. It’s just silly.
This brings me to my last lesson:
3. The key to success is embracing your strengths and running with them.
Writers are seekers of whimsy. We like to play. All work and no play makes Joe or Jane Scribe an unhappy camper!
I read a great post by Kait Nolan yesterday called Nothing Is Set In Stone. She put her finger right on the insecure, beat-up heart of why so many writers get stalled. They think everything must be perfect the first time out, and that it’s written in stone. That’s no fun, man!!
Blogging has taught me that the writing process is fluid. You can try things and suck at them and it’s OK. Just hit your delete key to keep them from the light of day, or run the post and see what happens.
I’m a big fan of people focusing on the things they’re good at. I did a post at Gene Lempp’s place on this exact topic (called Playing To Your Strengths).
If you’re good at something, you’re more likely to enjoy it. You’ll want t0 spend time doing it!
Maybe, like me, you’re happiest when you write short things like blogs, essays or short stories. Writing short doesn’t make you less than the novelist sitting across the screen from you.
Have you read Chuck Wendig’s 250 Things You Should Know About Writing (it’s $0.99 right now…just sayin…) or his Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey? What about Kristen Lamb’s Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer? These books started out as BLOGS. Yes, they were reconditioned and massaged into wonderful books, but the first draft of each chapter was a blog.
Your time spent blogging is not a waste. It is a warm up. A moment of sharing something cool you learned. A way to connect with others or make them laugh.
In some wonderful scenarios, it is a first draft.
Are you struggling with any of these issues? Do you feel guilty if you’re not working on a certain project? Have “shoulds” taken over your writing time, turning it into all work and no play? Enquiring minds always want to know here at More Cowbell!