Learning How to Blog—the Hard Way

Photo by Jos van Wunnik on Flickr's Creative Commons
photo by Flickr’s Jos van Wunnik

Today’s guest is Kim Triedman, an award-winning poet and novelist. Her debut novel, The Other Room, and two full-length poetry collections, Plum(b) and Hadestown, are releasing in 2013. The Other Room was a finalist for the 2008 James Jones First Novel Fellowship, and Kim’s poetry has garnered many awards, including the 2008 Main Street Rag Chapbook Award and the 2010 Ibbetson Street Poetry Award. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Kim co-organized and co-chaired a collaborative poetry reading at Harvard University to benefit Partners in Health and the people of Haiti. The reading was featured on NPR’s Here and Now with Robin Young and led to the publication of a Poets for Haiti anthology, which Kim developed and edited.

Kim’s post today is about how she came to blogging after a “long standing aversion to social networking.”

With all the changes in the publishing industry, writers these days find themselves called upon to do so many things they never imagined would be part of the job description. Moreover, for the vast majority of authors, these new promotional responsibilities require temperaments and skill sets that many just don’t possess. I’ve found this “other” part of the job to be not just challenging but downright demoralizing at times, and I’m trying to figure out my own best way to cope with it. Hopefully, some of these strategies may apply to others who are struggling with similar resistance and apprehension. In any case, the emotional hurdles alone may resonate in some way, and that alone may help to diffuse them.

Read Kim’s blog and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Learning How to Blog—the Hard Way

So it’s T minus 4 months and counting. The manuscript’s finalized, your cover’s been designed, and the ARCs are ready to send out.  Even the launch venue has been booked—you childhood bookstore!—and all your favorite people have promised to be there. Your debut novel—the culmination of so many years’ hard work—is fast becoming a reality, and you’re walking on air… right?

Ok, let’s run that one again: So it’s T minus 4 months and counting. You’ve been tweeting inanities, bothering friends with email updates (It’s coming! It’s coming!), and checking your author page with such pathetic frequency that you feel like your own best stalker. You haven’t had a creative thought in months, and your writing output has been reduced to 140 characters a sitting. Your debut novel—the culmination of so many years’ hard work—is fast becoming a reality, and you’re ready to poke yourself in the eyes with a shish-kebab skewer…

Sour grapes? Maybe.

Accurate depiction? Absolutely.

It’s no secret that the road to publication is a bumpy ride for first-time novelists. Gone are the days when in-house publicists beat the path so writers could be writers and their books (like all good things) could magically emerge nine months later. Today, debut authors—from the self-published to the A-lister—must take a leading role in self-promotion, which means doing things most of us never imagined would be part of the job description.

I’m a poet and a novelist, a woman of a certain age. I’m also a Luddite, by default and by temperament: I have a long-standing aversion to social media. Until 6 months ago, I didn’t even know what a tweet was, let alone where you heard one. For me, coping with the reality of pre-launch imperatives has been a mostly demoralizing ride. After much deliberation I decided to hire a publicist—which really helped—but in the end it was still up to me to network, to tweet and post, to book my own readings. To blog…

Which brings me to where I am today. Of all the overwhelming, unnerving, brain-scrambling tasks I’ve had to set my mind to these past months, none has prompted as much visceral resistance as blogging. Why? At the start I wasn’t sure—I only knew that on some level I felt I had no right. I was not an expert on anything. I didn’t teach or have an MFA. I had no experience in memoir or nonfiction. There was no reason to assume I had anything to say that people needed to hear. The whole thing felt presumptuous—unseemly—and as far as I could tell I had absolutely no business throwing my voice out into the ether, and yet…

My publicist sat me down—pleaded with me just to brain-storm. I stared at her glumly. She waited, so I started telling her about my resistance: how false and out-of-character all this self-promotion felt; how I was an introvert, how I needed time for reflection. I told her how social media made me feel manic and unfocused, and how deeply embarrassing it felt to call attention to myself in this way. I told her I’d lost the ability to be still.

COVER-200x300Write it down, she said simply.

So maybe I don’t have anything to offer beyond my own anecdotal experience.  But what I’ve come to see is that writing it down helps me—helps me to explore it, and make some kind of sense of it, and pull it together in a way that just might be meaningful to someone else. By untangling the cross-currents of this strange and frenetic time, I’m discovering things about myself and my writing that I didn’t know before, and I’m learning that blogging is no more and no less than any other kind of writing. In the end it is all about honesty. Perhaps this alone may resonate, in much the same way a well-wrought poem or a scene or a character may communicate some tiny commonality of experience.

And what I’m finding is that just writing again, just the fact of slowing myself down and allowing words to dance with other words, has been its own best reward.  I get to stare out the window at my Japanese maple again, let my thoughts deconstruct until something drops into my mind like a perfect plum. I get to feel that odd thrill of tripping down a sentence which seems to know just where it wants to go, and to play with the sounds and texture and rhythm of the words that go into it. And I get to reclaim—for part of each and every day—that person I was before.

For those who’ve had some of the same hesitations as I’ve had about blogging, I can only say that it may actually surprise you. It may, in fact, give you much more than it takes away. During the long dizzying months of social media overload, it may actually prove to be an anchor of sorts—a stabilizing force in the storm of trivia. The key, I believe, is finding those things to talk about that are already there, occupying your heart or your head, bobbing around every day just beneath the surface.

These days I actually look forward to blog-writing, not because I have a story to tell but because I have a story to uncover. Often I may only see as far as the first few words. Even today, with this post to write, I had no idea where I was going until that first sentence hit the page. And though frequently I revisit my old insecurities, worrying for the hundredth time that I have nothing important to say, I’ve created the space to explore what my mind’s been quietly minding—what’s happening down under, just out of sight.

I still remember what it was like writing my novel—those stretches of time when I’d lose myself so totally in the writing that hours would pass unnoticed. I remember how hard it was to let it go when the sun had finally faded from my office walls and the kids and dogs started clamoring for dinner. Blogging may never feel quite that rhapsodic, but right now it allows me to remember that, yes, I am a writer, and yes, this is where it all begins.

If you’re a blogger…how (and why) did you start? Is it something you naturally enjoyed or came to enjoy once you started? What are your feelings about social networking as a required part of the writing life?

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Comments

  1. says

    This was a lovely post, and echoed a great deal of my own conflicts with blogging. In the end, I’ve found my little niche (I just need to find the audience, yikes!)

    I enjoy blogging. One of my very first posts is still my favorite (about Dunbar’s number, and the theory of an introverted writer), but I’ve also had to learn how to structure half of my blog specifically for a certain type of reader. A lot of authors do this by writing about writing (which is great, but I don’t feel like my experience has anything to add except to say “yes” to this, and “no” to that, and “sometimes” to that other thing. Instead, I talk about art. I love art, and so I added an interview section where I interview book cover artists, because…. why not!? It’s been really fun, and I’m getting to meet a lot of the people I’ve always admired that way.

    As far as to my feelings on it being required of a writer’s life, my opinion is always evolving. Sometimes I think a lot of my aversion is the sheer shamelessness to some of the promotions I’ve seen (Do they really think THAT is working? …IS that working? etc), but again, the opinion is always shifting. I think the most part is finding the flow that works best for you.

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    • says

      Excellent post, and timely. I often find myself floundering amid all the social media options. As a new author, I am trying to build an online platform through social media, but it can be overwhelming. I recently blogged about maintaining focus and organization, but sometimes it still seems tough to keep up with. Add to that my introverted personality and, well, putting myself out there to market myself sounds insurmountable. Still, we try! Thanks for the timely article!

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  2. says

    You’re not alone, Kim. I list my areas of expertise as taco making, napping, channel surfing, and bookstore lurking. What most of us are stuck with is that we’re blossoming experts in writing. And I keep wondering if it makes sense to blog about writing. These are not my future devoted fans. These are newbie writers like me. But then I remembered something I heard from an instructor in the Navy: the best way to learn is to teach.

    So as I learn something new about writing–recently it’s been story structure–I write a series of posts about what I’ve learned. Of course I’m the expert now. I just read about it last night. But when we pass along knowledge, the knowledge becomes a permanent part of our brains. I may only have three readers, but I’m one of them, and I’m learning whenever I write a blog post. That should be the goal of the new writer. The screaming fan(s) will come eventually. For now, we just have to keep teaching ourselves.

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    • says

      Thanks, Ron. As with so many things in this late-life venture, I keep learning by doing. If I’m getting something out of the exercise of blog writing, i figure someone else just might as well.

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  3. says

    “She waited, so I started telling her about my resistance: how false and out-of-character all this self-promotion felt; how I was an introvert, how I needed time for reflection. I told her how social media made me feel manic and unfocused, and how deeply embarrassing it felt to call attention to myself in this way. I told her I’d lost the ability to be still.”

    That is probably the best description of how social media affects me. I have been blogging for nearly three years and I’ve yet to find a comfortable position to relax in when it comes to Tweeting and blogging. And yet…it is, as you said, a wonderful way to connect with people and to explore ideas and emotions we may have in common.

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  4. says

    I agree, Kim. I started my blog (actually, a grog, with 7 other women) to give myself a platform. Since I’m in the revising stage of my novel, I’m not having those moments you described of losing myself in the flow of the story. While I like revising, I find it draining. The blog has been a great release. I’ve written on a variety of topics, from book reviews, to interviews, to literary “field trips” and have discovered the sheer fun of putting a short piece together. I’m not exactly a Whitman sounding my “barbaric yawp,” but then I never could be a Whitman.

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  5. says

    This says it all:

    “But what I’ve come to see is that writing it down helps me—helps me to explore it, and make some kind of sense of it, and pull it together in a way that just might be meaningful to someone else. By untangling the cross-currents of this strange and frenetic time, I’m discovering things about myself and my writing that I didn’t know before, and I’m learning that blogging is no more and no less than any other kind of writing. In the end it is all about honesty.”

    I didn’t start my blog expecting to “discover things about myself and my writing” but that is exactly what has happened. I have also found after two years of blogging that I am able to take a deeper dive into fiction writing topics. Thanks for a great essay, Kim.

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  6. says

    Well, I’ve been blogging now for more than three years and though I have only a small following and an even smaller “commenting” section, I find it easy to write about whatever suits my fancy and that’s fun. However, not having a big following of readers from my one published e-book, it can get a bit tedious when I know so few are reading my posts. However, I think I have the “knack” for blogging and it will be there when my next book is published, in place and ready to be “read”.
    Nice post, thank you.
    Patti

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  7. says

    I’ve gone the opposite way – I’m so burned out with my blog I rarely post to it – there was a time when I posted daily, or at least 3x a week – and I spent a lot of time on it, took great care with it. Now, that time isn’t as open and wide and available. Most of my yappity do dah day is on Facebook – and, I rarely self-promote my books, but instead cultivate friendships and contacts.

    As well, I rarely now will read blogs – only a select few, like WU and some individual’s blogs I have read for a long time. That time suck thing.

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    • says

      That’s interesting, about being burned out with your blog. I’m getting there myself and have been trying to cut back. I know a number of bloggers who are cutting back from daily posts. I do about two original posts a week and clutter the in-between with re-blogs. Right now I’m trying to just write up posts that I can schedule for later, so I don’t entirely lose my momentum but also save myself some time. But my biggest problem is following other blogs. I’m one of those people who feels she has to visit everyone who visits her and click Like and post comments. That, for me, is the most overwhelming and time-sucking activities of blogging. And, yet, I feel rude if I don’t reciprocate. I’m still trying to work this out.

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  8. Ronda Roaring says

    One of the biggest issues with blogging is sustainability. Look at this blog as an example. It relies on dozens of writers to make it work. Some drop out, others come in. But that’s what’s needed to sustain this blog. I’ve seen way too many blogs that go on for two or three years and then peter out. You look at their blog and the last post was November 14, 2011. Oops! Where is this person? What are they doing? That’s more embarrassing than not starting a blog to begin with.

    Each writer needs to be honest with themselves. You’re either going to do a blog for the long haul or you shouldn’t do a blog. And make sure you say something worth taking up cyberspace and the reader’s time while you’re at it.

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    • says

      That’s why I like guest blogging, I guess. I write pieces when I’m moved to write them, and then find places that seem to be the best fit. Once the pieces are published, I then will often upload them up onto my website blog. Works for me.

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    • says

      Sustainability is a good word to use, both in terms of content and energy consumption :) Regarding content: every Monday, a friend and I simultaneously post a list of Top Ten Things Not To Do When [fill in the blank]. It’s kind of like guest blogging in that we alternate the post writing; one week he writes the post and I review and edit, and the next week I write. It’s been a hit among our blogging community, with some bloggers saying they actually look forward to reading these posts. Regarding energy consumption: The posts are fun and even if they are not always about writing, they involve writing and they give me a break since I only have to come up with a topic every other week. That said, I still worry about content for the rest of the week, which is why I’ve cut back. I see a lot of bloggers start to write about personal stuff (how their day at work was, etc.) in their quest to blog daily. I have written what I would call personal essays for my blog, but I try to stay clear of writing posts that border on TMI. I enjoy writing about my cats, my truck, my knitting, but other parts of my life are off-limits. For me, oversharing is not worth the additional “traffic” I might get from blogging daily.

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  9. says

    I blog about writing: my brain seems to work differently than many other writers’ brains, so if I figure out how to do something, and I’ve never seen it put quite like that, I can feel I’m adding something to the writing world.

    I blog about being a writer who has to write through a disability: it complicates things, and I find some solutions – which might help someone else – and sometimes I just write about the frustration.

    And last, I blog about anything that gets my attention for a while – we writers put into words what other people think, and it helps sort it all out for us, and, we hope, for them.

    But I started the blog for one very selfish reason: to put my fiction out into the world where someone might see it – I’ve been posting the next polished scene on the WIP every week since Feb. – haven’t missed one yet. The contact with reading humans has been exactly what I needed to keep going.

    Alicia

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  10. says

    I went through the same exact struggle. I’m not an expert on writing, or honing one’s craft, or self-publishing, or any of those skills that so many writers seem to be blogging about these days. I don’t have a particular genre, and goodness knows I’m not the inspirational sort. So the idea of blogging was fine, but yes, it felt presumptuous. What the heck would I write about week after week?

    But once I thought about it, the answer was obvious. I have a wide range of interests, from books and movies to science and society. I’ve got a lot of thoughts rumbling around in my head, essays waiting to be written on this or that bit of scientific research, or some idea I had while watching a program on The History Channel. Subjects in which I’m not an expert and never will be. What better forum for exploring my thoughts in a non-formal way?

    In the end I called it “Short Subjects I Feel Like Writing About,” which pretty much sums up my attitude towards blogging. Sometimes it still feels like a chore, a necessary evil if I want to be an author, but a chore nonetheless. But other times I find it refreshing to be able to express myself without the rigors and confines of the short-story form or the structure of a novel. Even my incomplete thoughts can find a place in my blog. And the very act of putting those down helps me to grow as a writer.

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  11. Lynn Jarrett says

    Hello Kim. Thank you for your article. I created a blog (OMG, it was actually almost a year ago now) and only posted two messages on it and one of those is a response to the only reply I ever received and that was from my dear brother. I started out all excited and then started at the empty page and froze wondering if everyone in the world would think my writing was babbling and senseless jabbering. My theme is “a day in the life” which is about my everyday life living in the rural Midwest United States. I had planned to share the antics of my pets (five cats and one dog), my interests in birding (or at least the birds who came to the feeders outside my window), my interest in books, and share my experiences as a woman in the volunteer emergency services (did that for 19 years). Yeah, right!! What a bundle of topics!! I kept thoughts in a small notebook so I could write them down as the inspiration struck knowing that this was going to be a wonderful outlet for my writing, etc. A family member commented that “blogging was so 90s.” Another family member added that “people want to know where you are right now and where you are doing now.” Bang!! There goes all of the air from my balloon. My brother and his wife were so supportive in their comments that I should never have let the others get to me, but I did. BUT now, your article has given me new inspiration and for that, I thank you!! I will be delving back into creating a new post over the next couple of days. Thank you again. The best to you!!

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  12. says

    I totally agree. I considered making a blog early on but never fully appreciated how useful it could be. There’s just so much you can do with it, lots of creative options. I started because I figured it would be a good way to get my name out there and I find that social media is a huge help, especially for new young writers like me who were basically raised on Twitter and Facebook haha.

    Great article! Thanks, Kim! :)

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  13. Eileen Dandashi says

    Your blogging fears resonate with me. And I suspect the comment about who would be interested in what I think does, too. I also read through the comments above my own that gave me a fuller picture of the problems that being a luddite does.

    I’m a want-to-be novel writer. I love to read and enjoy writing. My minds gets in the way of writing, however. Little self-esteem can dangerously erode any courage to write. Who would want to read me? Hasn’t every single idea already been explored? How can I expect anyone to be interested in hearing my thoughts on any one subject?

    I have thought about blogging. Not for myself, mind you. But as a forum for my husband to put his thoughts. A couple of years ago I started a Web site for him and have added essays, etc. that he has written for the last forty years. I find that I follow several blogs, but sometimes get bogged down with all the reading. Today I saw this one and something resonated with me, so I read the whole thing.

    I thought that I would start small. Do reviews of anything I read and post them on Amazon, GoodReads and LibraryThing. I’ve enjoyed this sort of activity, but perhaps I should consider blogging for myself, not just my husband. Writer Unboxed as a blog has been a great source of information and dedication of its bloggers. Thank you for discussing this subject and getting me to ‘unbox’ my thoughts and writing skills.

    And since I’m being pushed into the media networking, I’ll include my Twitter handle here — one more step forward to achieving my goal of being a writer. One must start bravely, even us introverts!

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    • says

      Why not give it a try, Eileen. You’ve nothing to lose, and you may find out that it even benefits your other writing in ways you could not have foreseen. Congrats on the small steps!

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  14. Cal Rogers says

    I keep coming back to what I saw cast in iron on a professor’s desk 35 years ago: “The steam that blows the whistle cannot be used to drive the train.” A career in engineering has taught me to weight the cost vs. benefit of the decisions I make. If can spend an hour doing social media, or making my story better, for me the answer is clear: spend the hour making my story better. I believe that will produce far more readers than making friends on Facebook, tweeting what I ate for lunch, or maintaining a blog (though I do like to read posts and comment on WU—my one guilty pleasure). Now, if I were already an A-List writer with millions of fans (due to my storytelling), then I could possibly see a benefit to servicing them through social media. The way I see it, social media isn’t what you do to BECOME famous—it’s what you do WHEN you’re famous.

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  15. says

    I started blogging as a way to develop my author voice. In those early years, I made a commitment to write daily. And it paid off. My blog followers helped me see value in my words.

    However, like you, Kim, I’m a Luddite. I find the vast and varied social networks challenging to navigate. That’s another reason why I like blogging—through it I can reach out to the other social networks. (I have links at the bottom of my posts to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus). I also enjoy visiting other blogs. As Ron has pointed out, it’s a user-friendly way to learn a ton about the craft of writing.

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  16. says

    I started a blog nearly eighteen months ago, mainly for my own pleasure. I write about a wide range of things and post some of my own photographs. As part of my blog I have a page with posts on one of my plays which was toured in the Scottish Borders last year, and I have a page on my book In the Wake of the Coup, published about six weeks ago. My bloggers can read these or not.

    The pleasure of blogging for me is getting to know people around the world, finding out about their lives, places visited, their hobbies and likes and dislikes. My blog opens a window on the world to me which I find enormously enriching. From it comes ideas and stimulus. I try to post a piece about once a week. I’t doesn’t inundate my blogging friends with stuff from me, and it provides me with a different type of writing — something often written late in the evening.

    I don’t think it matters a jot how long you continue blogging. That depends on your own circumstances and whether you have time for it. But having made so many good friends out there, who have opened up new avenues to me, and who have brought me in touch with other writers and writing sites, then I hope I can continue long into the future.

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  17. says

    Kim, thanks so much for this post. I’ve been running a blog in earnest since February this year, although I actually started it in November 2007. I’m an introvert and I tend to avoid getting engaged in groups. But by blogging, I can be engaged without having to make “face time” and I think that’s what I like most. I’ve gained friends from across the states and around the world, and that has been the biggest benefit to me with blogging. It also keeps me writing. Yes, I have my novels that should be working on, but blogging is a great warm-up, a great way to check into the writer zone in my brain. But I agree that social media can be so overwhelming. I have nothing to pitch, no soon-to-be-published novel or collection of poetry or short stories. But I hope I will someday and maybe by then, also hopefully, I’ll be less intimidated by Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, etc. I’m glad you listened to your publicist. Now I must go and visit your blog :)

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    • says

      Thanks for this, Marie. I, too, am an introvert at heart, and blogging does allow me to say things I want to say but might otherwise not. I’m glad you found something meaningful here.

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  18. says

    I have a contrary opinion. Here are two bits of information about blogs:

    *Guy Kawasaki: “only 1% of your blog followers will buy your book.”
    *Beth Hayden: “3 million new blogs are started each day.”

    I believe the most important question is, what is your goal in blogging? If it’s to publicize a book in hopes of selling it, there are many, much more effective, ways of doing so. There may be other very legitimate reasons for blogging, but for a debut author, I’d say have a website but save your valuable time for networking and writing.

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    • says

      thanks for the stats, lynne. they are rather daunting, but as i said, there is something more in the process than the uptick in sales. for me, it kept me tethered to writing when it seemed that all i was required to do was everything but.

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  19. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kim, a thousand times thank you. I wonder whether or not blogging is the thing for me. Sometimes I almost feel as if I’m journaling in public – but I guess that’s what I’m doing and your post has gone some way to confirm that’s okay.
    I shall continue to ‘wash my mind’ in a public forum and hope it helps somebody else. :)

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  20. says

    Great post! I had the same reservations about blogging. When I first started to get serious about writing, I read up on all the blogs from people “in the know” about this new digital publishing. The first thing suggested was to start an author’s platform and to get started asap. The best way, it further suggested, was to create a blog and be consistent and update that blog either daily, weekly, or even monthly. Ok, what do I blog about then? Pick something you are knowledgeable about or passionate about. Hmmm, I’d spent over 30 years in customer service, not exactly riveting material to blog about, but the passion was easy. My passion has always been reading. So, I told myself, I will have a review blog. It was advised to have a niche, something not everyone else had. I noticed how many review blogs were out there. Plus, how much of an expert could I be? I am just a newbie that has no degree, only a few courses in college on creative writing. Who will care about what I thought about what Stephen King or James Patterson wrote? Then, the lightbulb went off. I will blog about other newbies. I can get all kinds of freebies on Amazon, (I’d just bought a Kindle). so I’ll just pick up some reviews here and there while I work on my debut novel. Then, it was suggested that I get a Twitter account. This I fought for awhile, then ultimately said, “What the heck” and tried it. I mentioned that I reviewed only debut authors on my blog. OMG, (see, I learned the terminology fast), what a surprise! I got request after request for reviews. I was way backlogged. I finally had to suspend all requests at the beginning of this year, because I had enough in my queue to last me at least a year! Then, I had another problem. Frequency. I could only read so fast and with everything else, time was a problem. I blogged infrequently, like once a month or so. I normally read fast, but I didn’t have as much time to read when trying to plot my own novel and keep up with all other social media. Someone advised that I should write informational blogs as well for the aspiring author. But–I don’t know enough. Then I realized I could blog about my experiences, and things that I had learned along the way. I’ve recently blogged on that and even had a contest for a spotlight interview and review. That is my last post. So, I am trying to improve. I believe each post gets better.

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  21. says

    How wonderful to find so many nice people with very similar concerns as I had starting out in social media. The ‘who am I to talk’ and ‘what the heck should I talk about’ and ‘I’d rather be writing fiction’ — all too familiar. Actually there is only one person above whose post I could not like. I assume her anger came from being burned somehow. One thing we all learn is that it does get better as you stop caring what others think of your posts and start posting for yourself. I had hoped blogging would improve my essay style, but unfortunately, I’m just a paperback writer, and happy attempting that.

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  22. says

    Sometimes blogging is more fun and easier than writing my novel. Sometimes impending blog hangs over my head like a thousand pound mallet ready to pummel me into an early grave. My novel can pummel me too. Therefore, I can relate to this post entirely and mostly I can relate to the line “and you’re ready to poke yourself in the eyes with a shish-kebab skewer…” Congrats on the debut novel, congrats on the poetry books, congrats on the anthology, congrats on the blog. Mama mia when do you sleep? Never say never.

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  23. says

    Thank you for this thoughtful post. I blog–but not as consistently as I think I should. I find FB and Twitter easier but believe a blog is a better “home’ for my readers. Will brainstorm more topics, thanks to you!

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  24. says

    Well, I have finally decided to comment, even though I read posts from this site all the time (in my inbox; I’m a subscriber).

    I began my online journey back in January of this year. I have no idea where the time has gone, either!

    I love blogging, even though it is time-consuming. I enjoy discovering all of the stories that are inside me, connecting with others, and figuring out what my next step will be.

    I am in the process of putting together an ebook of short stories. Ten months ago, I had no idea what a “beta reader” was, and now I have four of my own!

    The whole process of publishing a book was foreign to me, too. Each week, I am learning more about it, and now that self-publishing is an option, I’m going to go this route for my first ebook.

    I hope to have it out before my one-year anniversary of owning a computer…

    As for blogging, I began my journey by thinking I’d document a few things – now I’m posting regularly, on True Tales Tuesdays and Featured Fridays. I also accept guest posts on my blog.

    I’ve joined several social media sites, and have many followers and friends. You can find me on the four main ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. I’ve become quite the social butterfly!

    I think that knowing more people in the writing/publishing field is better than going it alone; I’m a believer in “cooperation, not competition”, as one of my newfound author friends, Melissa Bowersock, says!

    Writing for pay as a freelancer is not something that I considered – well, ever – but in the upcoming months, I’m going to have a guest post published on the Make A Living Writing blog. (YAY)

    I always figured I’d be an author, but now I see that doors are open all around me. (YAY!)

    I’m loving life for the first time in a long time, and I owe it all to blogging.

    (Of course, I like learning, too, and I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, so I also owe it to myself.)

    I think that listening to others’ stories is great; thanks for sharing yours!

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    • Eileen Dandashi says

      You sound amazing to me. You stepped up to the plate and took hold. I’d like to follow you on your social media and check out your blogs. Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Carole Weave-Lane says

    Thank you for putting up the article on blogging. You have spurred me to begin working on my own blog which I started last year and not looked at since.

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  26. says

    I love this post and share so many of the same feelings you’ve expressed. Blogging (actually, all the social media) makes me feel like a poser! And honestly, I still am not convinced it will make a big difference in book sales. For some lucky few, yes. For most?

    In addition to writing, I’ve read over 180 books in the past two years. I have a few favorite authors, and then I try a lot of others. How many of their blogs do I follow? Almost none! The only blogs I follow are ones that are totally focused on the craft of writing (in other words, business). Sometimes I’ll check out a particular blog post if I hear about it from another source, but I rarely click “follow this blog” afterward.

    I do follow several author’s FB pages and Twitter feeds…they tend to be more fun and/or lead to informative info without the big commitment. Of course, the bigger the author, the more followers they have, which sort of puts us newbies in a “chicken or egg” situation. It’s hard to motivate to keep up with daily posts, tweets, etc., when the audience is small and one doesn’t even have a book about to launch!

    So now the big question is, why do I still blog once each week? Because it can’t hurt, I suppose! LOL

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice. Best wishes for your continued success!

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  27. says

    What a relief to read your post, Kim! I, too, have social-media anxiety–I just find it so draining much of the time. But because it seems to be a modern-day obligation, especially for writers, I am making a modest go at it. Where it will lead, who’s to say… But I do agree that writing a blog has been a surprisingly helpful–and energizing–way of approaching my craft through the back door, so to speak. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  28. says

    Thanks for this post, which I didn’t have time to read when it first came out because I was too busy drafting a blog post of my own! While I totally identify with your inhibitions, somehow I’ve really taken to blogging about writing (in the widest sense) since starting my blog at the beginning of the year. I find I have lots of ideas and, as I’m still trying to find a conventional publisher for my novel, I love the idea of being in the middle of my own publishing industry. While I’d love more comments, I write it for my own satisfaction. Although, I have to say, sometimes it feels quite mad, knowing there are so many of us out there (or here) writing similar things.

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  29. says

    I’m coming awfully late to this lovely post but so much resonates that I have to leave a comment. I started blogging nearly 5 years ago because I couldn’t contain the good news pouring out of my critique group. It has morphed significantly since then. It is my online playground, a place to share things publicly. I enjoy it very much, and probably break many rules (like discussing religion or politics) but I think I will look upon it with fondness as the years pass, because it chronicles not just my writing, but my children, pets, and my faith. It’s a wip just as I am.

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  30. says

    I do love blogging. One thing that helped me from the get-go was rarely posting more than once a week. At most I will post twice, but even that is rare. I’ve managed to build a decent “following.” I think posting every day is too much to ask of readers–even our spouses and parents!

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  31. says

    Your blog resonated with me so much, Kim, that I was cheering as I read it. (but only inwardly, of course, being an introvert).I spent a long time blogging about writing and feeling a fraud because I didn’t see myself as an expert, but after having an epiphany recently, I now blog about what I want to blog about – the funny, weird, quirky things in life, which I can usually relate, even if only vaguely, to some aspect of my writing life. I only put up a post every two to three weeks, which to my mind, is still regular enough for consistent exposure. The way I look at blogging, it’s still writing, it’s still perfecting the craft of self expression, so the time spent is not wasted, even if you have no followers.

    But social media – that’s a different baby. I spent a long time resisting it and being resentful that it was considered necessary for writers. If I heard the word ‘platform’ one time I was going to jump off one myself. But slowly I have come round, set up my accounts and try to remember to post stuff reasonably regularly. Sometimes I (dare I say it) even enjoy it. But like many indie authors I find there’s always the eternal problem of balancing time between marketing and writing.

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    • says

      well, i can’t say i’m at the point where i ever enjoy the other social media, but i have (reluctantly) made a space for it. the task is keeping it in its box and not expand to spill more space than it deserves.

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  32. says

    “These days I actually look forward to blog-writing, not because I have a story to tell but because I have a story to uncover.” Kim, this is so well-said. And by the way, you didn’t stare at me all that glumly. Maybe, um, blankly? But you’ve done an incredible job. Keep blogging!

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  33. says

    I came to blogging very reluctantly. I was such a Luddite, as you say, that I didn’t even have a cellphone until about six years ago. And it was a flip phone for years! But now I’ve got five blogs, over 125,000 total pageviews between all of them, and I’m glad I joined the 21st Century.

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