Friday, August 08, 2008

Why Create This Blog?

I've asked myself this question a number of times: why blog? For a writer, it does provide exposure and interaction with readers. It's promotional.

That's the supposed explanation.

But the fact is, I don't think that a huge percentage of people who visit here immediately rush to find one of my books. (Could be wrong, I hope so.)

I think I do this because I feel like it. It's a pulpit, a place to vent a bit, an easy outlet: no editors, no delays. I like the feeling of it.

So I tell myself, as I spend a significant amount of my work time doing this, that

1. I'm writing, and that's always a good thing
2. I may well publish some of this sometime in a collection that people will pay for, which is important since writing and consulting to writers are my "day job"
3. this fast and casual writing gives me ideas (is that true? does it really? not sure)
4. it primes the pump for work on my book (that's true for sure)
5. it does create at least some interest in my other work

But back to the main truth: I like doing it. It reminds me of what's fun about writing, which can get lost in revising for publication and all the attendant struggles. Writing itself is what inspires me to keep writing.

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mamie said...

The way that blogging helps my writing practice is it challenges me to write what is interesting to other people. I now find myself seeking out articles that cause me to think, so I can write about them and hopefully cause others to think.

Then, yes, there's the personal venting/dais/freedom that comes from writing there.

And just in case that's not enough, there's an egotistical aspect as well. I read one blog that has over 300 comments per post. Whoa! I want to have that kind of readership!

Peggy Payne said...

For me, the egotistical aspect is probably number one: i.e., hear what I say! I suspect that that underlies all the other reasons.

Which also points to my biggest struggle as a writer: not to bury the lead.

Which blog do you follow that has 300 commenters every time? That's more than I've seen.

mamie said...

The blog is Confessions of a Pioneer Woman and her most recent post had over 500 comments!

Peggy Payne said...

I just visited there: life on a ranch with 4 kids and a hunky husband. One post I saw had almost 1,000 comments. the comments I read were mostly a line or two and simply said things like: what a wonderful camping trip, your children are lucky to have such a grandmother, etc. Basically well-wishing.

I have the feeling that regular readers are involved with this family the way I felt watching the Sopranos. Having the feeling I have a stake in their lives, real or fictional.

That's the nerve that novelists always need to tap. Jan Karon has had a lot of success that way bringing people into her fictional Mitford community.

Peggy Payne said...

Mamie, what draws you to visit the Pioneer Woman?

mamie said...

Simply put, the chance to glimpse her husband's biceps.

Peggy Payne said...

Thank you for your candor.

You know, I have heard that the Internet has some sites that are even more revealing than this guy's upper arms.

Debra W said...

Peggy, I am glad that you use this blog to express yourself in a way that makes you feel good. That being said, you truly don't know what kind of an idea your writings here might spark. I think blogging is a very relaxed way to try out new ideas.

Pioneer Woman is catchy, amusing at times, and receives a heck of a lot of traffic. Some of that has to do with her regular contests in which she gives away very generous prizes. PW is a marketing genius, and this is just her chosen outlet. There isn't any intellectual or philosophical give and take which goes on over there. The important opinion on her site is her own, which I suppose is okay if you are only looking for praise. I do read her site, but I read a lot of sites. Many of them for very different reasons. PW's is pure fluff and there isn't anything wrong with that. I don't go there expecting to be challenged in any way, and I am not disappointed.

When I visit your blog, I do expect to be challenged and often find myself thinking about something that you have written for days. Therein lies the difference.

Keep blogging, friend! I enjoy all of what you do here. And I tend to think that if someone finds what you have to say here interesting, they DO go out and get your books. From personal experience, they would be doing themselves a great service by reading all of your books. I would like to say that they would not be disappointed!


billie said...

I started camera-obscura as a creative outlet and a place to post some photos. It quickly became a favorite daily event for me, mainly b/c it's instant gratification - write/publish. No querying. No waiting. (well, sometimes Blogger gets slow uploading, but it's pretty quick usually!)

When I started mystic-lit I had a very specific vision that did not end up working out, but I've had some fun with it, and now, while it's fairly inactive, I do get requests from authors to do guest blogs and have started getting requests to read ARCs and post reviews, interviews, and guest spots by the authors. That's not what I ever envisioned, but it's turning out to be fun.

The most interesting thing to me is that while mystic-lit gets a lot of hits, my personal blog gets far more. I suppose I should take that as a compliment, but it still surprises me.

Mojo said...

Blogging has so many facets for me. But the common themes are motivation and gratification. I've written and deleted a couple of post-sized comments here, and I actually have written posts on some of these topics.

In the blogosphere, even those of us who don't write for a living can find an audience. We have things to say, and in this medium, people hear them.

Then there are the friendships that begin here. Some of my very dearest friends I have never met in the three-dimensional world. Which sounds bizarre until you remember the "pen pals" we had when we were kids. All of the elements for friendship can be found here. The most important of which is the very nucleus of blogging: communication.

We learn, we laugh, we cry... and we invite the whole world to join us.

Why blog? Why would you not?

Debra W said...

Well said, Mojo!

Peggy Payne said...

Debbie, you're wonderfully supportive, to me and others here.
I'll bet your four daughters benefit from that as well.

Billie, I think we're blogging from a similar place, though the blogs turn out quite different. For one thing, I love your photographs.

Mojo, I'm dying to know what kind of lengthy comments you're deleting. Please post them! And your comment recalls to me my junior high pen pal in France whose name was Joelle. Interesting that I've never forgotten, though I never met her.

Mojo said...

(okay... you asked for it)
I will probably never write a novel. It's not imagination or command of language that I lack, it's the discipline and motivation required to bring a project like that about. Blogging provides its own motivation in that the writer knows, more or less in real time, how many people are reading what they're reading and in certain cases even who they are. There's immediate feedback in the form of site visits, page views and even comments. There's no guessing about what people are interested in because they tell you.

And once the motivation is in place, the discipline follows as a natural consequence. I had something to say, and other people thought it was important enough that they stopped by to read it -- and sometimes even to comment on it. That validates me, and who doesn't love that?

Another natural outgrowth is that writing makes me a better writer. Even if it's only a few paragraphs a day, I'm working toward a point where I can legitimately say I'm "honing" my writing skills (I can't honestly say I'm past the point of forging or maybe grinding yet, but someday perhaps...)

Finally, there's a cathartic element;
something my oldest and dearest blog-friend JC calls "sweating out loud". JC's a marathon-class runner and she says the best way for her to de-stress is to sweat. And on her blog you occasionally find the cyber equivalent of that. There's the added benefit of comments from your blog-friends the world over given as a show of support, but the simple (or sometimes not-so-simple) act of just putting it out there is often enough to get through it.

At the end of the day, there are as many reasons for blogging as there are bloggers.

What's yours?

Peggy Payne said...

Thanks for the full answer, Mojo. Very interesting.

My number one reason for blogging is that I find it fun. And it clarifies my thinking, the way any writing does.