Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blogging about blogging

I open the door to the outside and Zelda dashes through like I'm rewarding her for being incredibly clever while Gizmo looks at me like, "Really? Must we?" I love having two dogs around -- it is decidedly twice as much fun as one.

But that wasn't what I was going to write about. Obviously, having quit graduate school (or descended into total insanity, depending on how you'd like to define my behavior), I'm trying to figure out what I do next with my life. Or rather, how I earn the money that it will take to pay the mortgage and feed the kid and the dog and keep the car filled with gas...I should stop this list before it freaks me out. But you get the idea -- I need to come up with a plan. I think I wrote about my OCD need for plans before: ah, no, it was about structure. Here, read this past post: Structure. So you see, I need some structure, I need some goals, I need to know what the f*** I'm doing. (Look, I'm so repressed that I can't even swear on my own blog that no one else reads! Gah! Sometimes my crazy drives  me...ha, crazy.)

Returning to the point . . . most writer's blogs strike me as wrong. Not that I'm going to go out and tell them so, but writers seem to mostly write about writing. Admittedly, when that's what you're doing, of course it's what interests you. And yet, readers -- who are the people who should be most inclined to visit a writer's blog -- don't care about writing. In fact, as a reader, I want nothing less than a writerly blog written by my favorite authors. I want to believe that Miles Vorkosigan is real. I don't want to know how Lois McMaster Bujold thought about acts while she wrote those novels and how she deliberately used short sentences to build tension. I want to believe in the world she created -- a blog about writing from her would be like Oz pulling back the curtain and saying eagerly, "yeah, it's all tricks, you want to try, too?"

Yet, of course, when you're writing, that's what you're thinking about. I've written a bunch of posts about the business of self-publishing because that's what I'm thinking about, but I don't want to write a blog about self-publishing because that would require me to keep writing about it past the point when it interests me. In fact, having a successful blog in general probably requires consistency -- writing about the same topics regularly -- and wow, does that sound tedious or what? I really would rather just blog whatever weird thing is in my head at whatever time it's in there. (They're remaking the Star Trek with Khan and no movie has ever given me worse nightmares -- I'm horrified by the very idea. I won't be seeing that one. Not that I see any movies, but that one I won't be wanting to see and not because of all the reasons that leaving the house seems like a bad idea...And yeah, that thought's because of those weird little ear worms that eat your brain.)

Anyway, I think my conclusion is that I'm not likely to ever have a successful blog. Okay, cross blogging off as one possible future career. Time to go back to writing and not thinking about our eventual starvation . . .


  1. As a counterpoint to writers blogging about writing, someone (RWA, maybe?) polled some readers, looking into what marketing and pricing tactics were working. The number of respondents who said they'd feel inclined to visit an author's blog (even of an author they liked) was depressingly small - it was one of the least popular options. You can argue cause/correlation, of course, but I suspect most writers' blogs (unless they're internet darlings) are generally only frequented by other writers anyway. I'd say from that: blog about whatever you want to blog about, otherwise it's just too hard to sustain anyway.

    (Also: I don't think they're using the original storyline of Khan. So you might be safe from ear worms.)

  2. Is this the survey you're talking about?

    Reading an author's blog is actually one of the highest-rated options, even though it's only at 16%. Almost all of the other promotional strategies people use are rated even lower. Having prominent placement on a bookstore shelf or a bestseller list is still the best promotional tool, albeit one that's difficult to arrange. (Ha.)

    To have a successful blog, though (ie one from which it is possible to earn some money, even if not enough to single-handedly stave off the foreclosure wolf), I think one needs to think about audience. Building an audience requires caring about what the audience wants to read. Writing about writing makes sense for people who want to be writing teachers and who want their audience to be writing students, not as much sense (in my opinion) for novelists who hope for their audience to be readers. Of course, maybe most writers have already realized that even trying to build an audience is pointless but that doesn't seem like the common wisdom. :)

    Anyway, I do totally agree that blogging about whatever is the best choice -- I think I'm way too easily bored to ever create a successful (defined as money-earning rather than personally satisfying) blog, so I'll look elsewhere for my anti-starvation remedies.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. If you've been reading Doonesbury lately you might feel good about choosing writing over blogging. Heh. And I agree: reading about writing is boring. I'd rather visit an author's blog to read anecdotes or what they usually write about--but why give the milk away for free?

    And I wish they'd leave alone the one good Star Trek movie and remake any of the others into something watchable. That would be a service to geekdom!