Why Blog?

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In the nearly four years I’ve been running this blog, I’ve noticed a few other authors and/or creatives occasionally bemoaning the need to maintain a web site. Their core argument revolves around blogging being a distraction. They feel they should be spending their time on their craft.

For the first time in about 15 months, this morning I was staring once more at that *blank page!* . Terrifying! Horrifying! A feeling of being lost! Utterly alone! Hopeless! Trapped! My life is over! I've got nothing left to say!😳 . Can I do it again?🤔 . Such is what every writer perpetually faces. You pour all of you into an effort, and after it is completed you have to start all over. . Since I snapped that photo around 8 am, it's not a blank page any longer.📸The first disjointed, messy "brainstorming" pages are on that Microsoft Surface. Uh, "2019," here we come!📕📝💻😂 . Ooh, it's after 5pm UK time, too! 👏🥃 . #writer #writers #author #authorsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #photo #photography #homeoffice #microsoftsurface #fiction #novel #historicalfiction #romancenovels #romancenovel #humor #humour #Hertfordshire #England #afternoon #drinks #alcohol #aperitif

A post shared by R. J. Nello (@rjnello) on

I do appreciate that perspective. I understand the potential distraction issue as well. I’ve addressed it before – for instance, here: “I’m Not Ignoring You, I’m In Airplane Mode.” As a writer, there is indeed a line, and you must be aware of it: you should never find yourself blogging or on social media as a way to avoid your writing.

Relatedly, I have also seen too much of what I consider “author spam”: flinging out what seem to be random posts, tweets and Instagram pics as “self-promotion.” In my opinion that is neither a good use of social media nor good advertising. (Terming such “tacky” and unprofessional is an understatement.) Given that seeing such doesn’t ever win me over as a potential reader, I certainly won’t do that myself.

I am typing this right now at 8:25am UK time and will probably post it within the next half-hour or so. I have come to feel that honest and regular blogging helps sharpen writing skills. On your blog you are able also to offer peeks into what you are working on and to share other suggestions:

True, that above appeared first on my Instagram, not here. As you probably know I like Instagram and Twitter as “extras.” But here is, as my sidebar indicates, the center of my web presence.

Although I share posts from here to Facebook and Tumblr also, I much prefer basing myself here on my own site. I had previously also tried Google+ and Goodreads, but stopped my activities in those places because I felt I was spreading myself too thin. Also I just could not “get into” Goodreads in particular.

When it dawned on me yesterday that I hadn’t seen anything new in ages from a blogger I used to read regularly, for the first time in a while I looked back through all of the “Blogs I Follow” (here on WordPress). I realized as well I hadn’t in some time also read anything new from so many others either – prompted to do so thanks usually to email notifications of new posts. Scrolling down the list I noticed why there had been email silence from so many of them for so long: quite a few had not posted in many months or have evidently stopped entirely.

As a writer, yes, a degree of tenacity is required in maintaining your site, but it is your homespace within a noisy publishing universe so is definitely worth your time and effort. I think after a reader visits here a few times, he/she begins to see what I am, and if they enjoy it, they’ll be back. And I well know based on my own blog-reading habits that if there are regular posts – I consider twice a week pretty “regular” – and variety in them, readers are more likely to stay readers.

In his final years, I had been on at my uncle to get his novels on Kindle; but most were published long before Kindle existed and he did not own their rights. (He could not just upload them to Kindle on his own… or, more specifically, ask someone who knew how to do it to do it for him.) He was finally persuaded to look into starting a web site (I had been on at him about that, too), and he’d even found a grad student to build it; but my uncle died before anything came of it.

Social media is about, above all, being, well, social. If you are a creative, you need an active blog, web site or Facebook, etc. I think that nowadays readers/ listeners/ fans expect one.

Now, having said all of that, time to go back to long before web sites and blogs – to “1797.” I will be spending much of the day thrashing out more of the planned next novel. Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂

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