Why as a writer bother with a several times a week blog? Isn’t it a distraction? Isn’t it a hassle?
It may now and then be a bit of a “hassle” as is anything we do upon which we impose “regularity” on ourselves. But it is not usually a “distraction” given when I am blogging chances are I would not then be writing for publication. Doing it, I have learned, far outweighs not doing it.
It is always easy for anyone to observe, “I have no time,” but time management in doing anything that is “self-employment” (and being a writer is essentially self-employment) is absolutely vital. You have to be disciplined. The blog enforces some discipline: you need to write quickly, cogently, and to work to be interesting to visitors; that is a challenging semi-weekly practice that is a regular warm up enabling me to tackle books. Many a morning I write a post, click publish, close the browser moments after… and go right over to typing in a manuscript.
Yes, a couple of months ago I had considered stepping back from here for a while. However, within days I realized that this “journal” is part of my writing routine by now. As I attempted to cut back on my postings, I found I was actually out of sorts without it as a focus.
What are its main specific benefits?:
1) It is a regular interaction with you as readers, and the chance to encounter new followers and to attract new readers.
2) I think out loud on here. I vent. I share what I’m working on. I get some feedback. I also share various non-writing activities, such as what it is like to live here, life issues, my travels, and whatever else that may come to my mind. (One of the reasons I call it my “journal.”) It is in many ways a “stress buster,” and in that sense it has become more important to me since I lost my mother and my uncle in late 2015.
3) It encourages me to write. If you work outside of any public gaze, it is easy not to finish a planned project. There are always excuses you can make as to why you did not write the book “last year.” I have in my time here encountered many other writers who blogged about writing books, but the blogs slowly “died” and the books never appeared. Yet if you are regularly telling everyone what you are doing, and, importantly, when you hope to have it finished, that is an extra impetus actually to finish it.
I wrote Passports (during 2012-13) prior to the existence of this blog or any related social media. I began this only after the book was released in December 2013. Indeed early on I had worked on that book for several months without saying a word about it to friends and family.
On more than a few occasions I was at our PC in the Catskills (where I wrote much of it) at “5 O’Clock in the mornings.” I was secretive about it because I was doing it on the side and feared I was perhaps making a fool out of myself. Above all I felt there was no point revealing what I was up to in case I abandoned the entire idea of writing it.
But as it began to look like I could actually finish it, but long before it was finished, I finally started letting those closest to me know what I was doing. Once the cat was out of the bag, in many respects I had to finish it. Their knowledge encouraged me to move on to its end.
When I emailed it from America to here in England to the first person (besides my wife) to see the full rough draft, and she came back to me a few days later that she was floored, declared she loved it, and encouraged me to clean it up and complete it, and that she would help me do so, well, that was that.
Now this blog is my writing home online. That is why I am here. 🙂