|Cartoon: Johnny Ancich|
Over at Jane Friedman's guest blogger L.L. Barkat has called on experienced writers to stop blogging.
Does this mean I would recommend that everyone stop blogging? No. I encourage new bloggers, just the way I always have. It’s an excellent way to find expression, discipline, and experience. But if writers already have experience, and they are authors trying to promote themselves and their work, I tell them to steer clear. If they’ve already found themselves sucked into the blogging vortex, I suggest they might want to give it up and begin writing for larger platforms that don’t require reciprocity (an exhausting aspect to blogging and a big drain on the writer’s energy and time). Read the whole thing
Barkat made the point that in the early to mid 2000s, when the blogosphere was only just on the rise, it made absolute sense for authors to start blogs. But today ... with Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook and and and ... one can't help feeling that the writers are getting sucked in the wrong direction.
Do we even know why we're doing stuff on social media anymore? Or have we all jumped into the Black Hole of Procrastination and lost all sense of direction and proportion?
This was the point I was trying to make last year in a piece titled If everyone's now got a platform, how are you going to stand out? I was just getting the feeling that too many people were jumping on the blogging bandwagon for the wrong reasons ('I need a platform', ' my publisher told me to', 'I want to sell my novel').
Jane Friedman puts it well in her introduction to Barket's piece:
Blogging is neither a requirement nor the best marketing and promotion tool.Mind you, I could easily be accused of a hidden agenda. And yes, I have to admit to dismay when I realized that blogs targeting the same readers and writing about the same things began to proliferate!
Speaking of competition - Words & Pictures, the newsletter of SCBWI in the British Isles is relaunching as an online magazine! One cool new feature of the revived W&P will be a blog feed of British SCBWI's network of bloggers. Very helpful. Thank you, SCBWI!
I was fascinated to read the comments on LL Barkat's piece - a blogger made the point that she didn't measure the success of her blog in hits but in 'relationships'. Funnily enough, I got to know fellow blogger Addy Farmer because I was a fan of her fiction blog Wilf (I still believe it should be made into a series). And I have made many great friends through the initial contact of the comments page of this blog.
But how much of my book sales do I owe to blogging? Hmm ...
Me, I still enjoy blogging - but I have so little time - I blog a lot more succinctly now whereas in the past I tried to be comprehensive. I would like to develop my blog on CandyGourlay.com but at the moment, I only have the time to report my author activities, which I imagine can't be terribly exciting for someone who wasn't there.
Here on Notes from the Slushpile, the blogging team has been so busy with our own individual writing journeys that we are perfectly capable of allowing a week to slip by without updating the blog. I follow blogging gurus like Heidi Cohen - who recently warned that "writing only when the spirit moved you" was "blarney". Here's what Heidi counsels:
The reality is that you must consistently publish fresh content on a regular basis to build an audience
Be that as it may, I haven't got the time. For me, the reality is that I have to write books in order to have an audience at all. What's the point of a platform if you haven't got anything to show for it? Blogging is not my job. It's just a thing I like to do.
I don't feel that guilty about not updating the blog as regularly as we should - and I hope my co-bloggers don't either, because it's a sign that our priorities are in the right place.
Anyway there are so many blogs out there that our readers are probably pleased with the respite.