Sunday, 13 December 2015

To Blog or Not to Blog


Today's blog post is inspired by Carol hedges' post A Blog about Blogs in which she discusses why she continues to blog when so many writers are giving up. It's well worth a read.

The funny thing is, I read it at just the right time. You see I'd had a bit of a blank about my own blog. For the first time in a long while, the act of writing and promoting it seemed quite a chore. It occurred to me that if I was struggling to think of a topic, then whatever I wrote would be just for the sake of updating the blog rather than because I was enjoying the writing or adding value to it.

I've been writing my blog since 2012. At first I wrote three times a week (how did I manage that!) but I soon began to settle into a once a week pattern. I've always enjoyed writing it, have made some good friends through it and have had some fabulous guests. Recently, though, I've been questioning why I am doing it. This is partly because blogging is a two-way process. It's no good just being a blog writer - you need to be out there reading other people's blogs and commenting. You also need to promote your blog if you've any hope of having a healthy readership (the whole point of writing, unless you want to talk to yourself). 

All this is time-consuming.

When I started Wendy's Writing Now, I was at a very different stage in my writing career. I'd just had my first story published and the idea of the blog was to chart my journey from that point. There was no pressure, to be witty, informative or entertaining as there weren't very many people reading it. Now, 150 story publications later, with my first novel written and a high number of pageviews per post, I'm wondering as to the purpose of my blog. 

I looked at the list of blogs I follow and realised that there are only about a third of these blogs still active. These writers have moved away from their blogs but I still see them on Facebook or Twitter. Others resurrect their blogs when they have a book out... then fall silent again. I'd like to ask them why they stopped - or more importantly whether they are glad they did. Also, it made me wonder about those of you who continue. Is it because you love writing it? Is it because you hope it will promote sales? Is it because you're scared to stop? If you feel inclined to tell me - please be honest.

One of  the things that was worrying me was the fact that my blog isn't a 'How to Write Better' or even a particularly serious blog. When I looked back at my old posts, I saw that there was a lot more about my bad step-dog, Bonnie, my dancing and singing and even my holidays. Not exactly a serious writer's blog.

Did it matter though?

Through the simple act of writing this post, I've realised that maybe it doesn't matter. Wendy's Writing Now was never meant to be serious and I must stop thinking it must be. I don't want to teach or preach. I want to enjoy my blog and allow it to show the reader a little bit more about me. My blog post To Read of Not to Read  (where I talked about not reading the magazines I write for) has become legendary and garnered some of my highest number of comments and pageviews! That post was me just being honest.

Over on Carol's blog, book blogger Rosie Amber, says that she loves writing her blog but 'when she gets fed up, she'll hang up her hat and walk away'. Clever lady. 

Giving up on my Wendy's Writing Now would be like saying goodbye to an old friend... and I'm not ready to do that but if that time ever comes, I hope I shall have the courage to do the same. 

Please let me know your thoughts.



69 comments:

  1. Keep on keeping on. I enjoy stumbling across things that might not be my 'targets'. I think it is good for the soul.

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    1. It's certainly nice to try new blogs, Stuart, and it's equally nice to have new readers. Thank you for visiting.

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  2. I haven't been blogging for a year yet and I don't think I've quite settled into it. It's a bit of an effort to write something every week, but it's more of a repository of things that I'm researching than a blog about writing or what I'm doing. Sometimes I do go off on a bit of a tangent, though, but those are my favourite posts.

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    1. I know what you mean about those 'off at a tangent' posts, April.

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  3. The good thing about this game is that your blog can be what you want it to be - you can give away as little or as much as you choose - and you can write it for whoever you wish (you included), as frequently or as infrequently as you like.

    I can only ever imagine quitting mine if it became a stress, and I can only imagine it becoming a stress if readers came to rely on it in some way - which I doubt will happen, and which I hope I've not encouraged.

    Thanks for a thoughtful post.

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    1. That's a really good point about your readers relying on your blog... or not. I suppose as long as nobody expects anything in particular e.g. a certain number of guest posts or writers' tips each week, then you can't really go wrong.

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  4. I love blogging, i love reading and commenting on other people's blogs. I might not want to carry on if people stopped commenting on my blog though! I blog most days but I don't feel pressured to blog every day. my posts are generally short so it's not too much of a chore.

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    1. I'm amazed you manage to blog most days... that's impressive!

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  5. Thanks for such an interesting post at just this time, Wendy! I've been wondering about blogging for a while now, especially this year, and have definitely struggled more with writing posts. I enjoy twitter and FB and doing a newsletter but wasn't sure whether to continue blogging or not. I don't think I feel strongly enough about quitting yet so I'll see how it goes at the beginning of next year and rethink it. The problem with leaving it behind is I'd miss the lovely people I've met online who don't do twitter or FB.

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    1. I'm very aware that it was through our blogs that we first 'met', Rosemary, but then again I wasn't on Facebook when I first started. Maybe we'd have met anyway... who knows. We've followed each other's blogs since I started - it would be such a shame to lose you!

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  6. I like blogging. For me it takes the place of chatting with work colleagues. Sometimes the conversations are about work and sometimes they're about step dogs.

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    1. Ha ha yes, Bonnie will continue to feature!

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  7. I'm not a blogger but I do love reading people's bogs and I do try to comment.
    They are all different so I get something different out of each of them. I feel it's like a letter to me, sometimes chatty, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes asking me what I think.
    I think as with anything in life, if it becomes a chore and doing it is no longer enjoyable, that's the time to stop.
    I'm pleased you don't feel at the moment you're ready to give up your lovely blog, Wendy, but as you say I'm sure you will know when the time is right to do so. xx

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    1. It's for people like you, that we bloggers carry on, Sue. Thank you.

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  8. I blog because I enjoy it. I do it to remind me of things I've thought of, ideas, things I want to remember (looking back is quite interesting) and because I enjoy the contact with other bloggers. It doesn't promote my writing, and that doesn't matter. Because blogging is writing, albeit non-profit-making.

    I'd carry on, Wendy, if you enjoy doing it. Just don't bother to ask yourself why you do it!

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    1. Your blog is always interesting even though (or maybe because) it's not necessarily writing related. I should take a leaf out of your book and not stress about the content so much. It was through your blog that I first got to know your great books.

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  9. Thanks for this article. As a newbie wannabe writer, blogging gives me the opportunity to display my work. It's knowing that my work is 'published' rather than waiting for a publisher to say Yes or No.

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    1. That is a really good point, David. I remember thinking that too when I first started it. Thanks for popping over and leaving a comment.

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  10. I really enjoy your blog, Wendy, and I enjoy writing my own too. My problem is that writing posts takes up a lot of time that I need to prioritise elsewhere. So I keep it going intermittently, rather than regularly, which probably results in fewer followers - understandable with such sporadic posts - but at least allows me to update from time to time. I hope yours continues too. xx

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    1. Yes, it really can be very time consuming can't it, Joanna.

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  11. I love your blog so please keep going, Wendy. But as a fellow blogger I understand the concerns. I've found it tough to keep coming up with new ideas and things to say. There is a pressure to be active on social media to demonstrate to agents/publishers etc that you can promote your writing. But please don't hang up your blogging shoes yet...

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    1. We've discussed this topic over teacakes on a few occasions haven't we, Tracy. Don't worry... I'm going nowhere at the moment :)

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  12. I enjoy your blog, Wendy, and hope you keep it going. As you know I used to run the Womagwriter blog. I loved doing that for many years - built up a great readership, turned it into a useful resource for writers, and got a mention of it most months in Writers' Forum magazine. But when I stopped writing womag stories it became a chore to keep it up to date, and I was letting it slip until the wonderful Patsy Collins asked if she could take it over.
    My own blog is not updated nearly often enough - I'm in your category of updating it only when I've some book news to impart. This isn't because I don't enjoy blogging, but because now that I'm writing novels to deadlines I just don't have the time to write or read blogs much. It's easier to keep in touch on Facebook.
    Although I think blogging has to some extent had its day, I think the best blogs are here to stay and still have a place in the world of social media. They're more like a magazine, whereas Facebook is chats in a pub or coffee shop.

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    1. Yes, it's the time it takes to interact with other people's blogs as well as writing your own tat takes the time, isn't it. I really enjoyed reading and commenting on other people's blogs (and still do) but I'm aware that I write a lot more now than when I first started.

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  13. I blog whenever I have something interesting to say, eg when I've been to a writing event or something useful about being an Aspie

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    1. I think you're very sensible only blogging when you've something useful to tell your readers, Julie.

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  14. Interesting post, Wendy! Funnily enough, I met up with my writing buddy, Sally Jenkins yesterday (it was her idea, 5 years ago, that we should each start a blog!)and we both said we'd be continuing with our blogs into 2016! But I agree with you, that it does get harder to find things to write about. I also used to post 3 times a week - and wonder how I had the time! But I think when it's new and exciting, like most things, your enthusiasm carries you through. I don't think having a blog equates to more book/story sales but I like the connection with other writers and I've definitely made friends through blogging, whether they're 'virtual' (like you and Tracy!) or 'real world' - I've made a couple of those too. I like the fact that having a blog is like being 'the boss' of my own on-line magazine; I enjoy the creative aspect of having a blog and I get a kick from comments and increases in followers. It's still fun but if it ever becomes a chore, like you, I would stop it!

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    1. I agree with everything you've said here, Helen. Well done for keeping up the blog for five years - yours is definitely one on my favourites.

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  15. I enjoy your blog. I know lots of people are very regular in their posts but I don't think that's so important as having something to say. I still blog occasionally but only when I have something that I hope is reasonably interesting to say (which isn't often.)I enjoy reading a number of writerly blogs - hearing others' opinions, ideas and news is great.

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    1. I think the way to go is not feel that it has to be every day/week/fortnight but to just blog when the mood takes you and you have something to say. I certainly wouldn't be happy missing more than one week though as it might be difficult to get back into the swing of it.

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  16. For me blogging has become very time-consuming. My writing output has to be high each year to meet deadlines and I facebooking and Tweeting to promote my books takes up a lot of hours. But I used to run a team blog before I got published and that was crucial for networking and getting used to blogging (important, as when I promote a blog I do a blogtour, writing posts for other people's blogs). I think it does help promote your work, if you can keep it up - and if your blog is particularly interesting, like yours Wendy - but I do think a lot of authors also reach a point where maintaining it eats too much into writing time. I think just the occasional blog is fine, just to keep your finger in, you have a strong number of followers. And when you get your novel published it will be a really good platform to launch yourself from.
    Sam xx

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    1. Of course, I would also miss all my my lovely guests (I hear some come back regularly he he). P.S I like the 'when you get your novel published' part of your comment best!

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  17. I'd read Carol's blog, too, Wendy, and your discussion makes interesting reading. At the moment mine is still quite new and I've made some very supportive 'friends' because of it. I do try to read and comment whenever I can and although it is time consuming to run a blog and support others', I do find it invaluable.

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    1. I'm glad you've found it an interesting discussion, Jan. I've made lots of good writing friends through blogging too.

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  18. I enjoy your blog, Wendy, and its always interesting to know where you get ideas for your stories from and what successes you are having. Doesn't matter to me if sometimes its about dogs or family. Keep on going.
    Alyson

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    1. Thanks Alyson... more dogs and family to come, I'm sure.

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  19. Thanks for a great post Wendy - I always enjoy your blog posts! This subject is something I too am struggling with. I don't update my blog regularly enough and that's not because I don't enjoy writing it, more a case of time (particularly an issue during the latter half of this year). With my novel writing (and editing) and other commitments, a quick flick through Facebook and Twitter to keep connected seems far more achievable than sitting down to write a blog post that others might find interesting. Perhaps I've found one of my New Year resolutions! :)

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    1. I think it all depends on the stage we are at in our writing careers. The funny thing is that it's when we have the least time to commit to blogging (such as when we've written a novel and are probably onto the next) that we are expected (by agents and publishers) to be writing one.

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  20. I'm still blogging. Glad you are too, Wendy. For me, blogging is a weekly discipline, a way of measuring out my writing life and, if the opportunity arises, to document my writing successes. Principally I write for my own benefit but love it when others take the time to comment. But even if nobody ever reponded, I would still choose to blog.

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    1. I agree that it is a good discipline, Beatrice. sometimes just the act of writing it gets my creativity flowing. Unlike you though, I don't think I would carry on if I felt nobody was reading it!

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  21. Such a lot of interesting viewpoints here. I really enjoy blogging but because it is always writing related it's sometimes a struggle to post as frequently as I'd like. I've decided not to stress about it. I will continue because I like it and will post when I have something I want to share. I certainly don't want it to slip away from me as it's a lovely way to engage with other writers (and this blog post is a prime example). Like Kath, though, I like to keep in touch on Facebook. It's much more immediate and is certainly my favourite networking tool.

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    1. I think it's the 'writing related' part that is the problem as it can be limiting. This is where bad step-dog Bonnie comes in handy!

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    2. I think it's the 'writing related' part that is the problem as it can be limiting. This is where bad step-dog Bonnie comes in handy!

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  22. I began my blog when I retired and couldn't imagine which direction my life would take. It became busier than ever and my blog became an eclectic collection of articles. The first blog I read was by Patsy Collins and it is still my favourite.
    I am curious by nature and love to read of the journeys, thoughts and lives of others. I have certainly enjoyed reading yours which has been a motivating factor for my writing.
    My blog posts have become less frequent but I have also started a blog for my gardening club which members appreciate and one for my community allotment which acts as a record of our planting.
    I have learnt a lot from bloggers on gardening, writing and life itself so long live blogging!

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    1. Patsy's blog was one of my first as well. A lot of her posts are competition related which is clever as it means she doesn't have to think up new topics for every post.

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    2. Patsy's blog was one of my first as well. A lot of her posts are competition related which is clever as it means she doesn't have to think up new topics for every post.

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  23. Wow Wendy, I think the response to your blog shows you how valued it is by others. I love writing my blog. The only trouble is, I love writing my novels even more. If only there were more hours in the day... Happy Christmas.
    Ben

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    1. Ps. I wasn't trying to direct people to my blog. I was just rubbish at getting my comment to show up as coming from me, but I can't work out how to! I've only been doing this a year...

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    2. I shall just call you 'blog' from now on, Ben :) and a Merry Christmas to you too.

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  24. "I'd like to ask them why they stopped - or more importantly whether they are glad they did. Also, it made me wonder about those of you who continue. Is it because you love writing it? Is it because you hope it will promote sales? Is it because you're scared to stop? If you feel inclined to tell me - please be honest."

    Hi, Wendy!

    As an author who neglects her blog, I appreciate you addressing the conundrum. I do put up posts rarely, and those are most often book reviews these days. I have a terrible time coming up with entry ideas. I suppose I could write about being an indie writer, but that would mean (to me) that I wasn't actually working on my current manuscript.

    I like having the micro-blogging platform of Twitter available, since it demands so little of me. I find it's far easier to toss out a sentence to update my progress, to support the writing community, to communicate with others about myriad topics. Preparing a blog, editing it, finding compelling images, linking . . . it takes hours to publish a blog. For me, those hours could be spent on a manuscript drafting, redrafting, editing, researching, polishing, and preparing a title for publication.

    So, that's why I don't blog any more. Or, well, I do blog. I just blog infrequently.

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    1. Thank you so much sir taking the time to answer my question so honestly, Jess. Your reasons for not blogging regularly are ones many of us have encountered. Sometimes it becomes necessary to weigh up blogging time against writing time.

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  25. I've been blogging now for two and half years, as I say on my home page, 'on science fiction, writing and anything that interest me or is fun'. I think discipline of a weekly blog makes me observe the world around me rather than simply pass through it. Also, compared to story writing it is much more immediate. There's little time for revision and (hopefully)there is also immediate feedback.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Ian. I suppose you're right in that it gives a quick writing fix (especially when you receive comments back).

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  26. I started my blog because I wanted the self-imposed discipline of having to write regularly. Also, it gives me an outlet for letting off steam. Yes, there's an element of self-promotion in it, but I try to read and comment at least reciprocally and, when time permits, beyond.

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    1. You are very good at reciprocating and I am very grateful. I try and do the same as much as I can - but sometimes it's hard to do it for everyone (says she, looking up at all the fabulous people who have been so kind as to leave comments!)

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  27. Keep them coming.
    My usual rate is something like two in a month. (that is because I need time to process the pictures and usually I attach a video too which is again time consuming creating it)

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    1. Attaching videos... sounds a little high tech for my blog! Mind you, I did manage to put one up featuring my bad step-dog Bonnie the other week :)

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  28. Hi Wendy I enjoy reading blogs, it's a lovely way to catch a glimpse of other people's lives and experiences (& often sense of humour too). I've only been blogging for about a year but it has been a fantastic experience. I've connected with so many wonderful people on my guest blogs, people who are eager to share their experiences and offer encouragement to a new writer. I hope you keep blogging Wendy.

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    1. Connecting with others is a huge part of blogging, isn't it... Probably the most important part.

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  29. I've discovered your blog at the right time as I've recently started blogging myself. I've enjoyed discovering other writers through their blogs, and am now beginning to share my thoughts and experiences with others. I had only imagined that blogging was a marketing tool while never imagining that I would be connecting to others. This I still fairly new to me, but I'm enjoying the process and hope to learn and improve as I continue blogging. Having a platform is empowering!

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    1. If we think of blogging as only a marketing tool, it will never succeed. I doubt I've sold many books through my blog directly but by interacting with others and visiting (and guessing on) their blogs, I have widened my exposure to potential readers. Thanks for visiting, Donna.

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  30. I love your blog, Wendy and hope you carry on with it for a while yet! I've met so many lovely writing friends through blogging, and do find my writing blog helps with keeping my writing in check, almost like a monthly journal. Hope you have a lovely Christmas, and a Happy New Year x

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    1. Thank you, Anita. Don't worry, Wendy's writing Now will still be around in 2016! Thanks for your support.

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  31. A well-timed message for me, Wendy! It's the first time I've visited, but it won't be the last. Like you, I started blogging years ago, when I had just a few articles in print. Now I have a non-fiction book published and I have articles in 12 other books.

    Just the other day, I sat down and asked myself the same question. "Why do I do this?" I don't have enough time to write my current book project.

    My decision has been to prioritize. My blog comes in second to my writing, but so many other commitments must go.

    Blessings from S.Africa for the New Year when it arrives!

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    1. Hah! I've just spotted your address. You're also S.African? Where do you live?

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    2. No, I'm not South African, Shirley - I live in the South of England. I agree that prioritizing your writing is a good idea. The blogs mustn't take over.

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