So you’ve taken the first steps toward writing a novel. Congratulations! Holy carpel tunnel, what an undertaking!
Aside from a novella pubbed with a small house, and a self pubbed short story, I’m new to the journey of writing longer bodies of work. With a couple of novels closing in on completion, I thought it’d be a good idea to revisit the notion of blogging before your novel is finished.
So why blog at all? Why have a website before the writing is ready?
To answer, let’s measure some good points and limitations of blogging as a fiction writer, because if you’re like me-already writing every night-you need good reason to write some more!
Do you really need a blog or website? I’m tempted to answer, “Hell Yes,” but that’s a short answer for a long journey. Asking two questions can help determine if having a blog or website is right for you:
- Am I writing for myself or an audience?
- What do I want the blog to do for me or my intended audience?
Well, consider what you are writing for.
If time spent at your keyboard produces content intended for just you or your friends and family: It is a closed circle of reader ship. In this case you’re probably fine without a blog unless you want to use it as a meeting place to share writing efforts. However, a blog is a great way to venture into new territory as a writer as well as learning time management.
A FEW TIPS
- Get a timer. Dedicate a specific amount of time to your goal of writing daily, and don’t move from the keyboard until your designated time is up!
- Explore other blogs for inspiration to hit the keys more often.
- Link and share your thoughts and experiences with others beyond your current circle. Lots of friendly bloggers would enjoy reading your stuff…just enjoy theirs, comment and invite them to visit yours!
If you are a fiction writer, with an eye on publication: Whether you want to submit a 7,000 word short story for a magazine or anthology, or a George Martin-esque length novel, you want to begin building a name, a platform to launch your work and your presence. One of the simplest ways is creating a public blog. As with a personal blog, a public blog can help you get into the habit of writing every day, as well as discovering an enormous community of online interaction and support for mutual interests and efforts.
When marketing my book *Stealing Time I blogged and interacted with a lot of people. It didn’t feel like marketing, but a direct result of blogging vs not blogging was more book sales. *published under a nom-de-plume 2012 by Musa Publishing
A fiction author who blogs on a website and participates in bloghops and giveaways builds both brand and sales. Bonus: It’s fun!
- A blog or website offers exposure. Your blog combined with email subscriptions is the marketing tool for your name.
- Write a blogpost-geared idea every few days even if you’re not ready to post yet.
- Once a week choose one of those ideas and expand it to around 50o words and you’ll have built a blogpost.
- Balance Writing Goals: Hit your daily fiction writing goal first, then work in thirty minutes for your blogging goals. A timer helps.
- Share what other writers and bloggers are doing that intrigues you. Post a link to their content from your site.
- Build your blog audience through an email list; an email subscription button can make it easy for them to take action.
- Consider creating a free newsletter to offer visitors who subscribe to your blog. ‘Cause giving back is beautiful. And you’ve learned so much from their blogs and input, too!
- PS If you’re looking for my subscribe button, I’m in process of figuring how to add it and learn how it works using Mail Chimp. There is a Mail Chimp plug in, I believe, for WordPress that allows people to subscribe, and if I understand it right, maybe triggers a news letter message? I’ll tell you how this works in a post next week!
So. Now you are a blogger who aspires to submit fiction work for publication. Here’s the catch: You haven’t typed a short story in weeks. You have penned no poetry, and the deadline to submit it cannot be seen from your rear view mirror. Oh, and what about your manuscript? What manuscript? You’ve been so busy interacting and tapping away at the keys for your various social media sites that you forgot your original purpose.
Blogging is a fantastic social/marketing tool. But best of all? It sucks your time away and you won’t even see it happening. Don’t let it be your master. Let it serve you while you write and serve others.
Unplug and WRITE.
Manage your social media time and don’t let it become a timesuck. Narrow your focus to one or two blogposts per week until your writing goals are completed. Your time will free up for finishing that 300 page doozy stewing in your brain. Hit the keyboard with an eye to target that submission deadline, or create an imaginary deadline because the person who submits is ahead of the pack.
Then consider blogging again.
If your brain needs a change of pace from the current WIP (Work in Progress) but you still want to write every day, that’s a perfect excuse to blog.
My own MS in progress is just past 150K words, earning me a late salmon supper and a bit of time to update this blogpost. Oh…and coffee. The writing is delicious when spiked with liquid roast-heaven in a cup.
- About Blogging: Just Do It (And Here’s Why) (c-c-hall.com)
- Create: “Why I Started My Blog” Tag (howdoesitfeeltobe.com)
- To Blog or Not to Blog? (authormjkanebooks.wordpress.com)
- How different is blogging from writing fiction? (crimsonleague.com)
- What is a writer? What is a hack? Where do you draw the line between them? (scottandconniepowers.wordpress.com)