I should probably only make up words that don't look like they are synonyms for seizures, but never mind. I have a friend who is a disbeliever on the benefit of a blog for writers. [And I can't SAY the word disbeliever without thinking of the Charlie the Unicorn video where Charlie's friends say, “Shun the disbeliever! Shun! Shun!” (yes, my children are as twisted as I am) But I don't want to shun. I want to BE RIGHT! (Okay, so some personal failings related to always needing to be right might be showing).] However, what I ALSO WANT is to show you the benefits...
I thought, we shouldn't be asking, “What can I do for my blog?” We should ask, “What can my BLOG do for ME?!”
So here we have it...
Personal goals are lovely and all, but if you don't do what you need to meet them, who knows? If, however, you DECLARE your goals in PUBLIC, then you get
1) a little embarrassment if you don't make them.
2) Some peer pressure in the form of 'so how's it coming?' from readers.
3) Some peer MOCKING if you don't make it (I spanked Simon just Wednesday)
4) Some major cheerleading if you DO make it (oh sure, they may cheer after the fact if they didn't know, but if they DID their excitement is more real).
5) Just the act of going public does it for some (myself included)
These public goals can be word count, deadlines, habit forming, query sending... ANYTHING. This also goes with just developing a daily writing habit—some people have only been in the habit of writing when inspired—a blog builds the frequency of just getting WORDS down.
Having trouble with something? You have enough readers, SOMEBODY will know the answer. Just throw it out there. But if you are reciprocating and reading blogs, you run across great advice ALL THE TIME.
When I think of how much I've learned in the last 17 months, I can't BELIEVE there are people who GET THERE without this system. They are a darned lucky bunch of people—that's all I can say about that. Because without this gained knowledge, I was doing EVERYTHING wrong. I was NOT done editing. I did NOT know how to write a query. I didn't have a CLUE how to tighten a plot. There are still a great many things I don't know, but there are a whole lot MORE I didn't used to know. I believe I've received some modicum of expertise in... AT LEAST how to FIND the information I need (if I can maintain my patience and just look for it).
Before blogging... I frankly didn't know I didn't know... Who knew?
Not the egg... the 70s Shampoo... They told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on (man those commercials used to bug me). But there was a POINT. Having minions... erm... friends... to pass on the word (any word... even, say... Hing, or Knonle) and the trickle effect... can be... WOW. I've had a couple experiences of blogs that go viral, and it is a major trip to see your hits expand exponentially and to be approached from all sorts of directions. Heck, on Monday, one of the AUTHORS Leanne reviewed popped in—THAT is cool!
And when it is time that you REALLY need it (a book release, a promotional event), this can be ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to success (and these networks CAN'T be developed overnight).
Win Friends and Influence People!
I know it seems like a hokey bit of pokery, but if you are in the same spot regularly, and the same people drop by to visit, it is inevitable you will find some like minds. Even UN-like minds can be great fun to get to know. It has baffled me, really, diving into what seems an impersonal world and realizing the OTHER bloggers out there are people TOO! (who knew?)
Finding Your Voice
When you sit down to write those early works of fiction, it is very tempting to sound like you think you OUGHT to sound. In reality, the way you OUGHT to sound is distinctly like YOU. That is the way to be fresh and original—that is the only thing nobody can copy. It is the ONLY THING ORIGINAL with most stories. Sure there are fresh details and twists, but the main plots have really all been DONE. What is FRESH is the TELLING. The VOICE. A blog, because there is no fiction to it... is just YOU talking to your READERS. What better way IS THERE to learn how to sound like yourself?
The Side Door
And the big Kahunas... SOMETIMES a blog can do something PHENOMENAL. Look at Julie and Julia. A project that becomes something larger than it is... but here, I can even add my own example. When I started blogging, I had written one genre-defying family suspensish thingy... I was working on a very large, unruly mystery... I soon wrote a legitimate suspense... But one of my readers—a cozy mystery writer, said, 'Your voice is perfect for Cozy Mystery.' It had never occurred to me. For starters, mysteries always seemed smarter than me, but really... I hadn't even heard of Cozy Mysteries... I'd READ some, but I didn't know it was a distinct genre...
She niggled me a bit... and a few months later... an opportunity arose... and I seized it. I had an audition, and a contract, and just Wednesday, I got my first advance... so there you have it...
The BIGGEST benefit to blogging, is those unexpected bonuses...
De_Monocerote Unicorn permission
Faberge Egg Permission