Monday, 12 March 2012
Are You A Blogger Or A Writer?
In last Thursday's post, Dead Tired Writer, I talked about being overwhelmed by everything happening in my life right now, and how I felt like I was constantly behind. It seemed as if I had only enough time to blog or write, not both.
As if by some prophetic coincidence, the latest copy of Mslexia (Issue 53) arrived in the post that day, containing an article that really made me stop and think. In Blogaholic (pages 16/17), Kona Macphee asks, 'Is it possible to be a poet and a blogger at the same time?'.
Macphee details her blogging journey from posting daily about her thoughts from December 2010 to April 2011, to almost nothing by July 2011. In her words, she explains how she over-blogged, having started with a 'ridiculous expectation of how much content I could/should be able to produce whilst still maintaining my core creative life as a poet.' What really hit home for me was how as a perfectionist her blog eventually became a 'punitive regime' rather than a simple outlet for her thoughts. How blogging got in the way of doing all the things which inspired her creativity - reading, enjoying music, visiting inspriational places.
How many of us started our blogs with unrealistic blogging expectations? I certainly did. Back in May 2010 I believed I could blog three or four times a week, and I did. What I quickly learnt was that along with blog posts came followers and their comments, which is a good thing - after all, we all want a core base of followers to read and help promote our books once they are published. We also find friendship and support in sharing our followers journeys. But keeping up blogging etiquette (responding to comments and visiting followers blogs) takes time. Lots of it. And if you are a perfectionist like me, you constantly worry about what you haven't done.
So, what is the answer?
Macphee goes on to make an important point. If you are a career blogger - your blog is a valuable source of income - regular posts and increasing/maintaining your following is important. But if you are a writer, and your blog is secondary to that writing, maintaining your blog really doesn't matter. What matters is your writing, first and foremost.
I'm not sure I agree with her one hundred per cent - if you are a published writer, then your blog is a shop window to your books and you, so it does matter. However, if you're like me, still chasing that elusive publication dream, it's about prioritising. At this moment in time what is more important - maintaining your blog or your writing? I know which mine should be. What it has to be if I'm ever going to finish my book.
How about you?
An aside: as of writing this post I have read all the comments to last Thursday's post, just not responded to them yet. Do I feel guilty about that? Of course. Could I have found the time? Maybe. But then I haven't read or written either.