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.

37 comments:

  1. The writing has to come first - but I think it would be a mistake to ignore blogging etc. I know for a fact that one potential publisher is interested in me at least partly because of my blog and my visibility. The writing is the key thing, sure, but a good blog can help you get the foot in the door.

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  2. I've developed loyal fans for my books through my blog, but I'm very particular about content and comments.

    I don't want to waste my time any more than I want to waste anyone else's. So I try to make every word count.

    I hope you find your happy middle ground soon.

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  3. Yes, your blog is important in marketing your writing BUT it shouldn't take over your life. It definitely shouldn't impact your writing life...much.

    I respond to comments, now, with replies in comments. Hardly ever do I email responses anymore. I do try to reciprocate visits, but if I don't get around to it, sorry. I'm busy writing. You will find your balance. It just takes some time.

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  4. I think it does matter if one is published or not, as authors need to maintain a presence. But it can take a lot of time. (Trust me!) I intend to ease back a little to work on my third book.

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  5. I struggle with this, too, Ellie. I know my writing is the priority but sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in blogs, etc. I can convince myself (to a point) that it's writing-related work - and it is! - but I know in my heart that the social networking shouldn't/can't take precedence over the creative work.

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  6. i needed a little feel good pick me up and a place to share some of my words/art/design... maybe make some coin and a difference. what i have gotten is a great bunch of friends, perspective and insight... which is awesome, the coin is still jingling... but never became more than more. i thought i was a good writer, but there are much more talented people out there, so i stick to my art/design. i am happy to have made a site where people can walk into it and get a sense of who i am or who i want to be.

    you are a great lady, with a awesome sense of direction and humor... you will find your light at the end of the tunnel, i think i went off topic. i have said it before... it's okay, just being me and that is what we are here for.

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  7. Writing comes first but that doesn't mean your blog isn't important too.

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  8. Awwww lovely Ellie! I had no expectations when I started my blog. I guess it helped that I started my blog cos of my cat, nothing more! I liked to blog everyday then realised I didn't really have much of interest to blog about every day so I cut it down to just once a week! That's helped soooooooooo much!

    But I comment every day. That takes so much time and one day I'll cut down on that too!

    I blog when I get stumped with my writing. I get bogged down with commenting when I know I should be writing. But I can't force myself to get writing if I really don't feel like it so blogging takes away the edge a little bit. I just go round in circles! I know I didn't write as much even without the blog! So who am I kidding!??! LOL!

    I don't really know what I'm saying here! LOL! Blogging shouldn't be a chore maybe is what I'm saying. People do blog to sell stuff and make money but I'd hate to be in their shoes cos I'm really quite lazy! LOL!

    Take care
    x

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  9. There's no doubt that blogging has cut into my creative writing time. It isn't just a matter of posting an article and then going back to work is it? You have to go read everyone else's blog posts too and that really does take hours out of a day. So, I think it's a compromise. I choose to only post twice a week, and I know I won't get much writing done on those days, but I like the interaction with my fellow writers and so, for me, it's still worth it.

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  10. If I'm going to have a book to blog about I've got to write it and to write it I can spend my day blogging.

    Answer: Write don't blog. Well, just blog at weekend or for an hour on Sunday

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  11. If I'm going to have a book to blog about I've got to write it and to write it I can't spend my day blogging.

    Answer: Write don't blog. Well, just blog at weekend or for an hour on Sunday ;-)

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  12. I'm a writer whois a blogger. If I didn;t write I would not have a blog because I would not have anything to write about. Except what I had for breakfast or that I'm going to the store to by ketchup. That's what Twitter's for.

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  13. Some really good points have been made here and I am glad you brought this up. When I started blogging I did it for fun only, the idea of writing a book was far from my mind. So blogging has inspired me to write a book and it keeps inspiring me. Finding the balance though is a tough thing. I blog and comment when I have something to say, and I have fun with whatever I am doing.

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  14. It is such a coincidence that I've run into a similar circumstance. Over the last couple of months, I've found my blog posts lagging behind, and feeling sorry about failing the schedule I had imposed. I've had too many other concerns, and I just had to skip some days, in favor of creating crucial fiction.

    The blog is a valuable resource for promotion, marketing, and social standing, but it must always come second to creating new works of fiction. I've been shifting more toward 2-posts per week, and I believe those who wish to follow me will accept the diminished post allotment, and appreciate that they're getting more quality, rather than quantity.

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  15. Wow. This is one of those lightbulb moments. Are you a blogger or a writer? *gulp* For probably the majority of this year so far I have been a BLOGGER. But I want to be a writer. I AM A WRITER. But it's not showing. This is really tough, because I think I may actually have a blogging addiction... Once I turn on my computer and open my browser, I just can't stop! And knowing that there are comments I haven't responded yet to just makes me feel... antsy! I can't ignore them!

    Once the launch of GUARDIAN and the blog tour are over, I need to do some seriously blog scaling back!

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  16. AGHH! Yes, so true. Writer/blogger? Which? You have to blog to keep up that online presence for that as-yet-unpubbed book. BUT, what about editing that book? Writing the next?

    For me, writing always trumps blogging. But I only blog about 2x a week. I'm not a heavy-hitter, as yet. I also tweet, FB, and hit other writers' blogs...so I have to balance it.

    But again, writing always wins.

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  17. Hi Ellie .. I don't write books, but I can see my blog creating an income for me by utilising its content ..

    But I post once every four - six days and thankfully people seem interested to keep coming back and to sign up.

    When I started the blog - I was interacting with my stroked mother - discussion was important .. so I kept the same momentum up - it's changed slightly, become more refined I hope .. but by throwing a different approach to 'history' it's worked.

    Writing for writers must win - but so could blogging .. short stories - being turned into books as Doris did after the A - Z last year ..

    Cheers - good to have you back blogging though .. Hilary

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  18. Yep, writing should always come first. Although knowing that and doing that are two different things ;)

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  19. Writing has to come first. I understand it's necessary to keep up with networking, but the writer needs to create something to show at the end of the day.

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  20. I was a writer for many years before I began a blog. At first, I spent way to much time blogging. My 5+ days per week posts meant I was zapping my creative energy for fiction writing. In the last year-and-a-half I've learned to find a balance. Usually.

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  21. It's tricky. When starting out, you need to build. But I think you can blog less & visit more. Ie, posting only 1 or two times a week. You can still build & put the emphasis on writing.

    Once we start publishing, we have to somehow find the time to do both. Having starting to publish, I can say almost all of my sales came off of my blog. So, it is important.

    I set a time & a time limit of blog visiting everyday. Someday, I'll up that on some days for promo reasons.

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  22. I enjoy blogging, but it does take a lot of time. If I know I have less than 20 minutes, I tend to blog. When I know I'll have more than 20, I tend to write. It mostly works :)

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  23. Writing has to take priority. Blogging should (in my mind) only be done as much as it enhances your writing life, not detracts. There's no other "rule" that's as important as that one, and it will flex for whatever your individual circumstances are. Blogging IS writing after all, and can have an important part to play. But the only thing that makes a difference is the intellectual property that you generate, sitting at the keyboard, creating stories. Do that first! And you won't worry so much about the rest! :)

    Best of luck with your writing!

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  24. This is exactly how I felt before I took my several month long hiatus. I was way too caught up on blogging, and not writing at all. With everything in my life being so hectic- work, kids, maintaining a house, married life, social life, etc, something had to go. And it was my blogging. I felt like it was taking over- that I was frantically trying to blog 3 times a week and read everyone else's blogs. I realized that if I kept doing that, I'd never write and subsequently never get published which is my goal in the first place! So I had to take a breather. Sit back, and really look at it. In the end I realized that I need to write, and that blogging comes second. I don't have s strict schedule and I'm way more laid back. I only blog on days I know I can get to other people's blogs. If I don't blog, I don't worry about it. My life feels so much less hectic now that I'm not tied to my blogging like I was before. Now that I'm preggos that's a whole other distraction from writing, lol- but a good one ;p

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  25. Wow...a question I have avoided asking myself. Right now, I should be editing, but truth be told, I am here (and visiting other blogs) "socializing" with other "writers'...or are we all bloggers? Yep, I know I have been platform building for almost a year, but my writing time has suffered for it. And my editing time as well... Good post. :-)

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  26. You can do just about anything you want in life--but you can't do everything. Certainly not all at once. Be realistic about your expectations compared to what you can really do. And prioritize!

    And I'm not really here on a Monday. I'm a figment of your imagination. lol

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  27. Hi Ellie..for a writer writing the books comes first. Because even if we have a certain number of regular followers and no books to promote, it doesn't make sense. The best thing would be to reduce the days of posting, that way we can visit all the people who comment on our posts and still find time to write.

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  28. I'm not a writer. I'm not really a blogger. I'm just me and I sometimes blog about...well, me. lol!
    I saw your blog link on the A to Z Challenge and stopped over. I'm now following!!
    Giggle, Laugh, Cry

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  29. Boy you sound like me and how I think. And I don't have near the number of followers, so I don't know how you maintain. However, I have cut back on blogging and am trying to focus more on writing. It is hard because you somehow feel you're missing out or letting someone down or not doing enough! ACK!

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  30. What a great post, Ellie! I am so there with you...and Lynn right above me in the comments! I feel bad when I don't reply to comments and get around to everyone's blogs. AND that's even when I AM blogging way more than my REAL writing! And my REAL writing MUST come first...which it finally is beginning to surface. Thanks so much for this reminder...and Please don't ever feel guilty about not replying or stopping by my blog. I toally understand! And hey..I know we're sending each other good thoughts and good karma!

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  31. I agree it is so hard to draw the line between blogging and writing for me. I feel guilty for not visiting others blogs but at the same time due to time constraints it is so hard to write and blog.

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  32. Oh my gosh Ellie are you talking to me. I'm afraid that I have gotten so far into other writing, blogging, reviewing, short features on entertainment that I have gotten away from my creative writing. My mojo is gone right now.

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  33. I'm a pretty terrible blogger, because yes, writing my book comes first. Good post!

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  34. i used to post a wee tale every day... then weekdays only, followed by once a week... now, since i moved last july, it's been months since i posted anything of my own... spending too much time on fb, just yapping

    once i get over my funk, i may begin to write again... have so much on the back burner these days....

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  35. I agree with you what matters is your writing, first and foremost.
    Iblog too much and write too little...

    BTW you've been lucky 7 tagged on my blog.

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  36. Thought provoking post. Thank you.

    As someone interested in words, I thought you might like to look into the word play in cryptic crosswords (if you aren't already into them). I have been doing a series of posts about cryptic clues and how to solve them. This is the first one in the series:
    http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/cryptic-crosswords-solving-hints-1.html
    Enjoy.

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  37. This so hits home to me right now. I struggle with this question. Someday I will find the perfect balance.

    .......dhole

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