Monday, February 8, 2016

Blogging for Writers

As I mentioned a few posts back, I'm working my way through a little book called Blogging for Writers.  So far, I'm fairly pleased with it - though it doesn't go deep enough into the questions and topics that bounce around my mind as I think about my blog.  Namely...
  1. Privacy vs. living publicly.  How does one balance the need for privacy in a full-disclosure culture?  How much can, or should, one blog about one's personal life?  In that light, how is it beneficial to blog about what you're currently writing - or even to blog bits of works in progress?  I live in fear of someone snatching my ideas, let alone my work... and my family worries about oversharing.  Not a great foundation for a writer's blog, that.
  2. Adopting the mantle of an expert.  In one chapter, the author highlights "the twelve types of posts" a writer's blog can, or should (I'm not certain here of the distinction), focus on.  Listed high on the list were reviews - of books, of other websites, etc. - and posts about the art and craft of writing.  I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with, or qualified to, attempt either.  I'm a writer and a teacher... but I'm no expert, and struggle mightily when it comes to providing salient advice even to writer friends.  As for reviewing... well, see my next conundrum.
  3. Everyone's entitled to (my) opinion?  Unless it's liberally laying on the praise when it's been well and truly earned, I'm not really that keen on broadcasting my opinions about what websites are hot, which books are must-reads, which authors are the most up-and-coming.  I have opinions, sure... but do I feel everyone is entitled to hear them?  Not particularly.  More than anything, I hate hurting people's feelings, even through the cushioning of the ether.  And I hate having my own feelings hurt when people snark back at my opinions.  A thick writer's skin I don't have yet... and I am firmly in the camp of Thumper's dad: If ya can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all.
  4. Kicking the wasp nest?  Another potentially blogworthy post, writes the author, is the controversial topic.  To be fair, she does make a point of noting that this sort of blogging is not for everyone.  Stirring things up can definitely garner readership - but it can also lose you readers, to my way of thinking.  Speaking personally, if I read more than a handful of posts I don't like, I unfollow the blogger faster than you can say Jack Robinson.  I'm guessing that this sort of posting is highly subject to the writer's personality, and is best attempted when one has followers to spare and a few won't be missed.
  5. Blogger or Wordpress?  That's it?  Primarily, my biggest qualm about this book is that it focuses exclusively on the two largest blogging platforms to the exclusion of all others.  Tumblr, for example, is given passing comment as a "minor blog platform" - and yet, my Tumblr account has over a hundred followers, while this blog has three.  Well, four - but one of them is me.  What really gives one blog platform cred over another?  And does it really make that much of a difference?
I suppose what I'm really looking for is a fairly obscure and very specific book... one called Blogging for Writers Named Chris Vrba Who Want Answers to Very Specific Questions.  If you happen to come across it at your local book store, let me know, would you?  Tankyouveddymush.

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