Authors, Stop Your Blogging

It’s that time of year where everything is fresh and cold and you think, “yes, this time I shall do it! Really!”
Well, authors, allow me to help you strike something off your list of intended resolutions: forget about blogging.
Maybe it seems disingenuous for me–who has had this blog for over two years, with two posts minimum a week–to say that. But I’m just trying to keep you from the treacherous path I was put on. (Save yourselves!)
When I started this blog, it was partially because I liked the habit of it and wanted a place to say things. But it was ALSO because everyone at the time, via other blogs, how-to-get-published books, authors on Twitter, and people I met at conferences, everyone said a blog was essential for a writer wanting to be published.
Why? To “gain a following” and “demonstrate your niche.”
Frankly, that honestly isn’t that good a reason to start a blog. So I’m going to talk you out of it.
Reasons You Should Not Blog
1. It’s hard. Particularly if you’re the kind of person who is frequently setting resolutions and then abandoning them. The number one thing about a blog is consistency: posting regularly, preferably about your niche subject matter. And that, honestly, is hard to do. Ostensibly this blog was supposed to be focused on finding the audience who would be into choose-your-own-adventure zombie novels for adults. I don’t know about you, but I have limited interest and motivation in spending all my time coming up with CYOA/zombie posts.
2. You can’t let up. You’ve got to write stuff all the time. Something big happening at work? You can’t stop blogging. Got married and left the country for more than a week? Better work extra hard so you have posts happen while you’re not there. Having a bad day? Suck it up, cupcake, and write another blog post.
It’s like resolving to go to the gym, every week. Ok, sure; you can probably do it for awhile, but eventually, it’s going to get hard…then what?
3. No one wants to read your stories. I know, I know; you want to disregard this because people WILL want to read your stories when they discover how BRILLIANT you are. Maybe so. It’s certainly happened before. But a lot more aspiring authors put out works that a) they’d rather sell for money rather than giving it away for free or b) aren’t really finished or polished yet. You just shoot yourself in the foot with the first and you can lose credibility with the second. By and large, people who are browsing stuff online are looking for something to help them–why should they want to help you?
4. You’d rather work on the stuff you want to get formally published. If you don’t want to blog…don’t blog! You’ll have more time and more creative energy for the stuff you really want to work on.
5. It won’t get you a platform/audience. Admittedly, it has happened sometimes. But from what I can see, the authors for whom blogging created a platform already had things published.* Rather than being a place to gather a prospective audience, the blog becomes a place for the existing audience to congregate. That’s a big difference. *Exception: Food blogs. Man, I’ve seen more food blogs become cookbooks than anything else. That seems to be a recipe for success (har har). However, that’s also a ridiculously crowded marketplace, so you have to really stand out.
Now, if you still want to blog after all that…go ahead. It can be fun. It can be nice to communicate with other authors, to push the boundaries of your abilities, to have physical proof that you’ve been doing something productive. Just don’t believe a lot of the notions put out there as “must dos.”
The worst thing you could do, really, is to start a blog… and then peter out, leaving it to die on the vine, forgotten but still ranking high on Google for your pen name. So if you start a blog and decide it’s not working as you wish, be sure to close it out, too.
Good luck in 2015.

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Filed under Publishing, writing

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