Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Writing about writing

Your opinion--should writers blog about writing, or about the other things they do? I've read different opinions, and I'd be interested in yours. :) 

Well, who do you want to read your blog? Me? Better not write about writing then, cause frankly, I'm not interested in how many pages you finished today, or your difficulties figuring out how to get that 15th point of view in your 49k manuscript.

I think writing about writing is best done in small doses and infrequently.

If you're writing to build a readership, no one is interested in your process except other writers.  You want to reach beyond that group.  You want to reach READERS.

Thus, writing about BOOKS is better suited to building a readership.

Of course, Chuck Wendig's blog is an absolute exception to this, but he writes so fiercely that really, I'd probably read anything he wrote including  "17 Uses for Kale"

Writing short form blog posts is a really good way to practice writing. I encourage you to do so, but it's all pointless without readers.  Plus, it's a whole lot less fun.  The readers of this blog crack me up , and I look forward to reading the comments column every day.


Amanda Capper said...

I can't think of one use for kale. Horrible stuff. Certainly wouldn't eat it.

Craig said...

But it emphasizes the point of having a blog. I think the worst thing you can do with a blog is have infrequent points posted.

Some folk like Arrant Pedantry have a strong enough point to make it work but most don't. I blog does need to be interactive. Look at how few people look beyond the current day of this one.

Having a blog and nothing to say might be worse than no blog at all.

Susan Bonifant said...

Journaling helps too, I think. If you can put your unedited, honest thought into some form and then hone that writing to say more with less, the better all writing becomes.

It works. That comment would have been three or four paragraphs long when I was but a wee writer.

bobiozzia said...

At the risk of appearing to be kissing-up, I agree with Your Sharkness.

Most writing-about-writing blogs I’ve read seem to be by people who are in the approximate same virtual place as am I. Our shared lot falls into the ‘misery loves company’ stage of writing, to which I mutter over my breath, “No, thanks — I am not fond of misery and I don’t need the company.”

Writing blogs by accomplished authors occasionally offer good advice and/or an interesting misery tale I have not yet experienced. But for me, the bottom line is, no matter the blogger, reading about the process of writing is akin to watching paint dry on growing grass on my side of the fence.

Alex Hurst said...

Yes, yes, yes. I want to support a lot of my author friends with their blogs, but a fair majority of them write about writing, or they make their whole blog either blog hops or 700 New Things to Blog About, which leads me to believe they don't have anything they really WANT to blog about, and that's no fun for anyone.

Not that my blog is terribly focused or anything, but I try to avoid writing about writing (though I occasionally gush about book design).

Janet Reid said...

Book design! One of my favorite topics! I'm a complete dunderhead about design, and listening/reading designers discuss their work (or the work of others) is very illuminating.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I have my blog, actually 2 blogs, for one reason and one reason only, well 2 reasons, one reason each blog, no maybe more, eeeek, I've painted myself into a corner. Anyway...I know you hate three little dots in a row but I couldn't resist.
One blog is my columns, (readers asked for one place to find them), and the other one, I blog because...(there's those dots again), I blog because I have something to say and talking to myself is fun.
It's therapeutic to. Welcome to my angst.

Kitty said...

Joseph Sullivan used to have this great blog called The Book Design Review where he discussed book jacket designs. He's gone on to other interests, but his blog is still there.

Kitty said...

Btw, Janet, "Columbine" made Sullivan's list of My Favorite Book Covers of 2009.

Steve Forti said...

Yeah, kale can go back to its former glory - as decoration at Pizza Hut salad bars, not as food. But that's just me and my personal War on Vegetables (my taste buds are winning, but I'm sure my nutrition levels have long surrendered). Of course, my wife just watched some documentary and now wants to make kale juices, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

As for the next big trend in book design, I'm thinking that all novelizations of horror movies that focus on jump scares should be pop up books. (Hmm... I don't like the multiple prepositional phrases in the middle of that sentence.) You can send me the royalty checks.

Becky Mushko said...

I LOVE kale and would so read about "17 Uses for Kale" (Only 17? Surely there must be more.)

But—I'm not fond of writers writing about their own writing, unless they can put an unusual spin on it, such as "While I was revising chapter 6 for the fifth time—you know the one where the plane piloted by the rogue crop-duster hits the barn—a plane actually crashed into my house and sheered off at least half the roof, but luckily I was using my laptop and was able to finish the chapter and escape with the laptop before the house caught fire." That sort of thing.

kregger said...

Only seventeen uses for kale?
How unimaginative.
Off the top of my head, I can up with at least ten different ways to kill with kale.
But, who would do that?

Jared X said...

Kale Use #15: corrective measure for wayward pet deer.

Colin Smith said...

This sounds like it might have been my question, which if it is, thanks Ms. Shark for answering! :)

Part of my concern with writing about writing is that, especially as a yet-to-get-an-agent-let-alone-yet-to-be-published writer, I don't think I have the credibility to give other writers advice or tips. I can certainly talk about what "works" for me... but if I have yet to achieve my writing goals, can I honestly say these things "work"?

And if you go to the blogs of published writers, what do you find? Certainly not a lot of "how-to-write" kind of stuff. They tend to save all that for craft books and conference panels.

I guess I've been coming to the conclusion that I should stick to blogging about the things about which I think I'm qualified to talk about: my opinions (on books, Doctor Who, life, etc.--I'm an expert on what I think about things), music (I've been a musician for over 30 years), and theology (I have two degrees in the subject). The writing challenge for my blog is to make all that interesting. IMO, you set a very high standard, Janet, for writing about your passion and making it fun and interesting for those not in your field of work. Even if I didn't care about publishing I'd read your blog. And that's probably the highest praise I can give.

Dena Pawling said...

Rats! You want me to get all the way up to 50K to fit my 15th POV? Or is it some sort of mathematical [eek!] thing, like one POV for each 5K? Sheesh, writing just got a lot more complicated. I hate math.

Colin Smith said...

@Carolynn-of-2-ns: Your comment reminded me of the Monty Python "Spanish Inquisition" sketch. "I have one reason for my blog... no, TWO reasons for my blog..." If you don't know the sketch, look it up on YouTube now. You can thank me after you've recovered. :)

Colin Smith said...

... oh, and ditto what Janet said about all you people that comment on her blog. Coming here every day is like walking into "Cheers". :) said...

I've been trying to figure out how I wanted to comment on this.

I agree there are one too many blogs about writing, and mine is probably one of them. And I also agree they can be places where other writers come to commiserate about how hard writing is, how unfair at times, or how frustrating, etc. When I started, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Little did I know there were already a bajillion other writerly blogs out there. I started because I heard about the push for authors to have a landing spot for followers, a social media platform to promote themselves and I thought, why not get it done ahead of time? I created the blog and jumped on Twitter.

Advance three years later. (almost four)

Still blogging with 200 followers + Twitter followers who get the link when I post something - it goes out to about 1200. Whoopdeedoo, b/c maybe 10% read it, I have no idea.

I don't try to necessarily "teach" anything re: writing, although if I think something is worth sharing, then I might post about that. Given today's question, and answer, I went back a few weeks to see what I'd blogged about, and here's the short list:

-My book collection, with my rant about my love for Stephen King. (I have 31 of his novels + the book ON WRITING)
-Shared some pictures I took of the moon, a sunrise, and sunset
-Post about NaNoWriMo and my choice to not participate
-An actual post about writing(this was about trusting gut instinct and NOT following an editors advice. Might regret that)
-Book Review - SUTTREE by McCarthy
-FF contest - results post
-Receiving Author Of The Month from Book-Hive
-Post about blog redesign

I've posted about baking too - my second love. So, I was relieved I have to admit, that I do try to mix it up.

The part where I'm SORT OF not in agreement is this:

"If you're writing to build a readership, no one is interested in your process except other writers. (AGREE) You want to reach beyond that group. You want to reach READERS."

It's the "readers," part And this is my tiny rub. (I'm trying not to kick the water hard here and end up getting chomped)

If all of my followers are nothing but writers - and I know they aren't, but if they were, that okay, because writers read - a lot. And if they like what I've said, maybe they'll also like my book (one day). I guess what I'm trying to say is, writers are readers too. It's the second most important thing we do.

And, to attract other writers seems sort of like a compliment.

Having said that, and this is going to seem disingenuous, but it's the truth. I've thought of trying to change my format, with only an occasional update on what's happening with writing projects. I haven't because I have no idea what I want to write about.

Sheesh. I've been really wordy lately. Must remember to comment before coffee.

Alex Hurst said...

An illustrator I once interviewed has a really amazing series showing books before and after their final typography was put on.. I'd post the link, but I don't know the rules here.

In any case, I decided I'd talk about book design (but not in a 'hey, buy my services!' way... more a 'books are really, fabulously beautiful, aren't they?' way.) I also interview illustrators because authors AND readers can connect with them on different levels (plus, art is just fun to look at!)

Colin Smith said...

@donna: Here's my thought, and my challenge to myself: the art of blogging, or any social media for that matter, (especially as a writer) is not so much WHAT you write about, but HOW you write about it.

Case in point: I had a passing interest in Lauren DeStefano's novel WITHER. Premise sounded interesting, and I thought I might pick it up sometime. Then I started following her on Twitter. Loved the way she wrote her 140-character comments. Figured the girl really can write. Ordered the book. So as a writer, your blog is partly to share what's on your head and heart, but also to demonstrate to future readers your ability to communicate, tell stories, etc. Hopefully they'll love how you write about baking so much they'll read your novels.

And I say all that not because my blog is scintillating reading, but I honestly believe that if my blog could do a better job of showcasing my writing, it would serve both my audience and my potential writing career much better.

Janet Reid said...

You can post a link in html here. I generally click on them to make sure they aren't leading the readers off to sites that reduce their bank accounts or enlarge their naughty bits, but I just delete the comment if that happens.

Kelsey Hutton said...

In response to the "writers are readers too" comment, I completely see where you're coming from--but I've been reading a handful of writers' blogs faithfully for years and I've paid money for maybe 1 book from all those authors.

Just because I love someone's writing advice doesn't mean my reading tastes line up with what they write. Sometimes I want to buy their books out of guilt; but overall, me reading their blog on writing has not translated into me buying their books.

Unfortunate, hey? I wish it were different, but sometimes their 1960s slice-of-life fiction just doesn't float my boat.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

No dissing kale. It's great when stir-fried with garlic, throw on some bacon bits and walnuts then top wit favorite vinegar and parmesan.

Blogs about writing? Being new to writing novels, I frequent a fair few. Some have been helpful. But, since completing a first draft and feeling stuck, I've let them become time-suckers. Procrastination anyone?

french sojourn said...

Such a great post, as usual.

I just started a new blog a few weeks ago. After reading this post I typed up a half dozen questions and sent them off to a writer i met on facebook. I wanted to put a spin on writer interviews. I should know in a couple days. He may send them back. But thanks for the post.

I imagine that my writer friends on this blog will be hearing from me in the near future. You were warned.

I loved McKale's navy as a kid, not to be confused with McDonalds new healthy salad. said...

@Colin - yes, blogging about writing and making it unique (unless you're Chuck W) isn't easy. I liken it to making a flaky pie crust. You only have three to four basic ingredients to work with, but it's all about technique. If you don't know the technique - here comes bland, dry as dust, and taste like cardboard.

@Kelsey - totally get that and have bought a book or two "out of guilt." Loved one, not so much the other. I think my whole writers are readers viewpoint is the idea that if a few writers purchased a book and loved it, they'll talk about it. Their word of mouth will work just like any other reader.

One other comment about the readers who aren't writers. I've noticed they will ask authors questions about their process. What they do to get into a writing "mode," how they do the research, where do they get their ideas, etc. It just seems to to me general readers are interested in that sort of thing too.

It's taken me so long to type this out, no telling what all I've missed.

Anyway. How about the kale tips? I love kale!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

For Colin, first off, no second, maybe third, hahahaha Monty Python. I have forgotten how absurdly funny all that stuff is.

But seriously folks.
I am NOT going to apologize for this long comment. Okay I will, sorry! Anyway, here goes.

If what many of the commenters here today say is true, than I am screwed.
I have placed everything, and I mean everything about writing, life, and results, in one, twenty-five year basket containing 86,000 words. That writers, not only like to read about writers, but about the impetus, the process and what the F happens after the writer becomes published is what it is all about. Throw into that bowl of word-kale, life as it affects the writer and you have what I have spent two and half decades living and writing about. (Actually I put it all together in a book, not a blog, in the last two years but who’s counting.)

This isn’t a pitch, it’s a herculean effort, done and being queried. Response has been very, very (add another very) positive, so when I read here that ‘we all’ don’t give a rats behind about ‘we all’s writing’ and how we do it, it makes me nervous.

It’s about the writing stupid, I get that, but if you want to know what’s it’s like to have a phone conversation with an editor while your toddler is climbing up your leg and your baby is chawing on your neck, it’s in there. Finding a dead frog at the bottom of the laundry pile on the basement floor, in January, under last summer’s bathing suits, tells you that sometimes writing is the priority, as it should be, if you consider yourself a writer. That’s there too. How I balanced life and wrote, and quit writing and started up again, illustrates to writers that, you can do it all, you can have it all, you just can’t do it and have it, all at the same time. What I have to say might actually help some of you. A lot of you sure as shit helped me.

I have to stop now because I have gone on too long and my ten month old granddaughter just woke up from her morning nap. Yup, I babysit, work full time in a non-writing job, meet my column deadline and write my ass off. If you want to know how it’s done, while wearing yesterday’s socks and eating three day old pizza, that’s in the next book. Baby awaits. Don't have time to proof-read more than once. Where’s my tooth brush. Did I brush this morning? I know, sure as hell, I didn’t floss.

Colin Smith said...

@donna: You are more than welcome to demonstrate your flaky pie crust skills at Bouchercon next year. Especially if it's a dessert. :D

Colin Smith said...

@Carolynn: IMHO, this falls into "it's not WHAT you WRITE about, but HOW you write it." If you can write about writing and keep me engaged and laughing, then I'll read. Just like I'll listen to "Car Talk" when I know even less about cars as I do about kale (really, that's the stuff they put around the salad bar at Pizza Hut?).

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colin, "Car Talk" perfect example. I thought the stuff around the salad bar was fake, Who knew?

MNye said...

Are you, me? Lol.

MNye said...

Kale is fake. It's uppity collard greens

Susan Bonifant said...

Oh, my God.

"...leading the readers off to sites that reduce their bank accounts or enlarge their naughty bits..."

made me LOL enough to make little Gus look over (that's what cats do when they're alarmed. They look over). said...

@Colin - pie crust might be the only contribution for Bouchercon if I end up doing a massive re-write. That, and my name tag. :)

Karen McCoy said...

Great point about reaching readers--and something I'll definitely consider with future blog posts.

Jane Friedman wrote a great post about this recently too:

What Should Authors Blog about?

Colin Smith said...

@donna: I don't know about anyone else, but I'll read your shopping list if it's served with baklava... ;D

@karen: Good article--thanks for the tip. :)

LynnRodz said...

Great timing for this post! I was thinking about making my blog more about writing and less about being all over the place, now I'm not so sure. For example, some of my most popular posts were written years ago, yet people still come daily to read them. If you Google:

1. Favorite Paris quotes or something similar, my blog is one of the top three.

2. Armour Etch used to remove AR (anti reflective) coating on eyeglasses. Again my blog is near the top. Who knew my personal experience would garner over a hundred comments.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers 6 rings. When the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2009 I gave a woman's perspective on the game and put up photos of the six rings and all their bling. For nearly two years my blog was # 2 right after the Steelers official website and before Sports Illustrated. (Yes, I was tickled pink!) I've fallen further down the page since then, but that post was written almost six years ago.

One thing I've learned since starting my blog is people enjoy controversy. I wrote a post about a famous singer/songwriter where I interpreted his lyrics. Boy, did I open up a can of worms! I had hundreds of people commenting, some telling me I was crazy, others agreeing with me. I heard from the girl the song was written about and she told me I was mistaken. I also received an email from the singer's best friend telling me I was wrong and should take the post down. I loved all those people commenting on my blog, but I thought about it and I agreed that maybe I had been wrong, so I took it down.

I've spent less and less time on my blog and I know that's bad, but I'm not sure how many of these readers would buy my book if I were ever published. Probably none. There are only so many hours in the day and procrastination is my middle name.* I must be related to Lisa and MNye!

*Long-winded is my first!

Colin Smith said...

@LynnRodz: My blog is supposed to be about reading, writing, theology and that kind of stuff. My most popular posts? UK substitutes for Graham Crackers. I wrote a couple of posts on the topic because a friend asked and no-one else seemed to be addressing the issue. And that's what I get the most hits for. Maybe I should write a novel about it. "One American's quest to find the perfect Graham Cracker substitute while stranded in Blackpool and craving 'Smores..."

Kalli said...

@ Colin Smith: What IS the best substitute for Graham crackers?? I often come across that in American recipes, and I just hit the back button, because I don't really know what to use instead. Us Brits would like to know too! *searches for your blog*

Anyway, I'm glad this topic came up. A group of my online writing friends have formed a blog, and they keep asking me to contribute. They post about all kinds of stuff, but a lot of it is writing related, because that's what brought our disparate group together in the first place (we met on AW). They say I should post about my reenactment hobby, and how that relates to my writing historical fiction, but I'm too scared of coming across as a geek! I figure if there's one thing people want to hear about even less than my writing, it's my reenacting!

Maybe I'll just post pictures of my bunny rabbit in a santa outfit. The internet was invented for pictures of animals in funny hats, right?

Colin Smith said...

*sigh* OK... for the curious, here's the link to the Graham Cracker article. But please, at least read one of my flash stories, or something else that my blog's actually supposed to be about... ;)

The Graham Cracker Question

There are links to updates at the bottom. said...

@Kalli - reenactment? That's a blog I'd read. Both my husband and I love to visit Civil War sites, to watch these and we actually live close to two battlefields, Averasboro and Bentonville - not by intention, it just happened that way.

How cool it would be to write about that hobby and somehow incorporate your writing historic fiction every now and then.

DLM said...

I do blog about writing somewhat consistently, but what I tend to go for is the process or fruits of research, background about the history in which my novels are set, and fairly little of the navel-gazing-autoerotic-authorial stuff (what I do in that area is generally included for humor).

I've developed a set of themes I hit frequently - collections of links to things I've read, beauty and costume in a historical context, archaeology, a bit of science, and a great deal of critical consideration of these things, myself, and my work (non writing-related). It gives me the very minimal discipline I need but can tolerate, and I've worked to develop a presence in the community of historical fiction readers and writers online, many of whom are sources for my frequent collections of links.

I have NOT worked very hard on SEO nor shilling my said presence, and get about 100-200 hits per day unless one of my more famous pals on Twitter retweets and/or responds to me there (the times Nichelle Nichols and LeVar Burton RT'd links to my blog were pretty damned fun). I post regularly and try to vary my post lengths and content so we don't have days in a row of nothing but collections of links to other good writing, or months of inactivity. I just "do me" as the kids say. :)

Whether that is considered effective in marketing terms right now in my unpublished state has got to take a back seat to querying and the success of the NOVEL(s). Nothing I put online at this point is relevant to marketing until I'm agented and sold. Perhaps that's a cop-out. Certainly it's freeing.

Kalli said...

@Donnaeverhart: I live in the UK, and my knowledge of American history is almost entirely based on films like The Patriot and Gone with the Wind, so I'm afraid I've never even heard of those battlefields, let alone have any idea which war they belong to. The French/ Indian war? The Revolutionary war? (which we don't mention in the UK, for obvious reasons) ;-)

I reenact ancient Greek and write ancient Egyptian, so probably not quite what you had in mind. Unlike the Roman groups, we don't have the numbers for the sort of full scale battle reenactments you've probably been to. We're more of a living history group, which is where it comes in handy for writing HF. Until you've had to make your own fire (and not with flint and tinder, because my period predates such modern technology by quite a few centuries) you don't realise how important something as mundane as tending a fire is! And oh, the nightmare of doing your hair and makeup without a proper mirror... or a decent slave!

Maybe there's material there for a blog after all...

Kalli said...

@ Colin Smith: thanks for the link, but I'm still in a pickle! Do I try crushed rich tea biccies and risk potential sogginess, or spend the whole afternoon picking raisins out of squashed fly biscuits?? (as my dad calls Garibaldis). Oh, what to do, what to do...

Colin Smith said...

Perhaps this is a good point to draw everyone's attention to something Janet has mentioned more than once:

If I want to visit any of your blogs, can I do so from your Blogger profile? And if I want to email you, is your email address there?

What if it's not me interested in your work, but a literary agent (e.g., Ms. Shark herself)? If you don't have links in your Blogger profile, you might miss a golden opportunity to get her attention.

I say this because I've gone to some of the commenters Blogger profiles with hopes of finding these wonderful blogs they talk about... and there's nothing there!

Consider this a gentle nudge, my friends... :)

Colin Smith said...

@Kalli Did you check out Tesco's? They supposedly carry Graham Crackers now. Alternatively, if it's a for a pie crust (i.e., crushed Graham Crackers), the best substitute is probably to use Digestives. Flavour-wise they're closest. If you want to make 'Smores, however, I have yet to find anything that replaces a Graham Cracker.

LynnRodz said...

I agree with Colin, actually I prefer Digestives to Graham Crackers. Then again, I don't make anything with GC, but I do like Digestives with my tea.

Hmm, are we still on Janet's blog?

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Once upon a time blogs were shunned as the place to spew one's rants or display dirty underwear. Some smart people caught on quickly to the useful points. At that time, I had a website which I used like a blog. I too thought blogging was stupid. Not now, I have two.

Intolerance towards blogging still festers. Like, when I say to people I follow lots of blogs they think I'm wasting my time. Not here, for sure. My discovering the Shark’s blogs in 2009 was the light in the tunnel into the publishing world. I didn’t understand a thing. But I lived in a cave, and I ate kale.

When blogging caught on, Facebook came along and a whole generation of people now have used that platform to expose their privates. Do they regret? Who cares.

Blogging became a professional, niche platform. I don't have to read the whole paper to find the article on ribollita. The mouth watering Florentine soup made with kale makes me want to get on the train right now. Maybe I’ll go over to the flowerbed on rue Mouffetard and pinch the forest-green kale stalks jutting from the chrysanthemums so I can make ribollita. Maybe flash-fiction it for Chuck Wendig on Friday.

Why blog ? What to blog about? What are your favorite blogs? Why do you read them? Blogging is free publicity. Pub your book, art, illustrations, cooking. Like someone said, it’s a good place to talk about the research for the current writing project. A place to map out the landscape where the protagonist plays.

Eileen said...

Here’s my favorite kale recipe. Kale with white wine. Put chopped kale in frying pan. Pour chilled wine in glass. Set frying pan on floor. Sip wine while laughing at dog’s refusal to eat kale.

Steve Forti said...

@colin - I'm shocked that the true answer to your s'mores dilemma was not mentioned. In my mind, graham crackers are a terrible ingredient for s'mores. The only acceptable "substitute" is Lorna Doone shortbread!

Seriously. It's the exact perfect size (way better fitting than graham crackers. And such a better flavor. Trust me. Try it once and it will change your life. You'll never have a need for those inferior graham crackers again (unless, of course, they are shaped like tiny teddy bears and dunked in Funfetti frosting).

Julie.M.Weathers said...

I blogged about blogging after listening to an agent conversation about social media once.

That post is here:

If you don't want to read the whole thing, Donald Maass has an interesting theory. He thinks too many writers use a blog to scratch the itch of writing. They spend a couple of days writing the perfect blog post and fiddling with it. Then they congratulate themselves for "writing", which they have. However, they didn't accomplish anything to forward the wip.

Someone who does a great job of blogging is Kari Lynn Dell. She's a gem.

Most of the time I blog about more important things like Wrangler patches.

Most of the time, I blog about more serious things, like Wrangler patches.

Occasionally I write about agents peaking under your door and comparing agents to horse sales or I espouse the wonders of boobs in an author's avatar.

I've been terribly remiss about my poor blog. I need to start posting more frequently. I shall share with the world all I know about writing, or maybe a recipe for rodeo cake.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Diana Gabaldon talks a lot about the writing process. If you follow her on social media, you'll note she posts a lot of excerpts of her work to demonstrate different things.

If you go to the compuserve lit forum, you'll notice an entire section devoted to Diana and it is hopping. The woman has a rabid fan base and she's a wizard at using social media to her advantage. People hang on her every word when she discusses writing techniques. She's unfailing kind to everyone.

There's no doubt her social media presence does nothing but help her, but in the end, it's fabulous writing that makes her a bestseller.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Lord at the typos in that previous post, yikes.

Julie said...

While I like the helpful blogs that list writing resources or contests, the ones that blather on about the process are just tedious and as boring as listing what you've had for lunch.

Unless you're a literary great, who cares?

PS - Kale - blek.

Colin Smith said...

@Steve: You're the first one to mention Lorna Doone shortbread. How well does it toast? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments on one of my "Graham Cracker" posts. Those articles are some of the few on my blog I can guarantee will be read EVERY DAY. Multiple times.

DLM said...

Now I want kale for supper with my pork chop, and Lorna S'mores for dessert.

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I think Colin nailed it when he said your blog could be a showcase for your writing skills.

I think I figured out what I need to do with my blog to attract more readers, not just to my blog, but to my books.

I've been trying to focus my blog to attract my readers--all four of them. I've deliberately tried NOT to talk about writing. Yet it ended up all about what I have written, and that's about as boring, unless you're one of my four rabid fans.

After two years of regular blogging I only have four regular readers, with about fifteen-ish semi-regulars.

Am I really so boring? I might be.

(If any of you choose to sample my blog, please let me know if you find me boring. I'm an author; I can take it.)

So, lessons for me:
* Don't blog about writing. It won't build your career as a writer.
* Don't blog about your writing. There's only so much, "This is my book" to go around.
* Do be interesting. After all, you are a writer, and should be skilled enough to make anything, even kale, interesting.

Once upon a time, back before the Apocalypse, I regularly blogged Ten-Minute Tales, where several readers would suggest words, and I'd crank together a short story using all of those words. That was fun, the stories were interesting, and the readers loved it.

Why didn't I continue that delightful tradition?

Angelo Marcos said...

This is a really interesting subject, and it’s been really good to see everybody’s take on this.

Personally, I use my blog to talk about pretty much anything – from true crime cases to sleep paralysis to my own social awkwardness. Oddly enough, while I blog about my stand-up comedy, I never really blog about my writing. I’ll allude to it in some posts, but I do find it quite uncomfortable to try to dissect it and, I suppose, show what happens ‘behind the curtain’.

I always assume that the people reading my blog don’t really care about how I write, or what I do when I get writers’ block (like now…), or any other aspect of writing. I might of course be wrong, but I’m very wary of boring the people who follow my blog, and can sense the imminent eye-rolling that I imagine would occur if every post was about myself and my ‘process’.

I also agree with the Donald Maas idea above. There have been a few times when I’ve written a blog post and felt satisfied that I’d done my ‘writing’ for that day, even though my WIP would be weeping silently in my drawer and wondering why it never gets to play anymore.

Related to this, I also don’t like to talk too much about any Works-in-Progress, as I feel it takes something away from the work itself too. So I feel that blogging about anything I may be working on would slightly detract from it. If anyone is interested in my full reasons for this, I – either ironically or appropriately, you decide – wrote a blog post on this which you can find at -

(I hope this is ok, Janet; there are no enlargement offers/scams going on at that link, honest..!)

Alex Hurst said...

The kale got away with me! Sorry about that.

For those interested, the artist I was talking about is Kelley McMorris, who actually does really great digital storybook illustrations. Her blog series only has a few installments right now, but here are the links:

Bookcovers: Before and After Text:

Enjoy! :)