I’ve seen lots of opposition to the idea that writers should blog about writing since I started blogging about writing back in June.
The main argument against is that everything that can be written about writing already has been written, and by much more established sources at that. If you’re after comprehensive walkthroughs on marketing, The Creative Penn has it covered, whereas The Writing Bomb provides a useful first-hand insight into the world of publishing.
Kristen Lamb, the founder of MyWANA, recently argued in favour of this point on her blog. She states that ‘we don’t need another writing blog, and it isn’t helping that other social marketing experts are encouraging this nonsense.’
Now, to some extent, I agree with Kristen — she’s a great blogger who has earned a lot of success through her somewhat unconventional stance on social media and blogging. She fights for something that I am definitely in support of — restoring the ‘social’ side to social media, after it has become somewhat lost under piles of link-spam.
However, I partly disagree regarding writers blogging about writing. In fact, I think that blogging about writing can be a useful tool to reach out and connect with fellow writers. That said, I do think it can alienate readers somewhat, and that is something I will discuss later in the post.
The Key to Blogging is Provoking Debate
I think part of the problem with ‘writing advice’ blogs is that instead of suggesting methods to the reader, they tell the reader what to do and how to think. The whole, ‘this once worked for me so it will work for you — use it’ approach is bullshit.
Instead, provoke debate. I’ll hold my hands up: every single one of my blog posts has been based on things that have worked for me, but might not work for you. I’ve no shame in admitting that because that’s the nature of why I blog — to provoke thought and debate.
So, if you’re a writer and you want to blog about writing, go ahead, but make sure your opinions are just that and not ‘fact’. Far too many bloggers pretend to be some sort of guru that you can literally get crushed under the weight of ‘professional’ advice, so steer clear if you can.
Make Your Blog Relevant
A good way to blog about writing without explicitly blogging about writing is to make the blog about your personal experiences with writing (and the award for saying ‘writing’ lots in one sentence goes to…). Several times, I’ve tried to tie in social media posts with struggles I’ve had with the medium, or blog about the rewriting stage based on the problems and solutions I’ve encountered.
Make your blog human. That way, you can get away with pretty much anything. As much as I support this whole ‘authorial brand’ thing in the independent publishing age, an important part of that ‘brand’ is humanity. If your writing is nothing but safe, wishy-washy ‘fact’ with no personality, you’ll sink. Fast.
A View Going Forward
As you’ve probably noticed, I only post twice per week these days. For me, it’s worked, as it allows me to balance my schedule whilst reaping the rewards of bonus traffic that seems to coincide with cutting from three posts per week to two.
However, I’ve decided to change things around again slightly. On a Wednesday, I intend to blog about writing as normal, generally covering the following topics: marketing, social media, writing motivation, publishing matters, progress reports. On a Friday, however, I’m going to experiment by mixing things up a little — remember that ‘loose schedule’ I spoke about? Prepare to see mine smashed.
Friday might be a writing post. Or it might be about an awesome album I’ve checked out. It might be political, news related, sports related. Friday will be ‘me’ time, but a chance to show my personality to you a little more. I like to think my personality shines through my writing blogs, but this will give those who aren’t too fussed about writing a chance to connect.
Anyone with me on this experiment? If so, take next Friday to post about something outside your typical niche. Break down the walls and surprise people. Who knows how it will go? That’s part of the fun.
Are you a writer? If so, do you blog about writing, and what are your thoughts on doing so? Are you a reader? If so, which writer’s blogs do you enjoy reading the most, and why?
Image courtesy of Kris Olin via Flickr