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Is blogging a waste of time?

A friend of mine from grad school commented on my Facebook page the other day that, while she likes me and doesn’t want to offend, she hates the whole idea of blogs, even mine. Here’s how she put it:

I honestly don’t “get” blogs. If I have free time, I would MUCH rather spend it working on a novel rather than anything else. I like YOU–very much — it’s just the whole concept of “blogging” that is problematic to me and has been for years. It seems narcissitic to me and reeks of self-promotion over production. No one needs to know what you’re thinking every day. They just need to read your work. And to do that, you need to be focusing on the WORK not your “writerly image.” 

She goes on, but that’s the gist. And in some ways I agree. No one needs to know what I’m thinking every day. But I also have to take her comment with a grain of salt. See, this is a woman who produces a book about once a year. She is prolific, to say the least.

Unfortunately, not all writers can work on their novel all day every day. I wish I were one of those people, but honestly, if I’ve worked on my novel for four hours in a day I’m pretty happy with that. The rest of the time I’m exercising other writerly muscles, like my freelance work or my blogging (which I really only spend about an hour on every week).

I think blogging can be promotional, but it really only works in that capacity once you’re a big enough celebrity that people want to read what you have to say, at which point, do you really need the promotion? No. For me blogging is more about discipline and expression. The discipline of writing something regularly (for me it’s Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and the expression of myself in my writer community.

I’m pretty sure most of the people who ready my blog are my other writer/artist type friends, so I see this as a way to talk about what I’m working on, how I’m feeling about it, etc. I also like to share little things I discover that make my life easier as a writer. Certainly nobody’s under any obligation to read it, but I enjoy writing it. And I enjoy reading my friend’s blogs and knowing what they’re up to (I’ve listed some of my favorites on my blog roll in the right hand column, btw).

So maybe it is a waste of time, and narcissistic, but I like it.

Excuse me, I need to go spend some time gazing loving into the mirror now.

4 Comments

  1. suzann
    Feb 3, 2012

    Love the blog concept!

    Respond
  2. JJ Keith
    Feb 3, 2012

    I don’t know Marlene, but I was peeved by her comment. For one, I don’t understand why she was compelled to share her negative view of what you do (and by extension, what I do). If you don’t like blogs, don’t read them. It’s like going up to a stranger and saying, “Hi. I hate your shirt.”

    Further, I disagree that blogging is narcissistic. Writing about oneself is inherently self-involved, but for a certain kind of writer, (i.e. my kind) you have to build a relationship with your readers. The best compliment I can get is when people tell me that they feel like we’re already friends based on something I wrote, and that something might be an inane personal story about my kid smearing shit on her crib. I am selling myself and I am highly self-conscious about how I do it.

    I disagree with you, April, that blogging can only be promotional if you are famous. With my blog I’m building one of those platform things that everyone is always talking about. I use it as a calling card to garner more readers. I know one of the first things an agent or publisher wants to know is how many readers I have and how many more I can get.

    Is it vapid and ridiculous that the worth of my writing is measured in Twitter followers? Yes! But as they say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. I am playing the game, hard. I want to be read and I’ll attract people to my work any way that I can, even if that means doing some crazy-narcissistic stuff.

    Lastly, I find it useful to read and write about writing. I love discussing my work with other writers. It’s what I enjoy about this blog. I don’t live in an artists’ colony. I’m a stay-at-home mom with two toddlers. I’ll take my writing community where I can get it.

    Respond
    • April
      Feb 20, 2012

      Hi JJ,

      Thanks for chiming in. Yours is one of my favorite blogs, btw.

      Cheers,
      April

      Respond
  3. Berke
    Mar 9, 2012

    Where to begin? I think that the best way to improve your wtrniig is to quit trying. By that I mean to either let the work take place or not, without worrying about it or any attendant consequences. If you are a writer you will always write, and eventually you will write well. If not, you will not write; you can’t make yourself put forth the effort. I write every day. It is just like eating to me. I don’t get stuck or lack for something to write about and I don’t suffer any pain from the work. I sometimes wonder at those who go at wtrniig as though they were building a stone wall with bare hands on a rainy day. If it hurts there is something wrong. That crap about suffering writers is wrong; their readers are the ones who suffer. Just write, and if you don’t want to, do something else or nothing at all. History is a pretty good predictor of what you will be doing tomorrow. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you must become a writer. Nobody becomes a writer. Writing is like eye color or height, something you can enhance a bit, but that’s all. And most of all, don’t strain. I can neither sing nor dance, but I have the brains to know this, and that I shouldn’t attempt either before an audience. By the way, if I’m any judge you’re doing all right.

    Respond

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  1. Link Feast For Writers, vol. 18 | Reetta Raitanen's Blog - [...] Is Blogging a Waste of Time For Writers? by April Dávila (Why do you blog?) [...]

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