Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Which came first, the book or the blog?

I love blogs. I’m obsessed with blogs. I subscribe to so many writing blogs that my inbox is begging to breathe. When I stumble upon a blog post that I think is really stellar, I bookmark it and email it to myself so I will have it for, like, ever. Now I have literally hundreds of posts saved—way more than I can keep up with.  So much love to go around! 

I credit a few extremely informative blogs with improving my writing craft.  I’ve gone to workshops, read books on craft, have critique partners, etc., but I love blogs because they are easily accessible.  The ones I gravitate toward have helpful, informative content.  

I also enjoy posting on my own blog, as long as it’s within a frequency I can handle.  I think it’s a great way to share and connect with other writers.  Another platform I’m really enjoying right now?  Microblogging.  The idea behind Tumblr is genius.  With shorter, easier to manage posts, the ability to save favorite posts--and the option to reblog a post--I’m in follower heaven.

But as someone who’s hoping to traditionally publish my work (haven’t queried yet) and someone who understands the importance of an author’s online presence, I’ve been trying to answer a question for quite some time.  

Which should come first?  The book or the blog?

Let’s look at both sides.

Ideally, authors would have time to write, edit, revise, and polish their manuscripts and blog.  I’m so thankful for the authors who do this.  They add useful information to our online writing community—information that people like me absorb. They connect people in a profession that can sometimes feel lonely and offer people (through posts and contests) access to writing friends, partners, agents, and editors in a way unavailable to those not using social media. They also inform me about books I may not have known about otherwise (sometimes even their own books). I know it takes time for these authors to do this--some of my favorites have to employ interns and assistants! I thank these people a million times over, they have truly enriched my writing life.

Then there are those people who, at this season in their life, have a limited amount of daily time to devote to writing.  Those who have full-time jobs or full-time families, for example.  (As I write this, my two children may have just ushered in the apocalypse downstairs.) J  Should those of us in this corner spend the time we do have blogging/being on social media or actually writing?

I don’t think there’s a right answer that universally works for everyone, but I can tell you how I feel personally.  For me, right now while I have two toddlers and limited time, I need to spend my writing time working on a manuscript.  I like to revise, I like to draft.  I enjoy it and need itit’s my refuge from the doldrums named Dora the Explorer and Dirty Diapers.  When I have a few extra minutes, I get on social media (Twitter and Tumblr are my favorites) because I know social media is essential for authors, and I’m excited about the time I can build an online platform. But for me, right now, my time has to be about craft.  

I see the benefits and costs of devoting time to writing vs. media-ing.  Some popular, awesome authors’ blogs have introduced me to amazing books.  Some popular, awesome authors’ blogs have introduced me to books that were, for me, a pass.

And then, some incredible books have led me to an author’s blog.

I guess, in the end, it’s about what writers enjoy, what they have time for, and what’s at play in their lives.  Balance can be tricky!

I’d love to know how you balance your writing time, please share!

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