It’s not an ego-tripping thing or anything, yet it is selfish. Oh, so very, very selfish because it is my opinion, my voice out there on display and… okay, maybe it is a little bit an ego-tripping thing.
See, I believe I have something to share, something to say that is unique and having this site gives me that opportunity. We all have dreams of making an impact on the world. For me, it is with my writing, which means my books or my pieces here. If you are starting a blog or have one already, no matter on what topic, you probably feel the same way; you have that itch in the back of your mind, knowing full well that “If I don’t say it, it won’t be said.”
I previously wrote a popular post on this site on the art of blogging and having the courage to have one (you can read it here); and yes, it does take courage to put yourself out there like that. Without realizing it, all that makes you good (and… not so good) will be readable even if it is between the lines. Yet, it is also rewarding.
From time to time, I visit other blogs and writing websites to see what others out there are doing, what is working for them. And, yes, there are things that work and things that don’t generally. Here are three things that come up for me, including one I struggle with each and every day….
We bloggers are all guilty of this one at one point or another. I’ve done it a few times, I admit it, but it wasn’t until I saw other writers do it recently that I realized how really annoying it is.
See, here is a fact, everyone is busy and tired. And when you are running a site like this (which is usually something you do on the side, not a full-time job), it is extra energy that you are taking away from something else. Last year, I created an entire book on this site, with one chapter a week, ending up with a book over 400 pages in length. To accomplish this, I was writing every night from 9 to almost midnight. And I was still putting up three unique blog posts a week as well… and I have a full-time job… and I am married with two little kids.
Yes, I was f**king tired.
Caffeine in the form of the wonderful Coke Zero was a very good friend to me during this time (still is). So I wrote a few pieces, giving updates on what was going on with the book and my other writings, and I kept saying I was tired, even threatening to take time off the blog. I had wonderful illusions of taking weeks off (not possible, too addicted), doing nothing but playing video games and chasing my kids around… but when I look back at those posts that talk about how tired I am, or begin that way, I can see that they are… well… tired.
Learn from my mistake! If you are tired, find some way to get the energy back up on your own, don’t share the experience. If you are lucky to be busy with your writing or blog, take that as an achievement. Many would love to be that busy and tired! And if being tired has impacted any agreements you made on your site for different promised postings, just get them up when you can.
Remember, we are all human, and one of the things that draw readers to blogs is that human element. Just avoid the public yawning, okay?
You got something to sell great, but…
Honestly, I am still trying to find the line on this one.
See, I have two new books I am trying to sell. And I would love, LOVE, for these books to be successful, turn my writing career from a collection of dreams and hopes into a true reality. So over the last six months, I have been writing on both books, sharing reviews as they come in, linking to interviews on the books, promoting them… and I have watched my blog visitors drop each week. It has begun to feel like a dripping faucet.
Yes, this blog is for me and my writing, and if I am not going to write and give updates on my career here where will I give them!?!
However, a lot of the people who started following my blog did it for my non-fiction pieces, not on my novels. And, I have to admit this, if someone who follows my blog hasn’t bought one of these books now, when are they going to? What more can I say?
As Charlie Brown would scream, Argh!
So I walk a line, wanting to keep people who enjoy my fiction updated, but not turning off the readers who want to read one of my opinion pieces on entertainment or writing advice columns or reviews.
Right now, my goal is to keep my book “push” posts down to one to two a week, usually one at the end of the week, but I will do an additional one if an important review or interview or sale has gone up in the middle of a week. Whatever the case it has to be something unique to say, it can not be merely for the sake of reminding people I have books. So even those that do support my fiction get something out of the post.
If I have been doing this right, my readers will continue to return to my site, knowing that I am more than just a book promotion site (and no one likes those no matter how great the writer). Heck, I wrote a piece on Doctor Who and Star Trek: The Next Generation recently! See, same old Scott…
Oh, and buy my books A Jane Austen Daydream and Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare.
Sorry (but they are damn good).
Sharing is always fine…
Keeping a blog up is hard work.
In many ways it’s like having a diary (I’m a dude, I mean journal!), struggling to think of what to write about that day. But yet, for those who want a career in writing this kind of exercise can be really important. When I was a student, I had several writing teachers who argued for setting aside an hour each morning to just get thoughts on paper. Frankly, the brain is a muscle and if you want to be a strong and creative writer, you need to make that muscle strong (I would add to that, read a lot).
I love it when someone feels passionately enough about a post of mine to re-blog it on their site. It generates traffic and shows an appreciation. Awesome! But I have also had the experience of someone reading one of my posts and then “rewriting” it into one of their own articles on their sites. Oh, it is not my post, per se, but… well… we (me and that “writer”) both know what they did.
It was after a few such experiences that I added my copyright notice on the side of my site. Granted, this is the age of the internet and Wikipedia, a blog is not like being published in a book. I get that. But it still stings when it happens. However, if you need an idea to write about and feel inspired by something someone else created there are better options than thievery. How about:
- Write a reaction piece to it (I always love finding these out there).
- Simply re-blog it on your site and write why you are sharing it.
- If you want the complete article for your site- write to the author! They might be willing to let you re-post the entire thing.
Choosing one of those three options shows a respect for the original author, and may even generate views to your site if the original author decides to tell their own readers that you did it. Whatever the case, give credit where credit is due and link back.
Oh, and always tell them! Chances are, if you found their site you can find an e-mail, a twitter, or a Facebook page, all three forms of communication. I would bet that they will reply and thank you. In today’s social media world, it is rare when someone doesn’t. We are all connected.
As time goes on, other things may arise, other problems, but that is the nature of blogging. It is not logical or straightforward, it is more organic, more curvy, with numbers that fluctuate up and down. We are all figuring out this new writing medium together. The new grand experiment of writing.
In many ways, the world of blogging reminds me of the awkward experience of being a young teenager, trying to figure out the world while the emotional mind and body are developing. Some things might anger you quickly, other things you might overwhelmingly love and want to share everywhere. Whatever the case, there is always a reaction and it is immediate and powerful.
So that is us, eh?
A collection of new adults with pimples and changing voices. The ugly ducklings waiting to become swans…
If you liked reading my article, why not check out some of my published books? I’ve had four novels published in the last few years, the new A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here, or Doors and Megan as an eBook on Google eBooks here. Thanks for reading!