Blogging: An Existential Crisis

Do you blog? Do you dare to blog?

Some people agonize over if they should blog or not. For me, the question isn’t To Blog or Not to Blog? but What Should I Blog?

It’s more complicated than it sounds.

Social media is changing. Blogging used to be The Thing, but now that everyone does it the value has decreased (Read this for even more evidence that blogging just isn’t as effective anymore). You no longer need to write lengthy posts to have a conversation with your readers; you can chat with them on Facebook or Twitter, exchanging short snippets about minutiae and brief emotions.

For example, ‘I love cookies!’ will never qualify as a quality blog post, but put that on Twitter and you could get dozens of retweets and even new followers.

I’ve noticed bloggers around me grow into niches. Writers maintain personal blogs, separate industry blogs, and then separate hobby blogs. Cultures have grown up around different blogs, and writers have to define their platform if they hope to gain a dedicated readership. Your blog now defines the message you send to the world.

And I had a really hard time selecting a message.

With all these new ways to access and distribute information, its value is changing. I read a post by a social media guru saying that you have ‘currency’ with your readers, and if you post too often, or post things they aren’t interested in, your currency with your readers goes down, and they will begin to ignore you.

That is so true. I barely keep up with any blogs because I’m just not interested. My attention span is so short that if I’m not entertained immediately, I stop reading.

How then do I dare to run my own blog?

Should I post instructional articles about writing, like so many of my friends? But I have Pub Crawl for that. And why should I offer you my instructions when people far more qualified than me are out there giving advice?

Should I post about my life and my personal updates? Why should you care? How could I grow a following that isn’t just a group of my already-existing friends if I talk about things only I find interesting (ie my life)?

All of these issues and fears have been tumbling around in my head the past year. I go through blogging spurts. I update and share snippets about my stories hoping to hold your interest. I confess and share personal stories in the hope of being relevant. But on the whole I’m not sure that I’m accomplishing anything.

Then I came out of a big slump and realized: I am always drawn to those who talk about what interests me. And my biggest interest is writing. But not just writing – that magical, spiritual connection we have with our writing. That soul call from the universe that says THIS IS YOUR PURPOSE.

Lots of people in the industry insist that writing is a job, and while you may love it, you must treat it as a career. Sometimes they make it sound so passionless, as if for them writing is just another 9-5. While I do hope to one day make it my 9-5, it is my dearest wish to never, EVER lose that internal, magical whisper, no matter how burnt out I get, or how frustrated with my deadlines or own lack of inspiration.

Recently someone read my Nameless sample chapter and emailed me to say hi. We began discussing writing and inspiration, and it turns out he knew about the duende, a Spanish concept I bastardized for my own uses at the age of 16.

You know those people who talk about their muse, and give her some silly girly name and call her a fickle bitch? I’ve never understood disparaging your creative self like that, and at the same time it made me reluctant to talk about the personification of my own muse. But if asked, I have one, and it’s the duende. Something wild and unknowable, an ambivalent god, the tiny darkness waiting in the corner.

And that’s what I want to give to you. Documentation of a writer’s life in partnership with writing.

So. That’s what I dare to blog about, and I’ll do my best not to feel goofy about it anymore (and book reviews. And important announcement. And of course updates about my projects and sample chapters). If you’re interested, by all means stick around. If not, I understand. :)

Regardless, thank you to everyone who’s come with me this far, and read my work, and commented on my posts, and listened to my recommendations, and created me fan art. And especially thanks to those of you who email out of the blue. You always remind me of why I’m here.

<3, Savannah

11 thoughts on “Blogging: An Existential Crisis

  1. I read your blog because I need to remind myself that authors are not mystical gods all on pedestals (no offense), but they are people just like me. They have to schedule writing around day jobs and sometimes, no matter how hard they try otherwise, life just gets in the way. Dedicated writing blogs tend to be cold and calculating no matter how nicely the author writes it. “Here’s how you outline. It works. Follow this list and you will become Pro-Outliner.” Or “Look at what my friend just published!” which are all wonderful and I still like hearing about that, but they don’t tell you about the 10 years of writing it took to get that book published.

    I used to (okay, so it wasn’t that long ago) devour all the writing posts I could, spending hours clicking all over the internet and looking up How to Plot and How to Write Characters, when all that time would have been much better spent just doing the writing. Now, I read blogs that are more journal-oriented: I’m working on this scene, I wrote this many words today, HOLYWTF Why does this chapter suck, topics like that. While posts like that don’t seem to have any meat on them, reading them for months at a time gives you the real picture.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the industry and technical posts. But I love even more the posts that are loaded with honesty, the ones that show the imperfections and the hard work that goes into this gut-wrenching hobby of ours. Then, the “Yay I got published!” posts mean even more.

    Besides, it’s your blog, write whatever the F@%# you want.

    • Ha, Gina I love your response. I too used to spend hours reading technical how-to posts, trying to find that bit of knowledge that would make me feel like I really had a handle on what it meant to be writer, or trying to find the instructions that would unlock the secret to writing well. But there aren’t any. There’s advice and more advice, but everything has to work for you.

      I do like seeing the stories now because all the writing advice in the world won’t teach me how I, as a person, need to manage my writing life. It sounds so silly, but one of the main questions I’ve wondered during my time as a writer is ‘am I normal?’ It’s so heartening to hear other writers face the challenges I have, and to see how they got through it. I’ve got the basics down; now the only education I need is experience and community.

    • Caitlin Vanasse says:

      Can I just jump in and say that seeing authors are real people was one of the most delightfully unexpected surprises I got from stalking author blogs online? For me (a reader first and a writer of fiction perhaps never) learning this didn’t effect me in quite the same way it did you. What it did teach me is that authors are approachable, that writers need me, the reader, just like I need them, and that when I truly love a book, I should tell all my friends but I should also tell the author because no one is above hearing how their words touched your life.

      • I’m drafting a post now where I talk about why I love the authors I do, and it all comes down to feeling like I connected with them as a person.

        You’re so right (lol I wrote ‘write’ first) about readers and authors having a codependent relationship. They inspire and encourage each other.

  2. The title of this post was so right on for me today. I LOVE to write… I LOVE to tell a story… but I still haven’t found THE story that inspires me to write a book… and so I blog… and I haven’t found my niche yet… leaving me ALSO wondering… Who cares besides my friends and family…. what’s the point….

    I don’t have an answer…

    So, for now I will keep blogging because I am a storyteller… I have always been a storyteller… and whether it’s written down or around the family dinner table… I love to share a good story!

    So I’ll keep doing that… until I figure out my next step :)

    • I so sympathize. Sometimes I feel like without a book deal I have no right to inflict my opinions on everyone :-) But you’re absolutely right… if you have something to say, say it! Those who want to, will listen. It’s not like we’re going to entertain every single person in the world, right? But there are so many people out there that even a small percentage of them following us would be amazing. Blog until you find your ideal audience!

  3. Caitlin Vanasse says:

    I have your blog in my google reader but then I always end up coming over here to comment properly anyway. I also usually read other comments before posting but I wanted to say what I want to say here so forgive me if someone else already has:

    There are two kinds of blogs I follow, blogs about subjects I find interesting, challenging, profound or funny and blogs written by my friends.

    I have yet to find a blog in the first category in which every post is interesting to me, in which I never skim or skip a post. But the blogs my friends write, I could read about anything because what I want out of them is a glimpse at my friend. You now fall in the second category, although LTWF/Pub Crawl where I found/met/stalked you first doesn’t so you could write about pretty much anything and Id read it, but I’m glad you have found a purpose in what to write too, because I’m not sure you can just blather on and on like I do and be satisfied, I think you write because it is and gives you purpose. Which I suppose is what you’ll write about too isn’t it?

    I look forward to whatever you have to say.

    • You’re right, Caitlin. Writing is what gives me purpose. And I’m gonna go ahead and admit to being a bad friend here, because I don’t even keep up with my friends’ blogs. In my defense some of them don’t have subscribe options! What’s up with that?

  4. Tamara Walsh says:

    I’m going to subscribe on the email link, but I wanted to let you know that your blog doesn’t seem to be working in Google reader. At least not for me. I copied the link and hit subscribe a few times, but nothing happened. Anyway, just thought you might want a heads up on that. :)

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