Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why Blog?

I've never considered myself a blogger. I consider myself a writer. I know those two titles are often one in the same, but for some reason I've struggled with understanding where they converge. At one point does a novelist start blogging? When you sign your first contract? When you land your agent? What happens if you start to blog and then never progress further than your novel's second draft?

It was all these questions and more that has kept me from blogging. Now I've decided to chuck aside all my trepidation and go for it. So what if my novel never gets further than my alpha readers? I'm going to blog because:

It's a chance to write without "writing."
So often in the evening, when I have my only free time to edit or write, my brain never fully cues up to my satisfaction. Words hang in the air just out of reach. Chapters run together and I have trouble remembering what my protagonist did last and what she's doing next. It's at these times that I need a break, but not from writing. A break from the novel. The problem is that if I stop writing my skills become stagnant. Enter the blog. A chance to flex my writing muscles and keep them fresh for the day I'm ready to return to my book.

It's a chance to engage others.
I get a lot of value from reading other writers' blogs, but until recently I thought I had nothing to offer if I wasn't published. The thing is, that's not true. I am published, just not as a novelist. And who's to say that being published gives you wisdom? I've learned more than I ever imagined over the last year and a half through the process of writing and rewriting and much of it I wish I'd known before I started. Perhaps I can be that blogger for someone else?

It's a chance to build an online presence.
I'm going to admit this right now: I'm scared of others finding my blog. Why? Because if they find it and like it they'll keep reading. Then I'll have all of the words I jot down so hastily out there for the world to see. I know that being an active part of the marketing of your book is the new normal of the publishing industry, but it still seems odd to me. Do I want to read the personal blog of my favorite authors? Not really. I like reading a book and falling into the fantasy it creates. To think of the writer behind it ruins that fantasy for me. But I know there are many others who I wouldn't be aware of if they didn't have an online presence. So while I do see the very real value a blog provides an author, I'm still scared to death.

Despite all my misgivings, I'm still here online and ready to start a new chapter in my life. Let it begin.