No You Can't Have a Blog

Dear Miss Snark:

I'm itching to blog on writing and genre related topics. In addition to garden-variety craft topics, I'd like to be the calm voice of reason and plain speaking in some vociferous debates. And I want to do it in my own forum rather than an e-mail list owned by someone else. My opinions, like those expressed on Whattayaknow, would all be well-reasoned and insightful. And, in all seriousness, I wouldn't attack anyone -- especially not publishers and agents. Is this dangerous territory for a wannabe published author? Would a blog on writing be frowned upon by prospective agents and editors, or would they not care as long as I wasn't nasty?

And the reason you're writing a blog is?
Cause you aren't doing your WRITING!!!

And well-reasoned, insightful opinions with no snark....yawn central.
Why on earth would you create a blog that is...perish the thought...boring?

It's not dangerous in the sense that people will hate you, it's VERY dangerous in the sense people will think you're dull.

Focus on your writing.
Focus on your craft.
Leave the blogging to people like Miss Snark who are mean and cruel and enjoy torturing helpless writers.


Kelly said...

And the reason you're writing a blog is? Cause you aren't doing your WRITING!!!

I must admit, you make an excellent point, Miss Snark. I'll take it under advisement. Really! Thank you.

BuffySquirrel said...

Oh dear, Miss Snark has seen right through me and it wasn't even my question... I blog, therefore I don't write.

*crawls under rock*

Jen said...

While I do have a blog (Créatif), it is only about my progress, personal insights, and the like. I wouldn't think that someone would actually read it seriously (although apparently there are a couple who do). I write it out anyway as a way to get it out, so I decided to put it up for public ridicule or comment. lol


Lisa Hunter said...

On the other hand, I know two writers who got book deals from their blogs (for non-fiction books). The blogs were considered part of their "platform."

Anonymous said...

Some writers/agents/editors suggest that an author's blog is a creative and effective way to develop and maintain buzz about you and your in-production, soon-to-be-released, or just-published writing.

Are you suggesting, Miss Snark, that's not the case?

domynoe said...

I definitely blog/journal too much. I can't seem to help myself.

We need bloggers anonymous.

Jude Hardin said...

I agree with Miss Snark. Better to spend time working on your book.

When you get published and have something to promote, then you can spend some time on a blog.

LJCohen said...

I maintain a blog because I like to shift between different types of writing. The blog is for short essays and opinion pieces with the occassional poem or snippet from recent work. It doesn't keep me from writing and in fact helps me reflect on a work in progress.


Anonymous said...

A genuine shitkickin (GRIN) over this post.

Proof positive that even CityGals (such as yer ownself) rock. Magz

Pamela said...

Heh, I keep a blog and my own message board. That's not what holds me up. Emptying the dishwasher and sleeping are what take up too much of my time.

pfong said...

Miss Snark,

I usually love your snarkling wit and wise replies, but I disagree with you here.

Blogs may be the new way to getting published provided you plan for it when you blog. Sci-Fci author John Scalzi has gotten a book deal for a collection of his blog posts.

I do suspect, dear Miss Snark, that your own blog will eventually be a great canditate for a book. But what do I know.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

I don't think you're mean at all, Miss Snark. You put up with my insta poems, my goat, and my inability to spell.

You've offered good advice. You've only confused me minimally. I've enjoyed the comments too -- mostly. There have been a few ... well ... odd ones.

Most importantly to me, this blog has been a refuge on bad days. Thanks.


Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Oh, and one last thought: People will think I'm boring? I AM boring. You hadn't noticed? sheesh!

Kirsten said...

Emptying the dishwasher and sleeping are what take up too much of my time.

LOL Pamela!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Cynthia writes:

The part about a blog is that it SOUNDS like a good idea when you start it. It's actually, if you do it right, a helluvalotta work. Take it from me, the voice of experience.

No, I don't blog, but I have had a syndicated weekly newspaper column since 1992, with no repeats and only one skip (and that was b/c of a jerk of a wet-behind-the-ears editor who didn't have a clue which folder to look in for my column and thought I'd missed my deadline. Me? Miss a deadline? I'd make deadline if I had to be late for my own funeral. Deadlines are sacred!)

The first few hundred inches are a joy. The middle few hundred become somewhat of a pain as you try to think of something original to write. Finally it becomes akin to Chinese water torture ... or maybe a hazy deja vu ... you know you've written something about a topic sometime, but you're hoping that this take is somewhat original.

Plus, it's one more thing on your to-do list ... and another? Yes, blogs can be great for publicity, but I can assure you there are more biased readers out there than biased writers; why risk opening your big fat mouth in the embryonic stage of your career and alienating potential book readers, agents or editors?

Yes, I am shallow enough to have innocently "tuned in" to an author's blog, only to be turned off by rants, rages and diatribes. Those I put on my auto-DON'T-buy list.

December Quinn said...

Yes, I am shallow enough to have innocently "tuned in" to an author's blog, only to be turned off by rants, rages and diatribes. Those I put on my auto-DON'T-buy list.

Same here. Which is why my blog generally focuses on my everyday life and my lust for Dr. Christian Troy from Nip/Tuck.

Anonymous said...

pfong: Sci-Fci author John Scalzi has gotten a book deal for a collection of his blog posts.

I suspect John will be here shortly, so I won't say much, but JS was already a full-time nonfiction writer when Tor bought Old Man's War, and he has a big enough online audience--partly because of his published books--that he could pitch a collection of blog posts to a publisher and get some interest. Let me stress that: When he got commercial deals for his online writing, he was already a multi-published author. See the difference between that and an unpublished author trying to do the same thing?

Carla said...

Blogging can be fun if you're working alone all day, like meeting up with a group of friends for a drink after work. Just as long as it is after work.

jeanjeanie said...

Blogging is also a nice link to sanity for those of us who have day jobs. I can't get into "story head" enough to do any actual writing at the office, but it doesn't take that much concentration to fire off a short blog post on your coffee break.

Mama Rose said...

I don't care if my blog's boring. I don't care if I have a ton of readers. I blog because it's fun and my friends, family, and writing buddies, who are my intended audience apparently like the weird mix of stuff I post.

But, I'd do a different blog completely if I were trying to sell books or promote myself as a pro writer. I'll decide if I want to do that once I've sold something and am a pro writer. :)


Oz said...

Opinion: The vast majority of writers' blogs I've seen (and I've seen a lot) are immensely boring. Really super-blah! You may think this is fine--just a basic boring diary that your closest associates are privy to--but think about it. Shouldn't a writer's blog--I mean especially a writer's blog--also have that one exact thing all editors and agents are perpetually looking for: A VOICE? The answer is an emphatic yes!

This is the WHOLE POINT of writing--to develop a voice that is compelling and fresh and strong enough to draw people and actually get them to feel something, to agree or disagree or cry or laugh, and, blog or otherwise, to care enough to comment. This is what a writer's blog should do or stop wasting your time and get back to the work of creating a manuscript that can do this. Bottom line: If you are a writer, write something that readers want to read.

I'm sure I don't have to point out that this is why Miss Snark has droves crawling all over each other to try to get a sip of her very special gin. She brings to these pages a definite VOICE, one that whets your hunger for more. It is distinctive and fresh and funny. It makes you FEEL things, and you could probably identify it even if it wasn't labeled. Or if it showed up elsewhere. This is what editors want. And lo and behold, it is what readers want.

Take note, writers: Don't drivel in public. WRITE! Even your best friends, who love you no matter what you drivel, will thank you for it, and be amazed, awed, more in love with you than when they were just reading about the tomato soup you ate for lunch and what time you went to the chiropractor. The fewer people you make snore the better, and justifying anything else is not helping you get published. Establishing a voice is how you'll get your book contract. Not from someone wanting to publish your blog (well, maybe) but because you have interesting things to say and you know how to move human beings with common, everyday wordsin a way that keeps a person from putting down the manuscript or clicking off the blog after a 2 second perusal. Don't add to the infinite sea of internet tripe. Add to the awe!

Also, from the look of their blogs, some "bloggers" don't realize this, but a blog by definition is not simply an online journal. It is personal writing that contains links. Links are what make a blog a blog, by definition. Otherwise, it seems, it's not officially a blog and everyone I know in silicone valley (I'm not there, btw) would smirk if you called it that.

Back I go to Emerald City now.