Sunday, September 26, 2010

You Need To Blog

Get yourself out there: I heard it from almost every presenter at this September’s Central Coast Writers Conference (at which I took first place for Young Adult Novel in the Lillian Dean First Page Competition, my first time out writing for the YA market — wow!). To be a successful writer these days, you must have a platform, an internet presence that drives potential readers to follow you, eagerly awaiting your next thought, opinion, book. It’s what agents look for, what acquisition editors look for and, most importantly, what the marketing department looks for. (After all, they are the ones who have the most to say about whether or not your Great American Tome will sell.)
To blog successfully you need to be unique. You need a hook with which to capture as large an audience as possible. But with so many blogs in existence (I heard 180 million and rapidly counting…) pretty much everything has been done a hundred or more times over, unless you fill a very specialized niche. What’s an “average” writer to do to rise to the top of an immensely huge milk vat? Hard not to be discouraged before one even starts.
Had a long talk with my son (and outlook mentor) on this subject, during which he pointed out that I was defeating myself with an “I can’t” attitude. His advice? Forget about who’s writing what about what and just go do it. Even though there are 180 million blogs out there, there are a few billion or so readers floating around, too, so there’s an audience for everyone.
Huh. Why didn’t I think of that? (I guess that’s why I keep the kid around…) So, with the pressure to be unique and sparkling and intriguing off my fairly frail shoulders, I was free to allow my subconscious to ruminate on the sticky problem of how to go about blogging in a way that would be fun for readers and challenging for me (in a good way, not a “rats, I’ve gotta go write yet another blog!” way). And suddenly, out of the blue — well, the dark, actually, since it was nighttime — it hit me.
My nickname in my family has always been “A Woman of 1,000 Words,” mainly because I like to talk (maybe too much, but that’s for another day). And I write the same way: if everyone else can say hello in 10 words, I need 100. Minimalist is not my style. I love to wallow in words, though I have learned to control my love-affair with adjectives. Why not capitalize on what I already have? My way with (multiple) words?
And hence my blog, both title and weekly aim: 1,000 words. Exactly. Each week. I will write about writing: about the process, the muses, the stories, the plot conundrums as they arise in my work. About new directions in literature. About writing groups, critique groups, writing events. About books and reading and readers. In 1,000 words. Exactly.
Not all at once. Some weeks I may post three, four or more times; some weeks only once or twice. But each time it will add up to exactly 1,000 words. Words of advice, words of instruction, words hopefully of interest to some of the billions of readers searching internet blogs for enlightenment and entertainment. Come follow me on my journey and watch the weekly word count.
1,000 words. Exactly. After all, I’ve gotta live up to my nickname, don’t I?
Post Total: 578 words
First Week Running Total: 578 words


  1. I too have experienced that feeling of mediocrity that one goes through when going public: Why should I? What if they don't like it? It's probably been done or said a thousand times?
    It's natural to doubt one's self, name me any successful person that hasn't at one time but remember although they had doubts they all made it.
    Stick with it you write good stuff, eventually people will be beating that track to your door.

  2. Hi Susan, Sunny sent me. Great beginning and some interesting points. Keep at it.

  3. Your son is a keeper!

    We talked in person about this over a year ago and I remember being discouraged with your attitude. Because blogging SHOULD be fun and exciting, not a dreaded chore. Housework is a dreaded chore. Sharing your insights with the world is an opportunity and should be a joy.

    Trust that there will be an audience for your words just as you expect an audience for your books. Let us discover you.