Saturday, 3 January 2015

No blogs please, we're writers - Nick Green

Writing as a writer (is there any other way?) I sometimes feel an irksome dissatisfaction that I’m just not getting enough. Enough exposure, if you know what I mean. I feel I should be, well, putting it out there a bit more than I do.

I made the mistake of reading some statistics online. Apparently, most people in my peer group are managing it around two to three times a week. Some even more. A few energetic, dedicated souls are getting down to it every single day, for far longer and with more satisfying results (you can tell by the number of comments they get).

But I’m among the growing number who find that they’re just too tired at the end of the day, or too busy, or just too disillusioned with the working relationship, to bare our souls on the internet very often. No, once a month is about as often as I can manage to write a blog post.

There you were talking about sex, I thought you were talking about holidays. WALKS! I mean walks.

Blogging can be an uncomfortably intimate activity for a writer, especially one who considers that some things are best kept private. Writing fiction is a different matter – there you have some protection, an impermeable layer (if you will) between you and the reader, a sort of membrane of artificiality that means they can’t accidentally conceive the wrong ideas about you. Of course I don’t condone dishonesty in writing, I just mean that fiction is the safest way to do it.

The pressure of blogging can mean it’s sometimes hard to rise to the occasion at all. I’ve tried to practise by writing a journal in my notepad, but after a while that just felt self-indulgent (and also brings on terrible cramp in my right hand). I’m not really much of a talker, you see – I just finish my daily word count and then go straight to sleep.

And then there’s trying to limit my screen time to sensible levels. I’ve read other cautionary tales – apparently Chaucer wrote so much that he ended up going blind. Also, if I’m at a party and mention that I’m a writer, it can cause pregnant silences and even embarrassment. Writing’s fine and natural, we’re told, but maybe if we could find a quiet corner in which to do it, then people wouldn’t be so uncomfortable. I think we can all agree that there’s nothing worse than ostentatious writing.

So yes – even though we’re constantly being encouraged to keep up with the Joneses, to do it more and more and sow our wild words as far and wide as we can, if we’re ever to gain credibility in the writing world – I think I’ll stick to my once-a-month blog. It’s not that I don’t have enough ideas… it’s just that they don’t all come at once.

13 comments:

JO said...

Just do what feels right for you. Is it really worth the angst trying to compete with the multi-bloggers, just for the sake of an extra sale or two (besides, we've no idea if more blogpost = more sales)? I manage once a week, and it works for me - and the sales are about the same.

Chris Longmuir said...

My own blogs are a bit intermittent. On a good run it might be once a week, other times it could stretch to once a month or longer. Not the best way to attract followers, I admit, but what the heck, I'm not really into marketing and promotion that much, I'd rather write fiction - it's safer!

Mari Biella said...

I've come to enjoy blogging for its own sake - usually - though there are many times when I really can't be bothered. I suppose it's about finding a pattern that works for you. Having said that, I agree with Jo - I don't think blogging necessarily leads to many sales. That's my suspicion, at least, but I'm by no means the most productive or popular of bloggers!

Lynne Garner said...

Nick I know exactly where you are coming from. I sometimes feel blogging is taking me away from my 'proper' writing. However I realise that blogging is now part of the job so I do it. Sometimes I enjoy it other times it's a chore just like any job I suppose.

Kathleen Jones said...

Well said Nick - speaking as one of the Joneses! I've been keeping a blog for over five years now and sometimes I've been very tempted to just walk away, but I don't because underneath I really enjoy it. But I don't think it has the slightest effect on book sales. Look at Linda Gillard, and a lot of other authors who don't blog but sell in shedloads. so don't feel guilty - enjoy the free time!!

Guernsey Girl said...

This just proves that you are good at writing blog posts, Nick. I enjoyed it immensely and admire you for saying how you feel. And here's my comment just to prove it!

Lydia Bennet said...

Yes Nick, and doesn't the once a month come round quickly?! I enjoy writing blog posts for AE and as a guest blogger on others' blogs, but I'd feel a bit harried if I felt I had to keep up a stream of blogs on one of my own - my other problem with blogs is I keep thinking of blogs I'd like to start, all of them wildly different from each other! I always enjoy reading your blog posts Nick so you are 'leaving them wanting more' which is what performers and writers should do!

Lee said...

Maybe it's because I'm such an old bat, but I like a bit of ostentation in my dress -- and in my writing. It's not like anyone pays much attention, so I might as well do exactly as I please. (Which is why I don't blog much any longer.)

Fran Brady said...

Well said, Nick tell it how it is. Blogging is not for everyone and I suspect the people who love doing it most don't spend their working life writing. Or, if they do, then they need to get some variety in their hobbies. And nothing is more boring or obvious than a blog that has been ground out through gritted teeth just because someone said it should be for advertising purposes

Craig Phillips said...

Blogging for blogging sake is crazy. And the multitude blog posts that scatter the internet that are thin wrappers to sell something are no more fun to write than to read. Death to that, please.

But if you've got something interesting to blog about, and enjoy it, go for it, it can be great writing. I've been keeping a blog for the past two months about my emigration from the UK to Canada. The feedback I've had is that it's the candidness that makes it compelling. Admittedly, that's the difficult bit to sustain without offending anyone, but for my part, I luckily have a high tolerance for shame.

Anyway, I'm hoping this truthfulness will somehow feed into my fiction work, since I think all creativity has to come from truth, no matter how fictional it is.

Sandra Horn said...

Spot on, Nick!

Lee said...

OK, people, didn't anyone get the sexual innuendoes? Impermeable layer, membrane, rise to the occasion, hand cramp, straight to sleep, pregnant silences, once a month, blindness (masturbation) etc. etc.

Good writers need first of all to be good readers.

julia jones said...

As the other Jones - and far too naice to talk about s*x I'd just liketo say that blogging is a different form of writing - a cross between an essay and a newspaper column and, like Kathleen, I've come to enjoy it. When I thought I had to 'market' then is was a chore: now that it's a means of thinking aloud it's become a type of challenge.But once a month quite enough - for thinking anyway, not necessarily for *e*