The accidental blogger: more than just a platform - by Roz Morris
Like many writers with a traditional publishing background, I networked one to one - meetings, parties and email discussions. My writer friends had websites, but I didn’t because I had no books out under my name. Even though my agent was out crusading with my first novel as me (My Memories of a Future Life) we never discussed ‘platform’.
One day a web-savvy friend in the games industry was telling me about blogging, and set me up with a Wordpress ID. I wrote a few posts. It was fun; my own writers’ observatory - looking at real life with a storyteller’s eye.
Writerly friends enjoyed my posts. Non-writerlies were spared a lot of abstruse conversations. When I didn’t post for two weeks, the teenage son of some friends - who I thought would have cooler pastimes - told me I was overdue for a post. Since that day, I have taken my schedule seriously.
I went googling and found a writers’ blogoverse. Then a Twitterverse and a Facebookverse. Each portal I fell through, I discovered new constellations of likeminded souls. I wrote a writing book, Nail Your Novel - Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence, which I intended for my agent to sell, but it thrived as an electric indie because of the friends I was making through my blog.
But blogging didn’t feel like a publicity duty; it felt like play - and something I had always done. When I was a teenager, I had shoals of penfriends. Homework finished, my greatest pleasure was pouring ideas onto paper. If you made friends with me you were in for a lot of reading. You still are.
On the advice of those who know, I put up a second blog of static pages in case people searched for Roz Morris rather than Nail Your Novel. People do subscribe there, but nothing ever happens so they probably think I haven’t anything to say.
I started a third blog to release My Memories of a Future Life. That was also intended to be static pages. Then, to help out a friend, I posted a piece about using music as a creative spark for writing and called it The Undercover Soundtrack. It fitted well on that blog as my novel’s narrator is a musician. I realised I’d love to read a series like this - a literary Desert Island Discs where writers talk about the music that helped them create their characters, stories and settings.
Now the Future Life blog is no longer about promoting that novel, it’s a creative magazine of its own. Every week I host a new Undercover Soundtrack guest, among them other Authors Electric - Dan Holloway and Catherine Czerkawska (coming in 2012) and distinguished AE alumnus Nicola Morgan.
I love having my blogs. I love the feedback of discovering another comment out of the far-spread ether, or a question from a reader that provokes me to examine a wrinkle of the writer’s craft. Blogging turned out to be a useful move in the grand scheme of serendipity, but really it’s what I always liked doing - where at heart I’m still a teenager awhirl with curiosity, writing to friends.