A little homework on blog improvement tells me the more posts, the better. That means at least five times a week. Apparently the posts don’t have to be long or full of awesome content.
I’m good with that.
Coming up with awesome content in a world full of bloggers writing great posts is hard. If I’m going to be that creative, I’d like to be working on a book instead. But if one is going to ride the carousel, one must get used to going around in circles (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, blogging, Facebook, T…).
Telling writers how to write has never been my thing, mostly because I find the process mystifying and overwhelming at times. I’m not sure how I do it when I do it well, which does happen from time to time. Maybe it’s just getting in the zone? Or listening to the voices in my head? Or an alien force (or one of those spirit guides) takes over my keyboard and does all the work?
That would be a bit like putting my fingers on a player piano and pretending I created that great music.
Honestly, I don’t know how writing happens, and that’s why you won’t get a bunch of “how to” posts from me. What I do enjoy, however, is hearing how other writers approach their craft. And that’s why I invite guests to post here. They know what they’re doing. I don’t.
I get into wrestling matches with my characters and they usually win. I kill them off unexpectedly when I don’t like what they’re doing.
I make a total mess of my timeline (which drives some of my critique group members crazy).
I keep changing character names as I go.
I rewrite dozens of times and end up with multiple versions of a novel in its folder.
I have a terrible time declaring a manuscript “done.”
That’s enough of that, but hopefully it explains why I don’t offer up writing advice.
So the dilemma becomes what should I post about if I need to update the blog at least five times a week? How the k-cup for the Keurig totally exploded this morning, spewing coffee grounds and muddy liquid all over the machine and into my cup? And since I was in the wheelchair (yes, one more week to go with this foot cast), I had to stretch to reach paper towels and then stretch the other way to clean up the mess I’d made? And how I had coffee grounds still showing up in my next two cups of coffee?
I can’t even make that one sound funny.
So let’s go back the the subject of writing. If you’re a writer, do you have a clue how it all happens? Aliens? Spirit guides?
M. K. Theodoratus says
I’m with you. Writing is a mystical process.
I take the easy way out and let my characters talk to me.
Yes, Kay, but when they start arguing with you, don’t you get a little annoyed?
Susan Gourley says
I really hate keeping track of my timeline. That’s probably why I mess it up so much. I’m getting better but I still make snafus now and then.
Susan, no matter how hard I work at keeping timeline notes, I always mess up sooner or later. Thank goodness there’s a member of my critique group who’s a whiz at catching me.
Elizabeth Varadan says
Hi, Patricia, I came to you from Rachna’s blog. Loved this post. Very humorous. A bit daunting, though, to learn one should blog five times a week. No way can I do that. I do love blogging, though, and meeting new writing friends. I learn a lot as I go through the blogs I follow.
Your books look good! I love a good mystery.
Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth. The additional reading I did on that topic today produced a happier result. All of the five posts do not need to be full articles with lots of content. Posting a photo or a quote is just as effective. I thought that was pretty good news.
Margot Kinberg says
You’re certainly asking the $64,000 question, Pat – how do writers talk about what they’re doing, and how to know when they’re doing it well? Personally, for me, I find that writing a lot helps me know when things are going well…or not. And reading a lot helps me know when what I’ve written is good…or not. It’s one of those things I’ve gotten used to, like knowing when I’m about to get sick. After a while, you do get a sense of it. I think it also takes an ability to be objective and be able to ‘step back.’ That’s hard to do when it’s your ‘baby.’ As to what to put in posts? For what it’s worth, I think I’ve found that it helps to find something you really like talking about…and write it. For me, it’s crime fiction (with occasional dips into writing). If you’re passionate about it, that passion can get infectious. Make sense?
That makes perfect sense, Margot. And your blog is one of the places I go to read about crime fiction and authors I might not discover otherwise. As for writing, I may never figure out how it all happens, but I feel blessed that I’ve managed to get published in spite of my ignorance…thank goodness I have a wonderful editor.
Allan Emerson says
The thought of having to produce one blog post per week is daunting; the idea of posting every day sounds like something a totalitarian regime would use to destroy a prisoner’s will to live.
Maybe the best idea is to treat a blog like a radio program, with different guests on a frequent basis. I think you’ve absolutely mastered this concept, Patricia. You get a variety of viewpoints and writing styles, and I always take a look to see who’s on today. And as far as the media carousel goes, you’ve obviously mastered it–you seem to be everywhere at once.
I’m still in the thinking stages with my blog, so I don’t imagine I’ll be able to attract any guest posts until it’s been underway for a while. How did you get started with the guest format?
Wow, I’d have to look back at the beginning and figure out who my first guests were and how I signed them up. I think it came as a result of the online blog book tour class I took from Dani Greer. I decided instead of doing blog book tours for myself (because it seemed like a whole lot of work), I’d just play host for others brave enough to do one.
Now I often go through the list of upcoming book releases of members of my writing organizations to see who might have reason to want to do guest posts. I also occasionally post a call for guests on the writerly Yahoo! groups I belong to. It is work to be a host, though, which is why I’m going to keep to one guest a week for a while. There’s post formatting, resizing and cropping photos, adding links, etc. The good thing is that I get to know a whole bunch of authors (and their books) that I might never have met otherwise.
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
I vote aliens.
I think it’s either almost daily posting or just once a week that works. Anne R. Allen swears that once a week with good content is all you need. (And I’m looking forward to the end of Challenge madness and getting back to my once a week posting.)
Yes, that thing about good content is the secret, Alex. Your regular weekly post is like a whole week’s worth of information packed into one day.
April Moore says
Honestly, I have no clue what the right formula is. Most of the time, I have no idea what I’m talking about, but it helps me to just type from the heart and get it out. That’s probably not the wisest plan, since quality of writing is probably what brings people back, not my random word vomit. You don’t have anything to worry about; you’re doing it right.
Thanks, April. I don’t know how to write and I don’t know how to blog and I’m totally mystified about social media. It is indeed a merry-go-round.