Sunday Ramblings – Should Writers Blog?

It’s Time for Writers to Stop Blogging by L.L. Barkat.

This article is an interesting take on the subject of platform building for an author… not that I’m likely to close my blog down – I find it useful in so many different ways.

I might not be able to stick to a schedule  – I do have one, but it’s ignored when I’m working on something (like so much on my timetable *grins*) – but if I find something interesting or useful, I’ll blog about it.

I try not to talk about my books all the time; I wouldn’t want to bore people, but when something interesting or exciting is happening, I’ll blog about it.

On my blog I’ll interview other authors if they want me to. I’ll review people’s books if they want me to. Why? *shrugs* because it’s fun to do something for someone else and if it helps them get their name out there, then the threefold law comes into effect.

Do I have an audience?

Well the WordPress stats say I have a few people who read my posts. Not everyone comments, which (if I’m having a dark grey day) can be a little depressing, but that’s the way of the world. I myself read a lot of things and don’t always comment.

True, it would be nice if my audience went and bought my books… yet I am not going to insist on it by sticking in links to Amazon etc in my posts,  because my work may not be to their reading taste. I will allow them the courtesy of finding me on there and making their mind up.

I have a Twitter feed – that you can hear the tumble-weeds on; I don’t get on with Twitter, I find it boring. I have lots of fun on Facebook and have lots of “friends” on my list…

…in fact you might say I have too much fun on FB…

*looks at amount of time spent playing FB games and shudders*

…but it’s not for the sales potential that I go on there. It’s for the people I know on there.

I’m on Pinterest and when I allow myself to go in there, I find lots of beautiful, inspiring things which get pinned on my boards and eat up hours of my time. I get a few repins – which is nice.

I have a Linked In profile as well – but I’ve forgotten the password so I don’t really use it much. I have a graphic blog on Tumblr – but it’s a bit like Twitter… *wind whistles through the trees*… for me, I’m a word person, not a picture person.

So in answer to the question, “Should Writer’s Blog?”, I say – it’s up to the individual writer what they do… the important thing is to do it because you find it fun, not because you want to sell your work.

Is Technology the Enemy of the Writer?

This morning, after dropping PT at primary school and seeing NOS off to his first day of high school, I found myself with one of those rare things…

Peace.

TOH is in college, doing his arty thing and with both kids at school I don’t have to worry about anything until I go down to pick up PT at 2.30.

I came in, turned the PC on, started my favourite inspiring playlist going and looked at my to do list:

  1. Choose or Die Chapter 4.
  2.  Finish The Second Door.
  3.  Design an IIAAC logo.
  4.  Change my book tweets and spend some time interacting with people.
  5. Check Email / Facebook.
  6. Research for New Arkingham Book.

Now, #1 is the most important – it has a deadline of Sunday and it’s already Thursday… but my treacherous subconscious sent me straight to #5 and before I knew it, I was on Facebook, scrolling through the Newsfeed and commenting on Cat Pictures!

Then I came across a post from another Writer, someone who I feel is very much a role model for me. M.M. Bennetts is a Historical Fiction Author, who loves horses and has a particularly intelligent sense of humour.

The latest thing she’d posted was a link to an article in the Telegraph Online.

I am a sucker for interesting sounding news stories. It’s the reason that I enjoy watching “The Wright Stuff” with TOH when he is home, and why I often find myself reading Huffpost or the BBC website.

This article however struck me as particularly apt for my particular brand of To-Do List:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9522845/Shutting-out-a-world-of-digital-distraction.html

This was the question that hit me smack in the face:

“As we immerse ourselves in the internet more and more, how we balance its distractions with its benefits will become increasingly important. So just how widespread is the use of tools such as Freedom and SelfControl among novelists trying to carve out the space in which to think and write, and what does it say about our ability to concentrate in the digital age?”

– Carl Wilkinson, WWW.Telegraph.co.uk

I agree with Ned Beauman, in that the Internet is an incredibly useful tool, for researching, for publishing and for connecting with other writers. Writing can be an incredibly lonely profession and the social network sites provide us with ways of connecting with our readers and each other.

However.

The Internet is also a majorly addictive thing…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9511611/Addicted-to-the-internet-It-could-be-all-in-your-genes.html

I am addicted to the Internet – when I can’t get on, I get withdrawal symptoms and although my writing productivity goes up, my mood drops and I start eating a lot of stuff which is bad for me… I also neglect my family,unless I’m forced away from the PC and the house is an utter tip, something which I am trying to deal with.

I know my family has problems with addiction; my dad is unable to give up smoking and my mum almost became an alchoholic and has a *smoking* issue.

So I have to control how much distraction I have when I want to write. I write best when there is no one around and I can minimise the distraction. If I am working on something (like today) I’ll have music on, and I’ll only check in on facebook occasionally. If I have other distractions like the kids around, then I am on facebook a lot… which isn’t good for my family or my writing.

I know I have to get a handle on this. If I don’t then I will never reach my dream of being a “proper” author (i.e: that I can support my family from my writing) and being able to write full time without worrying about the finances.

To do that, I have to be as prolific as possible.

I’ve made a good start; two children’s books in Print, a Story Collection and a story series in E-book. However, that isn’t enough. I have so many books lying unread in my hard drive, the characters crying because they’re not being read by people other than me. True, I need to edit a few of them and there are more unfinished projects than finished ones… it’s sad really.

And this is where the Internet gets in the way. Unless I am using it in a specific way (writing blog posts, researching or publishing a book), having Facebook up is a constant drain on my time. For example, it was 10 am when I read that article… now it’s nearly 11 am and even though I’ve written this post, I know from past experience that I’ll end up wasting more time on Facebook after I’ve posted it!

Time to stop procrastinating, ban the internet between 10 am and 2pm and get on with my career!