Tuesday, June 21, 2011

To Blog or To Write?

I apologize, readers. It has been a week without a new blog. Skipping a week may slide with more seasoned bloggers, but this is not the first impression I wanted to leave on the blogosphere. I've been hesitant about starting a blog for this very reason. I don't want to start a blog and then let it peter out. What have I been doing instead of blogging? Writing. While I was working out the plot for my new novel, I kept thinking about how I'm falling behind with my blog. Yet when I blog, I worry that I'm wasting this valuable novel writing time. Because of my full-time job, my free time is limited. I'm still trying to find that balance. But I wonder what's more important -- blogging or writing?

I am excited to enter the KidLitosphere. It's a great way to network with other YA writers and readers, all of whom are super welcoming and supportive. I've loved interacting with people, and I want to continue to meet more people in this community. But any blogger will tell you that to build up a presence, you need to be consistently blogging and interacting with other bloggers. I can't be megablogger for a week, then drop off the face of the web, then resurface weeks later pretending I never left. I'm not a deadbeat dad. I also happen to like blogging and writing articles. Like writing, I may procrastinate and dread it a little, but once I hit the keyboard, I know I'm in my element.

On the flip side, what is my ultimate goal? To get published. And for that, I will need material. I can blog til I'm blue in the face  carpal-tunneled in the fingers, but if I don't have a manuscript to show anyone, then it won't do me any good. All agents say that at the end of the day, your writing is what counts most. Not how strong your internet presence is. There are authors who get published without ever having TwiFaceBlogged, but there are no YA bloggers/tweeters who get representation without a manuscript to show. (There may a few exceptions. And non-fiction/humor books are a different story.)

When I lived in Los Angeles many moons ago, I met aspiring screenwriters who had this same problem. TV and Movies are a much more difficult nut to crack than books because you HAVE to know someone to get an agent. No slush pile hopes. And when an agent/industry person asks to read your script, you can't tell them to wait a month. They will want to read it now. Aspiring writers have to be out there networking and meeting the right people or else they have a slim chance of getting an agent to read their scripts. Many of them also have day jobs in the industry, which can eat up 10+ hours. Or they are in theater/improv troupes. So day job + networking = little time for actual writing. They'll either write on weekends, before work, before bed, on lunch breaks. Comparatively, the YA writing/blogging dilemma is not so bad.

What I think I will do is make a weekly time allotment to write my blog entries and set them to post automatically during the week. This is a task, just like writing. Stephen King's "Butt on chair. Hands on keys." mantra applies here, too. As writers, we will have to get used to deadlines. Might as well start now.

What say you readers? How do you manage your time between writing and blogging?


  1. You're right in that the writing has to come first. I try to blog three times a week but I don't always manage it. I like your idea about setting a specific time aside to write your posts. I can do it for my writing so why can't I seem to do it for my blog?

  2. Exactly! I realized that I need to be as disciplined with my blog as I am with my writing. I think I associated blogging with a way of writing procrastination, but I can't look at it that way.

  3. Writing does come first. I usually write my blog posts before I start writing at night. It gets the creative juices flowing. ;) And my posts are very random. Is that a good thing? Probably not. I just post whatever comes to mind. I have a certain topic I post on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but other than that, I just do whatever! Ha ha. :)
    Nice to "meet" you!

  4. Hey Chantele! Nice to *meet* you, too :) I wonder if I should blog first, then write like you do. I've kept them separate because they are different types of writing, and I don't know if I can switch from articles to fiction in the same sitting. But since blogging does get me writing at the computer, maybe I should give it a shot!

  5. Welcome Phil!!! And thanks for leaving a post on my blog. Yeah for Chicago!!! Go Bears and Cubs (though I'm now a Twins' fan).

    I had this same problem!! You are right - always keep your goal in mind: to get published. Book first, blog later AND tweet. Tweet a lot because you'll find other writers, agents, publishers, editors this way. It'll blow your mind. It's all about finding balance and juggling it all. You'll find it.

    Get that book published!!!

  6. Thanks for the follow and the comment!! Go Midwest!

    I actually do have a personal twitter account, @FillupSeagull , where I follow writers and agents. I tried adding the link to my blog, but Blogger said it was defective. One of these days I'll figure it out :)

  7. Hi Phil, I have this problem all the time! But ultimately, I think that blogging helps me stay motivated. I think because it provides some degree of accountability in that I update my blog on my writing progress. It helps me meet people and it has actually at points caused editors to contact my agent to see if I had anything in the works. So, I think it can be totally worth it and is great practice and isn't something we should feel guilty about if we enjoy it. But yeah...if it's a tough writing week, the blogging over the writing has to fall to the wayside first!

  8. Thanks for the comment, CC! I'm still impressed that you can juggle writing, blogging, and going to law school.

    You are right about the motivation and accountability. People are reading and watching my progress now. I feel like I have a responsibility to my blog readers to follow through with my writing aspirations. And their support keeps me motivated.