Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Don't Know Any Writers Who Only Blog About Writing

My friend Sheri Larson tagged a blogpost that I know caused some controversy over the summer, but hadn't read until recently.  Basically, the post suggests that blogging about writing will only exclude, bore, or deflect potential followers.

Now, I’m part of a community of blogging writers that continues to grow every single day and so far, in all my internet travels, I have yet to meet a writer who blogs ONLY about writing in the technical sense.  Being a writer in general can open you up to so much more about the world than just the intricacies of the written language.

Sure, writing might be a major theme in most of the blogs I read- but that doesn’t stop them from relating it to film, culture, social media, books, clothes, cleaning, cooking, housekeeping, travelling, or child-rearing!  But off-the-beaten-path posts are also frequent, often well thought-out, and welcome!

You see, what I think the original poster forgets is that writers, as a group, are chuck full of imagination. They can write an informative post that contains philosophy, techniques, or deconstruction of writing without it feeling like a post about writing at all.  

I, for one never get sick of reading ‘writing posts’-given in new and inventive ways that never cease to teach me or give me new perspective.  And I will always stay true to what this blog is about.

What are your opinions?  Do you think writers who blog about writing are doing themselves a disservice? 

50 comments:

KarenG said...

Only posting about writing is just dull dull dull. Plus a huge challenge to come up with varied posts about the same subject, or a variation on its theme, every time! Like you, I don't know too many writers who do this on their blogs.

April Plummer said...

Funny that you post this today as I'm in the middle of Kristen Lamb's class Blogging for Brand. She's teaching us not to ONLY blog about writing. We're out there to gain READERS, not just other writers that may or may not support us just because we're writers also. We're out there to gain a following, and if we did only blog about writing, we're not going to gain the following we want to read our books.

I see what you're saying - most don't just blog about writing because writing leaks into every area of our lives. Because, well, we write about LIFE. But there are some blogs out there that stick strictly to all aspects of writing - techniques, plots, ideas, etc. While I find these blogs useful, I admit that sometimes, I don't read them because I'm looking for something I can connect with on a more emotional level. I think that's what most people look for in a blog.

This is kind of rambling, so I hope I made some sort of sense!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think if you just write about your own writing it gets dull. But if you have good tips and that's your strength, it's okay.

I love learning about new authors and books from blogs too. A number of bloggers share this kind of helpful info.

Vicki Rocho said...

I think only posting about ONE thing period is dullsville. It doesn't have to be writing, it could be all about their cat or kids or whatever. I give them credit for staying focused at least!

Jen Daiker said...

I find the more I connect with the reader, the more I can share about writing techniques.

New writers don't want to be intimidated, therefore sharing your crazy antics can make them feel less alone and more likely to stick around and support the learning you provide on days you share a little summin' summin'.

I just feel like it's a big community and those who are only focusing on teaching what they've learned rather than connecting, are definitely doing a disservice. However, if you're technical and still making friends then I suppose it isn't it.

Maybe it's all based on what you want to get out of your blog. If you don't feel it's hurting anyone, why stop?

Old Kitty said...

I think that's why I follow as eclectically as possible!! You gotta have variety! And much as I appreciate all the lessons etc - speaking solely and only for myself - I find attending a proper writing course in an academic setting more helpful and practical and useful. I'm glad the blogworld embraces all topics and rants and raves! But within one's blog - I would much prefer a more layered four dimensional content that embraces all aspects of who the blog writer is or what they want to project to the world. I hope this makes sense!

:-)

Take care
x

Laura Pauling said...

I agree and disagree. I can see how potential readers wouldn't want to read about the craft of writing; but, just blogging about knitting or movies isn't going to draw many readers at all - unless the blogger is hilarious.

So for writers to start within the writing network and build community and friendships is a great way to start.

Chippy said...

When I first started blogging I declared that it would be about writing... but my blog was quickly overcome by my random ramblings. So I started up a new blog that is just about writing - mainly how much... or little... writing I am doing, some inspirational music, the odd event coming up etc.

But the randomness sneaks on to that blog sometimes aswell :)

I think it is good to break up the writing posts occasionally.

Miranda Hardy said...

I know I have many followers who are not writers, so I tend to shy away from writing posts, but I know they do enjoy a good story now and then.

Angela Brown said...

I wouldn't say they are doing themselves a disservice, but it leaves little dimension to their blog. I enjoy blogs for resources, and writing tips do that. But blogs, for me, are as much instruction manual in camouflage as they are ways to get to know the writer's interest, their journey and to connect with others.

mooderino said...

I write almost exclusively about the craft of writing. It passes the time. It's what I'm interested in and people either find it interesting or not. I don't think you can generalise. Some people wriet about all parts of their lives and it's all boring, and some people focus on one thing and make it really entertaining. And vice versa.

mood
Moody Writing

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

The only all-writing blogs that turn me off are the ones totally obsessed with the blogger's WIP.

Jennifer Hoffine said...

You're right that very few writers blog just about writing...but even though I write about books and other things too, for the most part I follow and am followed by other writers.

This is great for connections and support and community, but what I think some of these "marketing types" are getting at is that writing mostly about writing limits our tartget audience.

Slamdunk said...

Agreed. I think finding a good mix is essential for bloggers. Also, we all like to identify personally with bloggers--adding aspects of life beyond technical writing advice will only help connect with an audience.

Tracy said...

I've recently just had my own "come to Jesus" moment about blogging and writing. I never wrote strictly about writing, but did feel that I was supposed to include tidbits on the craft and/or work it in somehow. And I wound up burning myself out.

Had you written this post a few months ago, I could have saved myself all that time it took me to figure out, I can blog about many different things and it will always tie into writing somehow because...I'm a writer. *face plam*

mshatch said...

I actually follow a few blogs that are completely devoted to writing and I enjoy them and learn from them. But there are lots of other writerly blogs I follow that are more diverse and I like them, too. I think it all comes down to the style of the writer and whether they can make that post interesting, whatever it's about.

Connie Keller said...

When I first started blogging there were lots of agents' blogs that I followed religiously. And I learned a lot. But then, it got repetitious. After several years, I still follow some agents' blogs, but only the ones that talk about writing and other things like themselves, their angst, etc. It's the same with writers' blogs--I follow a lot of them, but I really enjoy the ones (like this blog) that allow me to get to know the writer. (Though I love a good writing post too.)

Misha Gericke said...

Nope.

My writing blog is consistently related to writing in some way. And I only really started getting huge follower numbers once I separated off my life aspects and turned that into a second blog.

Last year alone, I gained over 550 followers. On a writing blog.

I think I'll accept my lot. ;-P

The thing is, except for having an imagination, we have a way with words. I very rarely go to a writing blog where I don't enjoy reading the posts just for the sake of it. Because the person is practiced at stringing thoughts into longer written pieces.

Other bloggers, on the other hand, don't have this advantage.

Meredith said...

I think you have to find what works for you, because you have to love your blog or no one else will. I love posting about random things, especially when I feel like I have nothing original to say about writing.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

I enjoy reading writing blogs, since I think we bring some of ourselves into it--at least our experiences w/writing to date. Some people are ahead of me in this journey, others not yet where I am, and I love the fact that we can all help each other. It was truly a revelation to me to start finding other writers' blogs to learn from!

Huntress said...

Life happens to all of us. I prefer a split between writing and the aforementioned, maybe a 70/30.

I like seeing what life is like in other places.

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

Totally agree. If the blog were soley about writing it would be very, very dry, IMHO. Can't say I'd read many of the posts. Great topic.

LD Masterson said...

I follow several blogs that are basically about the craft of writing and I find them very useful. But I also follow blogs that touch on a variety of other topics and enjoy those as well. For my own blog, I like to mix it up.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

I think only writing about your own wordsmithing (or your own books/WIP)can be boring as is pontificating about the mechanics of writing. I know there is a place for all that and most of us drop into it from time to time but I try to relate my own blog to the genre I write in and posts reflect that theme, mostly. Not sure if that's particulalry interesting to others but I wanted to move away from advising other writers about techniques and skills.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I love writing blogs. You're right, though, my favorite ones do talk about things other than writing at times. It's their wit and personality that keeps me coming back.

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

For fear of being redundant, I agree-- blogs that only focus on writing quickly become dull. At the same time, I am a junkie for any sort of article that offers tips, insight, inspiration, etc.

My favorite "writer blogs" are those that manage to talk about the absolutely mundane and random aspects of life in a way that commands my attention-- just GOOD WRITING no matter what the subject.

Sandra Rose Hughes said...

I don't know if I COULD write entirely about writing. Other stuff is always creeping in. The great thing about a writing blog is that it gives you feedback from readers about what is working for you and what is not. There would be little point in writing simply about the process of writing. I think I would bore myself.

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

I enjoy getting a peek into other people's lives. I'm in this whole blogging thing for the community more than for writing tips (though I'm always happy to learn!).

Christine Rains said...

I like peeking into other people's lives too. I think as writers, we're all people watchers. I love to read about writing, but our whole lives aren't about writing.

Kate said...

I love reading about the process - I love to know what happens next from writers who are further along the journey than me.

As for my blog - well it's a bit random at the moment although I'm trying to get back to saying a bit more about writing and not digressing too much - it's just that digressing is so much easier when there isn't any exciting news to relate ;-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I actually know a couple writers who only blog about writing, but there posts are so informative, I'm good with it.
Me? If there's a writing post on my blog, it's probably from a guest!

Brinda said...

Well, writing is a big part of my life so it's going to make it into posts that are about ME. I do blog about writing as well as other topics.

Kelly Polark said...

I do regularly check certain writing blogs that are just about writing because they are helpful and are a wonderful resource. But if that is all I read in the blogging world, I may get bored, so I appreciate when the other blogs I visit don't always talk about writing. I do like to be entertained, too.

Jessica Salyer said...

Can't everything relate to writing in some way or another? Anything you blog about you could probably write a story about.

REINHARDT! said...

I think you're totally right. There are many blog posts I read that only start out talking about writing, but veer into other topics. My favorites are always the ones that give me glimpses into who the writer is as a person.

I love reading blogs about writing, as it is a topic that interests me. The sites I come back to always manage to put that little extra into it to keep things interesting.

Jay Noel said...

I used to have a centrally themed blog (the now defunct blazingtalons.com) where I wrote about the zany, crazy side of science.

When I quit and re-started my more writing-centered blog, I still have a few of my old readers coming to the new stuff. But my writing stuff doesn't apply to them. So I make sure to vary my posts.

Even sports blogs deviate.

Marsha Sigman said...

Writing is the tool we use to tell our stories. It's how we communicate but not WHAT we communicate. Unless you are writing a book about writing a book, I guess.

I try to make mine a balance between writing related and just random weirdness. This works for me and these are usually the sort of blogs I like to visit the most as well.

prerna pickett said...

it doesn't bother me when bloggers write about things other than writing, but the best part is when you can relate those life lessons to writing.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I really enjoy the posts about writing. They tend to be the ones I read the most.

That said, most of the writer-bloggers I read post about their *personal experiences* about their writing journey. They aren't just posting technical "How-to" posts.

Cheree said...

"Just" blogging about writing would be boring and also restrict the blogger from exploring outside topics and personal experience. The posts can't just be how-to and technical. Writers need to connect with their readers on a personal level.

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

Came by from 1 Wasabi mommy to tell you that I am getting back into my writing and my art.. so I hope to visit you more....

Tonja said...

From a marketing perspective, I would think that writing about personal stuff would be more of a negative than writing about writing.

I think there are plenty of authors that publish books about writing technique after they've published fiction. I would think a blog would be a great way to build that audience.

Like you said, the support of this community is amazing, so whatever. :)

Accidentalwriter said...

I just go with the flow. For me writing is all about spontaneity and how we see the world around us. I guess the focus of blogs can range from being for the audience of one to catering for the masses; and everywhere along the spectrum. Passion, authenticity and an almost spiritual reverence for the beauty of words will always make me return to a blogger's site.

Helena said...

Personally, I'm an incompetent blogger, but writing itself can be such a lonely trade that going into other people's and especially writers' blogs makes me feel more connected.

DL Hammons said...

I probably need to blog MORE about writing, less people forget that's who I am (or trying to be). :)

Robert Guthrie said...

I"m not concerned. We blog whatever we blog about to keep ourselves going. That's enough.

Margo Kelly said...

Sometimes, I think I don't blog ENOUGH about writing. I get distracted and post often about life, food, my kids, reading, etc.

A blog is a blog.

:)

Marjorie said...

Every writer's blog that I read has a different perspective on the craft itself. They have different experiences with writing, because they all have their own approach. Writing blogs are hardly JUST about wring but about the person who writes. I enjoy them.

Rebekah Forbes said...

thank you Katie,
I needed to read this. I do have things to share but I hesitate because they are controversial and don't necessarily relate to writing. I think I'll go write a new post and share it. Thanks for challenging me.

LTM said...

I don't think so. I appreciate learning and getting all the info from bloggers who share their writing experiences and insights. It helps me feel like I'm not the only one dealing with certain things. And I learn! I think it's a-OK to blog only about writing if that's what one wants to do. :o) <3

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