To blog or not to blog

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Jenni Grace Jenni Grace 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #32593
    Profile photo of Jenni Grace
    Jenni Grace
    Participant

    Sup, y’all?

    Yes, ’tis me yet again, and I am here for another dose of writerly wisdom. What can I say? You guys are too helpful for your own good.

    As you probably guessed from my horribly clichΓ©d thread title, I am currently in a debate with myself about whether or not it would be in my best interests to start a blog. I have mulled on it for good 3 weeks or so, and I have come up with 3 questions I would like to put to any bloggers hereabouts. (Just to make sure that I don’t start setting one up, realize it’s not for me, and then get that awful feeling of wasted time and energy. )

    1. One thing that is especially important for me in this is that I have a steady structure that will require me to write on a regular basis. I am very sporadic with my writing at the moment; a week on, a week off, and my productivity is on the downward slope. I hope that a blog will prod me into a more consistent schedule and assist me in developing the discipline necessary to write on a regular basis. My first question is, do you think a blog would serve this purpose effectively?

    2. I am also finding myself trapped by the scope of my current writing projects. With my novel in the advanced stages of outlining, I have little to work on besides plotting and character development. And while those are each glorious in their turn, they both lose some of their fascination after several months. As it is now, I haven’t written more than a page of something cohesive in over six weeks because I spend all of my time jotting down notes and revising my outline. If continual practice at writing is what you need to grow your skills (and I know it is), then I am in dire straits. I believe a blog would provide me with a way of branching out, so to speak. A way for me to take an occasional breather from Personification and actually get back to writing. Be it a post about some philosophical musing of mine, or a simple record of how my family celebrated May 4th. (Yes, @Ethryndal, I said that solely for your benefit. πŸ˜‰ And I loved the Wampa Arm Roll, btw). Anyway, do you think a blog would allow me to do this?

    3. Last one, and its pretty short. Do you have any service you recommend from the bottom of your heart? I’ve looked at WordPress and it seems great to me, but I am notorious for not checking all my options to make sure the first is really the best.

    I think that’s all I have for now, but any advice you have on blogging in general would be welcome!

    Ta,
    Gracie

    @Kate-Flournoy @Winter-Rose @Ethryndal @Daeus @Jane-Maree @I’m-spacing-out-on-who-all-has-a-blog

    #32604
    Profile photo of Faith Kindred
    Faith Kindred
    Participant

    This is like, the fourth time I’m trying to post this, because, for some reason, it wasn’t coming up before, so, if like a couple hours later, there’s like four of these…that’s why. *shrugs*

    Sup, @graciegirl? πŸ˜‰

    To answer your first question: Yes, somewhat. Personally, I have an extremely hard time with schedules and time frames and such. So, it’ll sometimes be a month (or, three, thankfully only onceπŸ˜‘) before I post something. Of course, it also depends on what you’re planning on blogging about, and if you have a good amount of follows. Now, obviously, just starting out, you won’t have many (I’ve been doing mine for almost two years, and I still only have about twenty or so followers. Annnnnnd, some things are harder to keep on top of and have set schedules for. But, as with anything, if you have a will to see it done, and be consistent with it, and if you actually enjoy doing it, you should have no problem keeping up.

    Second question: Absolutely! With a blog, the possibilities are nearly endless, and I definitely think it’s a good way to branch out a bit and try different things. I try to have a lot of variety on my blog, just because I get bored with the same things. I post book reviews mostly, but I also like to write various short articles, share some of my artwork, and just random things. (I think I did post a short story once, a long, long time ago. It was awful, but, still; variety! πŸ˜€

    As of any services… I use Blogspot, and I love it! But I’ve heard good things about WordPress too. My mom used blogspot for her’s, and so I naturally used it too. It takes just a little while to figure out all the features it has, but after I did, I was super happy with it.☺ I definitely recommend checking it out.

    #32606
    Profile photo of Daeus
    Daeus
    Moderator

    @graciegirl Yes, yes, and yes!

    I’d definitely recommend WordPress. Lot’s of pros use WordPress and recommend it. I use WordPress and recommend it. Finally, one or two people on here have moved from something else to WordPress and been very happy that they did. I really don’t think there’s anything you can’t do on WordPress. It’s amazing.

    #32646
    Profile photo of Brandon Miller
    Brandon Miller
    Participant

    @graciegirl
    (Okay, weird tech things. It says I’ve already posted, but I can’t see it so I’m posing again…)

    Okay, so I’m tired and I’ve been sitting in front of my computer all day so words are going to sound harsh… just know that and take all of the following with a grain of salt. πŸ˜‰

    1. In a word… no. I know Daeus said yes, but… he wrong. (Okay, I think this probably varies on a person-to-person basis, but here’s my opinion.) No. Writing a blog will not help you write regularly. My reasoning? I’ve been posting on my blog every week for two years now. During that time, there have been a few lulls where I have gone through months without writing any fiction. If you’re hoping your blogging will stimulate your writing, I wouldn’t count on it.
    Also, while I have been able to be successful keeping my posts consistent, I didn’t really have a problem with inconsistency in my writing when I started. I don’t know if just blogging will force you to be disciplined, or just kind of expose the problem. So… I can’t help you there. Sorry

    2.While blogging is another writing outlet, I find that it does not regularly satisfy me need to sit down and write prose. In fact, some times it gets in the way. Sometimes when I’m in a writing lull and I finally get the courage to start writing again, it’s time to write a blog post. That can be really deflating… when I can’t just sit down to write even when I want too. Make sense? So again, I don’t know that blogging will be great for that. (On the flip side though, sometimes when I’m writing a post and I figure stuff out it floods me with creative energy to keep me going for a long time.) But yeah, kind of looks like we’re 0-2.

    3.Wordpress is the real deal. It is industry standard. It’s what all the free tutorials are for. Do wordpress. If you find you hate it, you can switch, but I don’t think that’s likely
    (YAY THAT’S A W!)

    Okay, now for the other side of the story.
    I have all these negative things that I’ve said about blogging… but I’m still doing it after two years.
    Here is why:
    It is rewarding. It’s cool just mentally and emotionally to put something out there and have people read it. My blog isn’t terribly popular, even after two years of steady work. I have about forty different viewers per week. For my first year and a half, I was lucky to get twenty. But even when I just had ten people coming and checking my stuff out, I found that it was really cool just to sit back and realize that other people were reading what I was writing. That still hasn’t changed.
    It helps me organize my thoughts. Seemingly all of my posts start out when I’m not sure about something so I start thinking it through… then end up with an informed opinion. (My blog, woodlandquill.com, is for other young writers. In case I didn’t say that.) The first person who learns from my blog posts is me. Just spending the time to think through things like POV, character development, and storyworld conflict help me figure out… writing. I wouldn’t be aware of hardly any of what I know today as a writer if I hadn’t blogged about it first.
    Blogging helps me meet new writers. It took seemingly forever since I got my first comment on my blog, and it was from a good non-writer friend of mine who was just stopping by to be nice. Even now, the comments just kind of trickle in at an agonizingly slow rate. That being said, I do have a couple of regular readers who drop comments pretty often, and I’m getting to know them pretty well. I’ve also been able to look at a couple of their writing excerpts and brainstorm with them about story ideas. It’s always fun to meet new writers, and my blog gives me the opportunity to do that.
    Blogging is fun.
    Like, there are weeks when I hate it and I don’t feel like I have anything to post about and I have to physically bleed to get words onto the website, but also… it’s fun. I really enjoy it most days, and as long as it’s fun, I’ll keep doing it.
    So… should you start a blog? YES.
    Don’t expect it to grow super fast or fix your writing life or any of that. Expect to spend months posting on it, doing hard, grassroots growing of it… but if you find you like it… do it. Also, if you decide you do want to go forward with it (or if you just want to discuss it more) shoot me an email at thewoodlandquill@gmail.com. You can just reply here… but there’s every chance I won’t see it. Someday are just too busy and I just delete forum notifs I can’t get to so… shoot me an email and you’ll hear back.
    (And please do, because I like talking about blog stuff… and after two years I at leas know something about the ins and outs of it. Something.)

    Anyway… there’s that. Take it for what it’s worth. Don’t let me discourage you, but do weigh what I have to say. Blogging is awesome, even if it can be hard work.

    #32663
    Profile photo of FeedingMyGoldfish
    FeedingMyGoldfish
    Participant

    @graciegirl Good questions! Here’s what my experience has told me:

    1. I think a blog is a great way to create a writing routine…IF you set up a schedule and stick to it. I have a blog for my poetry…well, technically, I have an Instagram account that feeds into my website…and my goal is to post daily. That schedule was working really well for me until I had a lot of craziness going on with the last few weeks of my college semester.

    2. YESSS! Blogging is a great way to have an everyday scribbling/skill-sharpening platform aside from your major writing projects. A journal (paper or digital) works well also if you’re not wanting to share the in-between writing.

    3. WordPress confuses me, honestly. I really like Weebly because it’s all drag-and-drop, and I don’t have to deal with HTML if I don’t want to. That being said, you can still adjust the coding if you are so inclined (and know how). I’ve never needed to, though, because it always looks nice and functions smoothly. My poetry website is http://www.hazelstenographer.weebly.com if you want to see what mine looks like.

    #32666
    Profile photo of Gabrielle
    Gabrielle
    Participant

    @graciegirl I didn’t read through everyone’s answers (so there might be some repeats), but here is the short version of my blogging experience…

    1. Blogging helps with motivation, but you still have the choice to stay consistent. You can chose to post or not post, but you still have the expectations of your followers urging you to post on time.
    2. At least in my case, blogging has helped me write outside my normal style and genre (which turned out to be fun).

    3. WordPress is nice. Very nice. .

    Last but not least: The most rewarding part about blogging (to me) is connecting with other bloggers and seeing your readers reactions, along with having that chance to interact with them. Since I share about my life and my fiction, I enjoy connecting with other bloggers who write about the same things (like Ethryndal). If you blog about a certain topic and mange to find a group of small bloggers who also blog about that topic, you can form a fun group of small bloggers who read each other’s content.
    If you manage to gather a few awesome followers who comment and enjoy your writing, it’s just awesome, even if there are only five of them.

    #32667
    Profile photo of Ethryndal
    Ethryndal
    Participant

    @graciegirl Okay. Sounds like you want to start a blog for personal reasons, not just platform building. I actually know something about that! Shocker. Can we take a moment to be amazed by this monumental…moment?

    *takes a moment* Anyway. For #1, I say yes. This is one of the reasons I started blogging. I too was having problems with disciplined writing, but now that I have a blog, it forces me to write more, because I know that people (even if it’s just my sister) are expecting me to. This doesn’t necessarily carry into my novel writing, but HEY. Writing is writing, whether it’s for a blog or for a fantasy.

    #2. This is another reason I started blogging. It’s nice to just let go and write. Sometimes the joy of writing becomes deadened after months of working and working and WORKING at mechanics and characters and all the hard stuff, so I find it a great stress relief to be able to write about nothing in particular. It makes me happy. Don’t judge. (And WAMPA ARMS FOREVER.)

    #3. YES. I use WordPress, and it is great. If you haven’t noticed, the actual Kingdom Pen site is a WordPress site, so…if nothing else, choose WP out of loyalty to this amazing place.

    I just realized that I spent fifteen minutes typing out what everyone has already said. Blah. Okay, I’ve changed my mind. #1. Blogging will make you a lazy, lethargic writer. #2. Plot and Characters are everything to a writer. IF YOU WANT TO GET AWAY FROM THEM EVEN FOR THREE PARAGRAPHS, YOU ARE A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE WRITER AND SHOULD FEEL WHOLLY ASHAMED OF YOURSELF. #3. WordPress is awful. Don’t use it. Closing Statement: Overall, blogging is a worthless endeavor and I do not recommend it to the faint of heart. You’ve been warned. πŸ˜›

    #32668
    Profile photo of Dragon Snapper
    Dragon Snapper
    Participant

    @ethryndal @graciegirl Behold! The Sarcastic Elf!

    #1. Blogging will make you a lazy, lethargic writer. #2. Plot and Characters are everything to a writer. IF YOU WANT TO GET AWAY FROM THEM EVEN FOR THREE PARAGRAPHS, YOU ARE A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE WRITER AND SHOULD FEEL WHOLLY ASHAMED OF YOURSELF. #3. WordPress is awful. Don’t use it. Closing Statement: Overall, blogging is a worthless endeavor and I do not recommend it to the faint of heart. You’ve been warned. πŸ˜›

    #32670
    Profile photo of Ethryndal
    Ethryndal
    Participant

    @dragon-snapper The more I think about it, I realize that this sums up my blog perfectly. XD

    #32671
    Profile photo of Northerner
    Northerner
    Participant

    @Gracie-girl, Brandon Miller has some good points (the one person who disagrees with the majority usually does), but on the whole, I’d say blogging can be good, if you keep in mind what the purpose of your blog is. As with anything that can be used, whether it’s good or bad depends largely on how you use it. Like a sword. You can use a sword to chop someone’s head off. The action may not be bad in itself — it depends on who you just killed, and why you killed them, and things like that. Blogging isn’t nearly as messy or violent or dramatic (usually) as that, of course. So. If you start a blog to help you grow in a certain writing area, and if after a year or three you find you’ve outgrown it and the blog isn’t helping you anymore, don’t feel bad about stopping.

    On the other hand, I started a blog because it was a way to build a platform that I didn’t object to as I do Facebook and that kind of thing, but that’s not the only reason I keep doing it (keep in mind I’ve only had it since September). It’s a way to connect with other writers and get to know them. It’s also a place where I can ramble on about my writing for as long as I like, without being afraid that the person standing in front of me will try to escape. If someone reading the blog gets bored, they can leave without hurting my feelings. And who knows, there might be someone out there who’s interested in hearing you go on and on about your struggles with personification, which can motivate you to keep going.

    I post twice a week. Unless something comes up at the last minute, I always post on Tuesdays, and the couple of times I’ve missed that day, people notice and ask where I am. So your readers can hold you accountable for posting. The second day varies — sometime between Thursday and Saturday, usually. That way I get some flexibility, especially during the school year as homework piles up more toward Fridays, and I can keep my readers in suspense *evil laugh*. Actually, it’s to make things a little less predictable.

    And I recommend WordPress. I know nothing about coding but I find it easy to work with, and it looks professional (in case you were thinking of someday making it your official authour’s blog when you get things published), and has a lot of free options.

    #32672
    Profile photo of Jane Maree
    Jane Maree
    Participant

    @GracieGirl
    Heyyy okay so I’m coming to the party a little bit late but here’s my thoughts anyway. Even though they’re pretty much the same thing that everyone else’s been saying BUT SHHH YOU WANTED TO HEAR ME ANYWAY DON’T DENY IT. XD

    1: I think that you could work that out, yes. Imagine it a bit like the ‘writer corner’ things we have here. Accountability to stay on track and post every week (or whatever goal schedule you pick). Aaaand if you want inspiration to write fiction regularly…you could start a serial blog story. Honestly, these are great. I’ve done a few over my three years of blogging (the first one being a shameful mess of OH MY GOODNESS DID I REALLY WRITE THAT *hides in shame*) and they’ve been really helpful. I have to write every week because the readers are expecting the next installment of the story and I can’t let them down. And if I’m feeling completely unsure what to post about…hey let’s just do a serial story post and skip everything else because that works. xP

    2: Absolutely yes. That sounds like the perfect content for a blog, to me. A bit of meandering thoughts, and interesting life stories so the readers can get to know you a bit better so it’s like a big bunch of friends. Be yourself. We all love real people bloggers.

    3: I wouldn’t recommend WordPress actually. Blogger/blogspot all the way. It’s easy to get a professional look with it -if that’s what you were after, and it’s a lot easier for readers to follow and comment on overall. But hey, I seem to be in a minority here at the moment. (I just think that it’s really easy to work with AND you can get really cool looking/professional designs. Like my blogging friends Katie Grace and Savannah.)

    Basically, if you start a blog, STICK TO YOUR SCHEDULE. If you say you’ll post on every Saturday. DO IT. Don’t let your readers down.
    And don’t pretend that you’re someone who you aren’t. Be yourself and your readers will love you for it.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of Jane Maree Jane Maree.
    #32677
    Profile photo of Ethryndal
    Ethryndal
    Participant

    I will tag @audrey-caylin for another opinion on Blogger (and blogging in general). Just to make things confusing. πŸ˜€

    #32678
    Profile photo of Daeus
    Daeus
    Moderator

    @graciegirl I’m coming back now because of @jane-maree‘s comment. Blogger seems to be a good option from what I hear, but I know there was someone on here a while ago who switched from Blogger to WordPress and was very happy they made the decision.

    The two examples Jane showed were nice sites, but most Blogger sites I see don’t look as good as WordPress sites. They’re generally more aesthetic. WordPress also allows people to comment very easily. @jane-maree Do you mind explaining what about WordPress’s comments you don’t like?

    Actually, if you’re going for aesthetics, I recommend Wix. (Unless you’re a really good WordPress designer.) The best part about WordPress though is its functionality. When you start a blog, you can never be completely sure where you’ll end up taking it. I like to have it so that I can take it anywhere, and with WordPress you can certainly do that.

    Rant over. πŸ˜›

    #32689
    Profile photo of Jenni Grace
    Jenni Grace
    Participant

    @all-of-you
    ZIKERS. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! This thread has been a HUMONGOUS help, and I feel more excited to start a blog than ever. So, a thousand thanks to each and every one of you. πŸ˜€

    @feedingmygoldfish Your blog is beautiful! That is really neat that it ties in to your Instagram. IG is one of the main reasons I seriously considered a blog in the first place. I LOVE posting to my account over there, and several times (especially over these past few weeks), I’ve found myself straining against the format limitations. I want to say more and have it typed up all nice instead of having to either (a) take a pic of whatever I want to say or (b) put it as a caption and live with all of the restrictions that come with that. And while I don’t think that I would like to have them that linked, being able to tie in to my IG somehow would be awesome.

    @Ethryndal πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Oh, zikers you are so much fun! That is great that we share similar reasons for blogging, and if it is working for you, I am in high hopes that it will work for me. πŸ˜€ And of course the simple fact that KP is a WordPress is a definite factor in my decision. ;P

    @Jane-Maree I won’t deny it, I was curious to see what you’d suggest! XD
    Yes, being myself is another reason I’d love to blog. An outlet for this introvert-world swirling around inside my head. I relate to @that_writer_girl_99 when she says she transforms into someone else when writing as I feel closest to my true self when I communicate through written words, so another chance to do that is welcome.
    Hmmm.. it sounds as if blogspot would be worth a look, so I will…er, take a look? XD
    And I am also curious what you dislike about the WordPress comments.

    @Daeus You are quite welcome to rant. πŸ˜‰ I certainly do not know for sure where a blog of mine would go in the future, so having that sort of freedom to adapt to my needs would be wonderful. And it is interesting to hear of people actually switching from Blogger to WordPress..hmmm…

    Well, it seems as if I have some decisions to make. πŸ˜€ Thank you all once more.

    @Faithdk @Brandon-Miller (I’ll feel weird if I don’t tag you at all, but I completely understand if you don’t see it. πŸ˜‰ And I might just send you an email if I have any more questions later.) @Northerner @Winter-Rose

    #32694
    Profile photo of Elizabeth
    Elizabeth
    Participant

    Yessss! Yay for the writing alter-egos @graciegirl ;’)

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