Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blog as Punishment?

Keep time with your blog!

Since starting Balancing Act a few months ago, I’ve also begun to read a lot of other people’s blogs.  This is a very interesting and enlightening pastime.  It’s nice to get to know the wide community of writers on the web.

I’ve also noticed something.

It’s not uncommon for professional bloggers and members of the publishing industry to offer advice on how to become super successful.  This is amazing and wonderful, because of course they know all about the writing industry and how to survive within it.  I’ve learned fascinating details about writing for a living and getting published which I never knew before, or at most only vaguely realized – so a big thank you is due to all agents and editors who kindly run a blog. 

On the other hand, perhaps because the thing foremost in their mind is the financial state of the published author, they place enormous emphasis on the responsibility we writers have towards blogging.  ‘If you started, then keep it up,’ they say.  Many of them even emphasize that you should post on the exact same days, with the exact same frequency, week after week, year after year…apparently until you die. 

Now, I am a scheduled person; I appreciate the rhythm of routine.  For the most part, therefore, I find it easy and enjoyable to stick to my twice a week posting schedule for the blog.  And of course it’s true that if you want to promote yourself, actually being there when you say you’re going to be is helpful.  No one would patronize an insurance company if its ads proclaimed 24 hour service, and then it could never be reached.  Similarly, no one will faithfully read a blog if the writer promises regular updates, and then they never come. 

However, let’s be real:  life happens. 

My creativity is a German Shorthaired Pointer!
As a creative person I already feel a huge sense of responsibility, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does.  Our artistic powers needs to be fed and exercised and spruced up and given rest.  Sometimes my creativity pesters me; sometimes I pester it.  When I’m tired it clamors for attention, and when I’m rested it just gets louder.  (Creativity is amazingly similar to a very needy pet…)  If I ignore my creative side – which I sometimes have to do, in order to take care of pressing duties – I miss it like I might miss a friend, and I feel twinges of guilt for not paying more attention to it. 

If on top of all that I add more pressure to produce a blog post on cue, I’m just asking to get fed-up with writing.  There has to be flexibility built into life, don’t you think?   In spite of the best intentions, now and then everyone fails  to finish the to-do list.  If we don’t  include some forgiveness in our schedules, I think the result will be a major burn-out: writer’s block caused by sheer exhaustion. 

So, while it may seem incredibly presumptuous to argue with the agents and publishers and money-making bloggers of the world, I humbly beg to differ from their opinion. 

The blog is important, and yes, it can be a helpful tool for self-promotion, whether for the published or unpublished author.  More important, however, is maintaining sanity.  If an artist is keeping up a posting schedule at the expense of needful recreation, if (even worse) he or she gives up a chance to work on their actual projects in favor of the blog – then my thought is that a new point of view is necessary. 

Here's a LOT of perspective!
No amount of blogging will turn someone into a true artist.  That’s why I’ve stepped back from Balancing Act for a couple of weeks.  I’d rather know next weekend when my daily life calms down that I’ve managed to stay abreast of my editing and to write a new poem, than look back and only see six blog post to which I’ve sacrificed all my writing energy. 

In short – have a little perspective.  Maintain any blog you may be writing as faithfully as possible, but also remember that ultimately other things take priority.  I've been impressed by the kindness of the online community since I joined it; I’m sure they’ll be understanding if someone in their circle has to take a break from the blog world for the sake of the real world. 

And my thought is that if the community can be forgiving, we can forgive ourselves as well.  Don’t turn your blog into a scourge.  It will live longer if it remains enjoyable!  


  1. I guess I am one of those 'bloggers' who doesn't really think of, or perhaps know the definition of 'blogging.' I started my 'blog' as a link to another site, which promoted daily observations. Which to me are short verses - I've already posted over 500 pieces and haven't even used up 1 MB of the 3072 MB allowed.
    I post daily. Kind of like a diary. I get 'paid' by the nice comments that are left. OK so I do delete the spam - you'll never see the ads from other countries promoting things I can't even pronounce. Or the comments that make no sense - at least not to me. Maybe one day when I have more time, I'll explore making a profit. Or even self publishing. But for the moment I'm still enjoying what I offer and I hope you do to.

    1. I do very much enjoy what you offer. I'm glad you post a little poem for me to enjoy everyday!