How Important is Blogging for Unpublished Writers?

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By Jody Hedlund on jodyhedlund.blogspot.com:

At some point in our writing careers, most of us will feel the pressure to blog. I’m not really sure where that pressure comes from. Maybe there are some agents and editors who tell us it’s important. Or maybe we hear that writers should develop a web presence and then we think that means we should blog. Or perhaps everyone else and their brother is blogging, and so we think we should too.

Whatever the case, many of us jump into blogging long before we have an agent or publishing contract. But secretly we can’t help wondering if blogging is really necessary for unpublished writers. After all, it’s one of the most time-consuming of the social media outlets. If we’re going to start building a web presence, does it need to include blogging?

Continue reading at jodyhedlund.blogspot.com

About Author

Publishing Talk is the online community for publishers and authors interested in social media marketing, digital publishing, self-publishing and the future of the industry. It is run by social media consultant, author and ex-publisher Jon Reed.

34 Comments

  1. I used to keep a blog religiously, and spend time on it every single day – but it really does take such a long time, doesn’t it? Especially to keep it up to a standard that a writer is happy with!

  2. I have started a blog so that I can build a platform. I understand the theory and I believe it will be worth persevering, but it does take a long time. 🙂

    I enjoy it though, and at least you’re writing.

  3. I have had quite a number of friends ask me to follow their blogs because some publisher or agent wants to see that they can bring in followers. It really becomes a numbers game.

  4. Blogging has opened infinite doors for me. When I “retired” from teaching and decided to write a novel, I didn’t know how to begin. After some soul searching, I landed on an idea for my novel and began blogging simultaneously. Whenever I got stuck in the novel-writing process, I’d turn to my blog to write whatever I felt like. It always felt great to keep the forward momentum going, plus I learned the art of not being too hard on myself or too perfectionistic. When a local editor from AOL/HuffPost Media’s Patch.com noticed my blog, he called and hired me on the spot as a weekly columnist. That job helps give me yet another venue to stretch my writing skills and share my writing with others. The column on Patch.com then gave me the confidence to create my own website, linking my blog and my Patch.com articles with additional information on my novel-in-process. The website became something I could show to prospective agents, one of whom is now providing incredible feedback on my novel. I’m still unpublished but I’m closer than ever. Starting a blog was one of the best things I ever did to keep my writing on track and my motivation high.

    • I have a blog where I use excerpts from my finished, but as yet unpublished book. I understand, as others have said, it is important that a publisher sees you have a platform. But I do find it disappointing that I do not get many comments. This said, perhaps like someone else has said, just because you don’t receive feedback, doesn’t mean that yr blog is out there in the virtual wilderness. I live in hope and in the knowledge that one writer had an agent, publisher, and film producer sign her up after seeing her blog. I am happy for her, but such success must be compared to winning the lottery.

  5. Blogging has enhanced my writing in unexpected ways. I have “met” other writers through their blogs, and have mined wrongful information from great sources. Plus, blogging gives me a voice. I can share my tales of woe and successes with my subscribers. Ultimately, blogging is another platform from which to write. Writers write.

  6. I’ve just started uploading poems to a new blog. It was scary at first but I’m really glad I’ve done it, though it’s stomach-churning waiting to see if it gets liked or loathed. I did it because it pushes me to keep going – a stagnant blog is not something I want haunting me at night!

  7. When asked, I like to compare blogging to throwing a dart over your shoulder, back to board with your eyes closed. It would seem success through blogging has very little to do with quality or quantity and everything to do with marketing. Having said this, I keep tapping away and publishing my own brand of tirade and nonsense for all to read. 

  8. I have been advised to do one, too. However, despite my love of writing it feels a little alien at the moment. I will stick with it though – like I am with Twitter. I love facebook, with my friends, but Twitter and blogging…I’m working on it.

  9. About a month ago, I finally succumbed to my wife’s advice that I start a blog. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve written more in a month than I’d done in the prior 10 years. It’s great practice, you get immediate feedback, and who knows where it will lead? If you feel you need to write as a creative outlet, it’s a perfect forcing mechanism.

  10. As a self-published author I blog, just to have a consolidated contact area for readers if they wanted one.

    As a reader, I’ve never read an author’s blog.

  11. I’m really not a blogger. It’s not that I don’t enjoy communication, but rather that i prefer to be working on a book. Time spent blogging can be spent doing what I love to do. I suppose if I ever have much to say about general topics of interest, I’ll blog more. I don’t need a platform if I never write the story.

  12. I have an unpublished novel I’m hoping to find representation for. At first, I blogged because everyone said you need to. But I found I really enjoy putting what is on my mind out there. Besides my own two blogs, I write for a Buddhist fiction blog and a couple of others. An editor did see one of my blogs and asked me to write an article for an on-line journal, elephant journal, which article has just been published. It was a surprise because until this happened, it didn’t appear that anyone was reading me!

  13. I was told that a web presence is important for an aspiring writer and so I started one in March. It takes time and has been hacked twice which has been frustrating. I assumed no one read it apart from a couple of Facebook faithfuls. Last Sunday I went to a drinks party and a young woman came up to me and said how much she loved my blog and had recommended it to a friend of hers who wants to write. Then a man told me that he’d been asking people how best to ‘sell’ being on the internet to his 82 year old father and had been told that my blog was a good place to start! I was amazed. Goes to show that just because people don’t comment, it doesn’t mean that no one is reading it. Knowing I have a couple of ‘fans’ is a strong incentive to keep going.

  14. I think that if you start a blog for marketing purposes it will come across as disingenuous. You have to give readers content worth following and preferably something with a common theme; travel, politics, pop-culture, etc. That said, as writers we are constantly given the advice “write every day.” That’s nice, if you’re in the middle of a project, but what about the off days? Blogs are a great space to put words on the page, musing over a simple topic on the days when the bigger projects are eluding you. And, though counterproductive to the marketing/content idea, you don’t have to make every blog public. Treat it like a digital diary and leave it unpublished. You don’t have to be read to write.

    @MBabroad

  15. I am just a hopeful blogger and doubt whether it will ever result in sales but I found twitter so restrictive that when I did want to make a comment there wasn’t room. There is no substitute for face to face interaction when you are trying to make your name as a writer.
    Also, it’s a great place to put poems!

  16. I recently wrote a blogpost about my first year online as an unpublished writer and what an amazing positive experience it has been. I think if you know your stuff and love the communication side of it, it always shows. Mine ‘s had nearly 17000 hits in 10 months and that’s all the incentive I need to keep doing it, even if I do have nothing to promote as yet. That’s not why I wanted to do it.

  17. I recently inspired myself to blog. However I only post what I feel is necessary. I love nature and photography
    So sooner or later pethaps I can convince publishers that in a society of such…deeply in the minds a place of rest, and the removable gadgets and electronics would fill the much required nature for the SPIRIT.

  18. Everyone has different reasons for blogging. My main reason is to have something to show when I go for job interviews. I used to write for my school newspaper but since graduating I haven’t written. So I’m blogging. At first it was mainly pictures and then I realized that wasn’t writing.

    I hate that blogging is supposed to be a consistent subject. Life itself is not consistent. You do different things all the time why should your writing be one subject? Since my first failed attempt at blogging I’ve come back with a ‘subject’ that suits me perfectly.

  19. I started a blog last year with this account. Using Twitter almost exclusively I found a little following. Social media can make or break the right endeavor. It just depends on the connections and the work put in to it.

  20. I blogged. I love it. Now, having spoken with a lit agent, I have to Tweet. This I can not stand. I feel like I’m eating alone in the cafeteria on Twitter. No one wants to be my friend.

  21. I’ve read every comment here and agree with every comment here. Unfortunately, that’s the reason most of us are a bit frustrated. We have gone into this murky area in cyberspace with expectations that we will be heard, that we have something to say and everyone out there is going to get excited by it the way we are. But that’s not gonna happen! An article in the NYTime’s a few years ago described blogging as a ‘tree falling in the forest’–and none of us know what happened to that. Hemingway said that he wrote everyday to keep his skills finely tuned. I believe that a blog is a great journal–practice your skills, write what you want to write and as a plus from writing it on paper, maybe someone will read it–afterall, you put it out there; it’s just others tough luck if they don’t experience it! For example, I recently posted on Henry David Thoreau. Now, who cares about him anymore? Well, I like him and I had fun with it. And maybe, just maybe someone else will too.

  22. I often wonder if anyone every reads my book or my blog. The traditional writer’s blues walk through this computer now and again but so does responses from my readers. Just when I think it is a tree falling in the woods and nobody noticed I realize I’m wrong. My biggest problem is expectations; if I had none I would never be discouraged.

  23. I blog to see if I get noticed within the publishing world… I blog because to me is serenity when I write… I blog to inspire others as many inspired me…

    I am the type that needs to know who and how many visits my site– just to get the sense of if it’s necessary to keep a blog. So, I keep a track of those that visits my page, and which post is the most popular post and that is what I will write about…

    After 2 years and 1 year of constant blogging I am finally getting comments and likes…

    I have learned that if you persevere in what you do, you will achieve that goal although sometimes you may get a little under the weather because you feel as if no one is listening…

    Keeping the faith and holding on to hope.

    Seasons Change is about relationship, everyday life and personal interactions….

  24. It’s motivating to see that most writers experience more or less the same kind of ups and downs when it comes to gain respect and recognition within the publishing world. I am currently working on a contemporary fiction novel focusing on self-improvement issues and created a twitter account for one of the characters. A fictitious character on twitter can make it or break it, so I’ll stick to trial and error process. http://www.twitter.com/DanMitzvastein

  25. I started my blog last year sometime in September, but didn’t catch a stride until April of this year. It’s a daunting endeavor to commit to something on a weekly basis.

    But it’s also like saving money. Once you start, it’s hard to stop. It starts to come naturally to you. There are ways to make a blog a mental work out for your writing rather than a blatant ad. That’s something I’ve learned over the past year.

  26. I started to blog so that I could have a voice. It has helped me personally and inspired me to write more. I have a hard time sticking with a subject so I don’t , which will limits the appeal of my blog, I know. Another issue is dividing time between the blog and the other projects. And a third issue is not having a blog that is impersonal enough that I can reference it with employers. I guess I need to start a second one that is company and facebook friendly. Aside from marketing issues, the blog has made me feel like it’s okay for me to write, that there are people who enjoy what I’ve written, and that I have a voice — corny, I know. Great post, Iiking the comments, too.

  27. I began blogging mid to late last year and, yes, at times it is very difficult. IF your posting and posting and recieving no comments, it can feel as if you’re just shouting into the wind. But I also believe that your true voice burst through naturally when you persevere. And when I hear other writers tell me of their ups and downs it gives me strength. And that, perhaps, one day I’ll be heard.

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