I was reminded again recently of a discussion I started a year ago about writers blogging about writing. The original tweet that started the discussion:
I wish more writers would blog/tweet about things OTHER THAN WRITING. When you’ve READ as many as I have, they all start to blend together
Yes, it could have been phrased better and did cause some confusion, but the gist of it is that writers don’t have to blog about writing. Why not find a topic relating to something you’re passionate about and possibly even ties in with your writing? That way you’re connecting with your readers and not just other writers. Most of the time, readers want to know more about you and how you write and how you got published, and what inspires you. Focus on that instead, and don’t feel obligated to follow along with what the rest of the writing herd is doing.
And, honestly, you don’t even have to blog at all. Or tweet. Or Facebook. Especially not all at once or if it’s sucking the soul out of you like a person-flavored slushy. Essentially, if you hate blogging, your blog is not going to be very good. The same goes with Google+ or Tumblr or Pinterest. Analyze your interactions on social media—you know, the social part of the equation—and figure out what you like to do and works best for you, then keep doing it. And stop using the platforms that annoy the crap out of you. Choose what works for you. Go for quality over quantity.
Since then I’ve had several writers tell me that after they shifted the focus of their blog to something they’re passionate about, their blog is doing so much better, and they’re much less stressed about it. Those blogs now focus on a variety of fascinating subjects, including cool scientific research, tattoos, education, and the great outdoors. It’s given them more confidence in and comfort with their blog, and has helped them to relate more to their readers. Some of their audiences have even grown because they’re not just repeating the same old writing advice that everyone else gives.
A few months back I deleted my LinkedIn account, and I cannot tell you how heavenly it felt hitting that button. That site was more annoying to me than helpful, so I got rid of it. Now there’s one less voice in the back of my mind saying, “You should be doing this. You’re not doing that. You have to do ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW.”
In the end, it’s not that writers can’t or shouldn’t blog about writing, but that they should take a close look at what they’re blogging about and why, then take stock of what would be most beneficial for them and their readers. Blog about what fascinates you, and your audience will find you.
*To those of you who will undoubtedly cry hypocrisy! since I blog about writing, I do so because 1) I’m passionate about books and children’s literature and publishing in general; and 2) as an industry professional, I get asked questions about writing and publishing all the time, and I genuinely enjoy sharing what I know and have learned over the years. Also, if you look at my Twitter feed (@michellewitte) you’ll realize that, although I do talk a lot about books and publishing, I also tweet about pretty much anything that catches my interest, which can include a lot of weird, random things, and generally involves me being a spaz. I am a one woman show here, folks.