Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Guest Blog by Colin Mulhern - Why Blother?



I’ve noticed the question, ‘Should writers blog?’ appearing on several writing forums. The thread usually follows the line of what a writer’s blog should contain, whether they have anything useful to say or advice to give and what sort of numbers are reading. If the readership is low then it seems to reimburse the right to question, why bother?

No one ever asked that question about keeping diaries, so why blogs?

I’m guessing it’s because a blog, unlike a personal diary, has a potential audience. It’s out there; it’s published. And for the writer, that’s a good thing. Just having a blog puts a pressure on you to update the thing. If you include “writer” as a hobby or occupation, then there is added pressure to make sure the posts are something half decent. Not only do you have to think of a subject worthy of posting, but have to edit it and kick it into shape to prove you really can do what you claim.

And that, for me, is enough reason to sit in front of a screen and bash out updates to a blog that perhaps only one or two people ever read.

There is always the chance of an editor considering a manuscript to Google my name and end up on my blog, so I have to maintain a certain quality of narrative. Sometimes I post about writing, sometimes about personal stuff, and sometimes I post book reviews. But it’s all writing. It requires planning, drafting and polishing to a level you might not do if the work wasn't going on show.

So, should writers blog? My opinion - yes, because the more a writer uses those fundamental skills, the better those skills will be.

But, if you are a writer who blogs, bear in mind that you really are putting your wares on show to the world. It really is essential to produce work you’re proud of, because the bottom line is as simple as this: if your blog stinks, maybe your fiction will too.






Colin Mulhern writes dark fiction for Young Adults. His first novel, The Devil's Prayer is currently with publishers. While waiting for the millions to roll in, he works as a teaching assistant in a primary school. Check out Colin's blog here.

11 comments:

The Virtual Victorian said...

Good luck with The Devil's Prayer, Colin. Definitely blother!

Samantha Tonge said...

All good points, Colin, i agree with them. I think, unpublished or published, a quality web presence is important. Interesting post.

Fionnuala Kearney said...

Hi Colin, good to see you here.
To blog or not to blog eh?
Good points made and food for thought, especially as I rarely 'edit' my blog as I would a manuscript.

Caroline Rance said...

Great points, Colin. The analogy between a blog and a journal is interesting. People sometimes think blogging eats into 'proper' writing time, and yet keeping a journal is seen as rather noble - I wonder why.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

I agree, Colin - it IS worth it, just for the need to keep working with ideas and polishing them and communicating. Mind you, I think 'communal' blogs like Strictly are definitely best - when there's a group (with guest bloggers like yourself) the content stays fresh. Plus there isn't the same pressure to keep producing every day.
Susiex

Kate said...

Very good points - thanks for posting

Kate x

CarolineG said...

I hadn;t thought of blogging as being good practise in this way...thanks for an interesting post, Colin and best of luck with The Devil's Prayer.

NicciF said...

I'm just starting out as a writer and have been asking myself whether or not to blog. The balance had been in favour of "NO". However, this has changed my mind. I've always thought of diaries as worthwhile and had never considered blogs to be the modern equivalent. Thanks for solving my dilema.

Kate Collings said...

I was nodding along when reading this. I have a blog at: www.katecollings.blogspot.com and need at least 1000 followers before a big mag will sign me up but so far only 14 followers. so do i carry on? do i stop?
good luck for the book - if anyone gets a chance please become a follower at: www.katecollings.blogspot.com
xx

Colin M said...

Thanks for the comments. I never expected to get any! But like I said, I only get about 3 visitors to my own blog, so I'm not used to many comments.

I do think that communal blogs are a great idea and definitely keep things ticking over without going stale. Keep it up, Strictly Writers!!!

Colin

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