"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Should Blogging Be a "Write of Passage" For All Serious Scribes?

 

 
Blog. Never has such a small word done so much for so many.
Like a superhero, it rescues!
It’s a noun. It’s a verb.
It’s a marketing tool.
It’s a medium for rants.
It's a means for building online communities globally.

So popular, in fact, that real estate icon, Donald Trump has his own "virtual real estate".

Blogs have launched book deals and transformed writers from anonymity to noted authors.
They’ve even been deemed the “new black”.
Practically everybody’s on board.

But, should they be?
Specifically, should all “serious” writers be?

This topic comes to mind as a result of an “ah-ha” moment I experienced some time ago.

You know, when a light bulbs goes off in your head and you make an important discovery that perhaps changes your way of thinking, or confirms significantly a pre-held belief.

To better explain, let’s do a rewind first…

Some time ago, I put out a “call for submissions” for a creative project, asking writers of all backgrounds to submit guest posts for consideration. I was initially tickled pink with the response; I got journalists, authors, teachers, and poets, from various corners of the world and numerous niches. Oh my!

Excitedly, a few days later, I went through the entries to determine who would make the final cut, having received more than enough to meet my goal. Then something unexpected happened.
Much to my regret, many I couldn't use.

Though I was very appreciative of the interest and the effort, more than a few missed the mark.
Some pieces were way too long and bordering on boring, others were too scholarly, some lacked a conversational tone, while others were too technical.

My conclusion?
Not all writers are necessarily bloggers, nor should they be. It depends on different factors. Interest. Time. An interesting personality. The ability to engage an audience. The subject matter.
Wouldn't you agree?

Even though I admit blogging isn't exactly "rocket science", it's still a "skill".
At least to do it well, it is.

To get a broader perspective on this timely topic, I polled a few writers, and here's what they offered:

"All serious writers should blog if they want to increase their visibility and reach....meaning their platform. Platform equates to book sales. That said, they have to create engaging blogs related to the topic of their books (so the blog posts have keywords that create discoverability in search engines) and that have readers who actually share their posts and mention them on social networks. When writers achieve this type of influence on social media their books sell. Their blog readers become their buyers and their co-promoters.
Writers write. They don't like to promote. But they have to be good businesspeople, too. That means they have to be good promoters. The easiest way for them to do that is with an engaging blog that gives them influence as well as makes them easy to find in the search engines."
 
---Nina Amir, Author of "How to Blog a Book"

"I'd like to begin with the notion of "serious writer?" What makes one a serious writer versus a non-serious writer? Does one have to be a professional writer to be considered serious? A writer of literary prose? Can someone who earns their living writing erotica, romance mystery or any other genre writing quality to wear the title "serious writer?" It seems as though a "serious writer" is a value judgment and subject to a variety of opinions. So, it stands to reason that "writers who blog" may also fall under some type of scrunity for blogging or not. It's 21 century technology, so is one a more serious writer if he or she blogs or should one be taken less seriously for wasting precious time blogging when one could be using that time to hone his or her craft for real writing? Writers--serious or not--should blog if that is something they feel compelled to do and for no other reason than that. I'm sure there are plenty of "serious writers" who do and some who don't, but they are writers
non-the-less."
 
---Stephanie J. Gates
Educator/Freelance writer/Editor/Blogger


 
" I think that it's a good idea for serious writers to blog. It helps build an online presence and connections, and offers another way to sharpen writing skills. There are hidden treasures found in blogging, from friendships to info gained from other blogs and beyond. I don't think it's a mandatory thing, for if it's a choice between getting other, more pressing writing done and blogging,
I'd say choose the other writing. As with everything, there's a balance to be had."

---Karen E. Lange
Coffeehouse for Writers, Instructor

"I think most professional writers don't have time to blog! But
blogging is a nice way of networking online and connecting with
readers directly. It also depends on the type of blog. For example, I
use my blog simply to announce new publications of my articles, but
don't actually write any posts."

---Ms. B, Freelance Writer
 
"I think all serious bloggers should blog for two main reasons. First, it keeps them on a consistent writing or blogging schedule. Second, their consistency shows their level of commitment."
 
---Marcie Hill, Journalist and Blogger


"For me, it's a break from work for clients. Yet it establishes my expertise in my area."

---Steve, Restaurant Reviewer and freelance writer

 
I still, however, maintain that there are definitely more benefits than drawbacks to blogging, for most scribes.
 
Here are a few based upon my many years as a professional writer.
  •  Blogging builds community and allows writers to get direct feedback for their work.
  • Blogging helps to hone your writer's voice.
  • Blogging allows writers the freedom of speaking their own truths without editorial scrutiny or dictates.
  • Blogging helps to establish your "brand".
  • Blogging helps to improve your search engine rankings.


That's my take here. What's yours?

14 comments:

  1. I agree with you, Jennifer - there are more benefits than drawbacks. If there's one thing I've learned in the nearly four years I've been blogging, it's that it is not a piece of cake. Blogging requires commitment, a little trial and error, and a lot of work. The rewards however, are great. I do believe we met through blogging, didn't we? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, as I remember, yes we did indeed. LOL
      Blogging is a lot more work than one might imagine. But, I wouldn't trade it. :-) Thanks for starting us off here.

      Delete
  2. I couldn't agree more! Especially about the need for balance and the need to develop the "blogging voice" which is often different than one's writing voice.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Karen,

      Great to hear from you on this. Thanks for stopping by and weighing in.

      Delete
  3. Interesting question Jennifer,

    As far as I undersand - Seriousness - has to do with what you consider to be of Importance, currently for me I do believe it's important to practice formulating my thoughts, sharing them with other bloggers, and learn from other bloggers experiences, and providing you with practical resources, - ideas, and teaching what I know about building a Business with
    Blogging & Affiliate Marketing.

    Only I do believe that most people might be inclined to define a Serious Writer as a Craftsman that professionally writes as a Job.

    Making blogging more like a distraction, only a discraction that also can have a potential to build into a - Business - that when you want - When Set up for it - could also be helpful for landing Jobs.

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  4. Hi H.P.,

    Thanks for chiming in here. Used effectively, blogging can be an income stream and an asset in many ways. Good feedback.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A very interesting post, Jennifer. Like you stated in your first paragraph, there are so many facets to blogging, as well as reasons why people blog. I think blogs have done so much to level the information playing field. Also, like you pointed out, they allow writers to speak their own truths. The social benefits of blogging are often under-estimated too. Yes, blogging helps in marketing our books,generating income or raising our profiles. But the online personal and lasting connections are priceless.

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  6. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Well stated, Yasmin. Thanks for saying it here.
    I totally agree about the intangibles.

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  7. Its similar to how someone may be able to write excellent academic articles but they couldn't write for the general public, or a short story writer who can't write poetry. I suspect blogging is another genre; everyone can do it, but not everyone can do it well.

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  8. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 7, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    ConstantWriter,

    Welcome! How "write" you are. :-) Lovely hearing from you today. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Blogging tends to let a bit more of the real me out. Only good can come from others getting to know you at that level. Sort of like being invited into the kitchen for coffee versus the big formal party on the lawn.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Susan,

    Interesting comparison. I would agree, dearest. :-)

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  11. Susan, I do agree to an extent...blogging is a learned skill but the great thing is you don't have to study it before you start...the more you blog the better you get just like with anything else....in some instances like mine I am learning as I go and it's fun with Empower Network. I have written a blog post about being a Professional Blogger here:
    http://www.empowernetwork.com/mworkman/blog/how-to-be-a-professional-blogger/
    Melissa Ozuna

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 7, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Melissa,

    Thanks for your input.

    ReplyDelete