I realize it’s hypocritical to launch my brand new blog with a post about why writers, like myself, should not be blogging. I’d like to tell you I have some lofty, mitigating reason why it’s okay for me to blog, while advocating others refrain, but the truth is, I’ve given in to peer pressure. Everyone I know in the writing community tells me blogging is good, though no one has actually proved to me it’s good. No one, for example, has shown concrete data that clearly links record book sales to blogs, but despite that I’ve heard blogging advocated at every conference I’ve attended, on the lips of all my writer friends. The belief in its value is so universal, it’s compelling. I’m compelled.
Despite that I can’t bring myself to actually jump into the world of blogging without first voicing my reservations. It’s time for me to have my say! That’s what blogging’s all about, right?
So for those of you inveterate bloggers and the skeptics like myself, here are ten reasons why we should all just give up this blogging nonsense and get back to more clearly productive enterprises, like online shopping.
1. It’s addictive.
It’s the elephant in the room, isn’t it? None of us want to admit that however reluctantly we may come to blogging; once we arrive we can’t give it up. We’re writers, after all. We’re in love with the written word and more specifically we’re in love with our own written words. Up till the advent of blogging the only downside to our chosen career, aside from abject poverty, was that we had to wait months, often years, for our readers to actually read what we wrote. Blogging removes the wait. It also removes our editors. We can say what we want, when we want, exactly how we want and it can be read IMMEDIATELY. How can we not love that?
2. Writers are paid liars
Surely I’m not the only one who finds it counter-intuitive for a fiction writer to be expected to stick to the facts. But when people read blogs, even blogs by people who make stuff up for a living, they expect honest, meaningful thoughts, and genuine heartfelt opinions. I’m not saying I’m incapable of honesty, but for future reference, should you decide to follow my blog, keep this point in mind.
3. Writers are introverts.
I know I’m not the only introvert out there. How can a writer not be at least a little bit introverted? We spend more than half our working life alone in a room with a laptop – or pen and paper if you’re old school. We spend the rest of our working life alone in a room contemplating why we’re churning out such utter drivel and wondering if anyone will notice, and we spend our free time reading the competition and angsting over why they’re not churning out drivel. But we soldier on because – see point one – it’s months before total strangers actually get to read our writing, months where we can continue to write in the safe, private sanctuary of our internal world. Along comes blogging and suddenly we’re inviting total strangers into our world in real time. Did Batman invite strangers into his bat cave? I think not.
4. There are no editors or critique partners to check our work.
Since you’ve read my blog up till this point, I don’t really feel I need to elaborate on this one. There is a reason we have editors – it’s quality control, my friends. Do you really think this blog post would have made it past my editor?
5. It demystifies the writer.
I know we’re more like wizards behind the curtain than omniscient beings but I really think readers want to maintain the illusion that writers are wise, or perhaps I want to maintain the illusion. I know someone does. The thing is we’re not rock stars. I know this because my brother’s a rock star and we’re very different. He’s cool and has amazing hair and really killer clothes. So, I think our readers should know us through our books. Either that or I need to get a whole new wardrobe.
6. They won’t buy the milk if we give away the cow for free?
As I write this, I hear the clamoring of dissenting opinions. I know the wisdom is that our readers won’t buy the milk if they don’t have a personal relationship with the cow. In fact, if the cow is charming enough and has interesting spots, or a great head of hair, like a Scottish Highlander – I’m still talking cows here – they might even be inclined to buy the milk on spec, even if it wouldn’t normally appeal to them, even if they’re apple juice drinkers, or prefer a good merlot. But writing is our livelihood. Does it really make sense to dole out huge cartons of it for free?
7. It feeds our innate narcissism
Don’t tell me you’re not a narcissist. We all are. We all believe we have something to say that is sufficiently interesting that people should pay money to read it, though we are willing to give free samples – see the previous point. What worries me about blogging is that the writer becomes part of the story. It’s not just our characters that must be interesting; we have to convince our readers that we are interesting as well. Of course, it goes without saying that I am, or you wouldn’t have read this far.
Do you see how easy it is?
Ten minutes of blogging and my inner narcissist is already pulling up a chair and joining the party.
8. We already spend way too much time in front of the computer.
Am I the only one who worries about brain cancer? We invest large chunks of time on the computer just to put bread on the table, or caviar, if you’re J. K. Rowling. In addition, like everyone else, we must spend a few hours doing the online chores that have become integral to our modern lives – facebooking friends, online shopping, reading the latest gossip on our fave celebrities. Do we even have time to blog? Wouldn’t it be better to take Fido for a walk or have an actual conversation with the living breathing souls who are banging around in our kitchens? This reminds me, I’ve been so busy blogging I haven’t fed the dog. I’m going have to wrap this up but I’ll make two more points, because I promised you ten, and I like even numbers.
9. Writers shouldn’t blog because sometimes ourblogs are really fun
to read; we are writers after all
In the process of doing due-diligence before writing my own blog about why writers shouldn’t blog, I actually read a few writers’ blogs. In fact I read lots, hundreds and hundreds. Okay, maybe not hundreds (see point #2) but I read a lot. And do you know what the result is? I’m now addicted to at least a dozen blogs. Do I have time to be reading a dozen blogs every day? No, I do not. Do I have the willpower to stop myself? Again, that would be negative. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I suspect there are lotsof writers out there spending inordinate amounts of their precious writing time reading other writers’ blogs. So, I really think, in solidarity with each other, we should all just stop blogging.
10. Writers don’t know when to leave well enough alone.
If you’ve been through the book publishing process you know this is true. My book has just finished “second pages,” and is now on the final read-through. I must have read it and edited it one hundred times –no lie – and that’s just me. My agent’s been through it, my editors have been through it, my critique partners have been through it, my husband has, random teen friends and family have. Even the family pet has heard large sections of it read aloud. And I still want to make changes. But I can’t because the type’s been set, it’s going to the printers, it’s out of my hands. Writers need that kind of discipline. We need to be told enough is enough, it’s time to stop, your dog is going to expire if you don’t get off the couch and feed her. But blogs aren’t books. There is no externally imposed discipline. Blogs can go on forever. We can feed the dog and come right back and continue blogging. That’s why writers should not, must not, blog. I would go on, believe me, but I really do have to feed my dog now. But don’t worry; we’ll pick this up in my next blog. I’m already planning it.