Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why I Blog: Following My Journey

           Last week, I wrote a post on blogs I love to read.  This week, I want to touch on why I blog myself.  To be honest, I never really had much interest in reading blogs or writing one either.  When I finished writing the first draft of my novel, The Mistaken, last summer, I started researching how to get published.  I found websites and blogs that shared all kinds of interesting information on writing, finding an agent and getting published.  The best blogs were those maintained by literary agents like Nathan Bransford and Query Shark’s Janet Reid, and writers like Anne Mini and Natalie Whipple.  Many of them mentioned how important it was to have an Internet presence such as a blog where agents or editors could check you out.  I thought, what the hell.  I can do that.  But I really didn’t know what in the world I should talk about.  And who would ever want to hear what I had to say anyway?    
I began checking out other writer blogs, people like me who were considered aspiring writers, yet unpublished.  (By the way, I hate that term “aspiring writer.”  I don’t aspire to write.  I do write.  I aspire to be published.  Big difference in my mind.)  A lot of them seemed to be simply daily journals, log accounts of their days, their lives, their families.  And while they might have been well written, they didn’t really interest me much.  I didn’t care about their “chipmunks,” their “rugrats” or “ninjas” or whatever they referred to as their children.  I wanted to read about their writing experience, their journey to become published authors. 
So I thought, that’s what I will focus on, detailing my trials and tribulations, my joys and heartaches, my quest to become a published writer.  And since it has been a rather emotional journey thus far, I found it easy to dig within myself and write about things that have affected me along the way.  It’s been a surreal experience, so I blogged about how I first got started on this wonderful trip and why I decided to take it in the first place, what I have discovered about myself along the way and who has influenced me.  I discovered my book’s theme, how music influenced my writing and having faith in the process.  Months later, when I was finally done with the revisions, I blogged about querying for an agent (a work in progress) and how much I missed living inside my story every day.  I even, ashamedly, blogged about my jealousy at the ease of which some celebrities find success in publishing.  (Sorry about that one!) 
I don’t know who reads my blog or if they are interested in those things, but I found when I read about similar accounts by other writers, I was buoyed by their tenacity, their unfailing faith that they would make it even though it is a painfully long and disheartening process.  Sometimes, though, just reading about how difficult it is for them makes me believe it will never happen for me, getting published, I mean.  But I won’t give up.  A part of that “not giving up” is continuing to blog every week or so.  Sometimes I just don’t know what to write.  I do keep a log on my phone when a blog idea pops into my.  I will roll the idea over in my mind, especially at night, even when I’m sleeping.  That’s a habit with me, dreaming about I should write about, be it my book, my revisions or my blog. 
A few of the writer blogs I read have a great many followers, folks who have signed up to follow their progress, read their writing and ramblings.  I think it’s cool that Natalie Whipple has 1300 followers even though she is not yet published.  1300—wow!  And Adam Heine’s Author’s Echo blog has about 150 followers.  (He’s amazing, by the way.  Very knowledgeable.)  Now, they have been blogging for five and four years respectively while I have only been doing so since last October—five months to date.  I do have four followers though, four generous people who I don’t know and, for whatever reason, have chosen to follow me—a nobody, a complete unknown.  And I am most grateful for those folks.  (I thank you from the bottom of my heart, really.)   
I don’t know how to cultivate more followers.  I am more or less a complete technical idiot and don’t know how to make my blog appear like I want it to.  I don’t know what gadgets are or how to insert photos and manipulate them.  I just picked a basic (and free since I’m a poor, struggling “aspiring” writer) template and added a bit of content—posts and pages.  I joined Networked Blogs through Facebook upon the advice of one of my followers, Laina Turner.  That has brought me quite a bit of traffic.  At least I think so, since I am a complete unknown.  And hey, I even got my first comment from someone I don’t know personally (no offense to my wonderful friend, Lisa Regan, who sometimes offers me encouraging feedback.)  That was exciting for me.  Silly, I know.  But hey, I am a complete unknown, a nobody.  I love getting comments no matter who they are from. 
I’ll keep working on this blogging thing, especially since I am now querying for a literary agent.  When I send out batches of queries—I’ve sent out about 28 so far—I tend to get a bit more traffic.  I think, wow, someone with power and influence might have just read words that I wrote!  And then I kind of panic and think, wow, someone with power and influence might have just read words that I wrote!  Oh no!  What was I thinking?
           This whole writing kick is such an unknown monster to me.  I am enjoying though.  I’m not technically proficient at it, my education was focused on architecture and design, not creative writing, but hey, I like to think of it as being intuitive for me, like playing the piano.  I’ve never taken a lesson, nor can I read music (at least not easily or well), but I can play some rather difficult pieces by Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven.  I have an ear.  I can pick a song out on the keyboard just by listening to it and sounding it out.  Hopefully, I will find an agent who feels the same way about my writing.  In the mean time, I will keep blogging and hoping that others will like what I have to say or at least get something from it.  And maybe a few more will follow me along the way.  It would be nice to have a few more companions because I think my journey will be a long one and I could really use the company! 

No comments: