Wednesday, May 12, 2010

To Blog or Not To Blog




I just read the final entry in someone else’s blog, one that I discovered by random chance, Various Observations in Written Form, in which the writer announced that after 1126 posts she was discontinuing her blog. She cited various reasons but the one that struck me was that she felt that Facebook was serving her needs better than Blogger. She stated that “I have more readers there, and they're all people with some connection to me, so I also get more response there.”

Oddly enough I had been thinking along similar lines. I’ve been blogging for just a few months and with only 22 posts, I’m already discouraged. The problem is that I don’t know if anybody is actually reading this. Blogger doesn’t provide any tools to track page views so I’m only aware that I have a reader if he or she takes the time to let me know.

I know that people have better things to do than to comment on this blog, let alone send me a message. Thank god a few of you have done so. Otherwise I would have bagged it after the first month. My greatest motivation has come from the encouraging emails from Laura Zinn Fromm, the instructor of my first writing course at the New York Writer’s Workshop. I am grateful to her and to several others who have taken the time to urge me to keep writing.

It’s possible that I would receive more feedback if I were to channel my writing into Facebook-friendly fragments. You don’t have to do anything special to read my status updates provided that I am on your Facebook friends list; they just pop up when you open your home page. On the other hand, only the people who have already placed me on their Facebook list will see my posts. What happens to the 53 people currently on my email list who are not on Facebook at all? What happens to those who find my blog by links from other web pages or from Google searches. (Yes, it really happens.)

Aside from trying to build an audience, there are more important differences between blogging and posting notes on social networks – differences that matter to me as a writer. It has only been a year since I decided to make a serious effort to become a writer. I began writing a novel and signed up for workshops to further my skill. Writing turned out to be more formidable than I had anticipated and for various reasons the project bogged down. This blog is my way of continuing to write while I sort out what to do with the novel. I felt that the discipline of submitting a weekly article would be good for me.

Having scaled back from writing a book, one that could reach more than a quarter million words, to producing weekly articles of no more than 500 words, it is hard to contemplate cutting back even further to short snippets consisting of a few sentences. That would amount to an exit strategy.

So I will trudge on. I have no idea what I will write about next week; I barely met this week’s self imposed deadline. But it doesn’t matter. The point is to keep writing. So write I shall and with any luck some of you will keep reading. I am deeply grateful to you for that.

5 comments:

  1. Glad you decided to continue blogging. I do read your posts but have been guilty of not commenting. Will try to do better!

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  2. Wow, I came across that blog too by accident an eventually I ended up here, and I am also a starting blogger. I read some of your previous posts and they were indeed fun to read so I'm glad you'll continue writing. Let's follow each other's blogs! =]

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  3. Wow, Bill, I'm glad you took my encouragement seriously and am really glad you are at work on a novel. I loved your piece on Crocs---I have never understood their appeal. They're uncomfortable and unflattering, for starters. I hope that at least Michele Obama was wearing a nice pair of shoes that day. Keep writing! Your tart observations are though-provoking and funny.

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  4. John G from GuadalajaraMay 19, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Bill, I read and enjoy every one. Since we met only 2 months ago, I haven't followed you for long, but I hope you will continue. As yours is the first and only blog I have read, I didn't know the culture or whether I should comment. I am traveling right now, visiting my new granddaughter in Washington, and it is nice to have a connection to the real world. I will add some comments on your remarks in the future. Thanks for the effort. You have a unique and charming perspective on life.

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  5. I love your writing Bill, PLEASE keep it up. I get a huge kick out of your blogs. :D xo Jan

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