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Monday, January 11, 2010

Blog Boggled: Stephen's Big Bad Burning Question

            Over the past several weeks I have been exploring the topic of blogging.  Last Monday's installment dealt with the subject of actively building and keeping your following.  Two of the questions I posed were: How much work are you putting into your blog? What is the harvest you are expecting to reap?

         My dear blog friend, Stephen T. McCarthy (I continue to encourage you to check out his blogs if you have not done so already) challenged me with the following:

        Actually, rLEE-b, that is the question I want to ask you. I see how much work you put into this Blogging thang (far more than I do), and how you network by visiting other peoples' Blogs and post comments there, and how diligently you work to acquire new Followers to your Blog - even to the point of printing business cards for your Blog.
        I see all of this and I wonder: Why? What is the Endgame you have in mind? Is it just to have as many Followers as possible and go on Blogging endlessly?
       Because, perhaps I don't have the necessary vision, or lack an understanding about some ultimate reward, but I don't see what all of this can achieve.
        What I mean is, there are millions of Blogs out there; ours are just two drops in the Blog Ocean. I Blog just because (as I've said before) I need some sort of creative outlet in my life, and I hope to inspire a small handful of people to think about God. But, realistically, I know that all of my Blogging isn't going to lead to any grand end result. I am under no delusion that my Blogging is going to lead to some book deal, or a job offer to write professionally for some publication, or anything like that.
      So I don't see where it makes much difference whether I have 10 Followers or 110 Followers. And I don't understand why you (or anyone else) would work so hard at this. Don't misunderstand me, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If it brings joy or happiness in some way, I'M ALL FOR IT! It's just that I don't "get it"; I don't quite see the point of working at Blogging as if it were a business. So, to toss your question back at you: "What is the harvest YOU are expecting to reap?" Just curious, Brother.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen

         Before I answer this challenge I would like to offer the following  information about my background:

        From 1975 to 1991 I worked in and eventually managed a touring stage production.  We were not a major show with stars or big money advertising campaigns, but it was a good show with dedicated performers.  We had promotional teams who would go into a town before the show arrived and sell tickets under the auspices of a sponsoring organization who used the show as a fund-raiser. Our promoters were good at what they did--making money to pay the show, the promotional staff, and the sponsoring organization.  But they were often not working to get attendance, which was what the entertainers wanted to see.  None of us wanted to play to an empty house.
           After the promotion, there may have been many thousands of tickets sold, but most were not in anyone's hands.  Our management agency would then encourage the sponsoring organization to flood the schools and other places with free childrens tickets.  If cast members arrived early to a town, we might even distribute tickets ourselves.  What we all knew was that it was a numbers game that was usually right on the money.  For every thousand tickets that ended in someone's hands, if we were lucky, perhaps a hundred people would show up and many of those would be adults buying more tickets at the door.  We very rarely overfilled a venue because the numbers usually worked.  It took some effort to get our audiences and when the audiences were large, they had fun, the cast members were more fulfilled, and our sponsors were more pleased.

          So what's the comparison?  In the past few months I have decided to take writing seriously as a means to make a living. My writing is the show I want to produce and take on tour.  Right now it's in the formative stages.  I am experimenting and researching.  I tried this back in my college days but gave up because I lacked the initiative and follow through.  But writing remains a passion for me and I want to give it my last hurrah.  This will be my real push to see if I have what it takes to succeed or go back to another day job that just pays the bills.
         In order to treat writing as a business, I need to take advantage of whatever outlets are available to me. A blog is certainly one of the creative outlets that writers have now.  In my research I keep hearing about "building a platform" and starting a blog is a recommended  part of that plan.  I can go along with that because it makes sense. And if someone invites me to go somewhere and speak I'll consider that.  Or if I'm invited to assist in a workshop or teach a class I'll take a good look at that as well.  It's all experience, involvement, and becoming established in the field of writing.  I'll play the game because right now it's the game I feel like playing.
          If I'm going to treat this writing as a business then I need to start actively making contacts and developing name recognition.  The blog is one place to start.  I don't really know too much about what I'm doing right now, but I have to keep reaching out there.  If I'm going to do the blog, then I should make a serious effort to make it grow.  Like Stephen said, we are just two drops in a blog ocean, and realistically I know that nobody's going to just come to my blog because I started it. I am responsible to spread the news by telling other bloggers and in doing so I must show them the courtesy of recognizing their blogs as well.  And I am finding a lot of worthwhile blogs out there.
          Likewise, blogging is a topic on my mind right now.  I'm not obsessing to any obnoxious extreme when I'm out in public, but if the topic happens to come up in a conversation, now I have a business card with my blog address that I can hand out if someone seems genuinely interested.  It's just common business practice.  When I write a book, I may print up cards to hand out about that too.  People do it all the time to promote whatever it is they are doing.  And if I happen to end up at some writer's event or meet somebody in the publishing business, now I have a card to hand them.  It looks more professional than writing my name and phone number on a scrap of paper.
          Building a following is a necessary part of growing my blog.  Stephen and others have said that they just need a creative outlet.  Then why not just write your thoughts in a journal or in your computer files.  Come on--anyone who says that really, truly wants somebody to read what they are writing.  Don't set your expectations low by just hoping you might influence a few people.  I say that if your ideas are worth a damn you should strive to get it out to as many people as you can. Increasing your following is like multi-level marketing.  The more places your link appears (i.e. comments on other blogs, "awards", recognition by other bloggers, etc.), then the more potential that more new hits will come to your site.  That's a good reason to spend the time growing your own blog and taking care of your blog friends.
          The networking, the researching, and the writing all take time but to me it's time being used with value. This is the game I'm playing right now.  I could be frittering away my hours playing Farmville, or twittering, or chatting, or watching television, or building a boat, or a myriad of other activities, and I certainly do take breaks for some frivolity so as not to be a dull Jack, but currently the blogging and my writing are my centers of  focus.  Yes, I wouldn't mind having as many followers as I could possibly have and no, I don't plan to just go on blogging endlessly for the sake of the blog. 
          I don't see this blog as my business, but just part of my business plan.  I don't expect that this blog will lead to a book deal --it's possible, but unlikely-- but if I did get a publisher or an agent then they would probably expect me to start a blog if I didn't have one already.  I doubt whether this blog will lead to my getting a job writing for some publication, but you never know--it could happen.  I could be doing far worse things with my life than spending my time writing this blog.  Besides maybe the mental exercise will help stave off Alzheimer's.  And yes, right now writing the blog brings me happiness.

           So, dear readers, tell us why you have your blog.  Is it part of a business plan?  Is it your creative outlet?   Would you like to increase your following?   Do you want people to read what you have written?
What are your thoughts about what I have said here?
         

          

      

46 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

I think everyone blogs for different reasons. I love people reading my words and commenting. And more than that I really just like putting my words out there. If people follow and comment that is a bonus. I have met some amazing people since I started my blog and have two close friends because of my blog. That far out ways my expectations. At the end of the day when all the words have flown and it is just me and my blog, I don't mind how many followers I have. I don't spend that long in blogging land. I don't obsess. I enjoy. And because of that I am more likely to be here because I want to and I am more likely to write with heart. I have never had a following goal for my blog or any expectations other than the chance to have my words read.

Journaling Woman said...

I blog for the creative outlet and networking probably won't hurt anything either.

I really enjoy meeting others and am learning from the writer's blogs as well.

T. Anne said...

I suppose both. I enjoy it mostly.

Nicola Morgan said...

Hi - just popping over from where you left a comment on my blog - thanks for visiting! To answer your question: I started blogging because I had something to say and I wanted to say it loudly! Then I found that lots of people were listening, and it just grew. I wouldn't go onto someone's blog and ask them to read mine, unless that was the invitation (eg, as I invited bloggers to do yesterday) or unless it was quite relevant to the post the blogger had written. I tend to ignore or think less of people who I think are trying to use me to sell their own product /blog - but I'll go out of my way to help people who I think deserve it and are not demanding it. That's what my blog party was about and I know lots of blog-readers got new readers that day, which I'm thrilled about. I believe that blogging has to be generous and not selfish and that that's the way to success - as in real life.

So, I'd say relax and enjoy blogging, visiting and commenting and with any luck, you'll get lots of readers. (By the way, I have blogged about how to blog for writers - I'll send you the link if you can't find it.) Good luck!

Kristi Faith said...

For me, personally..I blog because I love to share my writing. I am not fearful to admit that it helps my ego to know that people are reading something I wrote, or looking at pictures I posted. :) I'm a Leo, it happens.

However, I started the blog on the advice of so many agents/editors that want to look me up when I query them. (Not that I have, yet) I figured if I had a good start before anyone knew anything about me I'd be more experienced at it when I DO have someone google my name because of a query. :)

Now, I just love it. It's addicting. I enjoy the community type feeling through comments and other posts, seeing where people encourage each other, post links, and it's done great things for me. I've found helpful advice, beautiful words of encouragement and even a good kick in the pants sometimes. :)

Now, I want to return the favor which is why I started my second blog, Critter Corner. (http://critter-corner.blogspot.com)

Great Post!

CKHB said...

Why I blog:

1) Community. Writing can be lonely, and finding like-minded individuals helps make me feel like I'm actually DOING SOMETHING instead of just working in an invisible void. It's the same reason why I participate in NaNoWriMo every year even though I never get to 50K.

2) Networking. They say it takes about 2 years to publish a novel. They say it takes about 2 years to build a blog audience. Sounds like a good match to me! I joked to my husband that I started blogging partly to build a readership, but that I'm the one who'll become the reader, buying A LOT of books in 2010 that were written by writer-friends of mine... but that's the point! We LIKE each other. We care about the same craft. And so, we all benefit when we find out about each other. And isn't it SO much fun to get to say you knew someone back before they were famous/published/agented?

3) Giving back. I worked my butt off to learn about querying and the agency process. I certainly don't think I had anything magical to add that can't be collected by others reading the same agent and industry blogs that I did, but once I get an agent, you can bet I'm going to do a nice little "how I did it" series of posts in the hopes that others can learn from my mistakes...

4) Getting a jump on the business plan. When a book is published nowadays, an author website is pretty much expected. Which is better: One that says "here's the book and where you can buy it" and not much else? Or one that has a nice author bio, some links to other writers they like or links to author interviews, and maybe even some more of the writer's voice talking about... well, whatever the author feels like talking about? Obviously it's the second one. When we look up an author, we want to FIND SOMETHING GOOD. I figured people who had never heard of me before they read my book (in 2012 or so) would be much happier finding months and months of semi-personal blog posts than finding the same stuff they got on the inside flap of the novel itself. So, gotta start somewhere.

That about covers it!

arlee bird said...

Tabitha-- you and I have been "Birds" of a feather in many ways. I too enjoy meeting the other bloggers and getting my words out. But are you just saying that you're just playing -- you're a hobbyist, and not really working at it?

Teresa -- agree

T. Anne -- Thank you

Nicola --I will seek out the post to which you referred. Sometimes I do go onto another blog and outright ask someone to check out mine because I want their input -- I feel they have something valuable to add. I've done this today and I don't see that their is anything wrong with this when their is a point to it. I agree that if someone is just promoting a product or some weird website which has nothing to do with my blog it is not welcomed and I don't publish it. However I welcome someone promoting their blog or a post on mine if it has relevance to what I'm doing. I also like to promote blogs I like on my blog as well. I'm all for community and exchange of ideas.
Lee

David J. West said...

I started blogging because I am a writer and have enjoyed reading other writers. I like seeing what they have to say on topics besides their books and thought I would do the same for my future fans. That and I enjoy a bit of a different creative outlet-the blogging tends to be a bit more of a quick reaction satisfication in getting comments from people and is a good way to network with complete strangers for fun.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I came over from Nicola's blog to see what the question was and found this a very compelling post. Sometimes we bloggers become obsessed with getting followers like it's some kind of popularity contest.

I think I'm mostly with Tabitha here. I've made some great blogging friends, I enjoy the community feel, and I rejoice when I get a follower because to me they are a new friend. But I try to avoid the obsessive, addictive nature of blogging. For a writer, it's just too easy to spend hours posting and commenting, and not actually working on the manuscript. It's like fast food-- okay, but not something I want to live on.

Hopefully that all makes sense. I like your post and have enjoyed the above comments. I live by Nicola's philosophy that it needs to be offering something, not just about promoting oneself and trying to get followers. I tire of those kinds of blogs pretty quickly. (I'm following your blog now btw.)

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I started my blog at the suggestion of my publisher – and I do want to keep him happy! I honestly don’t know what I expect out of the work I put into it. I’d love it if it resulted in a few sales, but I guess the primary thing is simply to get my name out there. I have grown to enjoy the challenge and the friends I have made in the blogging community keep me inspired enough to continue.

TK Richardson said...

When I started my blog it was not to gain followers, or publicity. The focus of my blog is simply to write poems and short stories. If people like them, or feel inspired, or gain a deeper understanding through a story I've written than I'm happy.

I do enjoy the blogging community and getting to know others through their blogs is fun. :)

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Well, rLEE-b, you provided a good answer. I never doubted that you had a sound reason for why you work so hard at this Blogging thang.

And I certainly agree that anyone who Blogs merely as a creative outlet (such as myself) does want a readership to some degree. I'm no different. If I thought no one at all would be interested in anything I write, I would indeed leave it all in a computer file, or (more likely) not write at all.

However, for me, readership size is truly not important (and that's a good thing, considering the size of my readership). I'm a firm believer in Mark Twain's observation: "Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform."

If my Blogs ever became hugely popular (no worries here), it would make me nervous. If I'm not offending more readers than I please, I figure I've gone wrong and need to reform my thinking. If a majority of "this world" doesn't hate some of what I write, Jesus probably isn't overly pleased with my efforts. (This is why I told you previously that it made me uncomfortable when I found myself climbing in the Amazon.com reviewer rankings.)

Our situations are different. For you, pursuing a writing career, working hard to increase the exposure of your Blog DOES make sense. My dream of becoming a professional writer died many years ago, so for me, being concerned about Blog readership and working hard to increase it would not make sense. (Although, in a very technical sense, I already am a professional writer: a few copies of a Western Movie Guide that a girlfriend and I cheaply self-produced in 1990 sold in a video rental shop in Santa Monica. A fool and his money are soon parted:o)

As it is, I hardly promote my Blogs at all, but I like knowing the fact that the few readers I have (who were not already friends of mine) are Following my Blogs solely because they appreciate some of what I say, and not because they feel they should Follow my Blogs because I'm Following theirs. As I said, before, that quid pro quo thang, or "Blogland Niceness", I don't attach much value to. But I do appreciate the small readership I have, and I'm glad that at least some of what I write appeals to a few. (If not one person read my personal or political "stuffs", I'd probably check myself into some mental institution.)

Anyway, thanks for your answer, Lee. I now "get" where you're coming from, and your hard work seems reasonable to me. Best of luck to you, my Brother!

~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen

arlee bird said...

Kristi Faith -- thanks for your input. You and I are in sync I think. I agree the blogging can be addictively fun. The kind words from commentors are nice, but now and then I do like a good kick in the pants, or at least a good challenge like I get from Stephen.

Carrie -- I knew I could get a great comment from you. You have stated your view very well and I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. It'll be so cool when I can say I knew Carrie when and print out this comment to prove it.

David West --I too like the instant gratification aspect of blogging and the freedom we have in writing a blog.

Karen Jones Gowan -- thank you for the follow. You are correct that maintaining a balance is essential to have a healthy writer's life. The blog can become obsessive. We just have to know when to step away for a while.

Jane Kennedy Sutton -- you have validated my point about the blog just being a part of the expected business model of the writer. You do it, but it's good if you get something out of it in return.

Timothy Fish said...

I blog as an outlet. I can spend weeks writing a book and it still won't be in a state where people can read it. I can spend fifteen minutes on a blog post and someone is sure to read it.

arlee bird said...

Stephen -- thank you for the inspiration that you so often provide me.
If you once had that dream about being a professional writer, I don't think it died, it's just dormant. After all you are still writing and writing very well if I must say so. I think you should persist with your God-given talent. You can gain a following of people who don't always agree with you but just appreciate your writing skill. I find you to be very entertaining and informative.
Just keep doing what you've been doing and don't sell yourself short. Your followers will come just like they did on Amazon because they like to read what you write. Continue to be kind to us -- you almost always respond to your comments in a fine mannner -- and we will love you for who you are. If you gain a million followers you still won't be in the majority so I don't think you or any of the rest of us need to worry.

I look forward to your first real book (not the western one, although you could expand upon and redo that even).

And now check below for a strange dream I had to see if you can figure it out.

arlee bird said...

Here is a dream I had before waking this morning. I had woken early and for some odd reason started thinking about revising that dumb little reaction survey at the bottom of each post. I wanted to come up with something different and was pondering some ideas when I fell back to sleep and had the following dream:

I was still in school or taking some sort of class that I believe had to do with writing. I knew that Stephen McCarthy was also taking this class and I was anxious to meet him in person. I drove into the parking lot of the place where the class was being held. There were not many cars in the pot-holed, puddle riddled lot, but I knew that most of the cars parked there belong to Stephen. The cars were all very fine old classic cars of collectable quality that Stephen was selling. I parked my car next to one of these fine cars.

I went inside to the classroom where I found three other people who were going to be taking the class: Stephen, a very nice older lady who goes to the church that I attend, and an attractive younger woman who I knew many years ago when I lived in Richmond, VA. This younger woman's last name is White, she wears glasses, and when I knew her she played flute in a community orchestra where I played violin. Initially in the dream my intent was to immediately sit next to Stephen, introduce myself, and get to know him better. However, when I saw Ms. White I was immediately drawn to her because I always had felt an attraction to her. Suddenly she begins sobbing and appears to be in great distress. The teacher gets on the classroom phone and says, "Can you send someone over from Group Counseling?"
Then I woke up. What the heck was that all about?

Robyn Campbell said...

Oh Arlee. Such a well thought out post. I have often thought about the time spent, and the myriad of ideas that we must come up with for our blogs. Not to mention commenting and just generally spending time with our blogging friends. Then when do we write? I have been getting up extra early to work on my novel. *yawn* It is worth it to me to lose a little sleep here and there. And I want to be able to interact with other writers so I must fit my writing in some where.

I love the analogy you use. Writing is the show you want to produce and take on tour. SO COOL! That is how I am going to think of it from now on.

And to answer your question, my blog is also my business plan. Arlee, can I link to this blog post? It really deserves to be read by tons of people.

arlee bird said...

Timothy Fish -- I am so pleased to have your comment on this topic. Sounds like you are another who votes for the instant gratification of blogging. I guess it's part of that solitary writer locked away in his office thing stepping out for a moment to make sure the world is still there. Thanks for the input.

arlee bird said...

Robyn-- I would love for you and whoever else would like to link to this post. I know I'm not the only one who ponders some of these questions because I've not only seen direct posts about the topic, but also inferences about it. The whys of blogging are important to the blogger as well as clearly identifying the communities in which we blog. Thank you Robyn for your kind words and your useful viewpoint.

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Well my blogging friends, writers just naturally like to write. It is what we do and who we are. Blogs are just another opportunity to do what we do "write." It matters not if we have one follower or thousands (although we all want someone to read our work) it's the gratification that we get from writing that keeps us writing.
Please visit me at my blog (I've had for over a year) and if you are a newbie to blogging and like something on my blog, wallpaper, pop ups, sitemeter, followers, drop me a note and I will explain it. Happy blogging!

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I'm going to follow your blog. I like your style and I want to see how you progress. I can tell you this. I've grown as a writer, formed great friendships, and have been exposed to really great writing and things about writing I would never have learned if it were not for blogging. And the feedback is great.

arlee bird said...

Debra Harris-Johnson -- thanks for becoming a follower. The writing certainly provides a satisfaction, but my real gratification comes when I know that someone has read something I wrote and paid attention enough to be influenced to some degree. Blogging provides such a great opportunity to those who like to write, as well take photos, make crafts, cook, create art, brag about their kids, and on and on.
Lee

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

I started blogging back in 2007, I thought I could put some of my many poems on line, it took a whole year before I had a comment but that did not deter me, I had my book published in 2008 and rearranged the blog, then came my first comment who also was my first follower. I write poetry , well in the beginning it was to express my thoughts and feelings I had about my 2 berevements then as I accepted what life and fate had dealt me my poetry became more lighter. I have got 62 followers and I always aim to look them up and read their blog which in all cases I become one of their followers. I do try to comment on each and everyone. I enjoy doing my blog and sharing my life and hopes with people all over the world and to read what people of other cultures live like.

Yvonne.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

`
rLEE-b ~

First of all, I thank you MOST SINCERELY for the complimentary comment and for the way you promote my Blogs.

>>[If you once had that dream about being a professional writer, I don't think it died, it's just dormant.]<<

Nah, it's dead, Bro. Besides, haven't you heard? The world is coming to an end in December, 2012. I haven't time enough to build a writing career. ;o)

>>[I think you should persist with your God-given talent.]<<

Thank you, sir! You know, my friend Mr. Paulboy once said he felt I had a God-given writing gift. That made me feel really grateful, too. And believe it or not - this is ridiculously funny, but true (I swear it) - Gary Burghoff, the actor who played Radar O'Reilly on M*A*S*H, once told me he thought I was "a creative genius." Ha!-Ha! That’s truly preposterous, but I will say this: Gary was a collector of art, and putting his money where his mouth was, he actually commissioned me to produce a very large pencil drawing for him. Paid me too much $, but made me feel “Reilly” good. And over two decades ago, a gal pal of mine said she thought I’d find success as a writer but that I would only appeal to a small audience – like a cult favorite.

Unfortunately, I’m a firm believer in another Mark Twain saying: “Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for.” Lee, you should see my saw collection!

>>[Continue to be kind to us -- you almost always respond to your comments in a fine mannner -- and we will love you for who you are.]<<

Well, of course! Are you kidding? I’m like one of the nicest guys in the world. Truly! But woe to that person who resorts to ad hominem attacks and epithets when debating with me. I have a Black Belt in 37 different forms of Linguistic Martial Arts. Heck, I once shot a man in Reno with 17,000 words just to watch him die! (Ha!)

Alright, Brother, a reply to your dream description will be submitted after I’ve had a chance to give it a little thought. But let me say right up front that any dream in which I appear can be rightly classified as a “Nightmare.”

Yak Later, Lee. (And “Thanks” again!)
~ “Lonesome Dogg” McME

POSTSCRIPT: I left a reply to your comment on my short story. But you know what's REALLY "odd"? I have never once thought of that story as being even the slightest bit "odd". Hmmm... Maybe I'm a weirder duck than I have ever imagined. Now THERE is a scary thought!

arlee bird said...

Yvonne-- I love your story. There are so many blogs that I've seen that seemed to have potential, but after a few posts they are frustrated and gone. When I'm looking for a blog to read and follow I try to find something that will uplift me and fill me with positive thoughts. I don't want to hear someone saying "Well I don't think anybody will like what I write, my life is so miserable, I'm gonna give up if nobody reads my blog"--- uh, yeah, if you're going to be that way maybe I don't want to read you. I like your attitude of just keep pushing forward and "sharing your life and hopes with people from all over the world"-- yeah! I can dig it!

Colette said...

Arlee, also here from Nicola's party! I agree completely with Karen. Blogging is a way to meet new friends -- people we would not likely run into at the grocery store.

Here's another question for you -- why do you choose to follow the blogs you follow? For me, it's either because I have something in common with the writer and enjoy the dialogue, or because there is information there that is valuable to me.

arlee bird said...

Colette -- agree, agree, agree. Some other reasons that I might follow a blog: they are following mine, I like the writing style, they are new and I want to encourage them on and I'm waiting to see what they will do.

Tamika: said...

Blogging is a huge facet of my writing life. It brings a wealth on interaction that enriches my knowledge of the writing business and growing my craft.

My overall motivation to write is to build relationships with like minded individuals reaching for the same goal. It establishes a common thread. Writing can be a solitary existence, and I blossom better with relationships.

I pray my blog is a blessing to the readers that stop in. I pray that is a help to those challenged along the way. I pray it plays a part in my writing dream.

Jemi Fraser said...

I started blogging on the advice of other aspiring writers who've been at this business a little longer than I have. I didn't know much (dare I say anything) about blogging, but have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I blog when I have a topic I think others will find interesting - usually 2 or 3 times a week. I like to visit others as well. My biggest problem is that it is very time-consuming. :)

arlee bird said...

Tamika and Jemi -- both of you invest so much time into your blog and visiting other blogs. You give great comments and show that you care. It does cost a lot in time spent but hopefully the time is an investment in your future careers.

arlee bird said...

Stephen:

Two thoughts--1) I've heard that Vincent Van Gogh only sold one of his artworks in his lifetime. And I don't suppose he ever sold any writing. So far you've surpassed Van Gogh's success.

2) Mark Twain was a great author and said some very funny things, but I've heard he was a very poor businessman. Maybe he's not the best person to be taking advice from.

But you're free to think what you want. Besides December 2012 is still almost 2 years away and a person can get a fair amount done in that time. Might as well keep doing something to keep yourself busy between now and then.
Lee

A New Beginning said...

I love blogging and whatever comes with it and so dies everyone else, thats precisely why we are here..its like sharing your thoughts with a group of friends :)
Thanks for the great post Arlee b.
Happy Blogging!!

Sig Wynne-Evans said...

My reasons are varied, For me it is an extension of my main website www.beadedbear.com, so my blog is more of an interactive site to announce new projects, show what others have done with my bead-patterns. The blog is also a place for me to vent about STUFF that happens in the beading business, in an effort to educate the hobbyists about what is important to us in the "business of beading".

It also serves as a creative outlet. I enjoy writing and have fun crafting some of the stories I post.

I work hard at blogging, but I see it as a form of advertising for my website.

Now....I would never object to some sort of book deal....or movie of the week. But somehow watching someone do beadwork is just a tad less exciting than watching a hair growing competition on TV....

Sig

Jody Hedlund said...

As writers, I think we all eventually get to the place where we need to blog for platform-building reasons.

However, we all need to decide WHEN that point is and how much priority to give blogging. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about prioritizing. If we're just starting the writing journey, then MOST of our time should be spent learning the craft and writing our books.

But the further we get to publication, then we may need to spend a little more time on the platform too. But still all of us, no matter where we're at should spend the majority of time on our books. Ultimately the book/story sells us and builds our readership.

Dave said...

I suppose it's invitable that it's at least partially about showing off, but I use it to try and keep all the disparate things I do in one place.

Dave
Dave Wrote This

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

rLEE-b ~
You probably heard that bit about Van Gogh selling only one painting during his lifetime from me: I mentioned it in a comment I posted on one of your Blog installments a while back. And I once read a biography on Twain, and it's true his business ventures turned out poorly, but I think his instincts were pretty good; he mostly suffered from timing issues and bad luck. Nevertheless, you make two good points there, Brother.

ABOUT THE DREAM: Yeah, that's a wild one. I'm just speculating here, of course, and so I'm as likely to be wrong as right, but I get the sense this dream may be a case of "Night Doodles", where the subconscious mind is just mulling over various topics. It seems the dream is woven from a variety of disparate threads, so maybe there isn't just one cohesive interpretation.

You said you woke up and started thinking about revising that reaction survey at the bottom of each post. You wanted to come up with something different and were pondering some ideas when you fell back to sleep and had the dream.

This may have been why I entered the dream, since you know I have some pretty "different" reaction surveys on my two Blogs: "Fine Wine; Yoo-Hoo; Tang" on one & "Cap'n Crunch; Lumpy Grits" on the other.

Well, when you think of me, I imagine the first association you make is with writing. So, now we're in a writing class together.

In the parking lot, you find all these old classic cars I'm selling. While it's true that many or even most symbols in a person's dreams are very personal and self-chosen by the dreamer's subconscious mind, there are some symbols that are generally universal, and the automobile is probably the most universal of them all. Usually, it represents the direction in which a person is driving their life. It's the direction their waking life is traveling. The person who dreams of driving a car over a cliff - Ha! - well, obviously, that person needs to rethink what they're doing with their life.

[Continued below...]

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

[...Continued from above]

In this case, the cars are mine, they're old classics and they're for sale. What sort of life am I trying to sell to others? Well, one doesn't need to read too many of my Blog Bits to realize that what I'm selling is very "Old School." Politically, I'm trying to sell people on a return to strict Constitutionalism. Socially, I'm selling old time, traditional values and roles, with solid Christian ideals.

However, the parking lot upon which these cars rest is pot-holed and puddle riddled. Maybe this represents our differences. I'm often a "Glass Is Half Empty" kind of guy, whereas you are always a "Glass Is Half Full" kind of guy. Maybe you see my "presentation" of something "old and fine" as being somewhat flawed or subpar. Or perhaps this relates to my "reincarnation" belief. You appreciate the classic, traditional Christian values I'm selling but think the foundation is unworthy of the product.

Inside the classroom you find three people: Me, a very nice lady who goes to the church that you attend, and an attractive younger woman whom you knew many years ago in Richmond.

Could the lady symbolize Judy Harper? The other day you left a comment on her Blog thanking her for promoting my Blog.

Then, of course, you immediately abandon your plan to meet with me in favor of the young, attractive woman named White. OK, I see how it is now. Thanks a lot! (Just kidding. You made the right decision, and I would have done the same if the shoe was on the other foot. You or a pretty gal? "Well, Hellooo Betty!":o)

At this point, I can't offer anything else because I don't know what Miss White represents to you. However, you clearly have some sort of concept or ideal associated with her, and this part of the dream seems very personal. You'd need to do the inner analysis and determine what Miss White symbolizes for you. But whatever that is, obviously it's currently in a state of "distress" and requires some sort of "counseling." Or it may be a question that needs answering.

I'm afraid that's the best I can do with this one. I might be totally off base in everything I've written. But like I said, this one may not be trying to deliver one well-orchestrated message, but may be your subconscious mind just trying to digest several different ideas all at once. For that I recommend Alka-Seltzer.

Well, it wasn't great, but at least I offered something. I think this dream is of such a personal nature that I would need to be inside your head to get a better understanding of it. But I have enough troubles just being inside my own head. Can you recommend a good exorcist?

~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen

arlee bird said...

Sana -- Thank you

Sig -- You could do a darn good book on beading I'd say. And that life story could definitely be movie of the week material -- horse-shoeing school? Now that's different.

Jody -- Thank you for a professional perspective. You're saying what I've been thinking and more.

Dave -- I'd say your blog sounds like part of your platform as well. I think you essentially state that in your blog description.

arlee bird said...

Stephen --

I think that was a pretty darn good dream analysis. It was quite well thought out if nothing else. As you said it was very personal for me the dreamer, but some of your interpretation may have been personal for you the interpreter. In any case, I think you are fairly accurate in your overall assessments. Thanks-I always enjoy hearing dream interpretations.
Lee

Tabitha Bird said...

I am neither a hobbist nor a girl with a 'writing plan.' If I turned my writing into a job that is what it would be. Work. And then I would never find the magic. And if I don't find the magic, then how will my words fly? all I am saying is that you can turn something you love into an over worked job. For me, too much focus on plans and expectations and outcomes just drains the life out of my writing. I don't want to see that happen to my words. Everyone is different though. If making plans and working at writing like you do works for you, then go for it. I admire that. I respect it. It just isn't me. I need a bit more space to release the words within. Treating my writing like a job or a business would just kill it for me. I would just hate to see that happen to you, But while you love what you are doing and it work, keep at it. :)

TheUndertaker said...

Arlee, great to see this post, and thanks for clarifying your thoughts about the why's and how's for you.
For me, I want an outlet for thoughts and writing in a place where I don't have to face anyone in person! : ) I don't want to take the full responsibility of another persons reaction to what I have said (i.e. conversation) rather a response to my words.
I can't even fathom how we make money from blogging, but it would be nice, of course. Although, I kinda like my dayjob : )

arlee bird said...

My writing life evolved through various phases:

1) When I was in my student years I loved writing and had time to write and wrote a lot. There was no plan and I had no idea where I was going with it. Everything I wrote was longhand and in notebooks. Submitting was a hassle because I didn't have a typewriter and typing was a hassle when I did.
2) When I worked in the entertainment industry I loved what I was doing and had plenty of time to write, but I mostly didn't write because I was having too much fun.
3) When I was a business manager I was enslaved to my business and rarely had much time to write.
4) Now -- I need an income and don't want to be enslaved again. I hope to make writing my work which means I have to work at what I love doing. I hope this will be my last phase and with computers, word programs, and so much access to everything maybe it will be easier than in my first writing-go-round. I hope I don't burn out, but if something is worth loving then it's also worth working and fighting for.
Lee

arlee bird said...

Hi Susy--
I wish I was getting paid for this blogging stuff. I'd probably be getting an okay paycheck by now.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

In the long-term it's definitely part of a business plan for me. A way to advertise my "hopefuls". But in the meantime, blogging for me is a way to build on-line friendships, share and learn together and above all be in a body of encouragers with this writing journey I'm on. I need my blog friends to keep fighting the good fight. That's really what it comes down to. I'm hopeing that my blogging is helping other writers out there to stick with it as their blogs help me to stay the course.

Lee Wind said...

Great essay! I think blogging is an amazing opportunity to act like a professional before anyone else is paying you or treating you like one. After 2 years of blogging consistently, I've actually gotten paying writing jobs directly from blogging... And writing over 600 blog posts has made me a much more practiced, experienced writer.

Some people make money by accepting advertising on their blogs, but that doesn't work for me - I don't want to feel like my independence or voice is constrained.

But I did take a lot of the lessons I've learned about blogging, and put them into a step-by-step how to blog e-book: "The Zen Of Blogging"

http://www.zenofblogging.com

And that's exciting - having something to help others, a product - a book I wrote - to sell.

Thanks for letting me share,
Namaste,
Lee

arlee bird said...

Eileen & Lee -- those are the kinds of things I was hoping to hear. You have provided me with a great deal of encouragement. Thank you so much.