Is Blogging the Ugly Step-child of Writing?

Spirit,Precious lifeI tried out another writer’s group last month. They tell you it’s important to hang with other writers. I have some friends who write, but no critique group, so I was hopeful. The group was friendly and informative, with a wealth of common internet knowledge. One person was asking advice about ways to get people to her website, so I asked if she blogged. Then I defended blogging. That’s how I made no new friends.

They informed me that real authors hate to blog. Maybe, but I know some who cross the line. It takes too much time, they say. Boy howdy, no argument–it certainly does. There’s no money in it, they add. No money in napping with cats either. My writing is valuable and I won’t just throw it away for free. Now, wait a minute!

I have a confession: I don’t just love my blog; I’m in love with it.

In the beginning, I was shy. It was all I could do to hit the publish button after four hundred awkward words. Then I begged all nine of my friends to read my blog. When I checked the stats, if fewer people had read it, I worried. If I did write a blog that I liked, I was certain I would never write another as good. If I somehow managed to get two good blogs out, I knew I would run out of ideas before three. And no one ever left a comment.

Nothing about the blog was good, or fun, or remotely easy. Writing it was a scheduled, self-inflicted wound. So I did a crazy thing; I didn’t miss a deadline for almost six years. If that wasn’t bad enough, I gave myself assignments (to be humorous, to be poignant, to describe something hard to describe), and required myself to do the very best job of writing that I could. Gradually something shifted in my attitude and I found a voice. That’s how I fell in love.

Next, I fell in love with the readers who eventually contributed heartfelt comments, when my words finally invited them out. Hearing back from readers is still the best part. And with the confidence I borrowed from them, the memoir, Stable Relation, became possible. The whole thing worked a bit like a boomerang–logical but scary at the same time.

THIS WEEK: The next book is close. I completed the edit of Relaxed and Forward: Relationship Advice From Your Horse. I’ll give it one more read through, come up with the blurbs, and then it’s off to the book designer. It’s a combination of my best blogs (essays) on training advice for horses. Available by the end of the year hopefully.

There are a few local book events coming up soon for the memoir, Stable Relation:

Wednesday, November 18th, I will be at our favorite hometown tack store, Bingo’s D&S Saddle Shop from 6 to 8pm. In Kim and Diane’s words, “This book made us laugh and cry and has many of the “ah ha!” moments, so indicative of a great book.  Thoughtful, brave, sentimental and stoic, it was a pleasure to read and we were only sad to see it finally end… so looking forward to Anna’s next book!” Space is limited so call for a seat. 719-634-6070, Bingo’s is located at 418 S. 8th Street, Colorado Springs.

Saturday, November 28th, I’ll be signing books at Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument, Colorado from 12 to 2pm. They’re located in the Chapala Building, at 105 Second Street. (719-481-BOOK) This indie bookstore is a wonderful stop for holiday shopping. I hope to see you there.

Join us December 5th, Saturday, at High Prairie Library here in Falcon, Colorado between 1-3pm. I’ll be reading, taking questions and signing books. The library has also purchased books that will be available for lend soon. Libraries are the place dreams are born, come and say hello!

Is blogging the ugly step-child of writing? I guess that depends on how much you put into it, before you put your name on it. For me, one writes the other, and then returns the favor back again. In the end, it’s about getting meaningful words on the page. I’ll trust the rest to readers.

21 thoughts on “Is Blogging the Ugly Step-child of Writing?

  1. sharon

    Seems those other writers might be missing something. Your blog has opened a place for us all to know about you and your writing… kind of a teaser always leaving us wanting a bit more. Looking forward to the next blog… and the next book! Thank you for not thinking it is a waste, many of us see it as valuable words of wisdom, a chance to think, smile, and even cry.

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    1. Anna, thank you for this. I am a former aspiring writer who gave up any hope or attempts for many years. Now that I’m older and a little more confident (and also could give less crap about what people think), I’m thinking of trying it out again. I really enjoyed your book and found more of what I loved about the book in the blog. It is never a waste to take your time to share and inspire other people with your words. I actually wondered if I could start a blog and just might, thanks to you. You have given me hope, for my “stable relation” with my horse, for my potential in life (post 50) and for trying to write again. AND…you said Boy Howdy! (a favorite phrase of another of my favorite writers). Looking forward to the next book. Hope your foot heals up real soon. In the meantime, enjoy your naps with cats. 🙂

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      1. Lisa, good for you. Giving less crap is a good thing. You probably have more to say now, too. My advice, not that you asked, is to get a wordpress blog and start. It can be private, you publish IF you want, what you want. But think of it as software; it’s handy. Or just love your horse, it’s all the same. (I’ve been trying to remember where I first heard Boy howdy, years and years ago. Who wrote it??) Good luck with all these adventures.

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  2. Mary

    If it wasn’t for your blog I would never have known about your book. And more importantly, I would never have ordered your book two days after it was available and read it immediately if I hadn’t had an example of your excellent writing style. So glad your second book is about ready, and thank you so much for blogging.

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    1. Thanks. Genre is a good term, there is so much genre opinion these days. In the end, good writing is good writing and you can find it where you least expect it sometimes. And you have been reading for a long while; thank you for that.

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  3. It would be interesting to see what an author from the past would do with the ability to blog. I suspect that as this is still a relatively new venue, we’re all still exploring, feeling out what works and what doesn’t for each of us. I’ve been fortunate to find some very excellent blogs, this being one of them. For me, it comes down to a question of is this “real” writing? I believe it is. I have read several blogs that had such great posts they could simply be lifted intact from the blog and collected into a book, with perhaps a few short bridges written to connect each post which would end up being a chapter. As someone who doesn’t remember not writing, it removes some of the lack of feedback from your readers, you get feedback with a blo9g. I tried one writers group, was quite disgusted with the snobby, snooty attitudes, hypercritical responses and generally unwelcoming atmosphere – it was supposedly an open group into the bargain. Since there are those who fuss that their work is valuable, it ain’t worth crap if no one can get published so no one can read it. I don’t care how well polished your prose, or how perfect your poetry, if the only ones reading it are you writing group and yourself, it isn’t worth much at all. Anna, you’re a damn good writer, hang the blasted writing groups. Pick a group of fellow bloggers whose writing you admire and ask them to critique your work if you really want that kind of feedback. I think your comment line is more tnan adequate. All the best.

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    1. This whole cottage industry for authors supporting each other is hard. I also acknowledged that I worked with editors on my book and there was a general opinion that it wasn’t necessary. For me, I learned more from the editors than I thought possible… so worth the investment. Maybe somehow, the ‘wanting to learn’ got in the way of the ‘actual doing’. I don’t know but like you, I didn’t find a place there. I wanted to say that if you can’t get people to read your words for free (blogging) then why would they ever pay for them? Bit my tongue on that one.

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      1. I would have no problem working with editors, learning is a lifelong persuit. I didn’t bite my tongue, I told them. As a group the quailty of the writing was rather poor and they had this whacky idea that words over two syllables shouldn’t be used (they weren’t writing for children either) and no sentences of more than 8 words. I challenged them to put up a blog, either as individuals or as a group – not one did.

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  4. Jeanmarie

    Anna, I am reading your book right now and I am so enjoying it! I found your book because I stumbled on to your blog. Both are great!. Blogging and “writing” (isn’t blogging writing also?) seem mutually supportive to me. Regarding editors – I sure wish my aunt had employed editors for the lovely but somewhat hard to read book she wrote about my grandmother, mostly for the family. With some professional editing, I think it could have been suitable for much broader distribution. She self published, so I guess she felt no need for an editor.

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    1. Thank you for giving the book a try; I’m so glad you are enjoying it. I think your thoughts on editing are dead on. It’s a bit of a drag, with all the commitment it takes to get a book done, that truthfully we can’t edit our own writing. Still, having a family story is special. I wrote a blog about my grandmother and the research, what I could do, was fascinating. “Normal lives” are an inspiration in so many ways.

      Thanks again. I appreciate it. If you like, leave a review on Amazon, but either way, so great to hear you are enjoying the book, with a nod to your aunt…

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  5. I would bet that the ‘no money in blogging’ statement accompanies the chronic complaint about the high cost (in time and money) of promoting one’s work. Seems self defeating given that blogging pays in so many ways, feedback, promotion, practice…
    I have to second the pitfalls in the search for a supportive writers group…

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    1. Yes, it comes with all together too many self-defeating complaints… I believe there are good groups out there. I have a friend in LA who is challenged and happy. I keep my eyes peeled… Thanks for commenting.

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      1. I am online so erratically of late I cant commit to anything much, but I would be delighted to know of and eventually participate if you do find a sympathetic group that critiques instead of criticizes

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