Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's My Blog, and I'll ??? if I Want To...

There's been quite a bit of buzz around the blogosphere lately about what's appropriate content for a writer's blog.

Should it be all writing, all the time? Or is it okay to sprinkle in some personal stuff?

And what about rejection? Is it okay to post about your rejections and how they have helped you become a better writer? Or does that make you look unpublishable? It's my opinion that this subject (posting about your rejections) is simply a matter of how you approach it. But I know there are some agent opinions floating around out there, too, about how these kinds of posts can cast a writer in a bad light.

And platform. Should you choose a theme and stick with it? Should a writer blog only for selfless reasons? Or is it okay to blog simply to tell the world what's going on in your mind? I know I'm guilty of this, but I figure if people don't want to read about it, they'll stop reading. Don't get me wrong. I love my readers, every single one of them, but I can't expect anyone to be interested in all the same things I'm interested in. Some of the stuff I like is boring. I'm okay with that.

So, I'm wondering. What's your take on this? How should a writer handle his/her blog? What's appropriate, and what isn't? And why do you blog? Also, if you have any other thoughts on any of the other questions in this post, I would love to hear what you think.

I know my blog is all over the place, but please don't let that affect your opinion. You don't need to worry about hurting my feelings. :)


  1. Your blog. You decide. No blogger is more all over the place than me. BUT... that's me! I think our blogs have to represent us. I don't want anyone thinking I'm someone I'm not.

    I am a writer (I write about writing)
    I have a family (I write about them)
    I am a teacher (I use it as a teaching tool)

    I think the most important thing to remember, as bloggers who are ALSO writers, is that what we choose to write about MUST be written well!!!!!!! Edit, edit, edit! and if you are going to keep a blog, keep one! Consistency is key. Anywho, those are my thoughts.

  2. Just write what you want to write and the appropriate readers will follow.

    Lynnette Labelle

  3. I'm torn on this. Based on what I've been reading lately, we have to be careful. I think the main thing is to be positive. I don't think they care what we write as long as it's not negative.

  4. Good topic, and a tough one, too!

    I believe in trying to give back as much as you get, so even though I'm trying to build a readership for my books, I also started my blog to help other writers.

    I remember how much writer blogs and industry blogs helped me get a clue when I was first starting out, and I want my blog to be a safe place for new writers to learn as well as a fun place to hang out.

    I have a sneaking suspicion my blog may change with my journey, so we shall see what happens along the way!

  5. I agree with your title. It's your blog to do what you want. I write about writing and about books I've read, but I also sprinkle in occasional personal stuff. I think as long as you're not dogging people out or throwing people under the bus, you're good.

    I've written about rejection because it's part of my journey. I'm reluctant to hold that stuff back because I know I benefit when I read about other's experiences. I don't want the nicely edited version.

  6. Because I intend to use my blog as a writing credential in the bio part of my query, I try to keep it focused on writing and publishing, with a few (I hope) funny tidbits about myself sprinkled in. Along those lines, I also feel strongly that I should not include anything about rejections--at all. I want any agent who stumbles on my blog to think that they are the only agent I ever queried.

  7. I'm all over the place, too. Mainly, I post about writing--mine and other people's. But a blog is communication, so our individual voices must come out, and isn't that why we read each other anyway?
    I've heard, too, that we need a brand, a focus, to identify us, but I have trouble with that, because I read and write across genre. And I always will. I've noticed that authors such as Neil Gaiman post about whatever they please. So I suggest we just try to keep our voice positive and interesting and presume that when we are famous published authors *sheepish grin* new readers will visit because they are interested in what we have to say. Not what great marketers we are. My two cents.

  8. I agree that rejection is a part of the writer's journey, and it doesn't stop when you get an agent. I'd think an agent would be impressed by posts that talk about rejection in a manner that shows that the writer/blogger learned something about themself or their writing. Agents are the ones who tell us to keep submitting, since their opinion is oh-so-subjctive, after all. But I can see how post after post whining that no one wants their manuscript could turn an agent off and right quick.

    I don't think you should censor yourself for fear of chasing away agents on your writing blog, but if a writer NEEDS a place to whine, they should get a livejournal account instead, and keep that stuff off their professional writing blog.

  9. I agree with Suzanne. I do think that if your blog is supposed to be your "writing persona" that it is generally about writing. But it doesn't have to be. It can be anything that shows what kind of person you are--because I think that matters to editors/agents too.

  10. To be honest, blogs that just blog about writing are a little boring to me.
    I read enough books and writer magazines for that. (But that's just my humble bumble opinion)

    I like to get to know people AND their writing.

    Obviously, it's not good to whine or rant, because agents and editors and potential readers DO surf the NET and it doesn't look professional.

  11. great discussion. And I agree with suzanne. It's your blog, do as you please. i write about writing, family and my love of books. But anything is up for grabs... if it gets me fired up it may well end up on my blog :)

  12. I think a blog should be a healthy dose of writerly things as well as personal things. I know I like to read about other writers days and their struggles, but I don't like to read about them badmouthing some agent or how their life sucks. I think it's all about quantity and quality. As long as you don't stick too much on one thing its good. =]

  13. Great thoughts, everyone!!

    Suzanne: Good point. There have been many times I've read blatant errors and wondered if the writer even read it before posting it. I'm not saying I'm perfect by any means, but I always try to put forth my best work. And just for the record, it drives me nuts that I can't edit my comments without deleting and reposting.

    Lynnette: I agree, but people have been getting pretty worked up over this subject lately.

    LW: I think you're right. If we're always trying to put forth a positive attitude in our posts, even when the subject can be construed as negative, I don't think it will work against us.

    Becca: I get a little overwhelmed by the idea of people using my blog as a writing resource. Good for you for taking on that challenge! And yeah, it's all a process. Who knows where our little blogs will be a year from now. (Well, hopefully run by super cool published authors. ;D)

    FG: I know I benefit from other people's experiences as well. Plus it's nice to know we're not alone in this process. It can be very daunting at times. And keeping things professional and just trying to be a good person are traits that a lot of people could benefit from, not just writers.

    beth: Good point. We all have to do what we're comfortable with.

    Tricia: Ah, yes. Voice. That finds it's way into everything we write, doesn't it? I think if people are reading, then you must be doing something right.

    Tere: I completely agree. It's all about your attitude. And nobody wants to work with someone who's whining all the time, so that one seems like a no brainer to me.

    Elana: I think that's what makes reading other people's blogs so fun. Getting to know them through their writing. If they were all the same, blogging would be pretty boring. Of course, then the rest of my life might be a little more productive. :)

    Jennifer: Yes, all writing, all the time sounds boring to me too. I enjoy getting to know other bloggers out there. And I agree it's important to be professional.

    Tabitha: The topics that get us fired up seem to be the most interesting to read, in my opinion.

    Natalie: Variety is always a good thing. I think I'd get bored with my own blog if all I did was write about writing. There are plenty of industry professional's with blogs to take care of that, and I don't think even they stick to a hard and fast rule on that.

  14. Crispie Critters!!
    Crispie Critters!!

    I think it is ok to write what you want but be careful about bad mouthing pubs, other authors, etc...

    We are human with lives, dreams and annoying pets - I like reading stuff from other humans.

  15. i like what Jenna said -

    "We are human with lives, dreams and annoying pets - I like reading stuff from other humans."

    so this human used to try to blog just about writing but that was boring, so then i added other things. then i tried to make a commitment to blog about something every day and that only led to guilt because i didn't have something for every day.

    now i just blog when i want to, about whatever subject comes up. there are already too many ways to feel guilty about not living your life a certain way. blogging should be fun, but it won't be if you add guilt to it.

    btw, Abby, i'm glad to have met another human who writes. i really would like to get together with you sometime.

  16. I like what others have said. I like a blog to be a mix of writerly and personal things. But I also think that we need to remember all of this stuff is PUBLIC. We should be careful about what we put out there. I mean, I don't go walking around my neighborhood naked just because I can. I'm not going to put stuff up on my blog that's going to hurt me later.

    I've enjoyed your blog the way it is. I love honesty. :)

  17. All of your commenters make such good points. Like you, my blog includes a little bit of everything and that's ME. If an agent or editor doesn't like that, then maybe they're not the best agent/editor for me. If someone gets me, they get my blog. Right? My only caveat is no whining when it comes to publishing. A little whining about my personal life? I think that's honest.

  18. Jenna: I'll always report on the crispy critters, but I agree, humans are interesting creatures, too. :)

    MG: If it makes you miserable, it's definitely not worth it. And I would love to do lunch or something, sometime. My schedule's going to be a little out of whack for the next couple of weeks, but shoot me an email and we'll set something up. :) abbyannis(at)earthlink(dot)net

    LG: It is important to remember that everything we post on our blogs is there for the whole world to see. I know it's stopped me from posting certain things in the past. Good point!

    MC: Definitely no whining about agents and publishing. There's so much to whine about, and besides looking totally unprofessional, it gets old fast. I agree that our blogs should show who we really are. Our personalities should be important to an agent, at least on some level.