Jeff Goins in his book, You are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) presents a balanced but compelling argument for creating an effective platform using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other mediums. He's even developed a class at TribeWriters.com towards that end.
Writer Unboxed also has an interesting post today about the question of social media and discerning when enough is enough. It even goes as far as to throw out numbers that, depending on your genre, might be eye-catching to agents and publishers.
Rachelle Gardner, an agent, wrote a very thought-provoking post encouraging writers to seriously consider the appropriateness of blogs in all cases. When should or shouldn't it be an option you choose? She brings up a point that has stuck in my head since my blog's inception: if your reader base are other writers, who are also trying to increase their reader base, are you really developing an effective platform?
Today, WOW- Women on Writing had an article about the content of blogs reminding authors that using posts to express personal opinions may not be the best option for promoting their works or themselves.
Reading the rules on blogs is like reading all the dos an don'ts on writing-- it starts to get overwhelming. I don't know about you, but I start to feel this anxiety knot in the pit of my stomach just worrying about all I should or shouldn't be doing--comparing my blog with other blogs, greedily reading other blogs to learn how to be more effective, should I have more of a party atmosphere, how can I build my numbers. And then, just when I think I have it down, someone writes a blog telling me to ignore all the rules and follow my heart. What's a writer to do?
Goins writes, "At some point in your journey, you find yourself writing for the approval of others, not for pure love of the craft."
Later, in the same book he writes, "If you are going to succeed as a writer, you are going to have to learn to be smart. To have thick skin. To be more than talented. You are going to have to be a marketer, an entrepreneur, a talented salesperson. Because this is a business."
The answer is, being a writer is both passion and platform. The golden question, one that is morphing as we feel our way around this world, is "how"?
I have neither a good question formed yet nor anywhere near an insightful answer. I'm learning. But I do know this about my blog: you all are my tribe.
When I quit my job, I felt like an oddity, an outcast. People knew me as an ambitious, career woman. As recently as last week, a former coworker asked me how I liked "retirement". Sigh. As lightly as I could, I explained, this isn't retirement; it's a career change. Of course, you can predict the next question, "What have you published recently?" This time I had an answer, I have an article that finally moved off the slush pile, coming out in December. Most times I don't.
I blog because
I'm grateful for the readers who are my tribe.