So I got scolded by a writer friend because I blog too much. Of course, this is the same person who often bemoans not blogging enough. Such is the affliction of many novelists, a condition which I call Schizo-blog.
Do you have Schizo-blog? Here’s some of the symptoms:
- You feel guilty for blogging because you should be writing your novel
- You feel guilty for writing because you haven’t updated your blog in a week
- You feel guilty prioritizing one over the other because with some creative management, or self-discipline, you should be able to do both
Please note that the common denominator of Shizo-blog is “Guilt”. Closely related to the guilt of Schizo-blog is the guilt you may be experiencing as you read this — because you probably should be writing. I haven’t found a name for that condition yet, but I suffer the symptoms as well.
Before I signed a two-book contract, it was not this complicated. Blogging was my platform, it helped me develop my writing chops, my brand, and connected me with lots of new people. The problem is that now I am on a deadline, and something’s gotta give. Yet when the options are arrayed — my spouse, my job, my church, and my blog — the blog always seems to get the shaft.
A long while back, an editor friend linked to this article. Freelance author, Sarah Hepola, pulled the plug on her blog and explained the reasons why:
At times, I started to feel that jokes and scenarios and turns of phrase were my capital, and that my capital was limited, and each blog entry was scattering more of it to the wind, pissing away precious dollars and cents in the form of punch lines I could never use again, not without feeling like a hack. You know: “How sad. She stole that line from her own blog.”
Blogging had been the ideal run-up to a novel, but it had also become a major distraction. I would sit down to start on my novel only to come up with five different blog entries. I thought of them as a little something-something to whet the palate because it was easier, more immediately satisfying, because I could write it, and post it, and people would say nice things about it, and I could go to bed feeling satisfied. But then I would wake feeling less than accomplished because a blog wasn’t a whole story told from beginning to end. I had shelves lined with other people’s prose while my best efforts were buried on a Web site somewhere, underneath a lot of blah-blah about American Idol and my kitty cat.
Unlike Ms. Hepola, I do not mind stealing punch lines from my own blog. However, the sense that my blog has become “a major distraction,” that I am “pissing away” great lines and creative flushes on posts that will be buried in long-forgotten archives, wasted on visitors who will leave me for the latest celebrity author, is a reality I cannot deny.
But there’s something else I can’t deny: Despite the demands it creates, blogging can really benefit an author. That’s the conclusion I reached in Blogs and Brands. A writer’s books support his blog, not vice-versa. Your blog does more to further your “brand” than your novels do. Of course, this shouldn’t diminish the necessity of a good book, but heighten the importance of a good blog.
Which makes me feel schizo.
Okay, so I have a confession: I currently have 196 outlines in my blog Drafts folder. That’s right — one-hundred-and-ninety-six. You see, I enjoy blogging. It helps me process things. It allows me to vent. It lets me minister and encourage and inspire. And argue. It forces me to keep thinking, keep writing. It connects me with people I would never had had a chance to meet. And I could go on.
Yes, I am on a deadline. Yes, I feel like I’ve pissed away a few more precious hours of writing time. Yes, I feel guilty. But I don’t think I can stop.
My name is Mike Duran and I have Schizo-blog.