Is there a big distinction between the two? I have to write to blog. My average word count for a blog post is just under 500 words, and that is over nine years. That is about two pages of a novel. Two pages of a novel or, in my current case, two pages of a short story that I could be writing to finish those stories.
I enjoy both. The novel or short story has a structure, it can be lose or fairly well-outlined, but it is always there waiting on me to add more words. The blog has a different structure. It requires constant care and feeding if you are going to maintain it. The thing about writing fiction for a story is that there is no pressure to do so much in a given day or week. Unless you are on deadline. And for those of us that do not have a contract or an agent, the time is unconstrained. It doesn’t matter to the novel if I add more words today or not. Do I feel guilty? Yes. Some days very much so. Others not so much. That freedom is one of the few perks of being unpublished. I worry that once I am published that I will have to sit my butt down every day and dig those gems out of the word mine. But for now I can breathe easy.
And don’t ask me why I decided to start blogging more regularly again. I can’t even give you a good reason, other than I wanted to. I follow a couple of writers that blog regularly and have managed to keep it up for a long time. One less so now, as he is having more writing success and appears to have less time or desire to blog. That is at the crux of it.
I have set a daunting schedule for myself. I am trying to blog consistently five days a week. I don’t know how long I can keep it up, or if I will run out of things to talk about. But that was never really my goal when I started this.
The reason is twofold.
One is simply to have a place for my readers to connect with me once I am published. So there is no real agenda other than that. But the second reason is a little more esoteric. I will be fifty-five on my birthday. I feel like I have accumulated a fair amount of life knowledge or what you might consider wisdom, and at times I feel the urge to share some of it. I remember when I was in college, taking my first philosophy course, and I felt the desperate need to write down my own beliefs. My personal philosophy. I did. I have no idea what happened to those pages, but I would love to read them now and compare notes.
One of the things you may struggle with as you age is reflecting on what you have accomplished, and just as importantly, was it enough? Have you made your mark on the world? If not how do you fix that? You might write a book. Or run for office. Or start a new business. Or go back to school and try something new.
Or do a blog. It’s a simple thing, but it’s a little bit like a needy pet. You need to brush it and feed it and clean up after it. It requires time. I have a friend that posts twice a week, and has maintained that for almost a decade. She writes about writing. Singularly. We started at about the same time, but she has maintained that rhythm the entire time and my history is all over the map. Not only in regularity, but in topic. Having this place to bloviate on whatever topic I want is a way to move that ball forward a little. I don’t even know if there is a goal line, but it have the illusion of making some sort of progress toward some place far ahead in the mist. I can write about whatever I want. I do write about writing sometimes, because it interests me. There are a lot of things I want to write about that have nothing to do with story craft. I may actually write them someday.
I’m sure there will be adjustments that have to be made going forward. I honestly don’t know If I will have the time or inclination to post five days a week forever. I’m almost certain I won’t. But for now that is my plan. The downside is it does take me away from working on novels and short stories. There is only so much time in the day. I am still working to find the balance since my quasi-retirement, for working out, spending time with my family, playing video games, drawing, and writing. Blogging is just one thing I enjoy doing.
I have discovered over the last forty or so years that my attention span is often short. I throw myself into things wholeheartedly, and then, when I’ve had my fill, I push it to the side and do something else. I often come back around to the thing, but it is rarely with the same gusto as the first time. Knowing that about myself is a good thing. I try to temper my involvement in some things because of it. But so far I have managed to keep my interest heavily invested in writing. It has been fairly steady for about eleven years now. I honestly believe it will be something I court for the rest of my life. And whether it is simply writing a blog post or working on an epic fantasy, it will be time well spent.
If you write, how do you approach these things?