AUTHORS: How to Blog To Improve Your Creative Writing

970189_rss_icon_1Today’s post is a reminder to myself about why my blogging is important in my life and my writing career, even though I try to be a novelist and author first. I’m making this public simply because I feel my reasoning might be applicable to other people too: and it’s a chance to offer fellow bloggers, writers, and creative types encouragement (perhaps).

There are reasons why I, as a fantasy novelist with a full time job, make sure I find the time to blog twice weekly. My last post–a list of possible methods to pre-write–is a prime example of why I blog. At least, it’s a great example of the selfish reasons why I blog.

I have encouraged authors before to be selfish bloggers, and that’s not what you might think. There are all kinds of wonderful, selfless results of blogging, and you should always be thinking about how people who read your blog can benefit from what you’re sharing.

Still, YOU need to get something out of blogging, or blogging becomes a horrible, pointless chore that you’ll find any excuse to postpone. I’ve discovered that.

The way I, personally, try to be a “selfish blogger” is to write about the aspect of creative writing that is pertinent to me at the moment.

For instance, that last post about pre-writing….

MY NEW HEREZOTH PROJECT

I am excited to announce that I am finally moving on from my NaNoWriMo 2012 grand mess of an edit :-) I was making little to no progress, so I am putting that on hold.

After all, that’s the beauty of a “failed” first draft…. You can always return to it at a later date if you’re inspired to do so. But I digress…. My point is that I am putting that novel/edit on hold because I got a total brainwave about a new novel to companion my Herezoth trilogy.

I HAVE THE CONCEPT FOR A NEW STORY SET IN HEREZOTH…. NOW I NEED TO WORK ON CHARACTERS AND PLOT.

Basically, I am pre-writing right now (though being me, and a panster at heart, I have jumped the gun and started a first scene.)

Because I am pre-writing, when I needed to write a blog post on my day off, I figured, HECK, I can blog about pre-writing. Why not?

  • I wasn’t really sure how to go about my pre-writing.
  • So I brainstormed various methods of pre-writing for my blog
  • That brainstorming session, and subsequent blog post, very much contributed to advancing the creative writing project I have on hand: my new novel.

After writing that last post, I felt more confident jumping ahead and starting a first chapter. I know that, eventually, I will need to do more pre-writing to figure out exactly where my novel is going. But now I have tons of ideas about how to get the ideas flowing, so I’m not worried like I was before I wrote that article.

And not being worried is important, because confidence.

For me, at least, CONFIDENCE is the big issue.

I know that writing involves a lots of stops and starts and a lot of “redoing.” I know those steps aren’t wasted time, at all, but sometimes I feel like they are, and I get frustrated. That can make it hard to invest time and energy into a project that doesn’t seem to be advancing.

Enter the blog!

I bounce all over the place with my blog post ideas, as you’ve seen if you drop by regularly. I write about all kinds of things. Sometimes I’m feeling okay about my writing, and I’ll write about anything that I can think to write about. Sometimes I’ll respond to a request to blog about a particular topic.

Often, though, I use my blog as an outlet for confronting whatever issue has me stumped and my confidence down. I “fake” being confident and knowledgeable about that topic, and somehow that translates to genuine confidence to tackle the giant that is my work-in-progress.

Maybe, in some ways, my BLOGGING is my pre-writing.

And maybe blogging works that way for you too! Whatever the case:

I think authors who blog can make blogging a companion, a support, and a “crutch” to their actual creative writing.

And that’s true even if no one reads your blog. Don’t get me wrong, the support of an online community is a wonderful thing. And it works wonders for me in terms of giving me confidence to put my work out there and to keep writing.

But even if no one reads your blog, blogging about your writing can help you solve the problems your writing is giving you. It can generate ideas. It can get you thinking about and around an issue; it can get you to approach that issue as an outsider, which means a new perspective from which to judge and tackle your work.

My personal approach? I tend to take what is troubling me specifically about a work in progress, and approach it from a wider, more “general” point of view. I rarely go into stark detail about my characters or plots (though sometimes I do use them as examples.) Rather, I talk in more global terms about literature and creative writing. Then I apply what I discover about fiction in general to my story in particular.

That is what works for me. Whatever approach or method you can find to link blogging to your work and use your blog as an aid to writing, I encourage you to do that.

Heck, maybe that’s blogging about cooking, or travel, or something completely unrelated to your fiction! Maybe that’s because just putting the fiction aside for a time to blog about something else clears your mind to better work on your fiction later. Whatever the case, though….

Blogging should be a tool for our fiction, because we are authors at the end of the day. It shouldn’t be an aimless, meaningless chore.

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27 responses to “AUTHORS: How to Blog To Improve Your Creative Writing

  1. I believe the basic gain is in terms of better clarity of one’s own thoughts, leading to either a better articulation or (perhaps) even a solution to an everyday problem that one faces. In that way, blogging is not too different from, say, meditating, which has a similar ‘inner cleaning’ effect on the individual.

    • I’m with you on this. Blogging helps me clear out the mental clutter, as well as developing that clutter into more coherent, useful, structured thought. And of course occasional feedback from readers helps to build that clarity by developing interesting conversations.

    • I agree….any practice writing, and especially writing that involves articulating a message such as blogging, is always beneficial!

  2. This sums up my thoughts about blogging.

    Your content is very relevant to me. I read your entries a lot and often link to them. If you’re faking it, I can’t tell. :)

  3. Brilliant posts, gave me lots to think about as a blogger and writer.

  4. Mrs. C Writes

    As someone new to both blogging and writing I really enjoyed this post!!

  5. I love blogging. I consider it a warm-up for my writing work. I do make sure to limit to one short blog a week, so that most of my time can be spent on story. I find that by posting one blog a week, it teaches me to be ready to meet a deadline; and, of course, blogging always plumps up my creative juices. :).

    • I love that approach! Blogging really can work well as a warm-up to more intense fiction writing :-) I don’t intentionally use it that way but I think it’s worked that way for me in the past.

  6. I love your mixture of topics and appreciate your transparency. (Thanks by the way of letting us know about your new blog.) I use my blog to think about writing and my approach to it and to discuss what I’ve learned.

    • I really enjoy your specialized posts about the symbolism and different usages behind common objects and other things, like color. They get me thinking about how I employ those things in my writing!

  7. One of the reasons I started writing my science blog was to force myself to do the research that I, as a science fiction writer, had spent so many years neglecting.

  8. Love your blog. I do the opposite however, I blog about craziness in my life and get it out there so I can write in peace about anything else fictional. I guess the two-sidedness makes me more capable of writing about either subject. Great read, thank you!

    • YEA! I am SO glad you said this. I had a gut feeling there had to be lots of people who blog about non-creative writing things just to clear their heads to write! :-) Thanks for sharing. I think that is an awesome way to blog :-)

  9. This totally struck a chord with me, so thank you for the post. You’re right that it’s pointless to blog unless u get something out if it & yet it often feels intangible. Especially when u include all the commenting & reciprocal comments. But then I can’t imagine blogging without that. So thanks for pointing out that it can be a precursor for our ‘real writing’ or just working through a thought process. Glad to have found your site.

  10. Great post. I have been dealing with a distraction for the past several weeks, so I was away for a while, but I love writing my Blog. It’s my way of “thinking out loud”, and it is my self-prescribed therapy. When I started posting, it was just a fun something to do while I figured out what was next in my life. In the process, I have discovered that writing isn’t just something I do, it is a big part of who I am. This was just the nudge I needed to stop postponing my return. Thanks!!

  11. Great point about being selfish, in a good way. If we don’t enjoy blogging it feels like work. So I’m intending to blog about things I’m passionate about and currently on my mind. Going with the flow. That might mean I blog several times one week and hardly at all the next!

    • If going with the flow works for you, that works for you :-) I have always heard people say that keeping a regular blogging schedule is a really good way to build an audience, because people will know when to come back. But what works for each person is what works for that person. The whole point of blogging is about being YOU.

  12. Pingback: What I Found | winterbayne

  13. Pingback: 3 Ways To Be a More Efficient Blogger | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

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