Tuesday, April 20, 2010

White Noise

The whole idea of blogging seemed ridiculous to me a couple of years ago, and, honestly, sometimes I still find myself wondering what the hell I'm doing (I think this in part has to do w/ my lack of platform, but that's a discussion for a different day or one of my colleagues who actually has a handle on the topic -- SD and MD both have a great sense of this, IMO).

For the longest time, I'd comment on a few agent blogs, but never actually had my own. In the few months I've been running mine and visiting others, these are the pros and cons of blog social networking as I see it:

- Greater exposure to and involvement with the writing community at large
- Online presence for agent, publisher, consumer exposure
- Dissemination
- An impetus to consider industry, craft, etc. elements that might otherwise be outside one's purview

- Time, Time, Time
- Possible foot in mouth syndrome if you sometimes lack a filter (yeah, this is a mirror statement right here :)

Despite my reticence toward blogging, I can happily say that it's provided me more benefit than detriment. I've had great interaction w/ fellow writers (from Betaing to people suggesting specific agents to me who they've heard are looking for what I write) because of my blog and I've had an agent contact me b/c of a blog post (which I wasn't expecting at all). And perhaps the biggest benefit for me has been the empathy from fellow writers who suffer through the solitary persistence of rejection, revision, and madness (thank you).

All that being said, I don't think one needs to blog, twitter, or facebook. Heck, even if you're a classic INTJ like me who hides behind an esoteric moniker and an icon, you can still network w/o any of these by commenting on agent/writer blogs and/or participating in the various anon writing contests  (e.g., Miss Snark's first victim monthly Secret Agent contest, Mary Kole over at Kidlit runs contests and workshops every so often).

Ultimately, it's important to sift through all the stochastic noise out there to figure out which frequency(ies) best suit you, if any.

Given my limited experience, I'm sure I'm missing many of the pros (and maybe a few of the cons) of the blogging epidemic. What have you learned from blogging (or not blogging)?


L. T. Host said...

How cool that an agent contacted you about a blog post! I'm dying of curiosity now, just so you know.

Blogging has taught me responsibility to my craft. Before blogging, it was easy to put writing on the side burner if I didn't feel like it for a while. Now, I think about it constantly-- which in turn gets me excited about writing, which in turn gets me to write. My biggest obstacle at the moment is, of course, your first con: time. I have no idea how people with kids find time to write at all. Or sleep. Maybe it's one or the other?

Unknown said...

Yeah, way cool Bane on the agent contacting you... That's a feather in your cap for sure!

I have kids and it is really hard to try to work everything in. I tried doing it with a job and it was crazy.

I've learned a few things about blogging. Miracles do happen, like getting my friends music video on Stephanie Meyers blog... to peoples dishonesty online. For the most part blogging has been a good experiance for me. It's an outlet, a way to learn, vent, and communicate with those like myself.

Renee Pinner said...

Pro = New Friends

Con/Pro = Lots and lots of information, somtimes conflicting.

Con = People who use big words that I have to look up just to find that they mean random. Really?!?

Con = Not writing in sentence structure when communicating with those who know the verb is MIA.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Okay, the agent contact part is pretty darn cool!

Time is definitely an issue with blogging. But for me, it's worth it- I've met some amazing writers who have pushed me to become a better writer. I never would have met them if it wasn't for blogging!

Joshua McCune said...

LT - it definitely caught me by surprise, that's for sure. Responsibility to craft has definitely amped up for me now that I know more and see how much everybody else puts into it.

Jen, as LT said, I can't imagine doing all this w/ kids too... I'm always impressed by you parent folk :)

Renee, ha ha! -- I have to throw in an engineeringish term every once in awhile.

Stephanie -- SD = Supreme Dictator... sometimes I get a bit too happy w/ my acronyms :)

Matthew Delman said...

Lots of trial and lots of error are the only way I managed to find my platform. Once I got into the groove it was easy to start thinking of things to post about.

Well ... sort of. But that's neither here nor there.

That's definitely cool about an agent contacting you because of a blog post. Jealous.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Okay, now I need a snazzy new uniform. Wasn't I thinking something red?

Hmmm... Maybe I could make a blog post about that.

*insert evil laugh*

Shannon O'Donnell said...

The pros are unquestionably people related - I never expected to develop real friendships from blogging, but I have.

Cons - time, time, time. I can't say it any better than you did. :-)

Joshua McCune said...

Matt - Trial and error -- the engineer's bread and butter :)... I think you've found a well-oiled solution.

SD, red -- to coordinate w/ the evil dictator eyes :)?

Shannon -- you've got one of the best platformer blogs, IMO. Friendly, consistent, and insightful.

Nighfala said...

I've been trying to blog less, and write more. And just get more other stuff done in general, like that annoying distraction called "work."

But I actually had someone tell me last week at a writer's group meeting that you have to blog to get published, because agents want to know that you have a following before they publish your book. So suddenly all these "100 followers" and "200 followers" contests make sense, as well as the ridiculous amount of time certain people seem to spend on their blogs, and on commenting on others' blogs, and giving out friendly awards.

It seems to be sort of a feel-good thing, where authors are supporting each other, looking for support in return.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Stochastic noise = just, bless you.

I also had a nibble from an agent due to a blog post - actually really an invitation to query once I'm ready, but I'll take any help I can get!

You nailed it with the pro's and con's. One more for me: a perspective on the industry, which hopefully calms the hyperness as I dive into querying. Still doesn't soothe the sting of rejections though.

p.s. does anyone else have a hard time reading against the ultra-cool brown paper background? My eyes are crossing.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Great post! I think blogging is important for networking, but I don't think every blogger needs to feel that they have to spend tons of time doing it. It's great to have a space where people can find you if you want them to, especially agents. That's very cool that an agent contacted you!

I've had a love/hate relationship with blogging, but it's more love than hate since I haven't quit yet. :)

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Susan, I think it's because the type is too small.

Joshua McCune said...

Christine, I'm not so sure about needing a blog, but I guess it can't hurt (though to be a good, regular blogger -- unlike moi -- does take a lot of time... and discipline).

Susan, that's excellent to hear (and a bit scary... at least for me, because of my proclivity toward non-pcness).

Michelle, definitely a love-hate... I'm somewhere in neutral now, probably.

RE: the font -- we'll look into giving it some Enzyte.

Nighfala said...

Susan - yes, mine are crossing too. But that may be because of this horrible head cold I have at the moment.