Friday, November 25, 2011

In the Beginning…


After threatening to do this for months, I've finally forged ahead and created my blog for my web site. It does beg the question, why would a professional writer want to write a blog on the side as well? I have a number of reasons for this.
First, it acts as a mental warmup. Just as an athlete will stretch and exercise before the actual athletic event, this gives me the opportunity to get my mind into the right state or writing. My morning routine is to read the morning news on a number of web sites; this includes following on to related reading on other web sites.. Go through email and respond when necessary. When I'm reading a book, morning is usually the time I'll get any reading done. My routine goes through a progression that leads eventually to writing activities.
In reading through various articles, blogs, and essays, often I will want to have some kind of response to the ideas I've come across. Or, I may have an opinion of my own on a given subject that I want to express. These ideas can often get in the way of my fiction writing, because I really do want to work them out. This often distracts me from writing the story. I have a few essays written on a number of topics—some relating to writing, some not—and a number of others still floating in my head that I'd like to write.
This all makes for a good discipline to write when I can't get myself writing creatively.

Venues

The next reason for creating a blog was to create the appropriate vehicle for posting an essay. My web site is for promoting my books and myself as an author. Readers will want to visit my site for the latest news on books and stories and events I may be attending. They will not want to be seeing me expound on subjects that have little or nothing to do with my stories.
Social networking sites are good for marketing and promoting, but only in quick snippets. Also, one must consider the audience one is addressing on various social sites:
  • Google+ = "I just read a fascinating dissertation that got me thinking about…"
  • Facebook = "I haven't partied like that since high school! I puked on my new shoes…"
  • Twitter = "Dudes! I just took the most amazing dump…"
As my friends and family can certainly attest, I'm not known for writing short notes when emailing or writing letters. Google+ does let one write out a fairly lengthy discourse when posting. Facebook on the other hand has a length limit that I have hit several times. And Twitter—at a 140-character limit—just doesn't show up on the radar for writing missives.
For G+ and FB, I also wouldn't want to be dumping huge posts into the streams and walls of my friends. That would be a good way to get my posts ignored. Not to mention buried in the flood of messages from everyone else connected to those to whom I am connected. They are a good medium for posting quick announcements, but I needed something more robust.
That meant I needed to create the blog. A place where I can shovel out the various ideas in my head and place them into nice, neat piles (usually still steaming). Write the essays on various subjects that I want to comment on and get myself warmed up for getting to my writing stories.
In that way, the distraction becomes a tool for focusing on the task to be done.
Now that I've got the blog working, I need to tweak the typography of it. Having a good narrative is one thing, making the text pleasing to read is another. I would ask readers to bear with me over the next few weeks while I work out the particulars so I can present the blog in the way I wish it to be seen and make it easy on the eyes at the same time. Bad typesetting can destroy the chances of a good book to make it. The same can be said for a blog. If it isn't easy on the reader's eyes, that reader won't bother returning.