When I first started this blog, just two short weeks ago, there were two reasons.
Firstly I’m currently ‘between books’.
As I explained in ‘The Secrets to Finishing a Novel’, I’m quite an organised writer, and like to have a rough matrix of a novel planned out before I start writing. I also find I need a bit of breathing space between books to get out of the head of one character and into the head of another. And so, as I shed the mantle of Ellody Rose, The Dream Navigator, and prepare myself to follow Halley Macleod, Mercury’s Child, I found myself with extra time before bed when I would normally be writing. I needed something to occupy myself with, and writing a blog seemed a sensible use of my time.
Secondly, one of the major messages I took from my Masters degree was the need for an online presence.
My Masters was in Broadcast Journalism, and at the time I wrote a commentary style blog about my area of interest – children’s tv – and video blogged – my Challenge Charly work. Whilst writing is only narrowly removed from journalism, in my first two years of writing fiction I never really placed any importance on using the web. My goals were clear – finish the book, get an agent, get it published. It was only recently, as I sat twiddling my thumbs, waiting to hear back from publishers, that I realised that the internet could really be of use to an aspiring author. You simply have to google ‘writing blog’ to realise the vast amounts of information and opinion on starting out as a writer and getting published. This time last week, I felt I had been inducted into a whole new world.
In fact, when my third ever blog post became Freshly Pressed, and 5,000 people in 24 hours checked out my post ‘So Am I an Author Yet?’ it became something of a baptism of fire! However, having had time to read all the comments posted on my blog and to look at some of the blogs of those of you who posted, I definitely understood a third important reason, for me, for writing a blog.
To connect with other aspiring writers.
As I’ve said before, writing is a lonely profession.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s my ideal career. However, as well as being someone who loves to spend hours at my laptop creating characters, I’m also someone who enjoys my time in the real world, communicating with ‘real people’.
And so it’s nice to be able to ‘socialise’ whilst still wearing my ‘author hat’. (see The Pen Name: A Shield to accompany the Literary Sword?)
For me, the comments bar isn’t just a one-way street – it facilitates dialogue, and lets writers communicate directly with other writers, and with a whole host of new readers.
Social Media has changed the world as we know it. Everyone knows that. However, as writers, it can also revolutionise our (aspiring) profession.
Now writers can sit at their computer screen, and not only communicate through characters of their own making, but also communicate with other writers. We can have crash-test-dummy readers on the other side of the globe, and receive real criticism on work from people whose close personal relationships with us cloud their reading judgment.
Just last week, I received my first bona-fide teenage reader! Most of my work is aimed at teenage girls, and yet, to date, almost all of my readers have been in their late twenties, and most of them are male! So to have someone from my target audience read and appreciate my work has been fantastic, and something which, as a 27 year-old woman with no teenage siblings, would have been pretty hard for me to find outside of the web.
And so there’s a third reason – The Writers’ Network. A web of words, rather different to the one Charlotte wove in my personal favourite children’s book. And I’m only now beginning to enjoy the real benefits of it!
Thank you everyone who has read the blog, and especially those of you who have commented. I try to reply personally to every comment, and will try my best to check out any blogs you have asked me to look at – apologies for the delay (and the 5 day ‘radio silence’) I’ve had flu for the past week.