Monday, March 12, 2012

Blogging, Not Writing

By Alex Villasante
Everyone knows what's important to agents. The writing is king. Your writing is something you work on every day, on your own and with your crit partners and beta readers (and maybe your mom.) It's indisputable that you need to hone your craft. So why are you (and me and tons of others) wasting time writing on a blog? Why are we wasting time reading other blogs, commenting on other blogs, slogging through google reader? Why are we NOT using that time to WRITE?

Let me take a step back here. In my day job I'm an event planner. I've produced lots of events, everything from giant yard sales for charity to silent auctions. But when I started planning conventions and conferences It really opened my eyes. EVERYONE (writers, of course, included) has a conference. If there are a group of people doing a job, odds are good that they are getting together every year, probably somewhere warm, and hobnobbing with each other. It's called personal development, and the workshops and classes given are proof of that. But I plan these suckers. I know how much booze is consumed. I know that the surf lessons that come under the header of 'team building' are really just an excuse to wear a bikini. So what's going on? 

Most conferences are 30% professional development and 70% blowing off steam with a group of people that understand the specific issues you face. These are your peeps. They get you. It's important to connect with people already know what you do and how hard it is. Whatever kind of nerd you are - and everyone is some kind of nerd - a conference offers you the opportunity to nerd out. 

I propose that a community of blogs can do the same thing. It connects you to people who understand how hard it is and can bolster you when you are faltering. Reading about their journey and seeing how it mirrors yours can give you the strength to keep going, to not give up. I know it's done that for me. That's without mentioning the practical tips on agents, querying and, yes, attending conferences, that you can glean from other blogs. That's what I'm trying to do with my blog. I try to put out a lighthouse for others out on the wine-dark seas. If something I say offers some encouragement, that's worth the encouragement I get back.

I know someone who doesn't agree with me. Someone who thinks that it's too much of a drain, there are too many trolls (which is true) and too much negativity and just plain a waste of valuable writing time. I won't out her now, but maybe I can persuade her to write a rebuttal...Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. And she has emerged! I think blogging is a great tool in every way you've pointed out. I, on the other hand, like to write on it maybe once a week, if I even have something to write about. It's my personal opinion that blogging is more of a burden than it is a helpful tool. Sure there are times when I need a pick me up when writing is dragging me down into the depths of hell. That's when blogging is great.

    But most of the time it's just a place for people to get up on their soapbox and assail my ears. I have found a handful of blogs I love to read because every time I stop by they have something new and interesting to read about.

    I'm also not a fan of the idea that if someone writes on your blog you have to write on theirs. Yes, it's nice to return the favor, but that favor can get out of control. I don't want to be obligated. Read and comment when it moves you. It feels unauthentic when you're returning the favor, as if the only reason someone even bothered to stop by my blog was to get me to go to theirs.

    Now, speaking of conferences. The beauty of those alcohol-infused networking and learning experiences is that they only happen ONCE a year. I can stay in my comfortable little spot in the world until it's time to whip out the spiral notebook and pens, business cards and respectable clothing.

    Blogging doesn't always work for everyone and sometimes it works for someone all the time. Do with it what you will!