The ultimate question for many of us is “Should I blog?” I’m
heading limping through my third year of blogging, and I have lost count how many times I have wrestled with this question, or a modification of it.
I opted to blog on a whim. Actually, I think I’d been drinking.
I’d heard that blogging is a must-do for any writer who plans to publish, be it traditionally or independently. Even though I have my moments of wavering confidence, I have always wanted to be an author. As I was wrapping up what I thought was the final draft to Ms. Bossy, blogging sounded like the right thing to do next. So, I created this site and the blogging began.
And, wow! Did I find a treasure trove of information! Everything a writer needs to know about the craft is available online — writing, editing, publishing, blogging, platform — it’s all there for the taking.
Maybe it’s because I’m a self-proclaimed modish gladiator and I’m used to being swamped, or maybe it’s because I have trouble making decisions, or maybe it’s because I felt like a kid in a candy store — but everything looked so wonderful, so appropriate, so necessary. I dove right in.
I followed every site that had even just one fairly good article. I followed bloggers without really knowing enough about what they were all about. When random bloggers followed me, I followed back, thinking that was good blogging manners.
In no time at all, I was drowning in the Great Blogging Sea. There was too much info out there. Too many amazing bloggers. Too many sites with great advice. Too many disreputable sites. Too many bloggers who are in it just to make sales. Too much info that didn’t really apply to me.
I should have tested the waters first before setting sail on my blogging ship.
I think I was afraid of wasting time, as I was feeling like I’d already wasted too much time getting to this place on my career path. I must have thought that if I didn’t bookmark and follow sites right away, that I’d lose track of them forever and miss out on that one gem I needed to get published.
If I’d lurked around websites and blogs, before starting my blog, I would have learned a lot about the pros and cons, dos and don’ts, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Yeah, I wouldn’t have gotten sucked into the blogging whirlpool if I’d been a lurker first.
I would have realized how much time blogging takes, which would have enabled me to come up with a time-management strategy. I would have discovered which bloggers are worth the effort and which ones are junk, and followed more prudently. I would have seen that not all sites and blogs are created equally, and not all make a difference to me.
I’d have realized that building a platform and learning the industry takes as much time and patience as writing a novel.
I’m a writer, and I’m on an epic quest. And now I know I have to treat my social-writer self as carefully and as strategically as I do my work.
What was your first blogging mistake? You have made a mistake, uh, haven’t you???