Monday, November 26, 2007

Why blog?

On Saturday I went to the Winchester Writers' Day. It is a conference run by SCBWI for writers of children's books. I was going to be part of a panel discussing blogging. But, due to unforeseen circumstances, the panel didn't happen.

For this reason, Candy Gourlay has decided to do an online panel. So today, I am blogging the questions Candy was planning to ask me.



1. Could you tell us a little bit about your blog, its purpose and its target reader?

I started my blog http://amloughrey.blogspot.com/ because Jude Ensaff http://judes-writing.blogspot.com/ decided to start one and I had to join up to make a comment. As I had signed up, I thought, “Well, I might as well blog now.” So I did!

My blog has no purpose what-so-ever.

It has a theme in that it is aimed at writers’ for children like me. It is sort of a journal about my experiences and thoughts on writing, with particular reference to writing for children, but maybe a few other things mixed in.

I’ve always been rubbish at keeping diaries and stuff though. So, I do not blog regularly. My blog also does not really have much of a following, which allows me to basically say what I want, on the grounds not many people will read it anyway. However, this has got me into trouble once or twice.


2. Why do you blog? Is it a blessing or a curse?

I have no idea why I blog.

My first response to this question was – “Mainly, I blog as a ‘real work’ avoidance tactic.”

Once I was told by a group of my friends, Jane Wenham-Jones, Lynne Hackles and Irene Yates, I should NEVER write for free. Blogging is writing for nothing. Their argument is why waste your time writing something you are not going to get paid for. In theory, I should not be doing it. But, I’m the type of person that if you tell me not to do something I have to give it a go.

They also said blogging is a form of self-publishing – a quick, easy way to see yourself in print. Now, I’m slightly anti self-publishing on the grounds I want someone else to love my writing and want to publish it, so in this respect I should not be blogging either.

Maybe, blogging is my way of getting off my mind the things that are clogging it up so I can get on with the ‘real work’- you know, the stuff I DO get paid for. Sometimes I just need a break from a project I’m working on so I might blog instead. Sometimes, I just have things I want to say to nobody in particular.

It is both a blessing and a curse. I love blogging but, I get cross at myself at procrastinating and wasting time when I am not getting paid for it.

Saying that I have had several publishers send me books to review as a result of reading my blog. I also, got a job as a children’s book reviewer with www.writeaway.org.uk as a result of my blog. Oh, and I got to answer all these silly questions for Candy! Lucky me! LOL




3. You dabbled in fiction blogging with Moira - why did you stop (I loved Moira)?

I started my fictional blog Moira Miller because Addy asked me to. She is a fictional-blogger with her wonderful Wilf's World blog, soon to be published. She set up the fictional blogging forum and sent me an invite. I felt I could not join unless I had a fictional blog and that is why I invented Moira. Moira was based on my daughter but, had a growing number of problems.

The main reason I continued writing the fictional blog was because I had this really cool word counter. Every day I would watch the word count climb. There was thousands and thousands of words and then disaster struck! The word counter broke. It messed up the formatting on my blog page so I had to take it off. Moira sort of ran out of steam after that. My motivation was watching the word counter go up. Again, it was writing for nothing so I had to make a decision if I wanted to carry on.

I was spending a lot of time writing Moira with no direction or plot and it was fun. But, she was out of control. I felt I needed to stop and rein her in. There were massive gaps where I had not got round to writing that day and I was trying to work it into real time with school terms and everything. The problem with blogging it means I could not go back and fill in the gaps. Also, the problem with blogging a story is you have to read the story backwards. So, if you came across Moira after I’d been writing her a few months, you wouldn’t know all the back-story and it honestly didn’t make sense.

So, I took Moira offline. My plan is to fill in the gaps. Give her direction and edit it down into a more readable story. One day, she may be back online but, I’d rather see her published in a book because an editor really loved her and loved my writing and just had to publish it.



4. What is the worst thing and what is the best thing about blogging?

The worst thing about blogging is feeling like I am wasting time when I should be getting on with other things. The best bit about blogging is when someone leaves me a comment. It makes me feel really good knowing somebody has actually read what I’ve written and taken the time to write back to me.

I have found blogging will get your name out into the big wide world and people do start to know who you are. Ahh... fame and fortune – that’s all I’ve ever wanted really!!!



5. Can you give any advice to the web newbie on how to break into the blogosphere?

Yes, my advice is… don’t do it! Think of all the time you’ll be wasting!

I gave a course at the Caerleon Writers’ Holiday this year (July 2007) on how to set up a blog. It was great seeing other authors with their blogs up and running. But, I can’t help feeling guilty I am also helping them to procrastinate when they should be writing their books.

There are loads of blogging companies. Some are just plain blogs or online journals. Others are whole networking structures, like MySpace and Facebook. But, in my experience, the best and easiest blog to start with is, as Candy said at the Winchester Writers’ Day, www.blogger.com

If you really, really want to blog and nothing anyone can say will dissuade you - then, go to the blogger.com website and sign up by filling in the boxes with all your details, your name, what you want to call your blog, etc. and then you have a WYSIWYG (What You See Is what You Get) text box you can type in and upload your entries, pictures, videos anything you want. If you want people to read your blog the best way to do it is by going and commenting on other people’s blogs. Also, put your blog address as part of your signature in all your all emails.

Happy blogging!

8 comments:

Wilf said...

Great comments, Anita!
Addy

Sarah said...

Nice job! And it was great seeing you at Writer's Day! :-)

Sarah

Jude said...

Hey Anita, you got to be on the panel after all... well answered...and I got a mention... I'm going to be FAMOUS now! :-)

janewj said...

thanks for the mention Anita but I'm not sure I said that! I have written thousands and thousands of words without getting paid in my time. What I would say is, I don't write without a purpose! As for blog-writing I suggested it in both my book - Wannabe a Writer? www.wannabeawriter.co.uk and also in my Writing Magazine column - see www.janewenham-jones.com.
And would certainly never advise someone NOT to do it. You blog away girl! :-)
janexx

janewj said...

thanks for the mention Anita but I'm not sure I said that! I have written thousands and thousands of words without getting paid in my time. What I would say is, I don't write without a purpose! As for blog-writing I suggested it in both my book - Wannabe a Writer? www.wannabeawriter.co.uk and also in my Writing Magazine column - see www.janewenham-jones.com.
And would certainly never advise someone NOT to do it. You blog away girl! :-)
janexx

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great blog panel! You say blogging got you into trouble? What happened? Thanks in advance.

S

Anita Marion Loughrey said...

Sorry Jane for misquoting you.

But, I was pleased you took the time to look in and write a comment and plug your most excellent book.

By the way, copies of your book, Wannabe a Writer, were on sale at the SCBWI conference.

janewj said...

Thanks Anita! V pleased my books on sale :-) thanks for letting me know janexx