Blogging: Verbal Masturbation or Merely Narcissism?

Today’s post is partially inspired by this post from about the ten biggest website mistakes that authors can make, as well as the occasional consensus from various people around the internet who assume blogs are nothing more than vanity displays for megalomaniacs about stuff no one really gives two shits about.

Which is probably true for some. I tend to divide blogs up into three categories – those that are useful (i.e. talk about trends or things I am interested in – books, technology, etc), those that are fun/interesting and those that are just sorta there.

I don’t think I had any goals planned when I started this blog. I’m not even sure it fits any pressing need on the web. After all, there are tons of them out there just like mine – aspiring authors, all writing about their journey to the holy grail of publishing.

And there are several lines of thought about that – nearly everyone agrees that an author should have at least some platform on which to launch from. It gives potential readers a chance to find out what sort of person you are. And it’s a pretty sure bet that potential agents or editors are going to take a look at it too, so be open with your thoughts, but with a dose of caution – after  all, words are very hard to take back once you throw them out on teh internets.

On the other hand, constant rants, while refreshing to one’s soul, can also give off a vibe of “batshit crazy” – not necessarily what you are looking for when you are trying to brand yourself. (Well, maybe some of you are, but then that’s your thing and I wish you luck!)

But still, sometimes it sort of cracks me up that the people who denigrate blogs the most are the people who either don’t have them, or put so little of themselves on them that there’s not much point in posting at all. It’s like everything else – you really can’t go halfway. People will recognize that you’re not being very honest with your readers and probably won’t come back.

I tend to put a lot of myself out here. It might not all be interesting to everyone, but that’s okay. I know some people come here to read about the writing, and some for the family stories and some just because they know me. So I figure that’s a pretty good place to start. The rest of it will just have to take care of itself.

Edited to fix the link up there. (Work blocked it so I couldn’t test, go figure…)

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9 Responses to Blogging: Verbal Masturbation or Merely Narcissism?

  1. Sandy Williams says:

    I think my blog falls into the 'just sortof there' category. I'm not sure what to do with it. You're right, there are tons of sites out there that are helpful, and to be honest, I don't feel like I can offer writing/publishing advice that's any better than what's already being done. Somehow, I have to squeeze into the fun/interesting category. The trick is… how?

  2. Julie Dao says:

    Great post! I agree with you that it's all about balance – putting enough of yourself out there that readers/agents can get a good feel for who you are along with your writing skill, but bottling up any crazy. Blogging is self-promotion. We are selling our work and an image of ourselves, and if it's not a good image, why bother?

  3. Danica says:

    I like to think my blog is in the funny/interesting category because I crack myself up, but like Sandy, I think it might fall in the 'just sort of there' category. I never thought about being a regular blogger until I made the decision to hone my craft and try to get published. You're right though, balance and honesty are important when selling yourself to a possible audience. Good post, Allison!

  4. sarahjayne says:

    I agree that honesty and balance are necessary for a blog to work/be successful. Whatever that happens to mean. I'd add resepect as well. For yourself and for your readers. You respect them enough to be honest and give them some sense of yourself along with content and they respectfully engage you with their words and return.

  5. mynfel says:

    Good points, all. And I'm not naive enough to think that I'm getting as many visitors as I am these days because of my charming personality. LOL.

    The majority of people who stop by are also writers, aspiring or otherwise – but the blog here really didn't start taking off until I won a few contests. However, the turning point was getting the agent – that's when people started to sit up and take notice, though some of that is probably because she tweeted about me a few times.

    It's really about getting yourself out there, but without being totally obnoxious about it. My blog posts show up on twitter and facebook and that's pretty much about it. I really try not to announce things on mailing loops, for example. I know some people do and that works for them, but I have a really hard time throwing myself out there like that.   I'm proud of what I've accomplished and how far I've come, but I have *NO* desire to rub anything in people's faces, if that makes any sense.

    Just a fine line, I guess.

  6. Simon says:

    Occasionally blogging is therapy for me. Kind of like when you're talking to a psychiatrist (I have no experience with this, btw… purely an imaginative construction), and they're letting you just ramble on until you come to your own conclusions. Yeah. I get to do that at the expense of my blog readers. And I don't even have to pay 'em. It's a good deal.

    Nobody's sent me a bill yet, so a win in that department.

    Oh, and talking about writing is fun too.

  7. Kay Theodoratus says:

    Whatever, I like your blog.

    I started mine because everyone said I needed one and I wanted to get ahead of the learning curve.  More like, I was wondering if I could sustain writing one of the things without getting bored.

    In the end, I found it helped we focus my thoughts about a lot of things writing.  Now all I have to do is put them into action.

  8. Julie K says:

    I'm with you. I sometimes worry I put too much of myself out there, but I prefer that over not enough. 

    This guy I know has one of the world's most boring blogs. It tells about what he's doing, but other than serving to make people jealous of his vacations, I don't see the point. It never really bugged me though until he started complaining about people not commenting on his blog, and all I could think was "What do you want us to say?"

    *shrug* 

    I say put yourself out there. Be as informative and interesting as you can be 🙂

  9. Nessa says:

    <p><span><span><span>I think that it’s a good thing to put yourself out there, that it makes the readers feel more connected to the writer, but sometimes it can get *too* much. I don't think that it’s that exiting to read about, and see like ten pictures of what someone had for lunch or stuff like that. I wonder why that has become such a popular thing to do here in Sweden.   </span></span></span>
    </p><p><span><span><span>My blog is one of those ‘just sort of there’ but as Simon said, it works as therapy. All the things on your mind, you can just put it on the screen and then think about it, if you want. Or just forget about it. 😛 </span></span></span>
    </p><p><span><span><span>Maybe you’ll get surprised about the things that turn up. I know that several times I’ve just been writing, not thinking at all, and when I paused and looked at it, I am like “where did that come from?” Lol. 😀 </span></span></span>
    </p><p><span><span><span>I like your blog; it’s about the only blog that I check on a daily basis. I find it very… how you say it… um… </span></span></span><span><span><span>I’ll get back to when I know the word, but my point is; this is the kind of blog that has all the good stuff in it. It has joy, sorrow, anger, etc. Sounds like I’m presenting a movie or something. xD Anyway, you've got a talent for writing, and making it interesting. It'll be interesting to see how far you can go, it wouldn't surprise me if the sky's the limit for you, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.</span></span></span>
    </p><p><span><span><span>But.. I<span>  </span>hope you understand what I’m trying to say, in all the rambling 🙂 </span></span></span><span><span><span>Otherwise I’ll have to try again when I’m not half-asleep. 😛 </span></span></span></p>

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