Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Out There: My First Year of Blogging

Wow. Seems like only yesterday that my husband went away on a ten-day business trip, and I, left to fend for myself, decided, “What the hell. Maybe I’ll start a blog.”

It’s been that hazy focus and lamentable lack of drive that has brought me to this milestone one year later.

My goal in starting this blog last October was a simple one. I felt I needed to get myself “out there.” You know what I mean. At first I resented the whole idea of authorial self-marketing. I really felt – and you may empathize with this sentiment -- “For heaven’s sake, haven’t I done enough just writing the dang book?”

The answer to that question is, alas, no. There is more to do – so much more -- and I guess I finally accepted that last fall.

Of course once you’ve had this reckoning and you resign yourself to blogging – or at least resign yourself to giving it a try -- you’re faced with many decisions about what kind of blog you want to put out there for public consumption. As I meandered through the blogosphere, I realized that there were several kinds of blogs offered up by writers at different stages in their careers and also by industry experts: you’ve got the agent blogs that offer advice and/or public spectacle, depending on the personality of the blogger; there are the blogs by editors, some written openly and some anonymously (and snarkily); you’ve got blogs by authors with book deals and established authors who get to talk about their lives, books, and all the cool places they’re visiting on their book tour; and then there is the vast ocean of the rest of us. The aspirants. I'm sure blogs by aspiring writers must number in the billions at this point.

From the outset I knew I wasn’t the type to dump all the details of my personal life into the cyber-landfill for the seagulls to pick over, and my guiding principle was and remains, “Do nothing regrettable.” I initially steered clear of writing about writing because many of you do that so well already, and what could I possibly have to add? Instead, I started what I thought would be a straight-up humor blog, mostly for my own amusement, as I assumed I wouldn’t have much of an audience. Well, one thing led to another, and somehow I’ve ended up with this hybrid humor-writing blog, which just goes to show you that if you keep at it, you'll eventually find your way, perhaps after some initial flailing about. (I probably knew this already, but it’s never a bad thing to have further proof that flailing is a noble art.)

What I discovered in my year of blogging and reading blogs has surprised me. At first I thought, Yikes. Do I really want to hear everyone’s blah blah blah about their struggles to get published? And the answer has turned out to be, “Yes. I very much do.” I happily follow many blogs, and I really enjoy keeping up with everyone’s story. I want for all of you to find success in your writing careers, and I especially love those triumphant posts about writers signing with agents or getting book contracts.

Which brings me to this: the future of this blog. The plain fact of the matter is that all blogs run their course unless you change and adapt. I’m not exactly sure how this blog will evolve in the next year, and frankly, I'm not going to spend too much time fretting about it. I've devloped a loose-cannon approach to self-marketing, and by golly, I'm going to stick with it.

One thing I am very certain of is this: Though the sun may someday collapse for lack of hydrogen to fuel it, the writing life will never stop providing me ample material. Thus, I will blog – and mock -- on.

I want to say thank you to all my regular readers, especially those of you who frequently leave me comments. Because of you, “out there” has turned out to be a very fun place to be.