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Sunday, 15 June 2014

BLOGGING FOR AUTHORS: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Yes, it's a nice idea: having the audience eating out of your hand.
   Note that there must be something to eat.
   If it's strictly for the birds, that means everything.
   To the birds.
   So your writing may not be for all tastes. What a shocker.





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There wasn't meant to be a blog post this week. I'd decided the blog had to go. Either I'd turn over these pages to other authors in guest-spots...or I'd announce a blog holiday.
   You know. One of those holidays in which the participant simply never comes back.
   But I always felt that way, blogging. That my back-up plan was to kill the blog before it could rampage across the known and unknown Cosmos, destroying most in its path and some in its wake.

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Kill the blog? Jury is out.
   And yet.
   Here I am, talking about blogging. For authors. What should you do? And what shouldn't you do? I don't care. There. I said it. Oh, it's your blog. Or blog-in-the-making. And I'm not here to sculpt that snowflake for you.
   Advice on blogging for authors is limited. And limitless. I'll go with limited - Blogger is a creature that has a limit when it comes to the amount of text you can throw on here.

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You needn't blog at all.

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If you blog, you should blog frequently. At least twice in a lifetime. Probably more often. Not hourly. Take breaks.

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Resist the temptation to blog in the worst colour-combination possible. Lemon yellow on a lime green background springs to mind. Go for black text on an off-white background.
   White text on a black background looks cool. It's okay for short blog posts, but don't make a habit of writing at great length across that landscape. Try going for black text on an off-white background. I may have mentioned that.
   Avoid animation. I have a couple of widgets with movement built in. The carousel stays static unless you activate it. There's a Twitter map with a zoom function.
   My one concession to animation is a snowing effect, come winter. As the blog runs on an off-white background, this isn't too distracting.
   I am aware that I may die one winter, leaving the blog snowing for as long as the internet remains. Well. Damn.

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Write your blog posts as long or as short as you care to. When I started this blog, the regular posts were a minimum of 1,500 words...
   Why? I planned to collect the blog posts in a Kindle book and publish them alongside fiction. So I threw in themes, across blog posts, knowing those snowflakes were destined to be preserved in e-books.
   Back then I didn't have the internet at home. So I wrote blog posts in batches, then loaded them into Blogger at a public library. I scheduled the posts to run weeks in advance. All because internet time at the library was severely limited.
   Now that I have the internet, I am more spontaneous with blog posts.

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If you write fiction, post fiction on your blog. You'll see dedicated pages on this blog, with free fiction samples available. A writing blog about writing is just a blog about writing about writing unless you post stories there too.
   Some blogs are all about writing about writing, and I don't mean to casually dismiss those.
   And some blogs deal with writing non-fiction. It's not all storytelling, remember.
   Sure, talk the talk about the writing game. But where are your stories, I'm asking...

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Cast a wary eye over your potentially libellous and/or defamatory statements. Beware accidental copyright infringement. Avoid deliberate copyright infringement. Don't run with scissors in the dark. Put a light on.

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Announce stuff. As you are prepared to change plans, change plans. Admit mistakes. Update things. If you must blog while eating soup, keep the soup back from the electrics.
   No soup was thrown at the keyboard during the writing of this blog.

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If you must blog in anger, blog angrily every fucking time. Make that your persona, but never make it personal.

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Decide now if you are going to fucking swear, make coy references to the eff-bomb, employ f***ing asterisks, or frikking chicken out of that shirt altogether, gosh-darn it.

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Should you get into a fight with an author, make sure that author is in the same fucking room with you. None of those Twitter Tantrums, no Facebook Fighting, and zero Tumblr Tussles.
   Get within the bastard's reach and physically rip a pair of balls off. Serve on a plate. Question nothing if the writer you did this to was female. Balls on a plate are symbolic. Wait for the cops or go on the run.
   Not advocating violence, merely the imagery of violence. I may have advocated violence somewhere in this blog. That is shameful and wrong, if you happen to think it shameful and wrong. I couldn't possibly comment.
   Authors are all colleagues. Never rivals. So. No Blogging Belligerence. If a writer annoys you, kill the writer IN PERSON or just let it the fuck go.
   Holy Fuck. My blogging on violence is interrupted by an actual fight outside. Bitching from two, er, ladies. (Not really.) Every second word is FUCK. This is hilarious for all the wrong reasons.
   It's funnier with Scottish accents.
   Bitching, by bitches, about bitches. It's an argument over dogs. Someone may get hurt. Feelings are bruised. Stay tuned.

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Well that was effing surreal. I don't think I've ever blogged so topically. There's a line of thought indicating that women should never swear. Or fight.
   Doesn't really apply in Scotlandia.

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I haven't lost the thread, it was cut by bitching. Hmm. Blog in a peaceful environment if you can.
   Doesn't really apply in Scotlandia.

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Other snippets of writing advice apply to blogging. Read your work aloud. Empty your bladder, but not at the keyboard. Never start a piece of writing with never start a piece of writing. Having your keyboard divided into black keys and white keys is unhelpful.

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Seek permission. Provide attribution. Hyperlink to relevant items. Drink coffee.

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Stay hydrated and take breaks. Useless information. Drink coffee. Empty your bladder. Useful information.

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Have, develop, or rent a sense of humour.

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Never seek to break up a dogfight.

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You can (almost always) delete blog posts. If the blog isn't working out for you, take up croquet. Croquet may not work out for you. I may have meant crochet. Or possibly croquettes.

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This blog has at least two contact points. The e-mail contact is in the dedicated page, but it appears at the top of this blog for those who lack patience.
   Better to say, it's at the top of the page for those who are looking for no-fuss contact info.
   If you seek to set up a blog tour or other participatory author event, you'll come to appreciate the e-mail address that is at the top of the page.
   When you have a list of dozens of blogs to go through, you want dozens of e-mail addresses RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU. The last time I went in search of that information, I was prepared to spend up to five minutes, per blog, hunting for contact data.
   That is above and beyond the call of above and beyond, in my book. Should every dozen addresses take you an hour to find? No. Hell, that's time I could spend drinking coffee or overdosing on mints.
   I overdosed on mints this week. Twice. Let us draw a veil over the incident. And the second incident.

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Never apologise for being away from your blog. Some grumpy fuckers shorten that to never apologise.

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As for the content of your blog...
   Never apologise for the content of your blog. If you change your mind on a topic, say so and show you working. Include diagrams, and detail from the secret files.
   Have the courage to stick to your guns while your guns serve you well. Should your position change, announce that you've relocated. But stick with the writing. Believe in the writing.

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Hard to fathom that I was writing about fighting and a fight broke out just beyond my window. Today's new task? Writing about suddenly inheriting a fortune from a long-lost relative. Let's see how that works out for me.
   But it is clear how the audience views the unlikelihood, and I must away to see to a flock of words which I'll feed from the palm of my hand.

4 comments:

  1. I hope you don't stop blogging.

    Also, lately I've so badly wanted to post snippets of the stories I am working on to my blog or facebook. But then I don't because I know that those snippets might change because of critiques I'll receive in the future and also, I tend to write vulgarly and don't want my blog to be flagged as a blog that contains adult content in it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. (Blows dust off blog.) What's this, a comment? From the newly-hitched E.B. Black, no less. I read your piece about how your husband utterly supports your writing. You must now divorce him so that other writers can marry that guy. He appears to be what Americans call a keeper. Writers will queue in droves for his support. You must expect to be the target of assassination as scribblers attempt to walk over your dead body to reach that man.

    I always blog with the feeling that the blog is over and done with. And I can't really say why that is, for I don't return reluctantly to the blog each week. This isn't an uphill struggle, or anything like that. Just...a safety-valve, of sorts. A way out. Escape-pod. I can shut it down and return to it later if I must.

    But no. I keep going. Even when a catfight about dogs breaks out, just beyond my window.

    You could write dedicated stories just for your blog. Short pieces. Fire them out and leave them there. You'll feel different about those - it's not as if you are giving sneak-previews of full-length books you know you'll tidy prior to publication. It should be easier to cut loose of shorter tales, without too much worry.

    As for the naughty stuff, well, there's always innuendo. Write dirty, write vaguely, plead innocence, and be astonished when people say you have a dirty mind. I don't have a dirty mind at all, and I am astonished when people say...oops, think I gave it away there. If you must give it away, don't give it away on the cheap. ;)

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  3. That's a good plan. Although I think it would also be fun to post stories like that on my actual web-site and not just on my blog.

    And lol, I don't usually get comments on my blog, either, most of the time and yet a bunch of people (well, a bunch compared to my usual) commented on the blog about my supportive husband. I already told my husband that his blog post is the most popular of all my blog posts and that it's because all authors now wished they were married to him. XD It's true. This just further confirms my point.

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  4. I was going to disable blog comments just because no one was leaving comments. On the off-chance that someone called E.B. Black stumbles out of the storm to type a few words, I am now forced to leave the facility open to the masses. Chip in if you have something, or nothing much, to say, folks.

    ReplyDelete

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