This time last week I wrote a post about where I currently am with my writing. I’d been wondering about the balance between writing and blogging and about when to publish work on my blog. I linked up with Writing Warriors over at Beautiful Misbehaviour and posed some questions to fellow writer/bloggers out there.
I received some really great responses (if you’re interested in these issues it’s worth reading the post for the comments section alone!) and reading other #writingwarrior posts gave me further ideas. I’ve been mulling things over all week. I’m going to link up with Writing Warriors again today to share this post about how far I’ve got with those thoughts, as I know I’m not alone in pondering these issues.
To blog or not to blog?
If ‘blogging time’ reduces my ‘writing time’, should I have a blog?
The bloggers I heard from all got something important from their blogging. Whether it was connecting with a community of like-minded writers out there, a place to share their work, somewhere to develop their writing or just a space for their own thoughts.
I’ve thought about this and realised that although blogging does take time away from my writing, it has given me something in all of these areas. In particular, I don’t think I would really be writing poetry at all without this blog as a place to share it. I’ve never thought of myself as a poet and although I wrote a few poems a year ago around the time my son was born, I hadn’t written any more until very late last year. Then in November I took the decision to publish a poem about late pregnancy that I’d written previously. I was encouraged by the feedback and that prompted me to write some more. Since then (which, now I come to think about it, is only over the past two months!) I’ve found myself really wanting to write poetry. Something happens in my life and I have the urge to sculpt it onto a poem somehow! I know for certain this would not be the case had I not shared that poem and continued to share them here.
So that made me realise that although blogging does take time away from my other writing, it is also very much a part of my writing experience. It is helping me develop and is thus very much worth it!
To publish perfect work or work-in-progress?
If a blog is – in any way – a promotional tool, should I only publish my ‘best’ work?
A response here was that a blog was a good place to record a writing journey and that ‘imperfection’ was all part of that! Also, sometimes it was good to share something with others: you could promote discussion of a particular issue or share experiences without needing to spend hours/ days/whatever honing your work.
I can also see that publishing ‘unfinished’ or ‘unpolished’ work could be a good way of getting feedback and encouragement towards completing it. Besides which, I’m not sure that anyone expects a blog to be merely a gallery of ‘best work’ anyway. If mine were that, it would be a different sort of blog – less chatty and more formal. A blog version of an anthology, I suppose.
So if I think about my experience as a blogger, I don’t think I’d enjoy it nearly so much if I was constantly striving for perfection. Frankly, my chances of achieving it are zero anyway! I want my blog to be friendly and genuine, not perfect and po-faced. I’m currently typing this with a baby lying on my lap who is wriggling and randomly whacking the buttons on some hideous, plastic, noisy toy while simultaneously pulling my hair, so it would be hard to be too formal!
Also, knowing what I know about my own perfectionist streak (not to mention the self-doubt demon) , if I were to decide to publish only my ‘best’ work I would never publish anything at all.
So my decision here is not to worry about whether what I write is the best it could be, and continue joining in with #prose4t where ever possible!
On juggling writing and blogging (and kids!)
There’s never enough time! What should I do?
Some people I heard from prioritise their blog, others their writing and some felt they were one and the same. I’ve also read about some great examples of carving out times in the day for writing (to make sure there is always time… or almost always) and the creation of physical writing spaces which help concentration.
I’ve already established I’m not going to give up blogging, but I can’t ignore the fact that it does distract me from my other writing. I think I need to carve out some time specifically for writing my book (and also a short story that I’ve been writing in three-sentence-bursts since December!)
So my plan – for this week – is to make time in every day for writing (specifically prose), and only when I’ve written for that long will I allow myself to blog (and associated tweeting/other blog reading/commenting). That way, the writing comes first. So, I’m going to plump for two hours a day, and two hours in total for the weekend (when my older kids are around during the day).
I’ve no idea how achievable that is. If the baby has a two hour nap on week days then it’s perfectly reasonable. If he plumps for half an hour (a length of time I can easily use up re-boiling the kettle five times to try and make myself a cup of tea while I sort out the washing mountain) it could be very difficult. It also depends on how he sleeps at night; after a bad night I sometimes crash-out during his nap time. Only one way to find out though!
Also, since I will be spending my ‘writing’ time writing prose, and because my blog has been a bit serious of late, I think I’ll try to use my blogging time to write a couple of limericks for #prose4T. My sons have been asking me to write more since the ‘wrinkly lion‘ one, so I’ll ask them to set me the topics.
I’ll report back in my next Writing Warriors post!
P.S Thanks to everyone who threw ideas my way this week!