"Do you like doing all the marketing, social networking, etc.?
In October of 2007, I started a blog. I had just bought my first Mac in years, and I set it up in about thirty seconds and stared at its beautiful shiny surface and wondered what I should do to mark its arrival. Getting the words and paragraphs and pages done wasn't a problem; I had made the decision months earlier to treat writing as my full-time job despite having no agent and no contract, and I'd been fulfilling my obligation to myself.
But I kept hearing people in my RWA chapter talking about the importance of developing a "presence" (shortly after that people started calling it a "platform," a term that hung in there most of last year and now seems to be ceding to a general discussion of participation in social media) - - and as usually happens with me and cultural trends, I felt left behind.
As I've written on this blog in the past, I am emphatically not an early adopter. I'm about as hip as an 8-track tape and have no desire to be first with any new toy. However, I cherish and respect my career enough that when I realized this was part of the job, I jumped in.
Here's a funny thing - I think my early blog posts, those I wrote at the end of '07 and into the early months of '08, were the best I'll ever do. I had time on my hands, for one thing - my only authorial tasks were to write and query. (Those days are LONG gone.) I was new to the exercise, so I strove mightily to get it right and put the time in polishing and drafting, a luxury I rarely can afford now. Also, and possibly most important and hardest to explain, I was writing for an audience of...zero. No one read my posts. I didn't tweet or have a facebook page so I had no way to direct traffic there; my family loves *me* but is indifferent to my presence/platform/whatever; and I had no real content to offer. In fact, I still hadn't placed my first short story in a 'zine.
None of that particularly bothered me. I've always been aware that the act of writing is, at base, a conversation with myself, an extended and awkward therapy session I conduct in my head. This was just one more canvas to paint on.
Which may be one of the reasons that, once people *did* start reading my posts (and trust me, pals, it's still no kind of big number) I took all those posts down. They felt oddly...raw. Not exactly too personal, because I've shared lots of personal stuff here and elsewhere and I kind of firmly and out-of-the-mainstream-ly believe that revelation - in the form of tangential asides, which is what blogging feels like to me - can be ameliorative to the main process. But perhaps...too fresh. Revelations which I hadn't simmered or cogitated sufficiently. First reactions, almost like a Rorschach test response - and since then, I've learned that a blog post (the current one excepted, oddly, because I'm very stream-of-consciousness at the moment) is more successful when one drafts and then refines it, considering an audience and maybe even letting the ego/super-ego in to refine what the id started.
Now see, that last paragraph is an example of one that on subsequent read begs refinement. But I'll let it stand as an illustration. Maybe even a cautionary example. :)
Anyway, blah blah blah, time went on and I ended up on several group blogs, and then there were several late nights in 2009 when certain thriller writers bullied me into Twitter and Facebook, and I had to sheepishly admit that they had been right all along and all my carmudgeonly refusal to play had been pointless. Yes, I like it. I like it, okay??!! Writing is tough, it's crazy-making and occasionally lonely, and I love dragging my fingertips through the torrid currents of the twitterverse when I'm especially stuck. Someone's always around to waste time with, and I'm positively addicted.
But for God's sake, ...."tweet"?? Makes me want to carve off strips of flesh. Horses and barn doors I suppose, but I do hope that when the next innovation is sprung upon us, someone will give a nod to dignity...