Before we get to today’s post, I’d like to introduce you to this month’s sponsor, Lisa Romeo. Not only does she have an awesome blog, she also offers coaching, editing, and two online classes this fall, Writing Bootcamp and Memoir/Creative Nonfiction Writing. I can vouch for these because a friend has taken two classes with Lisa and loved both. Consider her if you want to enhance your craft or polish your manuscript!
A woman in our Travel Memoir Writers Facebook group recently brought up the question that never dies: Does she really need to grow a blog? Won’t it take away from her writing?
Yes, and yes.
Countless times I’ve sat down at my computer at 8 p.m. after a long day at work, knowing I had to choose. Should I work on the blog or the book?
It’s a Catch-22: Our main goal is to publish the book, and to accomplish that we have to finish it. But to sell the book, we need a platform, and the most feasible way for most of us to grow that is through a blog. We want to make the book a priority, but we’ll need a platform to sell it, which means we can’t wait until we finish the book to start growing a blog.
Is anyone else pulling their hair out?
For many writers, though a blog eventually becomes far more than a marketing tool. It helps us improve our craft. It’s an avenue through which to meet interesting people. A way to put the ideas and insights that bounce around in our heads to good use. And it also serves as a prism through which to see the world, because writing about goals and lessons and what’s important in life reminds us how we want to live.
Yet for all the greatness this blog has brought into my life, I have no doubt I would’ve finished writing and editing and revising my manuscript if I hadn’t also put time into growing this blog. The hard truth is that each of us have only so many hours each day, and while we can always make time for our priorities, time is still limited.
So how can writers find the right balance between working on the manuscript and growing the blog? That’s what I’m hoping we can discuss today.
I tend to give precedence to my three blog posts each week, and then, feeling untethered because that’s done, move onto the manuscript. The problem is that a blog offers so much more immediate gratification than a manuscript. I can literally watch my subscribers grow (about to hit the 500 mark!), interact with readers in the comments and track page views. That feeling of accomplishment is far more difficult to come by with a manuscript, since it can take years to write and sell a book.
For me, that means I have to really push through on the manuscript, looking forward to times like now when it’s off my plate, in my agent’s hands, and I can focus on the blog. Other writers seem to have the opposite problem and loathe growing a blog community, so they have to force themselves to take time out from the manuscript to post online.
How do you strike a balance?
Photo credit: Flickr’s Mike Licht