The Liebster Award and the craft of blogging (4) … Why do it?

Some time ago Norah Colvin nominated Bookword (among other blogs) for the Liebster Award. Many thanks Norah. But I have delayed in meeting the obligations of the Liebster Award: answering some questions and then nominating others and asking them questions in turn. It’s like a chain letter, and it promotes less well-known blogs.

88 liebster2I have decided to delay no longer, and to flunk the Liebster test. Instead of the normal nominations I am identifying a few blogs that I enjoy and inviting them to answer the question of this post: why blog?

Please visit these blogs and see what you think:

  1. Jon Stein – a writer and musician and fellow member of a writing group. Jon wrote a guest post for me on being a writer in Andalucía. He also makes interesting comments on my posts.
  2. Norah Colvin – already recipient of Liebster Award. Such a lively blog about life, education, writing with added antipodean perspective.
  3. Annethology – for a great mixture of reflection, comment, and original writing. Anne is also the recipient of the Liebster Award, also nominated by Norah. Both Norah and Anne are frequent visitors to Bookword. I feel as if I know them, like members of a reading group!
  4. Anna Lodge Consulting – this is my daughter’s blog. She encouraged me to start with social media, being experienced through her consulting business. I like her human approach to setting up her own business. I wish she would post more on her own blog! Go Anna!
  5. And finally two for all booklovers, although they are probably too big to qualify for a Liebster Award I am sure – Vulpes Libris.
  6. Shiny New Books – a new blog subtitled what to read next and why.

 

Why blog? My answer

Citizens’ publishing, that’s what blogging is. Micropublishing, that’s another phrase I have heard used. It’s so hard for writers to get anything published in the traditional way these days, so doing it yourself is an obvious response. But also because the internet makes this democratic behaviour possible. There is an associated challenge in that there are few quality controls (unlike traditional publishing), so we have to hone our discriminating faculties. So the first answer to my question, why blog? is: I can publish my writing, so I do.

But this is far from the full answer to my question, why blog? I began because I planned to pitch for a blog to promote our book* (see below). The submission required familiarity with WordPress. At that time I had rarely read a blog, and so started it to gain the necessary experience. Another part of the answer is: to learn something new.

But as I have gained experience I have learned some of the additional pleasures that keep me posting every 5 or 6 days.

Connections

25 Stone AngelI love having connections with people who share my passion for books and read the blog. The most read of all the posts on Bookword is my review of The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence. I read it because I had asked for ideas read older women in fiction. Litlove, from Tales from the Reading Room suggested it. I hope I have encouraged a few other people to read it as well. I’m glad I didn’t miss that one!

 

Improved writing

A number of people, including my two writing collaborators say that my writing has improved since I began the blog. They should know. I think revising the book* with my co-author and with the guidance of editors, has helped. You can argue that in reverse, so I guess that I can conclude that writing helps writing. Or, as many people have said (according to Google searches), all writing is rewriting.

Persistence and achievement

I have recently posted for the 100th time. I began about 18 months ago, and I have kept going at a regular pace. (Guidance on blogging always says you should be consistent. I don’t know if readers respond to consistency, but I am pleased to have achieved this.)

The number of visitors has risen steadily, along with the number of subscribers and those who add comments.

I’ve got a schedule with 20 ideas pencilled in, and a file filled with further ideas. And people keep publishing books. And I keep reading them. Why stop?

So finally: I blog

  • above all because I can share my love of reading and writing, and
  • to publish my writing
  • to learn new things
  • to improve my writing
  • and because it’s an achievement.

*And the book I refer to will be published on 24th July: Retiring with Attitude, by Caroline Lodge and Eileen Carnell. Published by GuardianBooks. (See also previous blogpost.) Much more in subsequent blogs about this book and the process!

101 RWA fan

So I’ve said why I write my blog. Why do you read it? Comments please!

 

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8 Comments

Filed under Books, Publishing our book, The Craft of Blogging

8 Responses to The Liebster Award and the craft of blogging (4) … Why do it?

  1. Anna

    Thank you! And yes, hang-dog shame with the lack of blogs these past few months. I now write many many more blogs for other peoples company’s than my own. But always inspired to read yours so thank for sharing. Consider it a good motivation to do what I do, rather than what I say! x

  2. Congratulations on a great post Caroline. I love your question “Why blog?” It sounds quite simple but you have provided quite a complex answer. Some of my reasons are similar to yours with one thing I especially enjoy being able to get to know so many other people with similar interests. Connecting with these on the internet is sometimes easier than in person. There are no constraints of time and place. I am so pleased you got around to posting this response, and it is definitely not a “flunk”. You have demonstrated ingenuity and creativity in putting your individual stamp on the “task”. I love it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. A lovely post, Caroline, and thanks for the mention. I’d echo all your reasons for blogging and have even blogged about it myself over the almost 18 months I’ve been going. Like you, I rarely visited blogs before I started my own, but I love the interconnections and how we spark ideas off each other: http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/annecdotal/our-blogging-interconnections. I also have a similar sense to yours about the democracy of the internet and, a bit like climbing mountains, I want to use it because it’s there: http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/annecdotal/three-reasons-i-startedblogging. It also enables me to keep writing when I’m not inspired by my fiction and it’s so empowering to be able to press the button and you’re published, so different to the endless trawl of submitting fiction: http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/annecdotal/5-reasons-im-blogging-flash-version. Finally, another thing that’s become clearer to me more recently, perhaps through participation in these awards, is that it’s a form of play. I’m quite a serious person, with a dark side to my fiction, and I’m very serious about working towards my writing goals, so it’s great to have somewhere I can have fun with my writing, while still pushing it forward. Although it can be a faff and time-consuming, and I’m not the world’s best photographer, I really enjoy choosing the pictures to illustrate my posts – it reminds me of the magazines I used to make for my sister when I was young.
    Sorry if this answer might be longer than you expected – I think I’ve thought about this a lot because there’s still a part of me that’s surprised that I’m doing it!

    • Caroline

      Thanks Anne for the idea of the blog as playful – not an insight I had had, so great to think about. And for your full answer. Longer than I could have hoped for, all worth reading.
      And do I note that you have been playing like this all your life, starting with a willing sister? These patterns run very deep.
      And I will reply to your DM but I need a clear day (thursday) to get to it.

  4. thank you belatedly for my ‘nomination’ Caroline! The challenge of self-publishing, even semi-regularly, helps me maintain quality control, and a sense of myself as a writer. I’m hoping that a new strand ‘Words, Music and Me’ gives my blog a further boost, as well as providing an outlet for other bloggers to contribute. If anyone out there would like to be considered, please contact me for guidelines!

  5. Eileen

    Great Caroline –
    why do it?
    Well I have only done a couple and those have been collaborative. Any writing enhances my knowledge and understanding and doing it with others helps develop learning even more.
    Reading yours gives me lots of ideas for new reading and I also find the responses to your blogs very interesting – so thoughtful.
    And yes, I do see improvement in your writing – it’s edgier.
    Love
    e
    x

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