I started this blog with zero research. Now maybe this isn’t something to brag about, but I’m not convinced it was a bad thing either. Someone told me that if I wanted to self-publish it might be a good idea to have a blog to promote my book. I said – what would I write about? I’m not the type of person who is comfortable with self-promotion, so I couldn’t see myself doing ongoing writing about how much everyone needs to read my book. The person said – write about what you’ve just been telling me – the process you’re going through as you proceed to self-publish your first novel. OK – I said. So, away I went, writing this blog – somewhat like an innocent lamb going to the slaughter.
Imagine my surprise when I actually got out in the blog world and read an entry in Kristen Lamb’s blog entitled, Tipping Sacred Cows – Why writing about writing is bad. (http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/?s=Tipping+Sacred+cows) Naturally the title caught my attention – who doesn’t love tipping sacred cows and the subtitle of my own blog is, writing about writing – I was curious about what she had to say about how what I was doing was bad. Another shock came when I realized that there are apparently many blogs with writing about writing as their theme – hmmmm – perhaps that would have been a good thing to know.
Lamb mentions five points. If our blog is just about writing we will, first – limit our following; second – limit our own content and lead to our own burn-out; third – our whole blog is in danger of collapse if we decide to change topics; fourth – just increase the competition to sell our own book since writers (who are, by the way, trying to sell their books) tend to group around other writing blogs; and finally – writing blogs aren’t creative.
Lamb elaborates on each of these points and I urge you to read her stuff – it’s engaging and in your face. What I took from her blog post was that we could write about writing if we wanted to but we better also write about everything else, so why not expand our reader base from the start by not declaring that we will be writing about writing. Confused yet? I was – sort of.
Writing about writing, for me, is already about everything else because my writing seems to be about every single thing that has ever happened to me. I start at one point, with one idea, and very quickly I jump all over the map, throwing in everything including that proverbial kitchen sink. That has been a fairly natural process for me.
I do quibble with Lamb’s last point – writing blogs aren’t creative. That just depends – doesn’t it? I think a blogger can be creative with any topic. Not everyone is interested in writing, or the writing process, or even the process of trying to self-publish – fair enough. Lamb suggests making a blog attractive to the widest possible audience.
My novel – Disappearing in Plain Sight – is about a group of people who live in a fairly isolated area, on a lake – one of the main characters is a trauma counsellor who works with young people. Another couple of characters run an organic bakery with an outdoor wood-burning oven. One likes to drink wine, garden, and cook. Many of the characters are dealing with issues related to grief and how you begin to live again when you’ve lost someone who has been pivotal in your life. Desire is a major theme – and how we can’t always control who we desire or who we attract.
I see lots of room for expanding my blog along the lines of any of the above topics. To say nothing of what it’s actually like to live in a cabin in a semi-isolated area, on a lake, with an independent power system, a husband, a dog (an 8-year-old rescue dog who came from East L.A. of all places) – visiting kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews – constant building and renovations and gardening. The sky is the limit.