Tuesday, October 27, 2009

To Post or Not to Post

“A blog is in many ways a continuing conversation.” – Andrew Sullivan

I’ve spent many hours preoccupied with this blog since I set it up on September 6th. I appreciate having a platform to vent, and if Twitter allows too few words and facebook doesn’t provide a large enough audience, the World Wide Web is a good place to begin. But sometimes I worry that my blogging time is replacing hours that could be spent on more practical endeavors: writing my new manuscript, submitting any number of other manuscripts, editing an old manuscript, reading, catching up with friends and family (though if they read my blog, I’m catching them up), cleaning, cooking, and so on. If I’m going to keep at it, I have to ask myself, why do I have a blog?

  1. To write a little every day.
  2. To motivate myself.
  3. In hope that others will motivate me.
  4. To reach out to other writers.
  5. To reach out to other teachers, especially substitute teachers.
  6. In case some editor stumbles onto my blog, realizes how fabulous I am, offers me a contract to write something, and I live happily ever after in a rainbow-hued world where unicorn spit cures all disease.
  7. Why not?

To write a little every day. Not only is it a good exercise, but also it forces me to write something other than fiction, summaries, and query letters. Previously, I’d write in bursts, edit for a time, submit, and then take a break from writing. If I’m going to perfect my craft, writing each day will help to that end. Also, I’m writing small pieces, rather than 40,000-70,000 word manuscripts, so each piece needs to be crisp. It’s been a worthy challenge to be concise, and I’ve had fun making plays on words. Posts require a different way for me to look at writing, which will ultimately benefit me as a writer.

To motivate myself. I’m attempting to motivate myself on many fronts. Not only am I trying to keep myself from giving up on writing and submitting, but I’m also encouraging myself to not get too demoralized about the few job prospects and the zero job offers. The fact that my paying job is something I don’t love, and I can write about it, makes it feel less demoralizing. Sometimes.

In hope that others will motivate me. This is two-fold. First, thinking that I have an audience (albeit, a small one), means that I have to keep posting. Second, an encouraging comment here and there, or a compliment about a post, whether written or verbal, is a good ego booster. If people are willing to follow my blog or even admit to reading it, even if they’re not official followers, then I feel there’s worth in posting.

To reach out to other writers. I’ve done that in many different ways: attending conferences, working with a manuscript exchange partner, and joining writing organizations. But since I began blogging, I’ve found a couple of good writer’s blogs, which I’ve joined. I hope aspiring and writers find me as well. The writing community is more supportive than I’d ever imagined. Not only can unpublished writers commiserate, but published writers and editors have offered helpful tips as well. I’ve found blogs that have taught me how to promote my blog and sites that have assisted me in appearing on the first page of search engines (I won’t mention how much time these feats have taken, which is one of the reasons I began questioning my blogging-time in the first place).

To reach out to other teachers. Although my list has mostly spoken of writing (Probably because I write more than I teach these days), my blog is called, Substitute Teacher’s Saga after all. My goal is to become a full-time Social Studies teacher, which is more realistic than becoming a published writer who gets paid enough that I don’t have to teach. But being an educator is a huge part of who I am, so at the very least, I’d still want to speak at schools. The communication aspect of teaching and writing are intertwined. It’s no surprise that many children’s book writers were teachers. I find it surprising when a writer isn’t an engaging public speaker.

Okay, hopefully number six isn't that impossible.

Why not? Exactly. Starting this blog got me writing for an education website. As long as I don’t let this blog become another distraction, like surfing the Internet in order to avoid what I really should be doing, then I’ll keep at it, at least as long as I have followers, official or unofficial. For, if I write into cyberspace, but there’s nobody wants to read it, have I really written anything worth writing at all? That’s the question I ask about myself about all my writing. It hasn’t stopped me, so far.


  1. LoL, you have much more than a small following now. Congrats.
    And you nave no shortage of positive comments, you're well loved and with good cause. : j

    I'm kinda wondering what I'm doing on blogger at the moment... The balance shifted for me at some point. Shrug. We shall see.

    Sounds like blogging has been a great experience for you. : D

  2. Oh and for #7, because of my dilletantism, I have no important drive to blog... And so I have many other hobbies I could devote my time to.
    Repairing broken instruments, making others from scratch, photography, sketching, reading reading reading, movies, and other assorted stories of all types. ; j

  3. @ Alesa, I hope you don't stop blogging. You have a unique thing going on there, and I'd miss it. But it also sounds like you have a bunch of interesting hobbies.

    I'm still holding out hope for #6.

  4. I don't think I shall, but I've already adjusted my rhythms a couple of times...

    I started posting every now then whenever the fancy took me...

    Then switched to every day.

    And now I'm at three times a week.
    We'll see.
    I hope #6 works out for you. : j

  5. @ Alesa, I think I'm at about 3 too. Thanks about #6.