Woohoo! Tomorrow (May 1) is my one-year anniversary for writing this weekly blog. It seems like a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned from blogging for a year.
1. The most important lesson: Engaging in any kind of writing makes me want to write more. When I first started blogging, I was concerned that the need to produce a written post every Friday would take away from my fiction writing time. The result has been the opposite. I’ve done far more fiction writing during the past year than I did during the five previous years. For the first time in my life, I wrote the first draft of an entire novel in six months.
Of course, the pandemic, with its “shelter-at-home” orders, gave me plenty of time to write. Undoubtedly that had a great influence on my ability to create a novel in such a short time. However, based on what I’ve seen from my friends and fellow authors, the pandemic alone cannot account for my recent interest in writing — some of my author friends have written practically nothing since March of 2020. I think this blog saved me from the “pandemic malaise” that seems to have hit so many of my author friends. Writing a weekly post about our books and/or writing in general got me excited about working on our latest novel. (Writing about writing got me excited about writing…who would have guessed?)
2. The second thing I learned: I like blogging much more than journaling. Franky, I’ve never been good at journaling. In the past, when I’ve attempted to keep a journal, my entries have tended toward a spare recitation of the events of my day. (“First we did this. Then we did that.” Nothing literary or even particularly interesting.) Blogging, on the other hand, forces me to select a topic and then focus on it. My thoughts become far more coherent and (I hope) more interesting.
I suppose I could use the same method for journaling — focusing on a new topic in each entry. Even if I did that, however, I don’t think the result would be as satisfying as blogging because no one would read my journal. Which brings me to lesson number three.
3. The third lesson: I enjoy having people read what I write. That probably doesn’t sound like much of a realization — if John and I didn’t want people to read our books, we wouldn’t be Indy authors. It’s no surprise that I get excited every time I find out that someone is reading 60th Hour. What I did not expect was the amount of happiness I felt the first time I discovered that people were reading this blog. I still get a real sense of delight every time people “like” what I have written or choose to follow the blog. (To all of you reading this…thank you! You’re all awesome!)
4. The fourth lesson: Thinking of a new topic to write about each week can be tricky. When I started writing the blog a year ago, I worried that I would run out of things to say. While that has not happened, it came close a couple of times. The need to produce a post every Friday has helped to build my discipline as a writer, but sometimes I arrive at Thursday night with no clue what to write the next day. Fortunately, my idea guy (John) has come through for me on those occasions and I was able to post on schedule.
As those of you who follow this blog know, one of my New Year’s resolutions as an author was to continue posting once a week through the end of 2021. So far, I have succeeded. Will I manage it for the rest of the year? Stay tuned and find out!