Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A-Z Blogging Challenge: B is for Blogging

Should writer's blog?

When I started blogging three years ago, I did it purely as an experiment and because I like writing, whether an article for a magazine, a blog or a novel.

I also knew that blogging can be a very good way for a writer to build a platform, to get your name out there. It can also provide a support network, and build friendships. If writing is your day job, it can be a very lonely profession.

Recently, however, many people in the blogosphere and even in the publishing industry, are doubting whether blogging is good for authors. Shouldn't a writer put all his or her energies into producing the thing they want to to produce, ie books, rather than blog posts?

I've noticed that there's also a school of thought where if you are a non-fiction writer, setting up and keeping an informative blog on your specialist subject is almost a must, whereas for fiction writers it might be more of a distraction to have to keep up blogging as well as 'proper' writing. There's an excellent recent blog post about this on Joanna Penn's blog, The Creative Penn.

Personally, I know I wouldn't be the writer I am today if it wasn't for this blog.

Firstly, my first published novel, The Englishman (which incidentally is on a short free promotion at the moment), was born out of a set of blog posts I started writing here (remember How I Came to be in England?).

Secondly, I've made numerous friends since I started blogging. These online readers and fellows writers have spurred me on in ways I could not have imagined before I started writing a blog. You guys gave me confidence to finish The Englishman, as well as to bring out my other two novels, Coffee and Vodka and The Red King of Helsinki.

Thirdly, I have learned a huge amount about publishing, book marketing, and - yes- writing through having this blog and reading other blogs.

Lastly, writing a blog has taught me discipline in writing. For instance this A-Z Challenge is just what the doctor ordered for me right now. With all of my completed books out, I literally need a kick up the preverbal to get me going on a sequel. (Not telling you which book will have a sequel yet…it'll be a surprise!)

So, for me as a writer, blogging is a must.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Helena .. I couldn't agree more - I'm not an author as such .. but I've learnt so much about all sorts of aspects of life ..

So pleased you're on your way to another novel/sequel .. cheers Hilary

PS .. you couldn't take word verifcation off for the A-Z could you - I can't read the one below and then it gets time consuming ..

Thanks so much .. Hilary

Helena Halme said...


I had to put in the word verification because I was getting hundreds of spam comments. Sorry, I can't quite work out what else to do, the comments were also spamming my mail! It's hugely annoying.


J. A. Bennett said...

I agree! I've learned so much through the blogging community and have made so many friends and gained critique partners that I otherwise wouldn't have had. Blogging has been one of the best decision's I've ever made :)

Konstanz Silverbow said...

I was semi-upset when reading all those posts going around that authors didn't need to blog. I am with you, without my blog I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't know the people I know today.

I think blogging isn't necessarily a "must" but it shouldn't be a "don't do this no matter what" either.

Konstanz Silverbow
A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge Co-host

*Please turn Word Verification off during the challenge. Blogger is wonderful at catching spam and you are sure to get more comments without it on.

Helena Halme said...

I am so pleased you are with me on blogging! I'm really enjoying this challenge so far and thank you for dropping by!

Helena xx

Hunter Emkay said...

This is a really good question. I've been blogging for over a decade now,and blogged basically because I wanted to write. It's only now, after a couple of years blogging and writing fiction, that I'm beginning to feel the pull to move away from blogging (after the A to Z Challenge, obviously) to allow more time for actually getting my fiction completed. Author Platform for fiction writers is a bit of a issue in my mind at the moment because without any books I don't need a platform for my readers, right? But without the blog, my voice gets silenced a little also. So...I'm playing it by ear, or maybe - by feeling, day by day.

Helena Halme said...

Hunter, I feel exactly the same as you. It's a difficult call!

Maria said...

Helena, I echo most of your thoughts on blogging, except I didn't set mine up as a platform to sell myself as an author, more because I wanted to interact with other writers.

That worked, and like you, I have made many online friends, some of which I have met up with in real life.

Good post, thank you for sharing.