Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Better Late Than Never

"So, when are you launching your author's blog?" my good friend, Janet Berg, asked during our last writers' get-together, an evening replete with fine wine, good food, raucous laughter, and the occasional poem or flash fiction piece thrown in for good measure.

"I'm working on it," I replied, and although the use of adverbs is against my religion, sheepishly could well have followed that second verb. I created this blog back in March 2012. Until today, I had not made a single post.

That's over eighteen months of avoidance. Count 'em. Eighteen.

This failure-to-launch could be rationalized using a common excuse: I've been busy. Since creating this blog, I've started teaching English at two different colleges on top of running the creative services business I started in 2011. Additionally, I'm working on several personal writing projects at any given time. Finally, I'm a wife and mother, so one can figure out where my free time goes first. I have been, without a doubt, insanely busy. Pretending that this is why I haven't launched this blog until now, however, would be disingenuous.

The truth is that I had no idea how to begin. Too many writers' blogs start off sounding like an AA meeting: "Hi, my name is Kathleen, and I'm a writer." One can well imagine the groaning. Other bloggers just jump right in, as if they've always been there and will always be. I grappled with the temptation to do that--just show up all of a sudden, maybe with commentary on some controversial matter--but that didn't feel right either. I wanted to figure out a real and genuine way to wade in.

Writing for my other blog, Finding Mary Cordial, is easy. Presently, it focuses on giving genealogical research tips. Previously, it catalogued my own search for my ancestors. Writing that was just a matter of retelling the tale, starting at the beginning. Perhaps my hesitation to begin this blog sprang from not having a sense of exactly how it would go or how it will end. I'm one of millions of writers online, just another drop in an already overflowing bucket. Blogging is different than writing fiction or poetry. Do I really have anything to say about being a writer that's worth reading?

But then I think about Janet, who has been fearless in embracing self-promotion. "It sucks," she wrote in a recent email, "but it has to be done." Word. Nowadays it's a necessary evil. The old model, in which publishers promoted writers so as to sell more books and make more money, is rapidly falling away. "Indie publishing" has arrived, and the publishing industry struggles with the five stages of grief while making the necessary adjustments. Writers may have far less help promoting themselves as a result, but they also have far more options. I've always held the opinion that too many options are better than too few. It's time to begin exploring them.

So, this inaugural blog post is dedicated to Janet, who blogs at Writing In My Sleep. She shamed me into launching (finally), even if she didn't mean to do so. It's about time and for my own good. So thank you, Janet. I've just officially launched.

Image courtesy of winnond /