The State of the Blog

This is me reflecting. Well, if I don't shave, anyway.

Okay, so I’ve been doing this blog thing for about 5 months now, and I suppose it’s time for some self-reflection. When I started this blog, I swore to myself that it wouldn’t do or be about a couple things.

  1. No Navel-gazing: That is to say, the blog won’t be about me, my personal life, my problems, or anything like that.
  2. No Politics: I’m not interested in starting political arguments, I’m not interested if people think my opinions regarding the state of the world are right or wrong, and I don’t want to be tempted into debating things with people who don’t agree with me.
  3. No Random Spam: If I’m putting something on the blog, it’s mostly going to be my own thoughts or reactions to some idea I’ve had or been inspired to discuss by others. I’m not just going to, say, post a picture of a thinking monkey I found on the internet somewhere and go ‘LOL!’

Now, with the exception of #3, I’ve avoided this stuff (I had a post at some point just linking to the Straight Dope wherein they discussed the practicalities of a cube-world. It was awesome; forgive me). I intend to keep sticking to my rules; I like them.

What I have been putting on the blog is a fairly even mix of critiques about sci-fi or fantasy topics, random ideas and observations or even analyses of spec fic topics, and finally my own fiction. Of it all, the stuff that I’ve liked the most has been my fiction, but the stuff that everybody else has liked the most has been the other stuff. As it is my intent to become a successful, published author, I’m not sure what to make of that. Furthermore, friends of mine have drawn my attention to this blog post entitled “How Not To Blog,” wherein the author tells me that posting unpublished fiction on a blog is a Bad Idea.

If I may digress on this point for a second: Why not? Well, yeah, I guess people don’t read it all that often (I average 30-ish hits for non-fiction posts and only 20-ish for fiction, both of which are tiny), and obviously if I were to post an entire story here, I’ve given up or decided not to publish it professionally, but I really can’t understand how it hurts my chances of getting an agent. First off, the stories I publish up here are usually pretty damned good, if I may say so myself. Are they my best stuff? Well, no–that stuff I’m sending off to sell. The excerpts of novels I’m trying to sell, well, I guess I can see it as being a bad idea to post stuff I hope to publish, but those instances are really only the barest fraction of what the work entails. I’m not serializing it, and it isn’t like I’m not querying through the normal channels in the meantime.

Furthermore, if I’m a fiction writer and I’m not supposed to post fiction, then…why am I here again? Are folks really tuning in to read my opinions on why Avatar sucks, but repulsed by my own stories? WTF, internet. Is that what blogging is about? It’s okay for me to bitch and moan about my personal problems or go all glassy-eyed about that one time I saw that really pretty rainbow or rip apart somebody else’s creative work, but when I try to create something myself, it’s not okay? Hmph. Sounds a lot like academia, to me–yeah, get your PhD in How To Read Everybody Else’s Stuff and you’re the toast of the town, but get your MFA in Making My Own Stuff and you’re a second-class citizen. Bull and Shit. If this is how the Publishing Industry works or some facet of Self Promotion I don’t understand, then that goes to show that I really ought not self-publish, since I clearly don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

Alright, rant over. Back to reflection. Cue the soothing music. Light up the incense (let me get my inhaler…pfft…okay, yeah, light it now).

Anyway, traffic around here has steadily increased, so that means I’m doing something right. I have more followers than when I started, which is also a good sign. I think for the future I’m going to focus more on posting fewer longer stories and cut the novel excerpts out entirely (better safe than sorry). That won’t stop me from posting the occasional vigniette or short-short–stuff I wouldn’t sell anyway. I will probably up the amount of RPG posts I’ll make, since those seem to be popular. I’m currently posting 2-4 posts a week, which seems a manageable pace. Furthermore, and against my original predictions, I have enjoyed posting here.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it too, since I’m going to keep doing it. Tough luck, Facebook.

I’m very open to suggestions or comments regarding my blog thus far. If you have an opinion of what I’ve been doing, good or bad, let me know. Oh, and thanks ever so much for reading!

About aahabershaw

Writer, teacher, gaming enthusiast, and storyteller. I write stories, novels, and occasional rants.

Posted on December 20, 2011, in Critiques, Theories, and Random Thoughts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’m glad you’ll continue to blog–I really enjoy your posts! I admit I haven’t read the fiction posts as much, but here’s why: usually I read for a break from work, and fiction posts are much more likely to pull me in instead of just being that quick break. When I finally got some time to read the short story of the mage going through initiation for the Alandar series of posts, I really enjoyed it!

    I think that’s why those posts may not get as many hits–reading a quick blurb of thought about RPGs or genres is easier to read, well, quickly as opposed to a piece of fiction, however short.

    And really, I don’t think there are many rules to blogging. There can be suggestions, yes, but I think for the most part you’re doing just fine. So blog away, sir, and I will continue to enjoy reading, for one!

    • Thanks, Katie!

      Yeah, I’ve had various people point out the whole potential conflict of interest stuff regarding my fiction, and I agree that I find the argument that it isn’t allowed a dubious one. The post I linked to above seems to indicate that I would be posting fiction for either criticism or praise, neither of which is true for me. I’m writing fiction to entertain, pure and simple. I figure it can’t hurt to have some of my work out there to see, anyway.

      I definitely agree that the lower odds of being read are due to the length. That’s why I’ll still be posting fiction, but not full stories so much as short scenes and pieces, kind of like the Selkie or Arahk posts.

  2. I’ve been posting a lot of my own fiction, as well. I’m equally as nervous about it — but I think I’m a long way from having anybody run off with “mah stowries.”

    Keep it up! Truly enjoy your blog.

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