Note from Dawno - Jeanne has graciously given permission for me to copy these posts about blogging. Great stuff here! Thanks SherryTex for pointing me to it and Jeanne for sharing!
To Blog or Not to Blog, Part 1
Professor Tex, in her generous wisdom, has asked me to guest lecture on a subject only semi-near and not all that dear to my heart -- blogging. Since the topic requires more in-depth discussion than one might realize, and since I'm notoriously long-winded, we're going to break this up into a couple of sessions.
Blogs -- the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
For the possibly seven people out there who don't know what a blog is, there are a variety of different definitions, but this one is my favorite: A blog is something you should do if you want to be published.
Blogs are online forums where one person discusses something and others can come on and make a comment. Five years ago you rarely heard the term. Today, everyone and their grandmother has a blog. But should you?
Before I answer that (heh), let's go over a few different types of blogs.
1. The professional blog -- our own Nancy has a spiffy professional blog. It's filled with interesting articles about her profession (mental health), and more than one person contributes information. Blogs such as this provide both information and education, as well as a safe place for people to ask questions or discuss their own situations.
2. The fun blog -- also known as the stream-of-consciousness blog. Your teenagers, parents, and friends have these. Sadly, many of you have this, too. Why sadly? Because if you're on this thread, you're here to improve your writing and chances of publication, and the fun/stream-of-consciousness blog may not be the best way to do that. However, it IS a great way to keep in touch with your extended circle, and to share with everyone how much coffee you drank in the morning and why you're switching to tea this afternoon. It's also a way to ensure you write something on at least a semi-regular basis that someone other than yourself might, possibly, read. Of course, while an online diary sounds keen, a handwritten one is less likely to be pasted across the world in about fifteen seconds. Think about it -- do you really WANT everyone in the known universe to know exactly how much milk you put in the Cap'n Crunch this morning?
3. The entertainer's blog -- this is the blog for people more famous than little old you or little old me. Entertainers can get away with a lot more, or a lot less, than the rest of us. These are fun for fans and those into celebrity culture, but only some should be emulated, barring one of our students actually being Justin Timberlake with a really clever screen name. (In which case, Justin, bring the sexy back and endorse my book!)
4. The columnist's blog -- other than Nancy's blog (hey, gotta support my homies!), these are normally the best done, and you can learn a lot from them. These are professional writers who cover entertainment, gossip, movies, popular culture, politics, etc. They write at least weekly, usually daily, and they gather a huge following. These are the blogs our baby blogs wish to be when they grow up.
5. The writer's blog -- ah, finally, what you all care about. This is the blog you, the want-to-be-published and/or not-yet-published-enough-to-be-a-name-brand author are being told to have up, have active, and have tons of visitors writing 'you rock!' comments on daily. Best of luck with that...but why? Why do you need it and why is it hard to do well?
Professional authors have blogs. They use them to advise their fan base of upcoming releases, give advice to other writers, and create buzz around them and their books. Some will test ideas or post "teasers" to get folks interested in buying upcoming or currently released books. They also use them to network.
But why should you, the want-to-be-published and/or not-yet-published-enough-to-be-a-name-brand author do one? And if you do build it, will they really come?
Find out, next lecture! Same Bat time, same Bat channel.