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View Full Version : What is a BLOG & why do I need one?



A.REX
06-06-2005, 02:08 AM
Blog? Wha-?:Wha:

clara bow
06-06-2005, 02:11 AM
It's like an online diary or journal (daily, weekly, monthly) that visitors to your Web site read. Folks use them for a variety of reasons, to entertain, to vent, to share their worldview. If you're a published author it can be used as a marketing tool, say, to give readers a peek into your writing life.

Tish Davidson
06-06-2005, 07:16 AM
It can also be used as a way to avoid working on a writing project and still convince yourself that you are writing.

A.REX
06-06-2005, 07:19 AM
:ROFL:Tish, that one left me laughing.

MacAllister
06-06-2005, 07:19 AM
It can also be used as a way to avoid working on a writing project and still convince yourself that you are writing.
That's primarily how I use mine.

mdin
06-06-2005, 07:29 AM
That's how I use mine also.

PattiTheWicked
06-06-2005, 04:24 PM
It can also be used as a way to avoid working on a writing project and still convince yourself that you are writing.

That's why I'm scared to start one.

"Really, I wrote for two hours today... and didn't get ANYWHERE on my work in progress!"

veinglory
06-06-2005, 05:53 PM
You can let people know about upcoming projects and ideas more easily than through a static webpage and the blog is interactive through the comments feature. A lively blog can come to be quite well read. I have also just started cross-promoting with other writers in my genre through a 'blog circle'.

It can be proscratination, sure--but also great for networking and promotion.

Speaking of promotion: my blog is http://www.livejournal.com/users/emilyveinglory/

victoriastrauss
06-06-2005, 07:00 PM
There are so many blogs now that writers who want to use a blog as a marketing tool face the same dilemma that they do with their books: how do they find an audience? If you have to make an effort to market your blog in order to get readers, you're really defeating the purpose.

Also, blogs-as-marketing-tools raise the same question as websites-as-marketing-tools: even if you do get a lot of visitors, does this actually translate into sales?

IMO, if you enjoy blogging, you should do it. If it seems like a chore, and you're only thinking of doing it as part of a self-promotion plan, don't bother.

- Victoria

veinglory
06-06-2005, 07:55 PM
Although the cause of my optimism is that blog and website have both created new hits to my publishers' sites. I can't be sure they bought the book but clicking through to point of sales is surely a step in the right direction! The blog works best if it changes regularly which I find hard to do.

Some writers find having an egroup works better as you are sure those who sign up *are* potential readers and pretty sure they get the content you send them.

reni
06-19-2005, 09:43 AM
Mine started out as sort of a diary, where I kept track of submissions and rejections and talked about daily happenings and complained a lot. Then I decided to revamp it and now when I write in it, I try to focus on a different writing-related issue in each entry. Now it's much more focused and cohesive--readers can get to know me through my views and rants, but at the same time it's clearly a "writer's" blog.

pixiejuice
06-19-2005, 05:57 PM
Blog words don't count as BIC words - that's the rule.

Mine is also very obviously a writer's blog. I write about things that concern writers - the projects I'm working on, school (when I was still in school), current events, and then I also write about things that concern anyone, things that piss me off. Nothing really that specific, I guess.

It's very hard to gain any kind of following writing a blog, and the ones that are read the most are very specialized - politics, current events, or whatever.

It's also very hard to keep writing a blog. And if you slack off, you more than likely loose your readership. I tend to post about 3-4 times a week, and some people get away with as little as once a week. If you write less than that, people wont come back. Most people start a blog, keep it for a couple of months and then get bored. I guess in this way, it's a lot like starting a novel.

It is a hobby though, and that has to be kept in mind. Though some people are going professional at it, accepting donations from their readers. You'd have to have a hell of a following to do that. I only have about 8 or 10 regular readers and I've been at it for almost two years.

But anyway, It's fun. It's nice to read about what other writers lives are like, and in turn, I let them peek into mine.

Just remember that blog words don't count, and you should be fine.

E.G. Gammon
06-19-2005, 06:59 PM
What kinds of things do you blog for those of you who keep blogs?

I am working on my official website right now (just waiting for the "ID Protect" service to kick in before I launch it) and it will have - I know this sounds insane but - 5 blogs:

1) Personal - will talk about little things that happen with me during the day or week, the stuff I did, the places I went, the people I met, just a peek into me as a person - 'me without the writing'

2) Writer's - will cover stuff I discovered as a writer, sort of written as articles. Since I am new to writing novels (my main projects were originally intended to be visual things, like TV Shows and Films), I am learning a lot and I plan to use this blog to discuss all the new things I've learned. I will also use this to post my techniques as a writer, whether it be how I approach a story or how I organize things, my little quirks as a writer or just things I do to help the creative juices start flowing

3) Weight Loss - I am currently on a weight loss program and I intend to use this one so visitors can track my progress and learn all about why I am on the program, and how being over weight has affected my life, mentally/emotionally and physically

4) Novel Series Progress - I have been developing my novel series for over seven years, and I'm finally edging toward finalizing the entire story. Since my planned six-novel series is my main project, I am devoting an entire blog to letting visitors of the site track my progress. I also plan to write little stories on non-eventful writing days, about how the series came to be (originally intended to be a soap opera, etc...), how it's progressed over the seven and a half years, and more

5) Stories from my life - where each post is an event in my life, in 'short story' form. I plan to use this to help visitors of the site (and hopefully those who will follow my writing career) get to know me a little better, and learn a little about everything I've been through in my life - and I've been through A LOT

I plan to update each blog once each week - so it won't get in the way of my writing.

hpoppink
06-20-2005, 05:47 AM
I am working on my official website right now (just waiting for the "ID Protect" service to kick in before I launch it) and it will have - I know this sounds insane but - 5 blogs:
<snip>
I plan to update each blog once each week - so it won't get in the way of my writing.
Great idea! May I make a suggestion ...

You might consider using blog software that allows blog post categories, like Moveable Type. You make one category "personal", one "weight loss", etc. That way you have one blog where you put all of these, rather than several with their own templates to manage, etc.

Each visitor to the site can then decide whether they want to view stories in one category, several categories, or all categories. One-stop shopping place.

From what I've seen and learned from blog experience, the fewer "clicks" you make a visitor do to see the info they want, the better.

Tish Davidson
06-20-2005, 06:29 AM
Do people keep track of how many people actually view their blogs?

E.G. Gammon
06-20-2005, 06:41 AM
Great idea! May I make a suggestion ...

You might consider using blog software that allows blog post categories, like Moveable Type. You make one category "personal", one "weight loss", etc. That way you have one blog where you put all of these, rather than several with their own templates to manage, etc.

Each visitor to the site can then decide whether they want to view stories in one category, several categories, or all categories. One-stop shopping place.

From what I've seen and learned from blog experience, the fewer "clicks" you make a visitor do to see the info they want, the better.

First off, I should point out that I'm not really using blog software... I am just posting journal entires in the format of a blog entry, and to replace the "leave comments" option, I intend to post a link at the bottom of the entry, to a post at my proboards message board, where there I will post the same entry, and visitors can comment on it there.

Second, that's a great idea about the blog categories, however, my website's design is a little complex and I couldn't incorporate the idea into it. I'll explain:

The design of the website is pretty unique. At the top of the page, there is an "open file folder" where inside, the content of the website will appear. Below the folder is the navigation, which looks like an open desk drawer, with 5 hanging folders inside, with 5 separate folders sticking out - the 5 sections of the website.

Section One - aka the home page - has a couple pictures of me, a "notecard," "Post-it," "calendar (latest updates to the website)," and a "mini-legal pad." Inside those items will be info about the site, latest updates, announcements, etc...

Section Two - aka "Notebook" - looks like an open notebook, with all of the sections/features there being personal things about me and stuff about the website. My "personal," "stories from my life" and "weight loss" blogs will go here.

Section Three - aka "Binder" - looks like an open binder. This will be where I list every single project I have in development - split into categories - labeled with "tab-dividers" - Novels, TV Shows, Films, Short Stories, Poems, and Other. There are also three other "dividers:" Schedule - my writing schedule if people want to take a look, Resources - a huge list of links I have collected the past few years, of great writing websites, publishers, agents, etc... (AW would be in the list), and Blog - which is where my Writer's blog will be, placed in my "Binder" for obvious reasons.

Section Four - aka "Novel Series" - On one side of the "folder" will be a "binded script" - because my novel series was originally intended to be a soap opera - which will house all of the main info on the series and its development (welcome message to this section, the story behind the series, a description of the series, faq, message board link, etc...). On the other side of the "folder" will be a regular sized "legal pad" which is where the "Novel Series Progress Blog" will go.

Section Five - aka "Private" - is a red hanging folder in the open desk drawer (as opposed to green like the other 4), and the Private folder will only be accessible at certain times, and there I will post teasers of my upcoming projects, etc... This is only one "secret" link on the website that will pop up on occasion.

But, I really love the idea you had about how to organize my blogs. I might use it on the "text-only" version of the website...

Attached is a small preview of the main page, to get a better picture of what I'm talking about. Note: I have added a different picture of myself in the top left corner that I added after making this preview image.

Sorry for going almost entirely off topic, there...

hpoppink
06-20-2005, 06:53 AM
Do people keep track of how many people actually view their blogs?
With my personal blog I do ... but it's mostly curiosity/vanity. I like to know my audience.

sassandgroove
06-22-2005, 01:05 AM
I use my blog to post thoughts that you might send to the editor. It started as a blog about me, and I still put some personal essay stuff in there, but lately I've been ranting a lot. I also used a blog for my wedding, and posted info about the hotel, directions, where to get costumes, (we had a medieval wedding) and the wedding party, etc. Then, after the wedding, I posted photos. I use blogger.com. and Flickr.com allowed me to post pics, and I stored the rest of them on yahoo photos and posted the link. You can see my blog by clicking on the link in my signature.

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
06-22-2005, 01:19 AM
I keep 2 blogs.
1 - letters from my Dad (adapted letters, I try to let him write to me and through me) from Hull (as I currently live in another part of the UK.

2 - Letters to my Future Wife.
Sounds silly, but its just enjoyable fun. The comic tragedy is that its probably the one thing that I could do to guarantee that nobody marries me!
I don't really do it for self-promotion (I hide it from anyone who knows me). Its got more to do with trying to plan out my days effectively, a skill that I am in desperate need of.
A blog is a good way to do that. It gets the literal juices flowing.
Many use their blogs as a way to 'warm up', as if going to the gym.
It works (for me and others).
Also, its a great escape from being you. Its putting on a mask, with no consequences to whatever you write. Some people do it for that reason.

Nique

kybudman
06-23-2005, 10:12 AM
Wow! Now, that IS ambition! Blogging can definitely become an obsession. Much good luck with your (hehe, and I thought I had it bad) five! Just thinking about maintaining five full, independent blogs makes my knuckles hurt!

Bud

Anatole Ghio
06-25-2005, 06:05 AM
I have been keeping a blog for three months, and it has only increased the amount of writing I do.

I post new fiction and essays, and as a tool at learning to gauge reader response, it has been invaluable. If anything, my writing is getting better because of the discipline of creating new entries, and gauging what kind of writing gets a good response, and what gets a poor response.

After three months, I have almost 5,000 visits. I have no idea if that is a large or small number, but it is a readership I didn't have three months ago.

After the end of a year, I should have more than enough material to shop around to publishers for a short story collection.

The only downside has been less time to check in here! http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/emoticoncry.gif

Even now, I should be working on a story for my blog!!!

hpoppink
06-25-2005, 07:56 AM
After three months, I have almost 5,000 visits. I have no idea if that is a large or small number, but it is a readership I didn't have three months ago.
I have seen a proposed "magic number" of 100 unique visits/day. Supposedly that is the point when your humble hobby becomes a powerful marketing tool.

Assuming a 90 day period (you said 3 months), yours averages a little more than 50 visits/day. Most impressive.

Out of curiosity, how are you promoting your blog? e.g. how did the majority of your readers hear about it?

Button
06-25-2005, 08:06 AM
I write a blog for me!

I keep track of my stuff, save my favorite links so I can click on them later. Anyone reading can see up at the top. "This blog is for my stuff. This is all the stuff I use and nothing more." I don't know if anyone does read but I don't worry about who's reading. If it's useful then I keep it there so I don't have to go looking for it later.

Anatole Ghio
06-25-2005, 10:19 AM
I have seen a proposed "magic number" of 100 unique visits/day. Supposedly that is the point when your humble hobby becomes a powerful marketing tool.

Assuming a 90 day period (you said 3 months), yours averages a little more than 50 visits/day. Most impressive.

Out of curiosity, how are you promoting your blog? e.g. how did the majority of your readers hear about it?

Those are interesting figures, thanks for sharing them.

Right now I am getting around 80 hits a day... lower if I let a few days go by without posting new material, higher on the days when I comment on other sites.

So far the marketing has been through the blog community I am a part of. I have been reccommended by a few other bloggers, and have been featured by the blogging company on their main page.

I also go to Ping-o-Matic whenever I post something new, and that lets other search engines know I have new material.

I'm all ears as far as any other ideas for site promotion, especially for getting readers outside of ones blogging community.

kybudman
02-12-2006, 11:55 AM
Where was I when they passed the rule that blogging/Journalling was not legit enough to count as bic? Sometimes, I work as hard on creating a cogent Journal or Blog entry as I do when writing a chapter. Let us not forget the rich legacy we share with the many Authors of old who not only developed their talent via their Journals, but created their best work through them.

Perhaps I stand in the minority. But I believe that to discredit the work of Bloggers and Journalists (remember journalists?) out-of-hand is demeaning, and illegitimate, As for the argument that we are about the business of writing for publication/sales, how many classics would such a narrow definition eliminate from the ranks of some of the very best works in our history?

I also submit that bad writing is bad, no matter the venue or form.

loquax
02-12-2006, 01:14 PM
I'm surprised nobody's pointed out that "blog" is a contraction of "web log". Maybe that clears up what it actually is.

Marilyn Braun
02-13-2006, 01:04 AM
Blogging has maintained my sanity. I'd just had a baby, it was winter and I was completely depressed, with no focus. I have a strong interest in British royalty and oneday I posted on a message board about any opportunities to write about royalty. The moderator suggested a blog and I've been relatively sane since.

It is incredibly addictive and it can take away from other writing (as I've found out), but it's just the most amazing thing to me that I can write about what I love.

Dawno
02-13-2006, 01:43 AM
Woah!</keanu>

A new thread animagically shows up in the forum! Thank you to whomever set up the transporter :)

Tirjasdyn
02-13-2006, 09:28 PM
I've been keeping a website for 11 years now. I added a blog to it in 2003. I have to dump words on a page to clear my head, otherwise I cannot sleep and cannot concentrate on other things.

I update it about once a week. More if life is more exciting.

Personally I could care less if people look at it. I keep it to show examples of my work, and because I like doing that sort of thing. Every time someone says, hey I read your blog, I'm pretty surprised. Very few to no one leaves comments. Though once a guy came to defend a product he made that I blasted. But I defended my blasting and he never came back.

I also run a small side business creating websites for people and small business. Mostly I do that for fun too.

Marilyn Braun
02-13-2006, 10:31 PM
I'm surprised nobody's pointed out that "blog" is a contraction of "web log". Maybe that clears up what it actually is.

Until someone explained that to me I didn't get it.

This could be a completely new thread (transported out of nowhere), but does anyone know of any blogs out there, not attached to newspapers or magazines, or by a famous person (Dave Barry comes to mind) that have gained some significant notoriety?

kybudman
02-14-2006, 03:16 AM
Not to go off-topic here, or perhaps to get back on topic...

Years and years ago, in a far away land, personages of the gentle persuasion used to communicate with each other via the ancient hand-written epistle.

They kept diaries and/or Journals. The most significant purchasing decision seemed to be the security of said ptome via the "key".

That they wrote, communicating everything from their most private thoughts to cookie recipes was the thing. It was how families, lovers, friends, and acquaintences maintained relationships.

Penpals were exotic explorations into other worlds. Written communications whisked us to far-away places where we met new traditions, new cultures, and new friends. From Tahiti to Sing Sing, we were allowed entre into other worlds which, we felt, broadened our understanding, and our lives.

The largest consideration was the cost of postage, and the time waiting eagerly for a reply.

Today, all of these and many other communications have been assimilated by email, and the Blog. One primary difference is that the Weblog, or Journal, is not a single, specific communication to a single addressee, but to either members, who must sign up, or to the entire world. The communication is, on one side, very general. On the other side, however, these communications are just as specific, and personal, and in many cases as illuminating as ever before. They still require excellent writing skills, grammatical superiority, and personal flair. The only distinct difference is the time required for a response. Comments, kudos, etc. are as instantaneous as the click of the mouse.

Private Blogs/Journals are specifically that. Some writers have no members, and use their resource as a personal repository of thoughts, dreams, fears, plans, etc. The value in the writing is precisely the same as in the letters mailed from the local post office of years ago. The exercise is just the same, with the same requirements for excellence as in the Freshman English Grammer class: Excellence in writing. Through these forms, many beginning writers struggle through the viterperations of learning the craft. They simply avoid witnesses. Many private Bloggers/Journalers grow in the craft to the point that they open their work to public view AS A RESULT of the exercise. Isn't this the craft defined?

Public Bloggers/Journalers may have a view, an axe to grind, a cause to put forward, a band to hawk, or a book to hype. Many simply allow the reader to struggle (in many cases) through the slack grammatical effort in order to glean the nugget within.

Celebrity Bloggers/Journalers use this venue to keep fans abreast of current and/or future projects, activities, and the life of a celebrity. Imagine W. C. Fields with a Blog for his fans! Could he have presented his case to an adoring public? Would we have cared? It truly depends.

And, in each case, I believe the determining factor is the quality of the writing. How cogent, specific, and accurate is the narrative? Can we place ourselves in the condition, position, or situation of the writer? Do we "buy" into the writing? Isn't this our goal?

Do we need to see the side notes of Cornwell to appreciate the final page of the book? No, not necessarily. But, I would dare submit that if we DID see the side notes, we would come to understand a bit more about the greatness of the art within the artist. Is the Blog/Journal wasted words, an exercise in frustration, or useless verbiage? Many in fact are. But most do not set out to be listed, either. These simply serve not only the "other" purposes we may assign to them, but also the growth of our writing.

The major difference between this format, and the submitted MS is not one that should be used to either endorse or deny them, in my view. But, through well-crafted words, we can certainly come to understand the writer just as wondrously as we ever did the writers of the long-lost art of the written letter.

It is not that they exist that is of consequence. It is the reality that there is a large community of Bloggers and Journalers out here in the Internet who are, daily, progressing on the way to effective communication. Schools are using (and sometimes eliminating) this form to encourage their students toward communication excellence. Not only do they have something to say, but they are working regularly to learn how to say it well. And, when you are sitting in a mall on a weekday afternoon, observing the pre-pubescent gangs of tomorrow's promise, and wondering if they will be able to care for us in our golden years in the style in which we fully intend to become accustomed--you can have hope. The examination of the art of written communication which occurs daily, millions of times, by these same youngsters (and their absent parents) give us hope that at least we will have not only a future generation of effective writers, but quality readers of the written word as well--perhaps even that MS we are about to mail.

I encourage Blogging/Journal writing. It is not THAT it occurs, but WHY and HOW. I cannot fault this generation, or ours, simply because of the compositon of the "paper" upon which they communicate. I have also found that really superior writing in Blogs/Journals is one sure way to advance your position, sell your book, make new fans, and move forward in your writing. Blogs/Journals are evolving into the spines, covers, and pages of tomorrow.

Let's encourage the good ones, help the struggling ones, and realize that there are still some who, regardless of the effort, just will never become the next superwriter. Yet, thank goodness, they are still engaged in the effort.

Excellence in writing is an amazing goal. While it still remains elusive to most, the access to the attempt should not be vilified.

kyleh767
03-08-2006, 05:19 AM
What I like best about blogging is that you can really feel like you have a freedom of speech in text. People can disagree, but I love that you can just click "delete comment," or have it be only certain people can comment.

Which brings up another thing... blogging allows for interaction whereas a paper journal doesn't.

-Kyle

Dawno
03-08-2006, 10:07 AM
kybudman and kyleh, welcome to the Blogging forum! Glad you stopped by. kyleh, since you're new, I hope you've said hello over on the Newbies forum and are enjoying the rest of the AW Water Cooler - if you've got blogs please let us know about them up in the AW Bloggers thread!

NewB
03-22-2006, 05:08 PM
I read E.G. Gammon's post about the design of his website and was curious to see how it looks like. The post is old : 06-2005, so I thought the site would be up now. Looks like it isn't.

The site (http://www.eggammon.com/)still says 'Coming Soon'. Question is, how soon?

Gooch
03-22-2006, 09:25 PM
This could be a completely new thread (transported out of nowhere), but does anyone know of any blogs out there, not attached to newspapers or magazines, or by a famous person (Dave Barry comes to mind) that have gained some significant notoriety?

I believe Matt Drudge started out as a plain old political blogger. He's now a pretty big moutpiece for the republicans.