State of Play

I’m meant to off at a friend’s place tonight, enjoying the double-barrelled awfulness that is Avengers Grimm. Instead I’m here, in my apartment, trying to sort out a story for a deadline that crept up on me, being slightly grumpy ‘bout the fact I still don’t have hot water.

I’ve been thinking ‘bout blogs, lately, and how they have changed in the last ten years, ever since we started sharing things on Facebook and Twitter.

Mostly, I’ve been thinking ‘bout the those changes jibe with the blogs I tend to follow, versus the kinds of posts that I actually sit down and write. And I’ve been thinking about the fact that I sound angry, these days, whenever I sit down to write a post, especially compared to my posts from 2011 when I was, in fact, a seething ball of rage.

And after pondering this, for the last few days, I’ve come to a conclusion: I think I’d like to stop now, please.

Not blogging – I always kinda liked blogging – but certainly the concerted effort to blog in a way that preferences Twitter and Facebook. The posts, specifically, about some aspect of writing or publishing, the posts with the titles designed to hook readers, the posts – let’s be honest – designed to be shared around.

And lets be honest: that stuff works, if your goal is attracting people – folks find something smart or funny and they immediately share it around. It’s the default state of blogging in our feed-driven universe, and still the default approach I’d share with writers if they asked about platform at work. I’ve done a bit of that sort of thing, over the past few years, and the results are nothing to sneeze at.

But the blogs I miss – the blogs I still love reading, when I can find them – are the types of blogs that work like public diaries. Online spaces where the owners come to think, talk, and share, instead of showing up with a lecture and subheadings. Blogs that reward sticking with them, over time, rather than the one-off engagement.

Since there are a few folks who show up here for posts like Your Stories are Not Sacred God Poop and Things I Would Do If I Were Planning To Be an Indie Publisher, I figured it’s only fair to give you a heads up: I’m not giving them up for good, but I’m going to spend twelve months journaling, rather than blogging, which means the signal-to-noise may not be what you’d hoped.

If you’re in the need for writing advice, there’s plenty of good sources out there. If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor of something exciting, try Asking Doctor Kim. If you’re really missing my particular brand of blathering, try asking me something in the comments of a post – there’s pretty good odds I’ll answer, one way or another.


Actually, speaking of writing advice: last week I got the chance to chair a Q&A session with Kevin Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, who are absolutely brilliant folks to talk to on questions of writing and publishing. I’d seen them present on a previous trip to Brisbane, when they did a seminar on Things I Wish Some Pro Had Told Me When I Was Starting Out, and it was so damned good that I leapt at the chance to MC when QWC offered me the gig.

They’re publishers, these days, in addition to the terrifying number of books they write, and they’ve got a pretty awesome line of writing advice that covers some pretty interesting territory. I recommend checking out Dave Farland’s Drawing on the Power of Resonance in Writing, The Synopsis Treasury, and Million Dollar Professionalism , if you get the chance.

  4 comments for “State of Play

  1. Kate Eltham
    01/07/2015 at 7:42 AM

    I miss those kinds of blogs too (reading them and writing them). And truth be told I’m mighty tired of author blogs being full of writing about “how to be a writer”. Look forward to reading yours.

    • petermball
      01/07/2015 at 12:35 PM

      Having seen the difference in traffic between the two approaches, I can understand why people moved over to the How to Be a Writer stuff. This decision feels rather like saying, "well, what I really want is a way to be less popular and easy to find on Google…"

      But, you know, in a good way 🙂

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