…and then there were more words, and then the word count passed 50,000, then 100,000, and something had to be done!
It feels odd writing a blog post when I don’t even have a blog, but it does make sense to make sure I have some content ready when I do take the plunge.
So, why have a blog at all? I must admit, just a few weeks ago all I knew about blogging was that it was the kind of thing billions of Moms did because they were just bursting with tales of the cuteness of their children. Blogs were the kind of thing that journalists or people with a cause to promote wrote. Not me. Do I really have anything to say that other people want to read? I might be popular on facebook, but there’s a big difference between my entertaining and thought-provoking status updates and a full length blog!
Then, I took up the NaNoWriMo challenge. For those of you who don’t know, that is National Novel Writers Month, sponsored by the Office of Letters and Light. Every November, thousands of people across the globe attempt to write a 50,000+ word novel before the month is out. We encourage each other, sympathize with each other, and along the way discover the writer in each of us, whether we were previously published or not.
I made it, with plenty of time to spare. But success came at a cost. I have two marvelous daughters, and taking the time to write meant stealing time from them. Not to mention the dishes, laundry, and other household necessities that were being neglected. But my wonderful hubby stepped in, taking over a lot of my responsibilities so that I would have the time to write. His only caveat was that, this time (I’ve written quite a bit over the 16 years we’ve been married) I would send my manuscript to an agent or publisher.
As my peers in NaNoWriMo predicted, even though I had pushed out 50,000+ words without editing anything as I went, I actually liked what I produced. I bought a copy of the Writer’s Market, and spent several hours pouring over the agent listings, highlighting the ones that might be a match for my novel. There were many who specifically stated they were not interested in one or more aspects of my story, but that left about a dozen possibilities.
In particular, the Nelson Literary Agency seemed to be a perfect fit for both me and my work. So I went to their website, and found a plethora of information for writers like me who are seeking to get published for the first time. Some advice surprised me, such as the suggestion that an aspiring author join the appropriate professional organization such as Romance Writers of America. Sure enough, the RWA site was very welcoming to unpublished writers! I had assumed that I needed to earn the right to membership by being published first, but the opposite was true. Membership in the organization is a good way to show both an agent and a publisher that you, as a writer, are serious about what you’re doing. It differentiates a committed writer from the ugly hoards of amateurs who produce a piece of crap and throw it across a publisher’s desk, expecting them to love it.
I read the Senior Literary Agent’s blog, perused the list of authors they already represent, and noticed that many of those authors and agents had twitter accounts. Now, as a self-professed facebook addict, there was a time I saw no need for twitter. But, for the love of a cute guy on a motorcycle, I signed up! Paul Teutul Jr. is absolutely adorable, and I wanted to follow his new endeavor, Paul Jr. Designs, separate from Orange County Choppers. But he was only on twitter, not facebook.
Twitter turned out to be far more interesting than I thought! Relationships are not reciprocal, like on facebook, and I only had two followers for quite a while. I have no idea why these random people decided I was interesting! Then I began to follow Sara Megibow of NLA and several authors she represents. Some of them were quite friendly, and I began to interact with them instead of just following them. Once that connection was made, many more followed, and I gained a dozen or so followers who were genuinely interested in me. I also found a whole virtual world of interesting tidbits for authors, so vast that I had to force myself to withdraw each night so I could put my energy into my WIP where it was needed.
From my personal twitterati, I learned that many writers, even those who have not yet been published, have blogs. Also, it is useful when commenting on other’s blogs to link back to one’s own. In this first experience with blogging, I followed one blogger to another and that led me to a writer I liked and wanted to see more from. I realized that, if I had my own blog, then all these people I was interacting with would have a place to interact with me. From a practical point of view, the more people who visit my blog, the more people out there who can create buzz about my work. It is good publicity. From a personal point of view, it is a great way for me to share tidbits about me, the worlds I create, and the process of writing. I can share with groups like the Red Dress Club and have a virtual home where my friends can visit me. When someone I meet either in person, or via twitter or facebook asks about my writing, I have a place to direct them to explore at their leisure.
So the reasons to have a blog are overwhelming! I look forward to it. I look forward to the comments I’ll get from my peers and my prospective readers. And I hope I can find the time to write worthwhile posts amidst the demands of not just my WIP, but laundry and dishes and daughters as well.