Things I Don’t Understand About Blogging

So I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and I feel like I’ve learn a lot in that time. However, there are still some things I don’t understand. Maybe some of you can help me out.

1. I don’t understand people who follow everyone they can.

I mean, I get the concept. If you follow people they may follow you back, and that can increase your audience. That’s great. Only, who cares about the numbers? A good number of my followers are fashion bloggers and lifestyle bloggers that clearly were just following to try to get a following of their own, but I didn’t follow them back. I don’t care about fashion. I don’t need posts like that showing up in my reader. If you follow me, it doesn’t mean I’m going to follow you back. If it seems like you blog about writing I may check you out, but it still doesn’t mean anything, and if I follow you I can still unfollow you if all you blog about is your grandpa’s dentures despite claiming to be a writing blog.

2. Why wordpress changed the stats page.

This really bugs me. I like the old one. At least move the “go to the old page” button to the top so I don’t have to scroll down each time. Seriously.

3. How to find bloggers who interest you.

I’m pretty sure that like half of the blogs I follow are Australian. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m American. I found one Australian blogger and that just led to more of them. I’ve looked for tags like “writing” and such, but I don’t want to follow blogs about poetry, I want to follow blogs similar to my own. The blogs wordpress suggests are useless, in my opinion. I don’t want to follow a blog with 10,000 followers. What are the chances of actually starting a conversation when 100 other people comment on their posts as well?

4. Why people keep trying to buy my kidney.

I’m not joking. And most of the comments get sent to spam. These are all ones that made it through.

5. Why so many writers write blog posts in purple prose.

My fingers caress the keyboard as my thoughts dictate the keystrokes of this post. The cars pass by my apartment as unaware of my life as I am of theirs, paths crossing but never intertwining. The small red line snakes under the word, and they greet each other like old friends. It is apparent that I am unable to correctly spell the word intertwining on my own. My face crumbles. Even as a writer, I struggle to arrange my letters in the correct order dictated by the dictionary.

I just… don’t get it. I’m want to read you blog for information, not poetry about your cup of coffee or your recent publisher rejection. I try to be eloquent, yeah, but sometimes being eloquent means saying, “I’m done with this shit.” It’s all about getting your point across while making it easy for the reader to understand… and that means no waxing lyrics about the deep web of depression that a spider of grief spun from your heart when your favorite novel series ended.

6. Whether or not my blog matters.

Is this something the rest of you have trouble with? As an author, I would love it if my blog promoted my book like crazy and I got rich, but that’s not really why I’m doing this. Now I just want to connect with other writers and share advice. I want to be able to help others who had the same self-publishing problems as I did, or to get marketing advice for someone who’s been self-published for a few years now. I expect my blog to keep growing, but how much will the numbers matter? Will I continue finding followers who interact with my blog, or more “I’m a hot model/musician/actor who’s following everyone I find, buy my stuff!”

What confuses you about blogging?

 

End of November

Alright, now that November is over I need to actually finish my novel still. It doesn’t even seem half done, so there is going to be a lot of work and then a LOT of editing to do. Here is my to-do list:

  • Pass all my classes
  • Finish Colors of The Sky (or whatever I decide to call it)
  • Print out Only in Whispers with my school’s print credits (put that tuition money to good use)
  • Make Kiss of The Fey free for KDP
  • Read all the books I’ve stored up on my Kindle app
  • Get foot surgery
  • Actually edit Only in Whispers
  • Decide what to write next, another Fairy Curse Novel or my new urban fantasy series.
  • Go to Florida.

So yeah, I’m going to be trying to get a lot done over the holidays. The hardest part about writing is wanting to write all the ideas at once.

Editing – You Have to Embrace Change

So you finished a story. Whether it be a novel, a short story, or some 10,000 word rambling you don’t know what to call. Congratulations! You finished. That’s great. That’s the first step.

Now, you have to take a step back and look at it. You go and fix all those your/you’re confusion or when you accidentally made your character pray to “Gid”. All those little errors that you know are hiding in there from your mad dash at writing.

You’re done now, right? All grammar errors are fixed and all typos have been abolished. You’ve finished your story! It’s all done.

WRONG. BAD YOU, IF YOU AGREED WITH ME.

There is more to a story than grammar. What if all of your sentences are too short? What if ALL your verbs have adverbs riding on their tails? What if you only say “Said” four times, and the rest of the time it was “Yelled,” “Decided,” “Expressed,” “Hissed,” “Gulped,” or “Addressed”? What if your chapters are wildly uneven or your “novel” is only 30,000 words? Or it’s a romance at 300,000?

Still, that’s just surface things. Those are writing elements that you can improve as you grow as a writer. That’s still not focusing on the content of your story.

What if your character starts loving their love interest for no reason? What if by giving your MC’s mom “cool”, you actually made them annoying as fuck? What if your plot is weak, or your character motivations just aren’t there? What if all of your characters are flat generic bores with no differences between them? What if there’s nothing realistic about your story, like a girl from a trailer park owning a brand new BMW?

Some people forget that looking at this is a part of revising your work. The problem is, you might not see it in your own story. I had to reread my novel¬†Kiss of The Fey at least four times before realizing that my MC never mentioned her family after she was taken away from them. The plot I had set up was convoluted as fuck (I actually wrote that in the margin while revising) and it took me days to think or something that would be simpler to¬†replace it. I cut characters and cut scenes, even scenes that had really good lines in them. (I know how it feels to write a sentence that comes out flawlessly, but if it doesn’t fit you have to take it out.) My characters started liking each other too quickly and the old warlock acted too much like a typical old warlock.

I knew I had to change a lot, and I know I’m still not done. I’m a critical reader, even on my own work. Until I can get someone to tear it apart, I know it won’t be as good as it can be. I urge everyone to find a critical reader of their own. Don’t ask for a reader to fix your spelling or grammar, and don’t ask them to help with sentence structure. Ask them to dig deep and find the structural issues in your story. John Green agrees that an editor’s job is not to correct grammar, but to help your story make sense as a whole. I know that those kinds of changes are the painful ones, like when someone tells you your main character is boring or that the plot was stupid and didn’t make sense.

Some people can do this on their own, but many become too attached to what they’ve already written and refuse to rid their story of what shouldn’t be there. Either way, you need to remember why you write. If you write for yourself, don’t bother changing anything. It doesn’t matter. If writing is what pleases you, just keep writing. However, if you plan to have your story available to a wider audience, you need to EDIT. Edit that baby so hard that it’s almost unrecognizable in the end. Don’t just change a sentence here and there, change entire scenes, entire subplots.

Listen to what others say to make your story the best it can be. If ten people say “Oh, that’s great” but one person says “They fell in love too fast” you need to examine to see if that second person is true. You don’t have to try to change your work to please everyone, but I know that some readers just don’t care about quality as much as others. I’ve had people tell me I should get truly shitty writing published. It’s the critical readers you need, whether they’re right or not, to help improve your writing.

So go forth, write, but remember the importance of editing.