Four months ago I finished the first draft of my first novel. Finally I had kept my perennial New Year’s resolution – not just to write something but to finish something. This meant putting aside two to three writing sessions a week, taking my idea and pursuing it to the air-punching end. Now being a good aspiring writer I had read up on what should happen next and I dutifully left my manuscript to settle. I knew I was supposed to get some distance and tackle it again with fresh eyes after a break. But breaking my writing stride like that was quite difficult. There was suddenly a void. Like a jogger used to running regularly, I was itching to put on my trainers again and get out there. I missed the writing process and the material itself. I started reaching for the manuscript and tinkering around with a red pen. It was way too soon.
Then a colleague of mine went on a journalism assignment to India. She set up a blog for her trip and hey presto we could all follow what she was doing. And though I’d never been drawn to blogging before, I realised that this was the next logical step for me and definitely worth a try. I was amazed by how easy it was to set up on WordPress and how soon everything fell into place. My first post Unrequited Spite was also my first short story ever to be read by the outside world. A small number of bloggers “liked” it – people I’d never heard of – and I felt encouraged.
Blogging could be seen as the modern day equivalent of rushing up to people on a busy street with print outs of your work and thrusting the pamphlets into their hands. I remember people doing this in Dublin when I was young. But of course not all people have that zeal. Some, like myself, are more at ease standing in a quiet side street, patiently waiting for the right passer-by to come along, occasionally calling out ‘two blooms for a penny’.
Since I started blogging I have discovered a host of interesting people, some similar to me, others whose lives are a million miles removed from mine. It’s been an eye opener. I’m very grateful to regular visitors like the inspiring 5kidswithdisabilities and the adventurous lesleycarter for their interest and encouragement. In terms of visitors, two recent posts which were picked up by a site for the Irish diaspora http://www.worldirish.com brought a big spike in my viewing statistics. It was nice to reach a wider audience without having to shout at the top of my lungs.
The time has now come for me to put some serious work into the novel again and apply some of the editing advice I received, especially the valuable input from fellow WordPress writer beanmimo. I’m also going to focus a bit more on submitting for publication. But I still think there’s a place for this blog. There’s a debate about whether writers should bother with blogging. From a numbers point of view it might not be the best use of resources but like many other pastimes, the bottom line is do it if you enjoy it. For me the freedom of expression is the main attraction. Anyone else tempted to start? And for those already blogging – what keeps you posting?