Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blogiversary - Daring Novelist is Two!

I've been blogging in one way or other for over five years. I can't tell you exactly how long because I ditched some of my early efforts. I even considered blogging professionally, but I could never get excited about any subject which actually pays much to blog about. I blogged about what interested me writing, screenwriting and reading, niche SEO writing, local restaurants, how to read Chinese menus, and probably some other things I don't remember.

The food blogs are still extant, but not active, because I've got other things to do, and they don't make money.

But two years ago, I decided to start a blog with no purpose at all other than to keep my nose to the grindstone on my writing. As it says in the header, a major part of a writing dare or challenge is reporting the progress or lack thereof.

And that's entirely what the first posts were: "Day 6 - 1493 Words" and a quick paragraph about what I did or did not achieve.

I love that kind of blogging. IMHO, it's a great way for writers to get their feet wet online. It doesn't compete with your writing. It makes you think about your writing, and it gives you an immediate sense of purpose. And though it's not the most exciting kind of blog, it's surprising the kind of small following you can build up with a "diary" type blog.

The blog evolved into something more -- just a little more -- at Christmas that same year. During the period I call The Liminal Zone (between Xmas Eve and New Years Day - inclusive), I took a break from the dare in and wrote up some real blog posts. I talked about goals and things like that, but then I suddenly abandonned that and dove into a series in which I examined the first pages of a large number of books.

Then in March, I discovered ebook publishing -- and that blew away everything I thought I was doing.

I've struggled quite a lot over this blog's identity since then. I have a larger audience, and books to sell, and the blog has become more audience-oriented.

And yet I've known in my heart that the heart of this blog is its "progress report" nature. That's what I'm writing the blog for.

But as I look back, I find that I've come full circle: This ROW80 challenge, with its twice weekly check-in, has brought back the Dare element to the blog. You'll notice that I've been doing those update posts in a day-by-day manner. I actually write those updates at the end of each day, as I did when I began the blog -- I just don't post them every day.

And when I look back on that first series of "think pieces" mentioned above, I realize that those were a kind of progress report too. They fit in the writing journal or web log (which is what a blog is) concept. Daily report of the development of my thinking as well what I'm doing on the page.

I've been told that I should do an ebook collection of blog posts, but I find that is not an easy thing to do with my blog. The posts are often interconnected and wander this way and that. They would require rewriting and lots of organizational work to make a unit out of them.

All the same, I think I've found a good balance for this blog.Even though I'm holding back on posting right now, I think I've found the right balance: the twice weekly update, and on other days, write what's on my mind.

BTW: I did finally come up with an idea for an ebook collection from this blog. I am going to collect the "story notes" posts, along with the stories they comment on, into a yearly collection: The Daring Novelist - Stories and Notes 2011.

That will be a one-week goal for ROW80 after I'm done with this book. I do plan to post a few more stories and notes this fall, and so my only question is whether the date on the title refers to when the stories were posted (in which case I should wait and include the new stories) or if the date refers to when the collection was published (in which case I'll go with what I've got, which will be something like 50k words). I lean toward the latter because it has been a while since I published anything.

In the meantime, expect a short story this Monday.

See you in the funny papers.

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