The 3 Most Important Things Blogging Taught Me

1115855_blogI’ve written posts similar to this one before…. But after a break from blogging last year (thanks to a rewarding but time-consuming new job) and coming back in January, yesterday I hit what feels like a milestone, and it’s got me thinking in a new way.

I hit 225,000 lifetime views on Creative Writing with the Crimson League. It took me a long time–years, in fact–so it’s not like I have a viral reach. I try not to think about hits or stats, and I’m only mentioning it here as an explanation for what inspired this post.

I started blogging to try to get word out about my fiction. I’ve kept blogging because of the lessons I’ve learned and all I’ve personally gained from the experience. Here are 3 of the biggest things:

  1. BLOGGING WAS A BIG STEP IN LEARNING TO LET GO OF THE THINGS I CAN’T CONTROL. I am not a type A personality…. at all. I am not a go-getter. I am not a leader in the stereotypical sense. I hate being in charge, and I prefer not to be in front of groups. But I LOVE to feel some sense of control over my little world and over my work. Well, none of us can control when and how the idea for a great post comes. And none of us as bloggers can control who comes to the site. We can put out links, and we can publicize, but we can’t make people come. I learned to let go of that and enjoy blogging for the adventure, not for “rewards.”
  2. WRITING MY POSTS TAUGHT ME HOW TO THINK ABOUT MY FICTION. They’ve made me rethink not only my writing process, but how I was editing what I had put on the page. Writing “how to” posts made me consider what I was doing and make adjustments.  Writing “Why this works” or “Why this doesn’t work” posts made me reflect on my experience in order to learn the most from it. Writing posts about structure, format, narration, pacing, etc…. the stuff I studied and discussed in grad school… put me in a frame of mind to GET brainwaves, to find creative ways to make my stories better.
  3. BLOGGING TAUGHT ME HOW FAR I HAVE TO GO, IN WRITING AND IN LIFE. One of my favorite, favorite things about this blog–its greatest asset, I think–is the comment section. The people who read this blog have displayed such wisdom, admitted such perseverance, given me such gracious support…. Your takes on issues I bring up or discussions I start help me understand how limited my take on writing can be, and how much we can all improve by discussing our preferences, routines, successes, and failures.

Not everyone wants to write a public “blog” kind of blog. But I do want to encourage everyone who writes fiction to keep a writing diary, if writing fiction is important to you and a career aspiration. I have learned so much just from the thought, planning, and reflection that goes into writing ABOUT writing.

Keeping a blog or diary about how you write and what choices you are making will help you improve. No doubt about it.


21 responses to “The 3 Most Important Things Blogging Taught Me

  1. Victoria, I learn so much from my commenters. It’s my favourite part of blogging – that sense of community and the learning that comes with it. When I started blogging, I didn’t know that was how it would turn out, and I’m so glad it did!

  2. Good points. If I may supplement: Discipline. Regular posting goes a long way in a gradual build up. Once in a while, a post may prove to be unexpectedly popular. In some cases, a post into which lot of effort has gone in may prove to be a dud. One chugs along nevertheless, primarily because one can not help her/himself but write!

  3. And those are three of the reasons that every writer should have a blog. 🙂

    Blogging also teaches a lot about marketing. Trying out a variety of posts, images, title ideas, beginnings, layout designs, etc., you can develop things that hook or attract better or worse, and trying out different choices of tags, keywords in headings, the way key words appear in your posts, etc., you can learn something about SEO. Blogging teaches so many useful skills, without having to write an entire book to learn them.

    • You are very, very true here! I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with that kind of stuff, I know! 🙂 I hope others do too. The marketing aspect can feel like a chore and a pain, but like you say, it’s an opportunity to learn something.

  4. Love that last one. For myself, blogging helped me get through my shyness to do book promos and interact with people. Not sure how I would have handled being an author if I didn’t have a blog to help me break the ice.

  5. So happy you are back! I have taken some short blog breaks and it always leaves me feeling a bit untethered. Like you, I started the blog journey to build a platform, but it turned out to be so much more for me. 😊

    • Thanks for your comment! I’m glad to be back too, if only here or there, random days on a week 🙂 It’s funny how blogging turns out to be such a journey, isn’t it? I don’t think people expect that when they start blogging. I didn’t!

  6. Hi Victoria. Great post, this is so very true. I’ve also learnt so much from having my own blog and I think it’s changed me as a writer for the better. For me, the biggest thing it’s taught me is to let go of my fear of sharing my writing with others. Blogging has increased my confidence as a writer and led me to do things I perhaps wouldn’t have considered, like deciding to self-publish my first book. Not to mention all the great connections I’ve made as well – I agree with Chris, that every writer should have a blog. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    • Blogging has done that for me too, Helen! It’s definitely made me feel more confident. I can look back and see how blogging has helped me identify problem areas in my writing and improve. That’s a confidence builder! And that’s not a rare occurrence, I don’t think. You and I and many others have experienced that 🙂

  7. Congratulations on such a big milestone. That’s amazing work. 🙂 I’ve really enjoyed blogging for many of the reasons you stated, but also because it had helped me refine my “professional voice” in minute ways.

  8. I couldn’t agree more with you, Victoria.
    And I’d like to add, keeping a blog or diary will also help you see how far you’ve come. It will give you courage to overcome obstacles because you’ll be able to look back on past successes.
    And on that note — congratulations on reaching this blog high. Thank you for sharing this news with me.

    • Thanks, Leanne! Love what you say about looking back!!! That’s not something I do a lot, go back and read old posts. It really throws things in perspective and is eye opening to look back in 20-20 hindsight!

  9. Congratulations, Victoria! Beyond a doubt, your blog is one of my favorites. I share your posts with everyone.

  10. Good post. I have learnt so much from blogging. Thx for your points 🙂

  11. S. Paige Reiring

    I relate to everything you put here. Blogging about writing has unexpectedly taught me so much, and it definitely forces me to pay attention to things I would never have thought about in the past. I’m glad it’s been such a positive experience for you, and welcome back to the game!

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