I’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:
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.