Friday, July 3, 2015

Pick a Peck o' Posts by Susan Oleksiw

When I began writing a blog, I had no idea what I was doing, or that I was making choices in how to approach a regular (or, more often, irregular) blog. I have been writing on my own website and here, on Author Expressions, since 2010, and have made choices without realizing I was making them. There are many ways to write a blog, and if you're like me, you gravitate to one form or another.

First, and most obvious, is the ongoing series of posts on writing and related topics. As published authors, we have struggled with the numerous aspects of finishing a manuscript, and our blogs cover developing and working with ideas, crafting a first draft, plots and subplots, developing characters, editing, choosing the perfect title, and working with editors as well as writing and vocabulary. These posts are most often discussions by the experienced for the benefit of the less experienced, or those curious about how their colleagues are coping with the same problems. Here I might include a link to a longer discussion, one that makes me look intelligent for even knowing about it (like this one

Second, and equally popular, is the blog on the publishing world today. Gone is the dream of finding a Maxwell Perkins to mentor us, and ever present is the vivid reminder of the power of Amazon in all its permutations. Self-publishing has changed the landscape as much as any earthquake or crashing meteor could. We all learn from these posts because the experience of publishing today is new and jarring and totally unpredictable. Once again, these posts can be discussions by the experienced to the less experienced, but are also just as likely to be one author describing a discovery for the benefit of others. In today's publishing world, we are all less experienced. But whatever they purport to be, they give us the opportunity to talk about our books. (See, like this paragraph, where I point you, the reader, to the cover of my most recent book.)

Third, and sometimes overwhelming in it appeal, is the more intimate post about the personal experience of writing--the angst, the stumbles, the surprises, and the wonderful friends and writing groups who see us through the worst. We are all human, and these posts are sometimes the most comforting because they help me, at least, feel less stupid and inept as I make my way through a career with no clear footpath through the forest of publishing. I don't write these often, but I'm grateful to those who do. But when I do write them, I get to post photos of me and my friends talking about books, like this one with me and Lea Wait.

Fourth, and surprisingly tempting, are the posts that are mostly about our personal lives, and these are
little more than letters to friends with photos and gossip. These can be fun if we can make our lives interesting. But since I've never been a fan of Trader Joe's (yes, I know, there's something wrong with me), and get bored sitting in Starbucks watching other people typing furiously or staring out the window chewing on a muffin, I leave these posts to others. I actually find the posts interesting, even if I can't tolerate the experiences myself. Interesting. When I do write one, I usually veer off into a bit of history or someone else's hobby, like this photo from a man who likes to visit post offices throughout the United States.

I've tried focusing on one type of post but learned early on that my mind (and tastes) wander, so my blogs tend to be full of whatever has captured my imagination at the time, including today's topic, categories of posts for writers.

And while you are pondering this, my best wishes to all for a happy Fourth of July.


Jan Christensen said...

Susan, I love this post. I started off blogging with a fixed schedule in mind--personal organization and time mangement on Modays, writing advice on Fridays. After a couple of years, I could no longer keep up the pace, so I quit for a while. I'm back now, aiming for once a week, and just putting up what I feel like. I think you have a great blend of posts. Keep up the good work!

Allan J. Emerson said...

Thanks for the post, Susan. I'm grateful for the inspiration I get from other writers' blogs. I'm already wondering how I'm going to meet my once-a-week posting schedule, and I've only done half a dozen posts. Other bloggers open my eyes to possibilities I hadn't thought of, and I'm impressed by those who've maintained a regular posting schedule while always having something interesting to say.

Susan Oleksiw said...

Jan, I can't imagine doing two posts a week for two years. I'm struggling with one a week. But it has been illuminating for me to sit down and stare at that blank page and try to think of something to say that will be useful and entertaining. I've learned a lot from blogging, enough to keep me going. Thanks for sharing your experiences as well.

Allan, I too learn from other bloggers, and I'm grateful to the wonderful writers who have taught me things on their blogs. Keeping up with blogging requires a different kind of discipline, but a useful one. Thanks for commenting.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Susan,

I've been with Author Expressions since Joyce Moore started this blog to give a voice to Five Star/Gale/Cengage writers. I like the fact that we're pretty open here and can post various kinds of blogs. I don't get too personal either. It's not in my comfort zone. However, like you, I try to post blog articles that are meaningful to both readers and writers here and as well on my personal blog.

Susan Oleksiw said...

We get a lot of variety in our posts here, which makes it more interesting to me at least. The hard part for me has been learning that the simplest things can be interesting to other people. Thanks for commenting, Jacquie.

Mary F. Schoenecker Writes said...

I liked your post, Susan, but had to wait to comment until the fireworks were over on another glorious Independence Day. Especially meaningful to me was this line,"as I make my way through a career with no clear footpath through the forest of publishing." I can relate to that.

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