Look out the window. See those pigs? Yeah, they’re flying.
I’ve never made my enmity toward blogs a secret. As a serious writer, I snubbed web logs (as “the kids” used to call them) precisely because “the kids” were using them. On the one hand, if anyone can hop on Blogspot and start pouring his or her heart out about puppies or how cruel the world is to poor, misunderstood goth teens, then what separates a good blog from a bad blog?
The answer: the amount of time it takes to sort through millions of pointless online diaries to find something worth reading.
In the arena of fiction (where I wield my proverbial pen with impunity), publishers traditionally play the role of referee. This pantheon of literary gods decide whose manuscript is worth thousands of dollars and should be distributed to the masses (with money) and whose manuscript is worthy of free broadcasting on the World Wide Web.
Self-publishing takes a fair bit of effort (more on that in future posts); starting a blog, well, your grandma could do that in about five minutes. And she probably has.
Besides, I didn’t need to start a personal blog because I was already getting paid to write a lifestyle column in the local newspaper. These days, I even get paid to blog at my day job (e.g., http://www.brownboots.com/blog/2012/03/how-to-avoid-website-sticker-shock/). Why give my words away for free?
Fast forward to today.
Why am I reneging on the sacred vow I made to myself? Peer pressure. I’ve read numerous articles and, yes, blogs that list “Start a blog!” as one of the Top 10 steps an author must undertake in order to market him- or herself…even before that first novel gets blessed by those mystical publishers in the sky. I guess I can check it off my list.
But I’d be lying if I said there isn’t another reason for my pro-blog conversion. Even though I have a workplace blog and a newspaper column, neither of those venues are appropriate for in-depth posts about my passion for the written word. I’ve stifled many ideas simply because I didn’t have a place to explore them. I guess I’ve solved that problem, too.
Before I go any farther, however, a few ground rules are in order:
- I have a background in journalism, so I tend to default to AP style. That’s right, I still use a hyphen in “e-mail.” Deal with it. (Editor’s note: when AP style conformed to “email,” I also made the switch.)
- Even though most online publications (blogs included) favor the single space between sentences, I specialize in fiction, so I’m going to put two spaces between sentences. Yes, I’m a rebel. (Editor’s note: not so much a rebel after all; two spaces between sentences is such an eyesore, I went back and changed earlier posts.)
- As for the serial comma…well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
- This is a quasi-professional blog, so while personal anecdotes and observations will be recorded here, I vow never to write about what I’m eating at any given moment, health issues that might be afflicting me or others around me, or supposedly absolute rules that govern writing as a craft or a business. If there were a proven formula for the best-selling novel, writing wouldn’t be an art, now would it?
If you thought I’d use this first post to explain why I named this blog “One Million Words,” I’m sorry to disappoint. That’s just too cliché. Every writer worth his or her salt knows the real way to make money these days is cliffhangers.
And that’s a fact!
—Editor’s note: the real reason I went with “One Million Words” can be found here.