Celebrating East African Writing!
“And it occurred to me that there is no such thing as blogging. There is no such thing as a blogger. Blogging is just writing — writing using a particularly efficient type of publishing technology.” (Simon Dumenco)
So a lot of young writers keep asking me why they should keep a blog. First answer that comes to my mind is usually: Because you want to.
The truth is, there is no rule book that says a writer must keep a blog in this internet age. And true, there are definite cons to the whole blogging phenomena. But allow me to list a few pros:
1. Writer’s block from fear of exposing your work is gradually diminished the more you publish some or part of your work.
Of course, it is possible that depending on your level of writing, you might receive negative review. This is not neccesarily a bad thing, in fact, to the contrary. Honest opinion from your readers can help you get better as a writer and a thinker. With time, you will be able to sift out what is honest critique and what is just crap. As your confidence grows, you’ll find it easier to write without worrying about critique.
“When you begin blogging—or even blogging a book, you typically don’t have any readers. If you don’t tell anyone about your blog, surely no one will find it right away. This allows you to get your cyberspace legs. You can test out your blog voice and your idea before anyone even shows up to read your first post in most cases. You can even delete the first posts if you don’t like them and start over and in many cases no one will have read them yet.” ~The GateKeeper’s Post
2. When you blog you get instant access to your targeted readers.
Yes, this is not true in all instances. but it is generally true for most modern writers. When you are working on a novel, it is possible for you to post a short excerpt and get reader review which can be of great help in completing a book. Blogging also offers you the opportunity to enter into a bonding interchange with your readers.
My friend James Penhaligon has found this to be true in his case after publishing Speak Swahili Dammit! and keeping both a blog and a website for his other books. He has connected with people who read his shorter posts, comment and end up finding out about his published books.
“By examining reader’s comments, you can ascertain what your readers want to read, and what they like and don’t like about what you’ve written. If you don’t want to guess, a blog’s a good way to ask your readers what they want to read and what they like and don’t like. That’s the interesting thing about fans – they are honest, sometimes brutally so. But as a seasoned writer, your skin should be pretty thick, so take the leap, gather the information, use what works and disregard the rest.” ~ Writer Access
3. A blog gives you the space to try out different forms of writing.
I always tell the teen writers I mentor – you will never know what you are good at until you try them all. You can’t resist yourself to poetry, or fiction writing, or opinion editorials, until you have first tried to write all, and then had the opportunity to see which one is your strongest suit. That does not neccesarily mean that once you’ve figured out that you are good at one then you can’t do the others. All it means is that you know where your money is, and what you want to work harder on improving.
“Most writers find a niche and stick with it, but sometimes we like to try our hands at other genres. Your blog is a good place for experimentation. Just as your readers will let you know if you hit a home run or struck out with your usual writing, they will also let you know if you should dabble on in the new genre or stick to your ‘day job.’” – Writer Access
I am sure that with a little research you can find a lot more information to help you weigh the decision to start a blog or not. Today, I’ll give you just those three and now move on to our blog expo.
I was able to find a bunch of different posts that I liked for different reasons. I’ll start with something relevant for the current events, a piece I first found on Marcus Olang’s blog but which was first published on 1fm’s website:
A Tribute to Wangari Maathai: Mother, Sister, Leader, Heroine, Woman: She made international headlines again in 2004 when a committee in Norway saw her persistent pushes and saw it fit to ensure that the world takes note of this woman’s work, thus awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize. Read the tribute here.
Clearing Chronicles II: Clearing from the University of Nairobi~ the process by which a former student prepares to graduate~ is a bitch, its a rabid bitch that’s suckling its young. in these chronicles I relay my adventures riding this bitch. Read the Chronicles by Waywardfoe.
Born to Sapphire: Before Hailey and I leave the house, we will kiss Heidi goodbye and we will not forget to wave. She will wave back and say something close to ‘Byeee” in baby language. With her two pairs of front teeth, she will bless our day with a wide grin and keep waving and waving since this is a new ‘discovery’ she made the other day. Read Renneeisance’s September Sapphire.
Treasure – A Poem: I found this poem just perchance. I was looking for something that would help me explain the memory of a brother I lost ten years ago next month. And I found Treasured by Baru.
20 Questions: What have I struggled with in the past that might also affect the upcoming week? Only Jill Scott knows what I am going though right now, “I can’t eat, I can’t sleep anymore… waiting for love to walk through the door, I wish I didn’t miss you anymore!.. More like I need the old me back; I don’t need this right now, not when I have so many important things going on. Read Bobbui’s other 19 Answers to 20 questions.
I may have mentioned somewhere else: People blog for different reasons. People write for different reasons. Indeed, people live for different reasons. If you live to write, then write whichever way that comes to you!
To nominate a blog post for next month’s Fabulous on the Blog, please send me email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject Marked: Blog Nomination.
Next week is Poetry week: Poetry Genre: Choose your style. Poetry topic: Choose your topic. Deadline: Friday 7th October 2011 4pm East African Time.
If you have any lingering doubts on the Writers’ Community schedules see the guidelines.
Until next week, happy reading!