Tug of War

So how much time does everyone REALLY spend on blogging compared to writing?

The tug of war was won by writing. Many of you mentioned spending about 2 hours writing and 1 hour blogging. Some (like me!) do more. Nearly everyone alluded to the struggle to keep blogging from taking over their writing time.

I think I can summarize your comments from yesterday by saying: the battle is ongoing; blogging still pulls us one way and writing the other.

When I started getting serious about looking for agents and pursuing publication of my novel, I quickly realized that many agents have blogs and also highly encourage writers to have one. Here are a few recent quotes from some agents I follow:

Rachelle Gardner: Publishers and agents are still looking for great stories. If you've written a wonderful novel, everything else is icing. However, I think fiction platform is going to become more of an issue simply because of your competition. More and more, we're going to see first-time novelists who already have a high-traffic blog or other means of attracting readers.

Wendy Lawton: I noticed when our agency began blogging that there were several writers who left regular comments. Brilliant. Don’t you think we take note of those writers who are doing the hard work to find out who we are and what we’re thinking? Also, I’m following several very interesting writers on Twitter. I’m getting to know them long before they send me work.

Chip MacGregor: Right now the way to create buzz is through the internet; we're seeing authors build an entire readership through their blogs, and clearly the social networking tools of Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace are reshaping the way authors build a platform.

Obviously agents are looking at how well new writers use the internet to network. Thus, most of us are trying hard to make new connections and build a readership long before we have a book on the shelf.

In some ways blogging seems like it has become a popularity contest. Has it ever felt that way to you at times? We're being pushed to try to get noticed and to make a name for ourselves before we're published. Supposedly the more popular we become, the more sales our book will generate.

Yet, how does this push toward popularity line up with the idea of living humbly? Seems like I need to make a big push for ME, and I'm not sure how to reconcile that yet with my desire to push God's fame.

So, what do you think of all the hype? Do you think blogging and other social networking will really help your career in the long run? After spending hours and hours at blogging, how big of a difference do you think it will make once your book is published?


  1. Great question Jody!
    I know that when I feel pressure to write really good posts, I try to take a step back and just calm it all down. The point is to write for a career and to glorify God. Not to win some contest, like you mentioned.
    I don't know if blogging will do anything for my career. We'll see. Most pubbed authors I've read don't seem to keep a regular blog, but a sporadic one. Maybe once I'm published I'll have to slow down? I don't know.

  2. Hi Jessica,
    It would be really interesting to take a poll of published authors to find out how much a blog has helped in promoting the sales of their books! Because you're right, many of the authors I follow don't post all that regularly!

  3. It's definitely something to think about. I blog right now mainly because I think it's fun. It's another avenue of writing. A great way to share my journey with friends and family. Do I think my blog gets enough traffic to amount to any sort of impressive plaform? Nope. But it's fun to have up and running. A nice thing to have in place before we get published. An enjoyable way to connect with other writers, friends, and family.

  4. Hi Katie,
    You have a very refreshing attitude about blogging! That's exactly why I love connecting with other writers! Sometimes I get a jaded view, and the Lord uses others to help put mine back into perspective! Thank you!

  5. I felt more of what you wrote about w/ FB and was so grateful to be able to express more creativity w/ blogging.

    I do think social networking can help on the road to publication.

    I've been so thankful for your blog and several others I follow...I feel like I've found people who know what it feels like, who have the passion but are trying to balance it with loving their families. It's a powerful not feel alone in what you do.

  6. I think blogging is great and helpful, but in the end, does it create reader? *shrug* maybe some. And some is better than nothing! I personally come from the train of thought that word of mouth is the biggest way to spread the news about a good book. So if I have ten people who read my blog... and they all tell ten people about the great book they read by an author they follow... and so on, it's viral. Also, you create "blogging" friends who hopefully, when the time come, will do nice things like review your book on their blog or twitter about the AWESOME new book they are reading by XYZ author.

    So, I dont' think blogging in itself sells books. But the commmunity you become a part of will HELP doing so.

    Your point about "fame" is a huge one. I struggled a lot with it when I first started writing. I don't want people to say, "Wow, Krista is a ROCKIN' author" I want them to say, "WOw, isn't God awesome? He used someone like Krista (i.e. little peon) to write this extrodanary book that I really needed right now!"

  7. Hi Wendy,
    I am REALLY new to FB. I just started it last week! So maybe I'll start to feel the "popularity" pressure there too. The whole idea of trying to gain as many "friends" as we can doesn't quite settle with me yet! How can a person really have 1000+ friends on FB anyway? I think it's distorting the meaning of the word "friend", don't you? OK, that is too deep a subject for this early in the morning!!

    I agree that blogging seems to be a way to connect with others on a deeper level! The Lord really used everyone's comments last week about the writing journey to bless me tremendously! So, while there is the pressure to use blogging to advance ourselves, maybe we can still find some redeeming value in it!

    Thanks, Wendy! I appreciate your blog too!

  8. Hi Krista,
    I have heard about some great books through the blogging network. And hopefully as we support one another on this writing journey we will be able to help promote each other's books as they get published! That would be great! But as far as getting the wide spread readership? That's still open for debate, right? Part of that will probably depend on how well written our books are, don't you think?

  9. I don't think my blog is going to advance my writing career, but I do love meeting and keeping in touch with other writers who share my joy, triumphs, and struggles with the craft.

    I see my blog solely as a place to play, if it peaks an agent's interest (Ha!), well that would be gravy--as they say.

    Again, great topic, Jody. :-)

  10. Jody, This post came at exactly the right time! I've been thinking about this for quite a while.

    First, as far as the time issue goes, I write all of my blogs on the same day (Monday). I then edit the posts a few days later and schedule them for the following week. It's a huge time saver. I get all of my posts written in about an hour and a half.

    Second, I see my blog as changing when I'm published. It will be more about promoting my books--with probably one personal post a week.

    Third, I blog to build my platform, but also because it forces me to hone in and "own" a topic. I've found it to be a terrific learning tool. And I check out your blog (and other authors) as a learning and social tool. I'm so thankful for all these great blogs!

    Have a wonderful day!

  11. Jody, I struggle daily with this very issue. Yes, I started my blog as a way to begin networking. But even when I started it I told myself that if I was going to do this for networking, I'd better gain something helpful for building my own writing, too. So I started it by interviewing newly published authors once a week. It helped promote their books, and by answering my Journey to Publication questions it gave me lots of food for thought and great advice. But I got burnt out fast trying to manage those interviews weekly and ended up taking a long break over the summer.

    Even today, I pray to God to help me keep blogging under control. I surrender it to God. In my writing agenda, the writing of my novels has to be priority, the networking and platform creation have to come second for me. Not that I don't really appreciate all the new cyber friends I've gained with this venture, I seriously do, but I must keep writing.

    I do consider my blog posts a way of writing practice, so that helps me warrant the time I spend on it, too. So far, I'm extremely humble considering my current traffic to my blog. But I'm convinced that if it grows to something worth stating in a proposal, then it's God's doing, not mine. Surround everything in prayer, surrender everything to Him, and He takes the credit. We are only the instruments to do His majestic work.

  12. jody...i'm banking on it. i hope some agent picks up what i'm doing and finds it fresh and interesting. my blog readership will hopefully continue to grow and then when i do query, my stats will look impressive. i see the rhyme to the reason. :)

  13. I certainly think that blogging can help you once you get published - it's a start, at least.

  14. I've got one crit partner who knows first hand that her blog hopping has increased her reader base and another that spoke with an editor who says she looked her up on Facebook. I love blog hopping to connect with other writers but also to prepare myself for self-promotion for when I'm pubbed. I try to spend a certain amount of time in the morning strictly for communication but I make time for my writing.

  15. Hi Rebecca,
    I would love to just blog to "play!" I guess I'm too much of a driven, Type A personality to let anything just be for playing! It must serve more than one purpose to make it worth my time! But I love to hear about people who can throw abandon to the wind! It is so refreshing!

  16. Hi Jill,
    You are doing a great job of networking and preparing for publication! You have become my newest role model!! :) Seriously, you've done a great job with your blog, website, and with FB. And it seems like you are able to balance your time with it all so wisely! I admire your organization! You've been an inspiration to me! Thank you so much! See, there are wonderful benefits to blogging! I'm learning so much from my new friends!!

  17. I think blogging definitely helps. When time comes to promote my first novel, I won't feel like I'm reaching to an entire, unknown planet. It certainly can't hurt.

    On the otherhand, it's not all about promotion, and shouldn't be, imo. I've made some good friends, and learned more than I would have ever dreamed by being a regular blogger.

  18. Any benefits after publishing are a secondary bonus to me. I blog because I love the info exchange, the community and friends. I don't pursue other social networking roads.

    As my life's so chaotic right now, blogging IS my writing. If it ever quit being fun and rewarding, I'd let it go. :)

  19. Jody, those are good questions. I starting blogging solely because I had heard it could help develop a platform and that networking was good. I joined Facebook at about the same time. But my motivations behind continuing to blog have changed. It does feel like a popularity contest sometimes (and I feel like that with Facebook, too), but I have gotten so much more out of it than I would have thought. I have learned more than I would have on my own about writing as well as networking.

    I don't have a huge readership so I hardly think it's going to boosts sales by a large amount once my book comes out, but there are people who are interested in what I have to write. If even a few of them end up buying my book, it will be a few more than I had originally. That's already reaching more people. And if they like the book then hopefully they'll tell others!

  20. Hi Eileen,
    I think interviewing authors every week would be fascinating, but like you said, take just TONS of time! It would also provide a great way to network with published authors. Maybe it's something to do once in a while?

    I'm trying to keep your perspective (you're so wise as always!). I want to put forth the necessary effort, but ultimately I want the story of success to belong to God alone. I guess I'm still struggling to know how much effort I need to put forward on the blogging end!

  21. Hi Jeannie,
    You exude confidence! And you certainly have worked hard at building your platform so far. We will all be watching you and following in your footsteps! (Or trying to follow!)

  22. Hi Melissa,
    New picture! Took me a minute to figure that out! Looks great!

  23. Hi Chelle,
    Thanks for sharing those specific examples. It is so encouraging to hear of success stories. I guess we never know who is watching our blogs or facebook or whatever! And in today's competitive market, we need all of the edge we can get.

  24. Great question as always, Jody,

    I was just talking about this the other day with my husband. Within the business community, networking has always been a very important way of establishing contacts. Meet and greets, getting to know who your competition is and who your vendors are. Whose willing to help give you an introduction to that angel who will help give you a step up.

    I don't know if you remember the old business adage "It's not what you know, but who you know." Both my husband and I have found this to be so true. Name recognition is important in any type of business. However, if there isn't any substance behind the name, then it has an adverse effect.

    I have discovered blogging is a great way to network. I'm getting to know people in the writing community: fledgling writing, authors, editors, publishers. Hopefully, in turn they are getting to know me.

    If, or rather I should say when I'm ready to pursue getting published, I'll at least know who the folks are who will be able to help me or point me in the right direction.

  25. Hi Patricia,
    You bring up a good point! If we start now, then we're not starting from the bare bones when we get published. At least we're in the process of networking and can then take it to the next level. And I agree, I've been so blessed in many ways by the blogosphere. I too have learned a lot and made some good solid connections!

  26. Hi Angie,
    So you're another one of those happy-go-lucky bloggers!! :) I wish I could say I did it out of pure pleasure! I really enjoy it and look forward to "chatting" with everyone! But I also see it as part of my writer's job!

  27. Hi Cindy,
    I started blogging for the same reason! But you're right, I'm enjoying it so much more than I thought I would! I think that's part of the problem; I really like all of the "chatting" and networking! But it takes away from other things I should be doing!

    I've always thought you had a great base of followers. I wonder what constitutes a good readership base?'ve made me wonder if having a high following is what counts, or having a solid following?

  28. Hi Robin,
    I definitely think for most people the old adage is true. It's about WHO we know. Connections can go a LONG way! Which doesn't always seem fair. But it's the reality, right?

    In light of that, I guess it makes sense to develop relationships with a wide variety of people, because we never how God will end up using those relationships down the road (for both parties involved!).

    Thanks for your input! Happy homeschooling today!

  29. Thanks Jody,, you too!

    "we never how God will end up using those relationships down the road (for both parties involved!)"

    We've discovered this to be so true and a contact you may think is inconsequential, really isn't. Sometimes you've got to step outside your comfort zone, step outside that box, trust God and see what happens.

  30. Great post!

    I started blogging as a way to build an online presence. I have a Facebook page, and a MySpace page too. I don't know how much they will help my writing aspirations, but it couldn't hurt to have a face out there for agents and what not to see.

  31. I'm not sure that a blog will help get a book published, that manuscript has to stand on its own. But as far as post-publishing, it brings an audience to your book. Publishers talk about authors doing the marketing, and blogs reach out to a wide audience. I've read where the Author Blog Tours reach a far greater audience for a new author than the traditional book tour. So blogs seem a way to keep your presence visible.

  32. Hi quixotic,
    I certainly agree that having the blogging presence (and FB, etc.) will definitely not hurt in our search for agents and editors. If it can give us a boost, than perhaps all of the time and effort will be worth it in the long run!

  33. Hi Joanne,
    Thanks for sharing your perspective! I think after we're published, we can especially take advantage of networking through the blog world with book tours and giveaways and interviews. I guess if we think it's hard work now, it will get even more demanding then, right?!

  34. Honestly, I don't think blogging will help my writing career directly that much. Blogging has just become a really fun way for me to organize my thoughts and hear the thoughts of other enthusiastic writers. And, it's pretty cool to feel like I have friends around the world that care about my writing as I care about theirs!

  35. Hi Davin,
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts today! It's been so interesting to hear what everyone thinks! I'm looking forward to your new blog with Lady Glamis, the Writing Lab! Sounds like you've found a great way to connect with the writing world, and I'm sure it will only help your writing career!

  36. Great post! You made some great points. I'm in the process of trying to make sure I have enough time for writing around blogging and the family and everything. There was a lot here to think about! :)

  37. Hi Jenn,
    Thanks for stopping by! I think as blogging increases in popularity, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep up with everything! I have a hard time juggling writing, blogging, and family too!

  38. I absolutely think blogging/social networking can be help - if done the right way (ie. with intention and professionalism). It's what I've hoped for as I gain a following and build a web-presence.

    Super post, Jodi!

  39. Great post today! I read this this morning but didn't comment, but I have thought about it several times through the day and came back over.

    I don't think that blogging will really help me get published, per se, or sell more books in the long run. But it certainly is helping me become a better writer. And it also helps me learn how to market and network - two very important sides to publishing.

    Thanks for a great post! I should have linked this in mine today. Sorry. My brain is a billion different places these days.

  40. Personally, I have bought many books because of that agent or author's blog. Otherwise, I would have never heard of them.

    Blogging is a great way to meet people and form friendships. Most often then not, if I like you as a person and you're blog is interesting I will check out your book.

    If you're not published, I think it's a great idea to blog early and make friends. They'll help you celebrate when you do finally sell and more often than not, they'll buy your book, too. :)

  41. Hi Janna,
    I think the professionalism and intentionalsim are important ingredients in blogging too. I'd like to explore that more in a future post!

  42. Hi Lady Glamis,
    It's been interesting today to get such varying responses to my question. Some people like you, say that it won't really make much of a difference in helping to get published and in selling books. Others seem to think it does make a difference, that all of the connections can help promote an author. So I'm curious now; maybe the reality is that it will help sell and further our careers in some instances and not in others? Or maybe the jury is still out on it?

    You had some great thoughts again today on your blog too! It's been enlightening to hear your perspective on things! I'll look forward to your new venture on the Literary Lab (I said it wrong in my comment to Davin-Sorry!). I even put a link to your new blog under my "help for writer's blogs."

  43. Hi Jennifer,
    You can give us first hand experience with whether the blog has helped sell your book. Do you think your sales on your new release have been higher because of your blog? Would it have been about the same without your blog?

    I totally agree with making friends! So I guess even if the blog doesn't boost sales, we'll have made great connections with other writers and had wonderful encouragement along the journey!

  44. Is it strange to find that, the more blogging I do, the more writing I do? : )

  45. Hi Jody! I don't have anything profound to add. I blogged to have some fun and then to meet other people who are into the same thing I am...writing. While it has been loads of fun, I don't know that it will help me build a readership once I do publish. God knows. He'll make my path straight and lead me in ways to spend my time best, whether it is blogging or not.

  46. I just started my blog...literally one week ago. And have really enjoyed the community I've discovered through blogging.

  47. Hi KLo,
    Maybe the blogging is getting your writing juices going?!

  48. Hi Sherrinda,
    You met me through blogging, what more could you aks for??!! :) Serioiusly, you bring up a great point. God will direct our paths, and I have to trust him more in that. I started writing again, believing that he was directing me, and I can't stop believing that he'll carry this all through to exactly where he wants it. Great insight, Sherrinda! Hope your week is going well!

  49. Hi Joyce,
    Welcome to the blogging world! I'm sure you'll find many benefits as you continue to connect, but I'm sure you'll also experience the struggle of trying to balance it all as we've been discussing this week!


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