Starting next week, I will be cutting back on blogging. I’ll be going from three days a week down to two. Instead of posting on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I’ll be moving to Tuesday and Thursdays.
Why? You may be asking. Why in the world would I cut back now when things are going well, when I have a large following, and when there’s been a recent splurge of posts talking about how important numbers are for a writer’s career ( here are a couple: Author Marketing & Platform & Numbers Are Our Friends) (see the bottom of this post for my brief opinion on the numbers issue).
Here’s a short list of reasons why I’m cutting back:
• I need to build some margin back into my life. I mentioned that one of the mistakes I’ve made in my journey to publication (here) is that I didn’t anticipate the increase in the workload. Over the past couple of years, my responsibilities have increased, but the time I can devote to my writing career hasn’t increased at the same pace. When I evaluated my writing schedule, I realized whittling off one blog post a week wouldn’t change things too drastically but would still aid in freeing up a little more of my time.
• I’ve built a solid team who has supported me. Now it’s my time to focus on supporting them. As I said in this post, The Purpose of Blogging for Fiction Writers, one of the primary benefits of blogging is gaining a network of other writers and readers who are excited about helping promote you and your books. I feel blessed to have those connections firmly in place. And while I don’t want to take friendships for granted, I also don’t need to start at ground zero anymore.
• I need to give more time to readers and most of them don’t hang out on blogs. My interaction with fans happens primarily through emails, facebook comments, and hand-written notes. Since interacting with readers is important to me too, I want to leave enough time to respond.
So, how often should writers blog? What really is the most effective way to build a solid blog following and increase our social media presence? And will cutting back hurt a writer’s efforts?
Of course, everyone will have different opinions on the matter, but here are a few of mine. (Please share yours in the comments!)
• Quality is more important than quantity. If we post every day but it’s fluff that doesn’t resonate with our readers, then we aren’t going to keep those readers coming back. People can tell when we take the time to craft a meaningful post or when we just throw something onto our blog because we have to, which often happens when we over-extend ourselves.
• Consistency counts. I’m far more likely to remember and interact with bloggers who are consistent as opposed to those who post or comment sporadically. Even if it’s once a week, consistency helps keep our name out there.
• Beginners will have to work harder to build relationships. Anytime we’re new (whether in blogging or real life situations), we'll have to make more of an effort to reach out and get to know people. It always takes a little more time and effort at the beginning. Once we’re more established, we find that we don’t need to expend the same energy anymore.
• And no, numbers don’t always tell the whole story, particularly with blogging which has an attrition rate. There are always followers who fall away, but then new ones swing by. So while I may have over 1500 followers, not all of them are active anymore. Likewise, I could have over a thousand visitors on a post, but only 25 comments. Thus, while numbers can give us an indication of how we’re doing, striving after them is a bit like chasing the wind.
My Summary:Each of us has to find a blogging schedule that works for us. We can’t get paranoid about the number of followers or the number of times we post. But instead, we can look for ways to reach out, make our posts resonate, and build genuine connections.
So what’s your opinion? Do you think that writers who post less frequently or even sporadically will have less success? Is there an optimal number of days writers should blog? Or are there other factors that contribute to a blog’s success besides how often we post?