Sometimes, I feel guilty about blogging. It’s a little pinching sensation, probably a sensation most writers are familiar with – the feeling that you’re wasting time you should be using to work on your novel.
That’s why I was reassured when I read a recent interview with a professor about “the Lost Generation” and found out that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were also both dawdling bloggers, in their own right.
In the interview, Professor Kirk Curnett, chair of English at Troy University Montgomery, explains that Fitzgerald was always looking to be something of a famous author. The voice of a generation. Etc. etc.
That meant he did whatever it took to promote his work and himself. He wrote articles like “What I Think and Feel at 25,” something that would surely get at least a hundred “Likes” on Facebook if it was published today. There would just be more GIFs included.
Meanwhile, Hemingway tried to resist. He was the typical, no-nonsense writer who didn’t want anything to do with the paltry, mainstream consumer magazines out there… until he decided that it was all right.
Like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, too, blogged in print – writing about hunting and fishing in particular. Undoubtedly with SEO-friendly headlines like “How to Hunt and Cook a Rabbit in 30 Minutes.”
Is Blogging a Waste of Time?
When I think about blogging, I think about writing magazine articles. Some of my stories have been published in magazines. Some have been e-zines. Granted, they haven’t been published in anything close to national publications… but sometimes I wonder if that matters anymore.
Few magazines pay anything anymore, so all that’s left is exposure. And the ways people get information these days are so diverse and so evanescent that most things, whether magazine article or this blog post right here and right now, will fade from memory before the day is over.
I know this for a fact – I’ve had two blog posts about politics (back when I used to do that kind of thing) that, at this point, have gotten over 20,000 views each. I saw that one of them, “The 3 Reasons All Young Adults Are Liberal,” went viral on Tumblr a bit over a year ago.
One of the first comments on the Tumblr page was, “I don’t know who the author is, but he or she has some good points.”
Because that is how we consume information now. No authors, no attribution, no permanence: just endorphin-sparking content. It’s kind of like the “vanishing caloric density” technology used by the people that make Cheetos – the taste is gone before you finish chewing.
That said, creating a blog that people will keep reading, over and over, week after week, builds an online presence that will keep growing. You aren’t wasting time by blogging if you enjoy it, and just keep in mind that in the time it takes to polish, submit, re-submit, edit, and re-submit one article worth $50 to a bunch of different magazines, you can write quite a few blog posts.
Although maybe “What I Think and Feel at 25” needs a refresher…
Want to learn more about book marketing? Check out my free guide about blogging!