It’s November 5, which means a select few of you (probably those who consider sleep and hygiene nice, but optional) are giddy from the heady, early throes of cranking out 50,000 words in just 30 days. Yep, it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and I, too, have joined more than 100,000 participants in rearranging my priorities to focus on writing until 11:59:59 p.m. on November 30, or 50,000 words, whichever comes first.
My novel is shaping up slowly. At the time of this writing, I’m not quite 1,600 words in. But the process has made me think about writing, both as career and avocation, in a different light. Specifically, it’s got me thinking about blogging.
So far, three painful writing stints over the last four days have reminded me of the following lessons that apply equally to blogging, one of my personal marketing goals for the months ahead:
- You have to write to become a better writer. You can only read so many books on technique or examples of excellent blog posts. At the end of the day, the only way to become a better blogger is to put fingers to keyboard and do it.
- You’ll write a lot of garbage. Just because you’ve written 20 blog posts doesn’t mean that they’re all fit for public consumption. The same goes for novels. (In fact, I’d sooner throw myself in front of a bus than think that anyone might actually read my previous NaNoWriMo manuscripts.) At the same time, your posts don’t have to be perfect, either. Part of the blogging process is watching your blog evolve as you start to discover your personal voice and style.
- You have to listen. In noveling, you listen to the still, small voices of your characters as they claw their way into existence. With blogging, you listen to everything from the ponytailed barista at Starbucks to those three loyal readers who routinely revisit and even comment on your blog. If you view writing as your personal soapbox, prepare to be ignored.
- You have to persevere. If you’re serious about writing, whether it’s a novel or a blog, you have to overcome resistance. Writing is hard work. It’s like going to the gym. Regular workouts (or writing sessions) will make you stronger or improve your conditioning, but you have to keep up the effort. And something more fun will try to tempt you away from that next workout. Don’t give in.
I still have 25 days and more than 48,000 words to go with the novel—and hopefully quite a bit more with this blog. I’m sure many more lessons await in the weeks ahead.
What’s your best blogging advice? Or noveling advice? I’ll need all the help I can get to cross the 50,000 word mark.