7 Slippery-Slope Reasons Writers Shouldn’t Blog

 

Yes, I know. I am a writer and this is a blog post about not writing blogs. Irony is everywhere. Embrace it. But this topic still matters because many publishers urge authors to start and maintain a blog. Should you? Start the slope with me, then decide for yourself:

  1. Blogging can create a dopamine addiction, a Pavlovian instant-feedback dependence. Especially when you’re working on manuscripts that take a year or three; it’s a long silent drive with no one in the car. That immediate rush of reader response can derail the long obedience of writing (riding) patiently to a distant destination. And clearly, then…
  2. It also steals precious time away from long form writing and from writing articles with larger readerships and influence. Even if you only post once a week (as I do), even that can take the entire day, which means one workday out of five is gone. Not to mention the time taken to respond to every comment, which you absolutely should do.
  3. Because of this, and because you never have enough time to write, and because you know #1 and #2 are true, you will then decide to write your blog as efficiently as possible, which then means hasty pasty work that can degrade your artistry and your own standards of excellence. You blog to create a “brand,” but maybe your blogging “brand” tarnishes your book brand? But…
  4. It won’t matter and you won’t care because now advertisers are at your gate and you’re soon selling so much merchandise you realize you could do this full time with a few small adjustments to your editorial content and your wardrobe and your housewares, which you now feature because you’ve become such a commodity you spend most of your time taking photos and signing contracts rather than crafting paragraphs. Or…
  5. Just as easily, You become a political crankcase. Though you never plan this, the immediacy of blogging, the outrageousness of current politics and the catharsis you imagine awaits you after verbal tirades and blood-letting on your blog can oh-so-siren-song you into becoming a self-righteous rant-er in your beloved space which you once intended for the literary care and feeding of others. It will happen so gradually you won’t even notice until eventually…
  6. You will see yourself as a social/medical/educational/historical/everything commentator as knowledgeable about every current hot issue as the next guy and, armed with opinions you no longer want to waste, you deputize yourself and spend your energy preventing the demise of the free world or whatever your current passion has become now that you’re a Truth-warrior and Word-slinger rather than a writer. But also, you could slide the other way and…
  7. Care so much about your readers who are themselves tired of the sensationalized fake-newsy rants of the blogosphere that you spend your time devising outlandishly clever posts that occasionally include YouTubes about goats to prod your weary readers into liking and sharing your freakish brilliance. In other words, you’re writing simply for their attention rather than writing about what you really care about which doesn’t work at all, Or it does work and because you now have 50,000 followers, you decide to run for political office or move to L.A. to try stand-up comedy. Failing in both, you move back in with your parents and get a job designing slipper socks. You forgot you ever wanted to write.

You could end up here OR, you could slide another way and discover that life is strangely riddled with holiness and your weekly posts press you to find the divine you might otherwise miss. And around those words a collection of strangers begins to gather into neighbors you soon love who join you in this weekly act of holy listening. And before you know it seven years have gone by and you know many by their names and this wondrous crazy life now belongs in some way to all of you. And you may sell more books or you may not, you don’t keep track because you’re too busy writing and writing and all you know is you never want to stop.

Should you blog? You decide.

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About leslieleylandfields

Leslie is the multi-award winning author/editor of 10 creative nonfiction books, including Crossing the Waters, Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers, The Spirit of Food, and Surviving the Island of Grace. She is the founder of the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop, a writers' workshop led with Phillip Yancey, Ann Voskamp and many others. She leads writing retreat and speaks around the world on matters of theology, forgiveness, creativity, culture, family and food. She lives on Kodiak Island, Alaska, where she works in commercial fishing with her husband, her daughter and five sons.

32 thoughts on “7 Slippery-Slope Reasons Writers Shouldn’t Blog

    • Thanks Laurie! Yes, it should be fun (I hope!) I’m trying to imagine a teleprompter out on our beaches or in the skiff . . .. having a hard time seeing it! (But of course I will likely blog all about it!)

  1. So, I’m not sure that Leslie is still blogging once a week! I always enjoy your posts and whether you stop, go to 1x a month or keep on the same. Thanks for these words of life being, “riddled with holiness.” We need to look, and listen for that divine that’s out there. I so appreciate you!

    • Hey Diane! Yes, I do still blog once a week. I miss a week every now and then. It’s important to NOT miss life because of the blog!! (I appreciate you too!!!)

  2. You said this so well and true. A good shot in the arm for this author who started as a blogger and now struggles to find the time to blog once a week. Thank you!

    • Hey Shelly, It’s hard for me as well, and sometimes I miss a week—but so it goes. I beg the Lord each week for an anointed post, so I’m not just flinging words out into the air.

    • Sandra, I think often about mine as well, but mostly I ask the Lord to direct my words each week. I just don’t want to be throwing words out for it’s own sake. They have be to words that matter to both writer and reader (as you know!)

      • Your words matter to us. They have always encouraged me and helped me. I’ve considered blogging. Still considering… lol.

        I have such a heart for moms still in the midst of raising little ones. There is so much fluff out there. There is such truth and hope in what His Word says.

        I have my moments when I just think but who am I? Could the Lord really use it to help other moms?

  3. A lot of good wisdom there. I have heard from every corner of the literary world about blogging. I do blog. It keeps me writing when I can’t think anymore on my WIP or am sick of editing. For now, I will keep it up. I don’t spend tons of time, in fact, mostly answer bloggers or blog a simple piece. It’s a place I share my published work, too. Love connecting with authors. Cooking and crime are passions, and that’s how I roll 🙂 but I agree, we can get caught in the trap to blog rather than write. Amen!

      • as a matter of fact … yes. Protag owns a bakery and becomes (to the chagrin of the police) cold case volunteer and tracking a murder … She’s sarcastic (so her love says: like crawling over barbed wire in boxers, LOL) . But she has a more interesting past as a … thief. 🙂

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  5. Thank you! This is the most thorough and succinct exploration of this important topic I’ve seen. I’ve watched the pressure to build platform, to keep blogging, and to be present everywhere on social media drain the life and creative depth, not to mention spiritual depth, out of so many writers. I so enjoyed reading this and love the photo!

    • Thanks so much Marilyn for your kind encouragement! All of us writers have to be brave in this new world, which includes drawing some boundaries and always questioning our motives. Thank you for reading!

  6. Great article. I enjoy the different opinions on the “to blog or not to blog” topic. I am currently pushing my first manuscript and have read multiple times that literary agents want writers who are active on social media and able to promote their books on a variety of platforms. So I write…

    • Yes, and I encourage all my student and workshop writers to do the same. BUT—-to do so wisely. Good luck and great providence to you, Heidi, as you seek publication for your manuscript!!

    • Ha! I was recently told that I would have to “build” my blog first before a publisher would take me on. All I could think was that I just want to encourage other moms and I wouldn’t have time for anything else!

      • Hey Ker, When the goal is simply to publish, for it’s own sake—-there’s little reward in that. Serving others, making a difference in their lives (all this as an outgrowth of our love for our Lord) is ultimately the best and greatest reward. That may include official publishing–or not. You’re on the right track!

  7. Leslie, yes yes yes; the Big Bad Blog Slope, downright black diamond worthy. Thanks for salting in humor with each slip ‘n slide observation. I’m saving this one to re-read. 🙂 I cut back to twice a month. No one seems to mind. Living attentively and spaciously enough to blog the sacred, unsung minutiae keeps me wonder-full and worshiping, my readers too, I hope. I read your blog weekly and see your heart, Leslie, as well as God’s, line after line, image after image. “May [you] who refresh others also be (continually) refreshed” (Pr. 11:25, I think). So grateful for your post.

    • Oh Laurie—your words that cite God’s words have already done this!! Thank you for refreshing this one who does get tired . …. We’re in this together, aren’t we??

  8. ‘Steered here by Laurie Klein and glad she did. Blogging does interfere with long-term projects, but the former seems necessary in order to provide an audience for the latter–if and when each is ready for publication. Meanwhile, I’ve built relationships with some delightful, deep-thinking, creative folks (Laurie is one of them!) and fed my soul on their top-notch writing. They have helped me become a better writer and encouraged me to press on. Do I want to give that up for more time on the L-T projects? I guess not!

    • Hi Nancy! Good to meet you here! Yes, it’s complicated for sure, that’s why all of us vacillate and question and agonize. We need an audience for our books, but serious blogging seriously slows that work. I am constantly weighing and praying about both. Blessings as you write!

  9. Love this. I am a closet amature writer have wondered about blogging. You nailed it. One needs to define their intent before starting. Do I want space to fill or space to propeller holy healing. Liked it very much

    • Note to self do not try to add comments via phone when you are tired, last name above is Hawkins and I don’t have a propeller, was wanting to say propel

      • Janet!! Haaaa, love the word “propeller” there! Seemed to fit entirely! Yes, that’s exactly it: define your best intentions before you begin. Thank you! (And that’s my note to self as well)

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