So I am going through my normal procrastination ritual of reading some of the hundred or so blogs I’m subscribed to, when I run across Bob Freeman’s blog entry on how he blogs. It’s a question folks like Bob and I get from time to time that I know quite a few folks wrestle with: how do you blog?

I blog just like Bob.

Except completely different.

God bless the writers who can just sit down to a blank page, completely unintimidated, with just an idea, and just start writing, because I couldn’t do that. I need a map, some sort of guide even if it’s just a rough sketch to keep me somewhat on point (or at least make sure I reach a point). It’s not always the case, but I bet you can tell when I don’t at least sketch out my thoughts first, else they pretty much stay the same half thought out idea they began with (this blog began with “Bob is nuts”).

Does blogging take away from my real writing time? No, blogging is PART of my real writing time. I understand what the asker is aiming at. The time I spend blogging is time that I could be working on a novel or a short story or an article, and that’s quite true. But it is still writing (and one day I’m going to calculate just how many words a year I generate in blogging alone and compare that with my “actual” writing output).

I blog on a variety of topics, mostly just whatever I’m thinking about at the time and I publish them in a variety of venues (Indy.Com, Blogging in Black, Hollywood Jesus) for greater exposure and because if I can make money by my writing I most certainly will (heck, I’ve even sold ad space on some of my older blog entries). But I can’t write the way Bob does.

My blog mentors, whether they realized it or not, were/are Nick Mamatas, Brian Keene, and Lauren David (she hates it when I point out that I began blogging as a weird sort of competition with her), thus the weird mix of topics. My blog is my professional face, often the first thing prospective editors and agents look at when they visit my site. I also blog with a distant eye on one day bundling up various blog posts and packaging them as non-fiction book proposals.

But I like I tell folks, there’s no hard and fast rule to this. Half the time I envy those folks who can sit down and write because (and this is my issue) I see them as more authentically artistic. The other half of the time, I wonder if they’re the same folks who talk about their works in progress in the blogs saying things like “I had to cut out 20K of words that didn’t work”. And then I thank God for my map (he says knowing that he’s about to sit down to re-work his first novel to cut 40K out of it because, like a typical guy, he didn’t stop to ask directions when he got lost).

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