inBlogs: Blogging, Honestly
As someone who writes often on a variety of subjects, there is nothing more terrifying than being asked to write about the one subject that I should know plenty about: myself and my writing. But I like a challenge, so…
Indulge me for a moment because I’m going to start with a definition, but it will all make sense in the end. The world “blog” is not just a funny sound pulled out of the air to describe a piece of online writing that isn’t a novel or a tweet. Legend has it that “blog” is a mash-up of “web” and “log.”
And what is a “log?” If you go back through nautical lore, a logbook was a record of information about the ship, its crew, and the voyages it undertook. We take for granted the word “log” simply means to record or provide information. But even further back, in nautical history, we learn that an actual log was tied to rope and thrown overboard and a ship’s speed (and progress) was gauged as the ship moved away from the immobile log.
Today, in the online world, we login to access various website and portals, giving little thought to how part of a tree could relate to our high-tech lives.
So to return to blogging: Now that blogs are an established medium of expression, I used to wish that I had been one of those brave adventurers who dedicated themselves to a blog early on, became established as an authority, and built a following before everyone starting blogging. But it is a measure of personal progress to be able to accept the past. It didn’t happen for me that way, and there was no guarantee that it would have.
Ghostblogging: It isn’t all that scary
I got into blogging as a ghostblogger. How did that happen? Basically, I met the right person at the right time and was able and join a business that offers web writing services.
Being able to cite this as an occupation invites curiosity. While people understand that a ghostwriter writes books, speeches and other texts on behalf of someone else, people are intrigued at the notion of ghostblogging because they perceive blogging to be a very personal medium. I’ve had to explain that I write blogs for small businesses and that I’m not online pretending to be someone else and writing about what I ate for breakfast. It’s like writing newsletters or advertorials, online.
I write short nonfiction pieces to make a variety of product and industries interesting (and if not interesting, at least relevant) so my clients get more web traffic and more customers. I get no byline for these blogs, but I do get paid and I know where my work is online (even if no one else does).
Who do I write for? Well, I’m under contract and if I were to tell you, I’d have to make sure you didn’t talk…so I can’t tell you.
Blogs I can call my own
There is something rewarding about helping others get their message out there, but as introverted as I am, I still want to make my voice heard.
My own blog, In Other Words, has anecdotes and observations from my life. I started it because a writer friend swore that she was able to get started on her novel after she started blogging. I had my doubts, but I took her advice anyway. And lo and behold—she was right! Somehow writing the blog got my brain working; I then spent less time on the blog and I was able to finish a (still currently unpublished) middle grade novel.
Then I started looking around for more writing opportunities. In the online world you need page views to sell advertising. There are a lot of companies that offer to share the profit with you if you write for them and your writing gets a certain number of page views. I tried several and I still blog about cultural events for Examiner.com. Since it can be hard to rake in profits this way, I think of it as a hobby and a writing platform that brings increased exposure.
And this brings me to my latest blog project, my book blog Booksploitation. I started it simply because I wanted to write more about the books I read and with time I hope the blog will allow me to interact and dialog more with other readers. I am really passionate about books and stories (whether the books are written on paper or uploaded to e-readers). And while of course I have high hopes and big dreams, I was more than happy when two people told me that they went out and read a book because I wrote about it so enthusiastically.
Back to sailing and journeys and the throwing of logs
Now I’ve reached a point on the journey where I can see from the log that I am a nice distance from the shore. Yet, when I look out, I see that the horizon beckons and there is so much more reading, writing and communicating to be done.
(Photo Credit: Laura Davidson)