When we first start on social media or reading and/or writing blog posts, everything is shiny and new. That post about query letters is amazing simply because we haven’t been around to see the 2000 other blog posts about the same subject. But fast forward a year in our skill set, and the same post would seem redundant.
This creates an odd disconnect between the newbies and those who have been around the block a couple of times. After all, I still have a lot to learn, so I think of myself as a newbie. Yet to other writers who are really new to writing, I’m almost like a…*gasp* mentor.
That’s a bizarre concept for me to wrap my head around. And I’ll admit that my “seen that before” attitude impacts my blog topics and which posts I retweet on Twitter. There are probably some very good posts about query letters (or grammar, or the publishing industry, etc.) out there that I don’t retweet just because it’s not new to me.
A part of me thinks that’s a shame. Some of my Twitter followers are new to writing and would get something out of those posts. Sometimes, I’ll point links their way, usually with a tweet like “Good reminder! Watch out for head-hopping: http://bit.ly/huqYU7.” That way, my more-advanced followers know to skip the link, but newbie followers still get the information.
But just like how it’s hard to remember the details of our childhood, it can be hard to recognize how far we’ve come, how much we used to not know as writers. So for those of us who have been around the writing blogosphere for a while, we get (as Kait put it) bored with many of the posts out there. It’s not that the posts are bad, but we’d all find a math class for 7-year-olds boring too.
I liked Roni’s post because she pointed out how there is a stage past the super-cynical phase. She called it the sweet spot:
“Finding the sweet spot
I’m only going to do the online things I enjoy. I’m only going to read/interact/participate in the things I have time for and like doing. There are always people coming up with fresh content, I just have to be open to looking in new places. There is always something new to learn and a new friend to make.”
And I truly believe that. I will never be done learning. So if the blogs I’ve read in the past are a bit too basic for me now, maybe it’s time to expand my reading. Edittorrent has been a long-time favorite of mine because they mix basic and advanced concepts.
Can Finding the Right Mix Re-energize Us?
Several blog posts lately have asked the question, “Is blogging dead?” I think the answer is no, because there are always new people entering the fray, and they need to learn the same stuff we did. But the writing blogosphere has reached a point where many big-name bloggers are burned out and/or continually repeating posts.
We don’t want to lose their knowledge and experience, but they understandably don’t want to say or read the same things over and over. Maybe finding a way to reach out to new writers while still pushing ourselves forward will help everyone.
No matter where we are on the learning scale, we all started somewhere and made progress because others were willing to help. Likewise, I want to help those following behind me. So ideally, I should aim for a mixture of basic and advanced ideas both in my retweeting and on my blog.
How Can We Help Newbie Writers without Losing Our Mind?
I brainstormed how I could mix basic and advanced information and came up with:
- Tweet links to well-written posts about things I already know with a “good reminder” tag, as mentioned above.
- Use my “Ask Jami” blog feature to share what I’ve learned, even if it’s more basic than I’d usually write about.
- Tweet links to some of my older posts, which sometimes cover more basic information.
- Repost some of my older articles to expose them to new followers.
- Reorganize my tags/sidebar to make archived posts easier to find. (I love how Janice Hardy has her sidebar organized. In fact, I just plain love her blog. *smile*)
- Create PDFs of my blog series to make it convenient for readers to find them after the series ends.
- Use an email autoresponder program to offer older blog series posts as a free email “class” for those who sign up for my newsletter.
I’m not sure which of those would be most helpful to new writers, and I’d love to hear any other suggestions you might have. Many people use the method of reposting old blog articles, but I personally try to avoid that approach as much as possible. After all, my goal is to reach out to all my readers/followers, not exclude my long-time readers with repeats.
I manage to avoid Roni’s “mania” stage most of the time just because I mentally consider myself to be a laid-back lazy bum. (No one else would consider me lazy because I’m an overachiever in all respects, but inside my head, I’m lazy with a dash of *shrug* and “I can only do what I can do.”) So I’m able to spend most of my time at Roni’s “sweet spot” stage, but I’d like to make that my permanent residence. Maybe this attitude adjustment will help.
Do posts about things you already know drive you crazy? Do you have suggestions for how we can get to Roni’s “sweet spot” stage? What about other suggestions for ways we can help new writers? Which of those methods from my brainstormed list would you prefer for learning about “old” information?