Should authors blog? We’ve all seen this question in some form or another. Some wonder if agents expect it. (Not yet but close.) Others want to know if it will help build that elusive platform. (It can.) But I propose another reason to blog: training your muse.
My regular readers are well aware that I talk about my muse like he’s a person. What might not be obvious—as I often comment on my insanity as well—is that I know my muse is just a function of my brain. So I also know “writer’s block” has nothing to do with anything other than my own mind.
About a month ago, Chuck Wendig had a fabulous (although NSFW) post about the fallacy of writer’s block. In essence, he reminded us that we do not work for our muse. I agreed so much that I commented:
It’s the other way around. And if he doesn’t show up to work some days, I just start rearranging things in “his” story (i.e. write anyway) until he starts freaking out about how I’m messing up everything and he tells me how things should be. Heh. Sucker. He falls for that trick every time. Writer’s block be damned.
I was reminded of this recently when my friend, Elisa Jeglin, posted a great analysis of the different reactions writers have to writer’s block. She identified the Denier, the Freak Outer, the Determined-er, and the Cheater. As my comment above shows, I’m a cross between a Denier and a Determined-er.
But it’s so so easy to be a Cheater, to wait for the muse to return. So how do you prevent that?
Write a Professional Blog
Adding to the loads of great information on her site, yesterday Kristen Lamb posted the top reasons an author should blog. Guess what her number one reason was?
Blogging helps you develop skills necessary to be successful in our writing career. … If we [blog] the way we should, we must post regularly. … If we only blog … when we feel inspired, our blog is worthless for our career. When we are held accountable for posting blogs regularly, we begin to work those self-discipline muscles that are so critical to a successful career. Blogging strengthens your skills as a writer and gets you into great habits.
And that’s completely true. Anyone remember my post about when it’s okay to fake it? Over half the time, I don’t have a clue about a topic for my Tuesday/Thursday blog schedule until around 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. (And here you thought I had a plan… *pshaw* I just blew that perception out of the water, didn’t I?)
If I was going to take the easy way out, I’d skip blogging. I’d rationalize and say that my readership isn’t big enough for anyone to notice if I skipped a day.
But I don’t.
Because Kristen is right. Blogging on a schedule teaches you about deadlines. So I make myself do it, even when my brain feels completely empty of ideas. Writer’s block? It doesn’t exist—can’t exist—in the life of a professional author.
Does your muse work for you or is it the other way around? How do you get your muse to show up for work? If you blog, do you post regularly?
Quick reminder: If you haven’t completed the polls on my previous post, please check those out after leaving your comment. I’ll have the results, showing how people use blogs, for next week’s Tuesday post. (Oh look! A plan. Shiny.)