books with Athena

books with Athena

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Slow Blog Manifesto...and 8 Reasons Why Slow Blogging Will Help Your Career, Your Love Life, and Protect You From Angry Elephants



What is the Slow Blog Manifesto?

It’s an essay written in 2006 by Canadian software designer Todd Sieling at the height of the everybody-must-get-a-blog frenzy. You can read the Slow Blog Manifesto here. Slow Blogging is modeled on Alice Walker’s “slow food” movement (the opposite of McBurgerish “fast food.”) The point is quality over quantity.

Todd wrote:

“Slow Blogging is the re-establishment of the machine as the agent of human expression, rather than its whip and container. It’s the voluntary halting of the light-speed hamster wheel dictated in rules of highly effective blogging.”

He urged people to write a few thoughtful, well-researched posts a month rather than daily blabber. A number of influential journalists, technicians, and academics joined his movement. It built steam until mid-2008, when it merited an article in the New York Times. 

It’s a principle that’s caught on. I see a lot of publishing industry bloggers cutting back on their number of posts—even uberbloggers like Nathan Bransford and Jane Friedman.

But unfortunately, not everybody has got the message. This week I saw a post on a popular writing blog telling new authors they should blog every single day.

I couldn’t disagree more. I think new authors, especially, need to limit their distractions. Yes, authors absolutely need social media these days, but we shouldn’t give it any more of our writing time than absolutely necessary.  (Especially since we are all supposed to write 12 books a year—more on that nonsense in another post.) 

Also, in order to get a readership in this saturated blogosphere, it seems to me we should be stressing quality over quantity. People don't want more stuff to take up their time.

If you aren’t quite sure what to blog about, check out How to Blog Part III: What Should You Blog About?   in my "How to Blog for Authors" series.

BTW, you’ll find all of my "how to blog" posts—plus a huge amount of helpful, positive information in the new book I’ve written with Catherine Ryan Hyde: HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE—And Keep Your E-Sanity! Which will debut later this month. (Shameless plug below.) 

See below for more info on the launch!

I didn’t start out to be a Slow Blogger. 

When I started this thing three years ago, I was simply too busy bloodying my knuckles on the doors of the publishing industry to have time to post more than once a week.

But now, largely thanks to this blog, I’m about to launch my sixth book in a year. Tenth if you count anthologies and singles. ( But no. I don’t intend to make a habit of that.) The blog has won dozens of awards—and even made the list of finalists for Best Publishing Industry Blog in the Association of American Publishers/Goodreads Independent Book Blogger Awards. (Many, many thanks to all of you who voted for us!)

I did this without blogging more than once a week. In fact, thanks to a wonderful blog partner (the spectacular Ruth Harris, who joined a year ago) plus some fabulous guest bloggers, I usually now blog only twice a month.

Which is why I get really annoyed when I see new authors getting hammered with advice to blog every day.

Don’t. Just don’t.

Need more reasons?

1) A slow blog has a longer life-span.

The average life span of a blog is three years. But you want your writing career to last longer than three years, don’t you? A neglected blog hanging in cyberspace is worse than none.

Of course some people can blog brilliantly every day. But I don’t know a lot who can sustain that pace AND write book-length narrative every day.

So you’ve got to plan a blog that’s going to beat the odds. A slow blog is more likely to do that.

Think marathon, not sprint: slow blog.

2) You reach more people by commenting on other people’s blogs than by madly posting on a blog nobody reads.

Author/publisher/social media guru Bob Mayer pointed out on his blog recently:

 “One of the best networking tools is to go to people’s blogs and leave cogent comments.”

Yes, an author needs a blog—it’s more dynamic than a static website (and free) so it’s the best way to interact with readers and fellow writers. But it’s not your best sales tool, especially when you’re starting out—it’s more like your Internet home. If nobody knows you, they won’t come and visit.

Think of it this way: would you reach more people by sitting in your basement making a thousand signs, or by making one sign, standing in a public place, and getting it filmed for a clip on the nightly news?

So use your blogging time to visit other blogs, and only post on your own blog when you have something to say that you can tell people about on other blogs. Then they’ll come visit. See how that works?

Get your sign on the nightly news: slow blog.

3) Busy people are less likely to subscribe/follow a blog that’s going to clutter their email inbox/rss feed every day.  I sure won’t. I don’t read ANYBODY’S blog every day. I’d be so glad if they’d only send notifications of the good ones. Or—even better—only write the good ones. (Which, um, is called “slow blogging.”)

When you write mostly good posts, people will know a visit to your blog is a valuable use of their time and they’ll spread the word. Then maybe an agent or publisher will visit and like it so much they’ll ask you to send them a novel and you’ll end up published. That’s what happened to me—twice. Seriously. Both my publishers contacted ME because they liked this blog.

So if you want to get published, slow blog.

4) Everybody has bad days. When you have to think of something to say on the day you got that nasty/clueless review/rejection, your emotions are going to leak out. 

You’re going to write what you really think about that agent who has hair like Medusa and the literary taste of an orangutan. You’re going to call that agent Monkey Medusa on your blog. Then it will turn out she wasn’t actually the agent who rejected you. That was a different one at an agency down the hall. Monkey Medusa actually loves your book and was about to offer you representation. So she visited your blog to find out more about you and got seriously offended and you lost your big chance for a major book contract.

If you don’t want to lose out on a major book contract, slow blog.

5) Nobody can come up with that many interesting posts. When you slow blog, and you don’t have anything to say, you don’t have to say it.

But if you succumb to pressure to blog every day, you’re going to blather-blog. You’re going to talk about your stupid boss who’s been acting like b***  in heat since the hot new guy joined the department. And it will turn out your boss’s husband is an aspiring writer who subscribes to your blog, so he’s going to dump that b***. She’ll be so mad she’ll fire you. You will not be able to get another job in this economy and you’ll lose your apartment and end up moving in with your girlfriend who will be so PO’d at you for blogging all the time, she’ll break up with you.

Don’t blather-blog and wreck your relationship: slow blog.

6) Writing nonfiction—which is what you should be writing on your blog—uses a different part of your brain from fiction.

When you’re on a roll with a novel, and have to stop to write something perspicacious on the subject of sentence structure, you can stop that flow dead. Maybe you won’t ever get it back. Maybe you’ll have to give up your writing dream and join the circus. When you join the circus, you could get stepped on by an angry elephant.

Don’t get stepped on by an angry elephant: slow blog.

7) You write narrative--remember? The blog is supposed to be about getting your name out there as a creative writer. It’s an aid to your serious writing, not a substitute for it.

If you spend every day working on your blog, you’re going to neglect your novel. When you neglect your novel, you’ll forget why you wanted to be a writer. So you’ll accept that promotion at work where you have to work all hours with no overtime because you’re management now. You’ll wake up one day and discover you’re middle-aged and have nothing to show for it, so you’ll buy yourself a very fast, very expensive car. But you’ll be so exhausted from all that work that you’ll drive your fast, expensive car off a cliff and die in a fiery crash.

Don’t die a fiery crash: slow blog.

8) Trying to blog every day is impossible to keep up, so you’ll constantly feel guilty. Guilt is bad for your mental health. When you feel guilty you eat/drink/smoke too much and then feel guilty about that too.

See where this is going…?

My apologies to the people who write the Direct TV commercials for the “don’t do this…” silliness.

But seriously: slow blogging rules.

Yes, I am aware these comments aren’t true for everybody. There are always the superpersons who can do it all—and I’m in awe of them. But if you don't have tights and a cape in your closet, don’t succumb to the pressure.

Two examples of successful slow bloggers are:

The insightful Nina Badzin, whose thoughtful, eclectic blog has become wildly popular. In fact, her essays now appear in the Huffington Post. She’s recently discovered she’d rather blog than write fiction. (The world needs more thoughtful essayists, so this is a great thing.) But she continues to blog once a week.

My publisher, the esteemed Mr. Mark Williams of International fame, sometimes doesn’t post for six weeks. But when he does—he always informs, entertains and tells us stuff we never knew we needed to know. So his Alexa rating is higher than most daily bloggers.

And the late, great pseudonyminous agent, Miss Snark was all for slow blogging, too. In spite of all the pressure to “build platform,” she advised new writers to always put their writing first:

“Your job is to write…
…There's a lot to be said for sitting down with your ownself and writing. Nothing, literally NOTHING replaces that. Focus. You're wasting time.”

Tell that to the idiots who say you have to blog every day.
****
Win a Signed First Edition of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s iconic novel PAY IT FORWARD




HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE, which I wrote with my mentor and favorite author, Catherine Ryan Hyde  is coming out very soon!  

It contains my entire “how to blog for authors” series and a whole lot more stuff I’ve discussed on this blog and elsewhere, plus wisdom from Catherine’s popular workshops and seminars. We have material you won’t find in any other book for writers.

It’s not a book about how to write, but about how to be a writer. It’s about how to cope with the increasing pressure to do too much, and learn what advice to listen to, what to ignore, and how to make the choices that are best for you personally and professionally.

Mark Williams international Digital Publishing will publish it in ebook and, a few weeks later, in paper (available the US and internationally.) Although Catherine is mostly published by Big Six publishers, we decided to go with a small, nimble international publisher, because with the business changing so rapidly, a traditionally-published book would be out of date by the time it went to press. But the people at MWiDP will be able to update the book every six months.

So as an added perk, when you buy the book, you will automatically be signed up for those updates and you’ll be able to download them free. Plus we will supply information for an international as well as a US audience. 

On the official launch day, we will hold a drawing, and the winner will receive a signed first edition of PAY IT FORWARD.

If you’d like to be eligible for the drawing, just sign up for our email list—which we will use only for important notifications about the book. All you have to do is leave your email address in the comments. You can write it like this to avoid spam "annerallen (dot) allen (at) gmail (dot) com." Or send it to me at annerallen.allen@gmail.com  (Some of you signed up in January and February, so you’re already in the running.)

The official launch will be on July 14th in San Luis Obispo CA, at a Digital E-Authors seminar Catherine and I are teaching with radio personality Dave Congalton and his group of very knowledgeable tech and writing professionals. 

The one-day seminar will be held Saturday, July 14, 2012 at the Sands Inn & Suites, in San Luis Obispo, CA “the happiest town on earth” (according to Oprah.) So if you live in the area, or you’re planning a vacation on the Central Coast, Register at: Digital Age E-Authors

116 comments:

  1. I caught on to the parody at "Don't get stepped on by an angry elephant." :)

    Thanks so much for this post. Ive been doing about two blog posts a week for a while, more from necessity than any other reason—I'd reached the point where I had to rack my brains for an idea every time I figured it was about time for a new post. And I have worried about it a little bit, since comments seemed to have gone down—not that I've ever had too many comments anyway! :) But on the other hand, I've always felt posting every day or every other day was counter-productive too, since it pushes your new posts down the page where no one might see them.

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  2. Elizabeth--I forgot to ask my question at the end of the post, but you answered it for me: You gave another great reason for slow blogging: DON'T PUSH YOUR GOOD POSTS TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE IN FAVOR OF SOME NEW BLATHER!!!

    Thanks so much for the addition.

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  3. Thanks for the wonderful post!

    I've seen a lot of horrible articles online suggesting that blogs updated less than five times a week will fail and it's very stressful. I think a lot of us don't have time to write so many posts in a week and I know I don't.

    I'm now at a maximum of two posts a week which is the most I think I can cope with. Especially because I find my most viewed posts are the ones that took quite a long time to write compared to other posts.

    I wrote a 4300 word blog post yesterday and it's the longest I've written and is probably my best post in terms of quality. But it was a draining post. The writing alone part cost me 4 hours of my time. I can only write such a post once a month or twice a month.

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  4. Anne, Bottom line: Everyone should just shut up & do what you tell them to do. They'll be a lot happier & a lot less stressed.

    As my Mom & lots of other Moms used to say: Slow but sure wins the race.

    Remember?

    And don't forget about the tortoise & the hare, either!

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  5. This is great information Anne. Thank you.- A writer friend told me blogging was a waste of creative time. But then, I ran across your blog posting advice for new bloggers which was extremely helpful. I started my blog a couple of months later posting one day a week reviewing books I've read or a thought about the literary world. Once a week has been perfect to clear the mind of clutter and practice the craft of writing "without feeling guilty" like you said. Thanks again Anne- Christine

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  6. Ooopsie!

    Hi All, that was me (Ruth) just above. Don't know why blogger added Michael, too, although we do collaborate.

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  7. I'm definetly a slow blogger. I blog once a week but I break all the rules. I don't talk about writing or life. I post up poetry, and just recently a short story which has been continued. I don't know where that will end up. I'm a panster when I write but it is fun.
    I agree you have to focus on the writing first and that is what I'm trying to do.

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  8. Anne, this is BY FAR the best and most rational post I've read on the subject. I've advocated slow blogging for a while now, but sometimes think my arguments come off as, "I just don't have much to say and am lazy." lol

    I started doing it by accident when I realized I received more traffic/comments when I went several days between posts. The 'commenting on other blogs' is key. And it's also time consuming. I find I'd rather spend my time doing that than posting my favorite song every Tuesday and favorite cat video on Fridays and--well, you k now. :)

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  9. Kamille--I just read your post and it's so well written and thought-out. A great guide to the UK educational system. And it's so true: you get more views with great posts like that. Isn't the point supposed to be more views?

    RuthandMichael (LOL--no idea why Blogger does stuff like that) Of course. Everybody should listen to me because I'm always write and never make misteaks. :-) Yeah, I started with a tortise/hare metaphor, but then that angry elephant stomped in. Never argue with an angry elephant.

    Christine--I'm so glad my posts helped--and that you decided to do a book review blog. (LOVE book reviewers.) I do think authors help their careers a lot by blogging. Not just for exposure but "head clearing" as you say.

    Vera--I'm so glad slow blogging is working for you. You know I'm going to warn you again about publishing fiction on your blog, because you won't be able to sell it afterward, because it's considered published, but I'm glad it's working for you.

    E.J.--Like Kamille, you've discovered the secret to more hits--fewer, better posts. Magic! Thanks for the RT.

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  10. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Tweeting immediately! I recently did one of those blog-every-day-for-a-month things. After the first week I felt like a spammer and I know my quality went down. Before I joined that insanity I had considered changing from 3x most weeks to 2x. One of my very favorite blogs is only on Friday. I'm heading off on a long trip, so I'll still be blogging often because I know my readers like to follow me, but if I have nothing to say I won't post. When I get home, no more than twice a week (unless I have something to say).

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  11. Oh thank you for writing this post! You've made me feel immensely better about myself. I've felt like a slacker for my "once a week" posts, which are turning into once every week and a half or so.

    You've taken off some pressure and it feels good! ;-)

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  12. Awesome post--thanks! When I first got serious about blogging, I started out blogging twice a week, just to have a schedule. Then I switched to 3x/week because I got more used to it and was able to generate more posts.

    This April, I did the A-Z challenge and blogged almost every day. At the end of the month, the biggest thing I had learned was that blogging every day left me NO time to write.

    In May, I dropped back to 2x/week, and I don't stress if I miss a post.

    I wouldn't want to be trampled by an elephant, after all.

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  13. Anne, another way to get more views is to just post funny pictures. That kind of stuff just seems to attract a lot of people.

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  14. Great post! I tried to write more and on scheduled theme days as some say you should do. But, I just couldn't do it. I want to write about what I want to write about when I want to write it. I think it's better that way too. More passionate. I figure if I care more about what I'm writing others will too.

    And despite not posting as often, my little blog is growing steadily. I have already surpassed the number of views in the past 5 months than I did in the preceding 10 months. :-)

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  15. Yes, Anne ... this is so spot-on ... love this once a week visit I have with you. I am crazy about Nina and her great blog posts. It's great that she was picked up by the Huff so that many more of us can enjoy her posts.

    Great stuff as always :)

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  16. You have affirmed a lot of what I think about blogging. I think the process of getting known is not something that is whipped up. Thanks for posting this and I will return to it to remind myself from time to time, especially about writing!!! Working on non fiction...so I really have to watch my time management, and I'm not doing the greatest at it.

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  17. Terrific post. I am a slow blogger, but have always felt great pressure to do more. This post just makes perfect sense of the blogging business. I'll be linking this on a future blog post of mine. Thanks!

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  18. Yet more proof that my mum was smarter than I realised: if you haven't anything nice to say, don't say anything. And the same is true if you haven't anything good to say...

    Brilliant advice! Thanks for sharing it. It's always good to hear some reasoned thought in the face of the slightly manic social media gurus. "Tweet! Blog! Comment on your Facebook! Too slow! Now make a video blog whilst tweeting some more, tumbling and pinning with one hand, updating Foursquare with the other and writing another blog with your foot!" No thanks.

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  19. Julie--Glad to help. I look at those blog every day things and my stomach goes in knots. I simply couldnt' do it.

    Beth--Once a week still requires a lot of time. Twice a month is fine as far as I'm concerned. Even once a month. The point is to have a place where people can find you and "talk" with you.

    Robin--NO elephant stomping:-) 2X a week is still awesome. I couldn't do it. So pat yourself on the back.

    Kamille--LOLcats do get views, and I admit to using them to get traffic on Facebook, but they also take a lot longer to load, so if somebody doesn't have a really fast connection, you may lose them with too many graphics.

    Rhonda--Congrats on growing your blog. Theme days may work for some people, but you don't seem to be one of them. I'm not either. Be yourself.

    Fois--I'm excited for Nina too!

    golden--Writing nonfiction is HARD. I've just finished my first nonfic book and it's a whole different skill set. My hat's off to you.

    Rosi--Thanks for the linkage. Let me know if you want any .jpgs for the post.

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  20. Couldn't agree more! While I go for it every April for the A to Z Challenge, the rest of the year I am a steady three times a week. Sometimes I will drop to just two posts a week, as I've done recently while writing my third book.
    And I have never lacked for blog post material.

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  21. James--LOL--only it would be funnier if it weren't so close to the truth. You forgot "All while writing 12 novels a year!"

    Alex--You're one of those superbloggers I sometimes suspect of having tights and cape in the closet. Even three times a week, with all the blog visits you do is pretty amazing. All while working a day job and bringing out a book or more a year.

    I think you can do it because you have passion for your subject matter and you're good at pacing yourself. And also because you're simply very, very good at blogging. I'm in awe.

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  22. Slow blogging definitely rules! I'm so glad I got to read Anne's blogging series right around the time I started blogging. I've been doing one post a week, and it's been working out really well. In fact I'm about to hit one year on my blogging.

    I can't believe how much of my blog has fallen into place with slow blogging. It's even managed to have monthly topics fall into place.

    And I think I'm in the running already. Either way, I'm buying the book. If only I wasn't on the other coast though! :}

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  23. I started out blogging every third day - that lasted a few months. I managed twice a week for some more months, but would fall off the wagon fairly regularly, and be lucky to get one in once a week. So, once a week it is ... and it seems that comments come in throughout the week because different people read it at different times. An all round fit, I'd say.

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  24. This post is music to my ears. And very timely as I just re-entered the blogging world a few days ago. I've done so with great trepidation since I don't want it to get in the way of writing my books. Your post gives me some assurance that weekly posts can be just fine. Thank you so much!

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  25. Yes. Yes. Yes. Is it possible to keep your sanity and blog every day? I did do the April A to Z
    Blog Challenge and liked it, but I was ecstatic when the month was over. It was a good challenge because it proved to me that I could post every day, and it helped build a base of posts for my newish blog. But I did feel guilty about loading up my friends' email boxes with notices every day. Now I try to post two or three times a week. That suits my schedule better. I do enjoy reading other writers' blogs, and I do comment frequently.

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  26. Yes. Yes. Yes. Is it possible to keep your sanity and blog every day? I did do the April A to Z
    Blog Challenge and liked it, but I was ecstatic when the month was over. It was a good challenge because it proved to me that I could post every day, and it helped build a base of posts for my newish blog. But I did feel guilty about loading up my friends' email boxes with notices every day. Now I try to post two or three times a week. That suits my schedule better. I do enjoy reading other writers' blogs, and I do comment frequently.

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  27. The best comment I have read thus far about a blog is that the content you put on it should make the internet a better place (that's courtesy of Catherine, Caffeinated, btw). I think a schedule is nice, but as long as it's useful information, I'll take it irregularly too.

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  28. Excellent blog post! I ran into a similar trap when I tried to organize a guest post once per week. I ended up chasing people around and formatting their posts when I should have been writing.

    Also, I was blogging about writing romance fiction...which is great for other authors but my readers told me that they really would prefer me to blog about something else. So now I blog about my favourite books and authors!

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  29. thought I'd join the party. Blogging trends ebb and flow. A couple years ago it was everyday or three times a day and contests and gaining followers and now it seems that most writers realized that writing and their business of writing is more important.

    I know I cut back once writing became a business.

    Great post!

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  30. I don't want to die in a fiery crash.

    I was led to this blog by my insatiable need to win a signed copy of my favorite book, Pay It Forward, but halfway through the post I had forgotten why I had come...I was enjoying it so much!

    I had to stop and read it to my husband from the beginning when I got to number seven and you described my life in horrifying detail: the promotion; the long hours as a salaried manager; the lack of time or energy for anything resembling writing. I was headed for a fiery crash.

    The husband then launched into the BEST pep talk about how I need to finish my book and not give up on my dreams. I am now ready to attack my WIP and my blog with a new sense of purpose...slowly, of course! :)

    I am a sloth-slow blogger, but there is a post that you may enjoy, called "Fan Letter to a Write Star" about Catherine Ryan Hyde. (Check it out at www.itsallwritehere.wordpress.com, if you'd like!)

    Thanks again for the inspiration! :)

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  31. After all that, I didn't leave my email address to enter the contest! See how your blog and my sudden burst of inspiration distracted me? I know someday I am going to win this book...it may as well be now, right? :) mousicorn@comcast.net

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  32. Great post as usual, Anne. Thank you for absolving me of my blog guilt.

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  33. My favorite topic! And thank you so much for the generous mention. I'm blushing.

    I cannot tell you how much I agree with the once a week theory. If I have a guest post elsewhere, then I make THAT my post of the week . . . again the idea being that I don't want to overwhelm people with my posts. We can only ask so much of readers.

    Thanks for the guidance on slow blogging in the first place, Anne.

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  34. I've been blogging for 6 years, at least 3-4 times a week (usually) and I'm burned out. About a year ago I started feeling pressure to keep blogging everyday. And I noticed that I really haven't written any actual stories worth getting excited.

    I think it's time to become a slow blogger. Heck I might even enjoy it!

    (as always, great advice Anne)

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  35. I've never seen the advice to blog every day, but maybe I'm not following the right (wrong?) sites. It seems like pretty silly advice, just like any other advice that tries to force you onto some other writer's ideal schedule. I don't pay any attention to people who say I must write such-and-such number of words a day or I must publish X number of books per year. Of course I try to be disciplined about my work, but everyone has their own methods and rhythms.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't want to force myself to slow down, either. If I come up with a lot of good ideas for posts in a few days, there's no reason to put on the brakes and say, "No! I must slow blog!" The spirit of "slow blogging," I think, is not really to advocate for "slow" posting, but "comfortably paced" posting. Since I use my blog to communicate with my family and friends, I do try to be regular about it, but I don't have to feel guilty if I leave it alone for a week. I think you should just post when you have material and time to do so, whether that's every day or once a month.

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  36. A voice of reason in a world of insanity. Thank you.

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  37. Amen. Amen. My "Can(n)ons" blog originally matched my previous newspaper column schedule -- every two weeks. Since I had been writing that column for years, that schedule is now burned into my unconscious and sure enough, without my bidding, every two weeks, I feel another column coming on. Unless something amazingly dumb or funny happens that just demands some sort of earlier comment. And for me, that's plenty because my thinking goes as follows: I don't have time to read anybody's daily blog or even weekly blog, so why should I expect other busy people to read my daily/weekly blathering? If it really, truly isn't worth the time it takes to read it, it ain't worth writing it. Better to go do something else. Like walk the dog. Which I"m gonna do right now.

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  38. I thin you're right. I especially look forward to your weekly posts. I learn so much and like you, I've limited the amount I post during the week.

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  39. I'm going through this AGAIN. Writing is hard work. I've got to remember this. Blogging is supposed to be FUN. When it starts to feel like work, it's not fun.

    I've been trying to write and blog and promote and market and fix my mother's garden and something has got to give.

    I'm going back to one post a week. Slow blogging is the way to go.

    Thanks Anne. I'm glad you're around to smack me upside the head when I need it.

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  40. Definitely a great post. I'm also a once a week blogger, but I didn't start out that way. And, you're right, more blogging means less time to focus on my fiction writing. That was the primary reason I switched to slow blogging.

    Thanks, Anne!

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  41. Hah! I'm been "slow blogging" all this time -- entirely by accident!

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  42. Absolutely fabulous post, Anne--thank you! I refuse to blog just to blog--I have to have something of import to say, else I sound like a complete jackass. It's always bothered me to read "expert" opinions telling me that if I don't blog every day, I'm failure as a writer. Thank you for not only validating my stance, but making me gigglesnort in the process!

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  43. Thank the stars someone is talking sense. My biggest pet peeve is a frequent blogger who runs a "best of" series when they are out of town. I so not need to be entertained with stale discussion- I want contemporary commentary. Just tell your readers you are unavailable for the next week or so.

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  44. Cathryn—I’m so glad slow blogging as worked for you. And yes, you’re on the list already.

    Widdershins—Giving people a chance to comment all during the week is gift to readers, I think. Nobody can visit every day, and if I feel late to the party, I often don’t comment.

    Jeanne—I’m so glad it reached you in time. If you set up a weekly blog in the beginning then that’s what people will expect.

    Janice—A blogfest like A-Z is a good way to get followers initially, if you can handle it, as you have. Then when it’s over, post your slower schedule. Everybody will probably be grateful you slowed down.

    Deb—Catherine, Caffeinated is great. I love the idea that every post should help make the Internet a better place.

    Lynn—You make two great points: 1) Guest posts can be more trouble than they’re worth (see my post on guest blogging in the May archives) 2) Blogging about writing doesn’t reach many readers. Books are kind of like sausages—a lot of people don’t really want details about how they’re made.

    It’s all Write—Fantastic! Thanks for sharing the great story. You’re now on the list and I’ll check out the post on CRH. I’ll tell her about it.

    Alicia—Release the blog guilt! You do a huge amount of promotion stuff already.

    Nina—You make a great point that we don’t want to overwhelm our readers. Cutting back on blogs is a gift to them as well as yourself. And congrats on your success! You’re an awesome blogger.

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  45. Andrea—6 Years! With 3-4 posts a week. That’s epic. You definitely have earned the right to slow down.

    TK—Slow blogging doesn’t say you have to blog to anybody’s time table (not even mine ) It says you should be the boss—and only write when you have something to say. If you have something to say every day, and you can still keep up with your other writing—fabulous.

    Anna—That’s why we subtitled our book “and keep your e-sanity.” It’s harder and harder with everybody hurling “shoulds” at you.

    Churadogs—You make a great point. You’re asking a lot of people if you blog every day. I think your schedule works just right. I can keep up with it, for which I am grateful.

    Clarissa—You’re one of those superbloggers, but I’m glad you’ve cut down. It’s easier for me to keep up. :-)

    Anne—Yes. It’s OK to slow down. Seriously. Go work on your mom’s garden. Playing in the dirt is one of my favorite ways to clear my mind.

    Christi—And I’ll bet you enjoy it more that you’re slowing down, don’t you?

    Steve—You weren’t slacking, you were joining a movement!

    Anne—Ditto. You weren’t failing as a writer, you were succeeding as a slow blogger.

    Lillian—Interesting point. Do people want re-runs or fewer episodes? I just read that TV shows are experimenting with this too. They finally figured out that they lose viewers when they show out-of-sequence reruns, so instead they’re having shorter runs. Works for me.

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  46. This makes me feel much better. I appreciate the advice.

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  47. Oh, such glorious sanity. I blog twice a week, and sometimes that feels like too much. Posting only when I have something decent to say is, of course, the sort of advice I should also apply to my mouth.

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  48. Phyllis HumphreyJune 4, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Anne: Thanks to following your blog for over a year, I, too am a once-a-week blogger. Except right now when I'm on vacation. No elephants in sight.

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  49. Great post, Anne! I completely agree that too much blogging means that readers will either not subscribe, or simply not read... there are only so many hours in a day. And as you point out, writers need to guard their time as well.

    One of my challenges is not to turn every post into a production -- too long, too "perfect," too labored-over. Just dash it off and get it out there... if possible, short and sweet. I'm not worried about making mistakes. I'm worried about spending too much time seeking perfection!

    Looking forward to your book on self-publishing. It sounds great!

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  50. Halleluja! A sane voice in the wilderness. Thanks :)

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  51. DG--We have enough "advice" out there trying to make us feel bad. I decided to do something different.

    Minnesota--You have my permission to cut back to once a week. (You're right that we all could use some "slow talking" too.)

    Phyllis--Vacations might be the most important part of a writer's life besides actually writing. If you don't take time out, the well runs dry. Enjoy!

    Patrice--I relate. Perfectionism can be the enemy of creativity.

    Oh, and HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE isn't about self-publishing. It's for writers who want to go the traditional route, too. CRH is Big 6 and self-published and I'm small-press published. This is a book for writers who want to know about all aspects of the industry and how they can fit in (and stay sane.)

    Celia--Keeping our sanity. It's what we all need to fight for in the e-age.

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  52. Spot on, Anne! I couldn't agree with you more! Bloggers that post too frequently turn me off, I haven't got the time...And I'm sure 99% of the people feel that way.

    And us writers, we should write, damn it! But not 12 books a year, that is also absolute nonsense! Unless you're into industrial, chain-writing...

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  53. I'm still a happy slow blogger.

    Blog every day can't apply to a creative writer.

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  54. Thanks Anne. Came here from Coleen Patrick, and it confirms a lot that I've wondered about since starting. I'm about the slowest person I know to do anything, and I don't think I could ever manage more than a post a week...Now I won't even consider it! :)

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  55. Thanks Anne. Came here from Coleen Patrick, and it confirms a lot that I've wondered about since starting. I'm about the slowest person I know to do anything, and I don't think I could ever manage more than a post a week...Now I won't even consider it! :)

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  56. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  57. Claude--I feel the same way. Some commenters say they just subscribe to email updates, and they just delete them if they don't have time to read. But I've got to say that facing an inbox of 200+ unread emails every morning is overwhelming. (Oh, my carpal tunnels!) Anybody who adds to that burden had better have something spectacular to say.

    Lee Robertson--How great to see you here. You're the one who told me about the Slow Blogging Manifesto two years ago. I'm soooo grateful!

    alarnarose--Thanks for stopping by. Slow is at a premium in our hyper-speed world. Cherish it.

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  58. Anne, I am with you about too many e-mails to read. Bloggers who blather get blocked very quickly. A blogger better have something worthwhile to say to me or they get the deep six.

    Blogging should be a marathon not a sprint. There is a saturation level for all people. I don't know exactly what that is but, I think slog blogging fits the bill for most.

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  59. Richard--I know it was a typo, but I love the expression "slog blogging". That's what those everyday blogs can turn into. So it's slow blogging vs. slog blogging. Thanks for letting me know you agree the latter is best.

    I think the "rules" for blogs were set up 5 or 10 years ago--before everybody in the galaxy had one. I sure have reached my "saturation level." There are too many good blogs to read and not enough time. If you're going to get me to read a new blog, it has to be pretty spectacular.

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  60. As always, I love your approach to this. You know I'm a busy blogger (4 days a week) but that isn't because I feel like I *have* to. And I have at least two days that are less intense posts (photo focused or links round ups.) Blogging for me is like my morning pages. It clears my head for my fiction writing time. So I think the key is to figure out what pace works for each person individually without that pressure hanging over us. And I think a once a week, thoughtful blog post is a great option for anyone who is feeling that crushing pressure of MUST BLOG MUS BLOG all the time.

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  61. Roni--So glad to see you here! You are one of the great uberbloggers who can do it all. (And you're one of our most popular guest bloggers ever!) As a sizzling-romance writer, you get to do fun things like the "boyfriend of the week" photos. (Yum) Your blogs are playful and fun as well as informative. It shows that you really enjoy writing them. I guess that's the key--blog as much as you find enjoyable. Blog for fun, not duty.

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  62. I was one of those who was told to blog everyday - I posted 6 days a week. In the beginning they were all quality, but I wasn't writing. Over 18 months I dropped one day at a time and am now down to 2 days a week for my own blog and once a month for my group blog. Sometimes it still feels like too much. I've finished the 1st draft of my 1st book, so I think I may drop back to 1 day a week. You're right. Blogging daily is insanity and my friends used to tell me they couldn't keep up with all of the posts. I felt like a spammer. Now I need to decide what will be high enough quality to post once a week. Thanks for this and I'd like to post an excerpt next week on my blog, linking back here of course. I know a lot of writers under pressure to keep up with multiple weekly posts.

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  63. Hi Anne -- just started this blogging thing myself, and trying to pace to one a week, which seems to keep things fresh, but not too crazy. Mom told me about your site, and am finally signing up -- getting back into writing certainly is inspiring and this is a great resource.

    Thanks,
    Gil

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  64. Great post, Anne. I think we're all tired of content overload and I can certainly see that people are cutting back on their posts to reflect this. I would say however that it depends on your goals and strategy. For example I try to push out a post a couple of times a week for traffic and SEO purposes, and I do notice a jump in traffic and subscribers to my newsletter on those days. On the flipside I find that the posts I really spend a lot of time over (5-10 hours total - what I call killer posts!) tend to be more popular and having longer staying power - people revisit those for years. A great topic, thanks for writing.

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  65. Marcia--Of course you may post part or all of this on your blog (with a link.) I want to spread the word! I'm so glad you were able to shut out the "shoulds" and write your book. I'll bet most of your readers are grateful for the slowdown in posts.

    Gil--Welcome! You're one of the fallen heroes of the publishing business: a former independent bookstore owner. If you can put half that amount of energy into writing, you'll be a bestseller in no time. Working in a bookstore is one of the best ways for a writer to learn what readers want. I'll check out your blog.

    Laura--"Content overload" is the perfect way to put it. The question to ask yourself (assuming you're a fiction/narrative writer) is: does the SEO/traffic translate into book sales? Does it all work to help your goals as a fiction writer? If you don't have time to produce product, all the sales techniques in the world won't do any good.

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  66. What a title—ha! When I started blogging, I aimed for 3 posts per week. Since then, I've switched to two posts most weeks. For me, that works, momentum and readership-wise. Those of us who are writers and novelists first definitely need to prioritize narrative.

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  67. August--You've got such a great, informative blog. (Fantastic post on how to use Pinterest!) If you can keep up two posts a week--that's obviously working for you. I'm sure your readers are grateful. But they'll still love you if you get on a roll with a book and cut back.

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  68. I totally agree in the quality vs. quantity concept of blogging. I couldn't keep up with all the daily posts, either reading or writing them! Now I strive for posting once a week. Very helpful post. Thanks!

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  69. Great advice Anne!
    Last year I got picked up by a popular expat blog called 'The Displaced Nation', and asked to do one post a week for them. To say it's cut into my time for writing and personal blogging is an elephantine understatement! But their biggest problem is that they post something every day. Of course that leads to all the issues you describe - struggling to think of topics, rushing to get posts done in time - and I think it actually loses readers.
    Anyone who likes a blog will check back occasionally - like when they get an email about a new post. But when you get them every day, unless that blog is your life-line - are you going to check it each time?
    Nope.
    And then, after a while, you'll get so sick of seeing twenty emails piled up from this one blog, you'll 'SPAM' them, and never get another notification again. Like dieting - once you blow it for a couple of days, you see how hard you'd have to work to get back on track and just give up!
    If reading your blog becomes a chore, or a duty - well, no-one likes those!
    So I whole-heartedly champion the slow blogging movement!
    (Plus it gives me an excuse for not posting something in the last fortnight... :0)

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  70. Cheryl--Glad to hear you've slowed down. And you're right about reading them being a burden, too. I think once your blog is established, it's OK to cut down to as little as one or two a month and you'll still have people coming back. Posting on a regular schedule helps.

    Tony--Thanks for the thoughtful comment. It's definitely important to consider reader overload. I think that a lot of the blog-every-day martinets aren't thinking about the audience at all. They think readers can be spammed into submission. They're probably the same people who think phoning people at dinnertime is a great sales technique. (I personally think there's a special place in Hell reserved for those guys.) Newsflash! Annoying people is not the way to get them to like you. It's like the old country song, "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?"

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  71. Excellent post and perfect timing for me to read it. Sometimes trying to control that feeling of "need to post" is like trying to stop a team of Clydesdales ... pulling a beer wagon ... that's on fire.

    Thanks again!

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  72. Tressa--I think when you have a burning need to post, you should. Or do what I do and write the post to put up on my scheduled day. I'm not trying to get anybody to slow down their blogging if that's where their bliss is. I'm only reminding people to keep things in perspective--and keep your own goals in mind.

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  73. I love the term blather-blog. The guilt I was feeling over not posting more regularly was becoming extremely stressful. Aren't we supposed to be having fun? Thank you... I love reading your posts!

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  74. Thank you for this! I've stretched myself too thin in too many different directions, thus neglecting my novel. After all, if I don't finish this first novel, what's the point in, right?

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  75. Dale--Toss the guilt and be proud that you don't blather-blog!

    Dawn--Exactly. Now stop reading this and go write! :-)

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  76. Great post. The comments thus far tend to cover what I'd say. But I find I, too, have been a tortoise blogger, more from circumstance than design but, with blogs, I agree that less can be more. I'd never get any of the WIP written if I posted more than once a week - and I'm very much a blogger with L-plates! Great to learn from others, though. Thank you!

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  77. Anne, mine is the opposite experience from yours and most of the people commenting. I started a music-themed blog in 2009 and wrote an average of 2 article-length essays a month. A year ago I switched my approach to shorter, daily posts focused on musical history events of the day. It has made me more committed to writing and my readership has steadily grown (I think my old blog maxed out at 400 hits in one month; the new approach earned me nearly 15,000 hits last month alone).

    I don't think it is a quantity vs. quality argument. A blog needs a very specific angle and purposeful posts. It doesn't matter if that means 30 posts a month or one. Creating solid content and wanting to write should be the driving factors behind a blog.

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  78. Verytessa--Love "tortoise-blogger" Yes. I think the WIP should have priority.

    Dave--You sound as if you found your niche with a unique angle: "musical events of the day." Which obviously is going to have to go up daily.

    That's a very different kind of blog from what most fiction writers are doing. If you're blogging for the blog's sake--rather than to promote your books, then yes, more frequent posts are going to be better--especially if they're short.

    The important thing is to keep the reader and your whole career in mind, and not just blindly follow a "rule" that says you must blog X number of times a week.

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  79. Thanks so much for the advice. I created a blog about a 2 months ago but have only written 2 posts, and they're not even about writing (though I've linked a handful of interesting links for writers, although I'm not sure that's the purpose of a blog). I will definitely check out your links for how to blog.

    By the way, I found your blog via Writer Beware's Facebook page.

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  80. Eric--Writers don't have to blog about writing--in fact it's better if you address some other niche, since there are so many writing blogs out here already. The best way to build a following is to blog on a regular schedule.

    Thanks much for letting me know Victoria posted it on the Writer Beware FB page. She's got one of the best blogs in this business. Probably the most important one for new writers to read. And she slow-blogs. :-)

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  81. 99% of the blogs I follow are so boring. I don't care about all this writing "advice" out there. Most of it is being posted by 200000 other people at the same time and a lot of it is probably not great advice anyway. Then there's the people who just post cat memes or whatever other nonsense. And the "awards" and blogfests and bloghops and so forth...it's all so tiresome. Really I think I'd rather stand on a corner with a sandwich board.

    Anyway, except for the occasional book review I try to keep my blog free of all that "advice" other writers bandy about. I might as well make it fun for me.

    For the record, my blog is: http://www.ptdilloway.com

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  82. I only post on my blog once a month or so--when I have something new to say--but all along, I've been feeling this nagging guilt, as if I've neglected something supremely important. So, thanks for the common sense--and the tip about commenting on other people's blogs!

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  83. PT--I think you're right there's a lot of bad advice out there. We probably don't need any more how to write blogs. You've got yourself a nice niche talking about superheroes. (And I totally agree about George Clooney's Batman. Love George; hate his Batman.)

    Helen--I think you can have a successful once-a-month blog. Just post on a schedule and comment a lot on other people's blogs so people will get to know you and be interested when you do post.

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  84. I started blogging about a year ago. At the time I thought I'd start out by posting once a week. Once I realized what a time commitment it is - posting to my own blog, answering comments, and visiting other blogs - I soon realized that I'll be sticking with the once a week schedule. I can't imagine getting any writing done otherwise.

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  85. Ruth--I'm so with you on this. We've got to keep our writing time sacred. All the platform-building should take second place.

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  86. I found this article being RT on Twitter. I'm glad. I have a website within a week of launch. I blogged before, but only blogged.

    Now that I'm working on a novel, I dread the idea of blogging everyday. You are SO spot on when it comes to having to extract yourself from one side of the brain to the other.

    Thanks for the encouragement on how I should proceed forward when I finally launch!

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  87. Corrin--Welcome! It's fine to just have a blog (the way I do) or just a website. Having both is a little more work, but it doesn't have to take that much time if you slow blog, so good luck with both. Writing that novel is the most important thing, so everything else should support that.

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  88. I love eery last bit of this!

    The advice is gold, and the humor is perfection!

    (Thank you for the reminder to focus and write and blog well!)

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  89. Great Post Anne,
    I enjoy your blog and often link to it in my weekly roundup of great tips and trends in publishing. I found that writing weekly over the last four years has got people into a rhythm...They check in on Friday to see the blog I wrote anywhere up to midnight on Thursday...then they share thoughts about it on FB.
    ah well

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  90. My goodness you had no idea how amazing the timing of reading this is. The very day I began thinking about stopping blogging brackets (i've been going at three years after all) and I stumble upon this is a sign. I didn't want to give it up altogether but didnt know what to do. Now I know – slow blogging. Thank you thank you thank you!!

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  91. Galit--Thanks for the RT. Glad I could make you laugh.

    Donna--I love serendipitous moments like that! That three-year burn-out is something most bloggers have to deal with. Nathan B cut back considerably when he hit that three year mark. I'm glad I can help you keep up your blog.

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  92. maureen--Sorry. Your comment got lost in the spam folder for a few hours. So glad I rescued it! I'll definitely check out your round-ups. Thanks for including me. And I'm so glad the regularly scheduled slow blog is working for you. It's been working really great for me!

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  93. Thanks for this! I just started my blog and everyone's telling me I have to blog often to get any traffic. I wasn't sue what I was going to blog about everyday. Great advice!

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  94. Hi Anne,
    I'm new to your blog, and I'm very happy I've discovered it! I'm going to do what I've been meaning to do for some time: cut down on posts - responses to poetry prompts and resume writing a middle grade novel I've had no time for. I guess, poetry (just like non-fiction) can sometimes distract one from writing. I've been considering posting parts of my novel on my blog, so thank you very much for pointing out that this is not such a good idea. Lots of great advice, thank you again!
    Sasha

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  95. intrepid--I know it's standard advice to tell new bloggers to blog often, but I think that's old news. It's true it will get the attention of Google faster if you blog often, but Google searches aren't the primary way people find blogs. They find them on other blogs or FB or Twitter. It's much more important to be out meeting and greeting on social networks these days than it is for you to sit in your little blog and holler all day.

    Sasha--Poetry is a pretty awesome art form and if you're drawn to it, don't fight it. But if you're most drawn to writing novels, that's where you should put your energy. And DON'T put it on your blog if you ever want to publish it later. It's also OK to love blogging more than anything and then it's just fine to put all your focus there. What I object to is telling novelists to spend their time blogging instead of writing novels.

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  96. Thanks. I felt the neck and shoulder muscles let go about halfway through this post. I actually relaxed enough and enjoyed enough to read to the end. Normally, I'm in too much of a hurry to finish reading blogs posts.

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  97. I suppose the same goes for posting poetry on a blog: once it's up there, it's considered published, and there's no chance of getting it published by a traditional publisher?.. Or do different rules apply here?
    Thank you very much for your help, Anne.
    Sasha

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  98. Skipper--So glad I could give you a verbal muscle relaxer. And that you read to the end. I know what you mean. I try to keep up with so many blogs, I usually just skim the first few paragraphs.

    Sasha--Poetry is the same. Posting poetry on your blog is publishing it, so it won't be eligible for any venue that wants first rights (literary magazines, contests, etc.) Blogposts are published too, and are considered pretty much in the public domain. It's legal to publish somebody else's blogpost, although it's best to ask first and supply a link.

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  99. I came by this post via a link on another blog, and I'm so glad I decided to investigate! I just started a blog, and I decided to post twice a week, but had been wondering if I need to post more often. Reading your explanation of why I do not need to was very reassuring, and a big relief, because seriously - who can post something intelligent every single day? Now I don't feel the pressure to do that, thanks to you.

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  100. Solari--I'm so glad you stopped by! I have now read several more blogging gurus who say the rules have changed: the frantic daily blog is history, and now the most effective blogs are once a week, with longer, more in-depth content. This is because Google no longer is the primary engine driving readers to blogs. They come from other social media sites (mine come mostly from Twitter) Google likes more posts, but Twitter followers care about quality--your reputation as a good blogger. So once or twice a week--or less--is just fine. The Blog Tyrant doesn't even care if you post on a schedule. So Relax!

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  101. I love this - I've found myself completely frazzled and always feel under pressure to 'put-out' blog-wise. It's like being a teenager all over again, only this time I'm putting-out, and way too much by the sounds of it. I open my blog to other authors however, those on tours and such. SoAlthough I do write part of it and have to format and what-not, I don't physically write each post. This way there are always new things going on, but I'm not necessarily writing it. Still, it takes my time away from writing and editing. I really I'll feel a lot less guilty about it. Cheer X

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  102. Shah--Getting guest bloggers is a great way to get out from under the burden. It's win/win, since it's good exposure for guests and you get un-frazzlated. I couldn't have got through the last year without a fabulous blog partner and some amazing guests.

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  103. Hi Anne,

    Thanks for inviting me to check out your blog! This post is exactly what I needed.

    I have been feeling very discouraged lately, to the point of wondering why I'm even blogging at all! I felt like trying to keep up in the "blog and social media race" was taking me farther and farther away from why I started blogging in the first place: I love to write!

    I plan to sit back a little and find the joy in writing again by crafting fewer but more meaningful posts.

    Thanks for uplifting me!

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  104. Sara--Welcome. And yes, you have my permission to forget about your blog and go write joyfully!

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  105. Hi Ruth:
    I found your site through Lisa Hall-Wilson's blog.
    Thank you for alleviating my stress level on the amount of time one should blog.
    If you have time to answer the next question, I'd be most grateful.
    I currently blog once a week, but I'll be launching my whimsical shop in about a month and to build excitement, I was going to blog twice a week incorporating my new product, and then I plan on cutting back to once a week to focus on my writing.
    Thank you for your time.
    Tracy Campbell
    www.tracycampbell.net/blog

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  106. Tracy--I'll answer this one, since I wrote this post and I'm the "Slow Blog" advocate. Ruth does blog daily on her own personal blog, which provides a series of links to jumpstart your writing.

    I think there's nothing wrong with blogging more often if you let people know that's what you're doing. I occasionally drop in an extra post when there's something big to announce. Sounds like you're doing everything right.

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  107. Oops, sorry I didn't address the right person. If that was a query letter, in the slush pile it goes.
    Thank you, Anne for answering my question and for leaving a response on my blog. Glad you liked Matilda's lime green socks.

    Have a wonderful day! :)
    Tracy

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  108. Love your blog...just discovered it and have read three posts already!

    I used to blog all the time; like, if I didn't blog at least a couple times a week, it was worse than not writing a new story. Seriously. And I'm a webhead, so I like toying with my site. Serious distraction material, there.

    I've gradually come to the point on my own where I decided not to blog as much. Maybe "slow-blogging" is rising to the top of the creative social media zeitgeist or something.

    What made it easy is the theme I've switched to. Instead of clicking into my blog and seeing that the lastest post is from last month, readers will see a magazine-style layout consisting of enticing featured images and titles. So my site always looks good, and never out of date. Just something to think about for people who have trouble wrapping their minds around not blogging so much!

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  109. Given the date on the post, I am late to the party. However old the advice may be, it is still like a breath of fresh air. I like blogging: it gives me a break from flogging the fiction muse, but I also don't want to use more time blogging than writing.

    Hooray for the slow blog!

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  110. Dahlia--Thanks. Some people say blogging once a week doesn't work for them, but I think they're impatient. I've never blogged more than once a week and now I get 10,000 hits per post. It took a while, but I got to write 7 books in the meantime.

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  111. Thank you for giving me permission to slow down.

    I have been concerned about the quantity vs. quality issues of daily/fast blogging.

    Gonna dial down the Hare, & think Tortoise.

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  112. Caroline--Love the way you put it: "Think Tortoise." Slow and steady really does win the publishing race. The #1 priority has to be your WIP. Let up on the social media pressure and have some fun with your book!

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