In 2009, a groundswell of activity on Facebook led to the inimitable Betty White hosting Saturday Night Live. A radiant and bejeweled 88 year-old Betty came through that door that so many hosts have walked through since SNL’s inception, tackled those stairs in low heels, and faced a roaring audience. In her opening monologue, she acknowledged her fans, and the power of Facebook, admitting that before all of this, she had absolutely no idea what Facebook was. “And now that I do know what it is,” she said, I have to say it sounds like a HUGE waste of time.”
Well, I gotta say, that is precisely how I always thought about blogging.
I just didn’t get it.
To me, it seemed like the worst possible combination of live-out-loud, no-personal-boundaries-whatsoever, in-your-face social media and a rampant look-at-me narcissism that seems more celebrated with each passing day. But alas, after years of working with different literary agents and facing a thoroughly recalibrated publishing world, I, like so many others, made the decision to self-publish my two novels, and to do so electronically. I remain entirely confident that this was the best decision (lo these many weeks after their April 2013 publication date!), but that decision brought with it a whole new world of figuring out how to Get The Word Out. There is a VAST amount of information out there, thank god, and though much of it is contradictory, there is amazing consensus on one point: creating a blog stands as perhaps the single best vehicle for introducing people to your work.
Crap, I thought. Just…crap.
Well, guess what. Around about the time I posted my second blog entry, the most amazing and wonderful thing happened — I actually got responses. Immediately! From people who were touched, or moved, or had some idea they wanted to share, or a great story, or whatever!! Now for the long-format writer — who sits in front of blank screen day after week after year, living with characters in an attempt to crawl so far inside their fictional souls that they tell you their tales and you tell the world — this is nothing short of a miracle. A gift. An immediate connection that takes something abstract and in the future — “The Reader” — to someone real, and in the Now.
And you know what else? Turns out that “blogging” is an unbelievably fun way to PROCRASTINATE from that Other Thing you are (putatively) writing. It’s necessary! It’s fun! It’s writing practice!! Oh My God, who thought of this?!? It’s the best thing ever.