Hey. Did you guys know I have a blog on the internet? 🤯 I know, right?
Let me back up and get you all caught up. Over the weekend I attended Norwescon up in the Seattle area. I’d never been and it was really great. I highly encourage writers and fans of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the like to check it out if you haven’t already. Anyway, as these sorts of conventions tend to do, Norwescon made me reflective about my writing and publicly available content. 2 or 3 years ago I was very ambitious about this blogging business and I posted a lot of stuff. That content generation has really fallen off obviously. There are three reasons for it and – shock! – I’m going to blog about the three reasons I don’t blog as much right here, you guys!
Reason 1: Blogging and tweeting and podcasting and all of that other platform building social media stuff is really time-consuming. When I was doing a podcast it took me at least 8 hours a week to script, record, edit, and post. That’s eight hours I wasn’t writing short stories or novels to sell and eventually that time investment just didn’t make sense for me. I still blog and tweet and I look at my podcasting mic longingly all the time. I want to blog and podcast and tweet out adorable otter pictures. I just need the cost/benefit to tilt a little closer to benefit.
Reason 2: You didn’t clap your hands. It’s kind of shameless of me to blame the audience but seriously, writing blogs without readers and recording podcasts without listeners eventually just starts to seem sort of sad. It’s like throwing a really great birthday party for yourself. You can rent a pony and hire a French horn soloist but if there’s no one else there, the French horn soloist just looks at that pony and then at you and he gets super uncomfortable. Trust me. (I’m sorry, Kyle.) My podcast averaged 3 listeners a week. When I started out I thought “oh, I just need to build up a backlog and then surely, listeners will come” but that never happened and that leads to reason 3.
Reason 3: I’m kinda bad at this, you guys. Look, I think my blogs are entertaining and informative. I try to put useful content in them for writers and non-writers. I distill my wisdoms and philosophies and I don’t think that they’re completely without merit. I try to include jokes and pictures of otters. But I’m considerably less good at promotion. I have like 7 Twitter followers and most of my social media presence is my wife giving me pity clicks. I need to meet people and learn hashtags and stuff and while I’ve not been blogging that’s something I’ve been working on. My primary takeaway from Norwescon this weekend was that it doesn’t matter if I write super sweet jetpack otter amazing fiction, if I don’t have an audience I may as well be writing technical documentation on the best utilization of multipage spreadsheets for businessing and oh god i just fell asleep a little bit sorry. If there’s one lesson I could teach 12 year Erik who dreamed of being a writer, it would be to stop typing a little bit and be more social (with people that aren’t his D&D group). I’m not socially shy at all and I don’t feel anxious with public speaking or crowds. That’s a tremendous privilege and I am not unaware of it. I was the class clown in school and I starred in my own play in college. I raise my hands at con panels and shake hands and all that good nudge nudge wink wink retweet my stuff and tell your friends pretty please stuff. The problem I have is that I’ve always valued writing over marketing. I’m a workaholic and always have been. Given the choice between meeting a bunch of strangers or writing for a few hours, I have always chosen to write. I, mistakenly, assumed that once I built up a backlog of content, readers would magically arrive. Nope. I have a whole lot of blogs (WordPress says there are 77 published for this site) and hours of podcasts and literally a million words of pretty okay reading material and I have no magic readers. I have otter pictures and self-doubt.*
But! I know what I need to do. Norwescon lit a bulb over my head and a voice came down from the heavens and gave me guidance – work less and have fun with people more. It turns out people enjoy fun. Who knew? I generally prefer work but I’m willing to see if this fun fad is going to last.
In the meantime, my words aren’t going anywhere. There’s a lot of great content on this blog. I have that backlog. I’m going to link some of my personal favorites right here. I’ll come back and blog more. But it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be very seriously fun. Prepare yourselves. Put that in your spreadsheet and business it.
*Note: I really shouldn’t be grubbing for sympathy here. I have a literary agent that believes in me and I have a book I really believe in out for submission to editors right now. Things could turn out pretty well for Ol’ Erik. But still. Give me all your clicks and retweets and comments. I need your approval so so desperately. I’m an insecure clown man. Tell your friends.