These days a great many writing resources — particularly in the form of blogs — can be found on the Interwebs. There are blogging agents, blogging editors, blogging authors, not to mention blogging aspirants, by the bucketload. These blogs all take different forms: some are instructional, filled with great advice; others contain well thought-out essays on aspects of genre; many are reflective, personal journeys; and then there are those which pose questions and host interesting discussions in the comments sections.
One could quite easily spend all day, every day reading blogs and never actually get any writing done. Not only are there those blogs one might choose to read regularly, there are usually multiple links to other blogs and interesting discussions . . . it’s a bit like being lured into a maze masquerading as a dessert buffet.
For example, I spent a couple of hours yesterday evening reading an interesting discussion across three blogs on whether there is a perception that male and female fantasy authors write romance/sex/relationships differently, how the gender of the point-of-view character makes a difference, and how readers of different genders respond to these nuances. It was a fascinating discussion, with many excellent points raised that certainly relate to my own writing. But . . . it was two hours during which I wasn’t writing!
Moreover, it left me with the certain knowledge that there are many more such interesting discussions going on around the place. And the daunting question of how many blogs I need to tune into regularly in order to keep abreast of all the hot topics in the industry. Facebook groups such as the Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association cross-post up to 10 links a day, each one exposing me to a new and fascinating web site or blog. Yesterday this also included two ‘top 10 writing blogs’ that I wasn’t previously aware of . . . surely I should be reading these regularly at the very least?! (And what are the other eight . . .?)
Perhaps the most daunting aspect is that when one finds a new highly recommended writing blog — such as The Creative Penn or Storyfix.com — there is a whole archive of material ready and waiting to be inhaled. Do I meter it out as a reward for a quality writing session? Allow myself a strictly timed procrastination period? Or gorge it all at once, taking the attitude that it’s best to get it out of the way?
No matter how many writing-related blogs one reads, they all have the following advice: just write (damn it!). But obviously it’s also important — or at least beneficial — to keep abreast of the broader community, not to mention continue to grow as a writer, hone skills and all that. Somehow one has to find the right balance of stimulation versus output. (And I haven’t even touched on twitter or the numerous podcasts that seem to be emerging.) Somehow one needs to be selective and incredibly disciplined as well.
Now I had better go and write for a bit!