Celebrating 200 posts

This, believe it or not, is the 200th post on this blog. It began in January 2011 when I decided it was time to establish an official writerly presence on the interwebs. After five years of blogging half anonymously about anything and everything (including my writing life) on my beloved Forge and Brew, I crawled out from under my rock and put my hand up in the air to signal I was taking this writing career thing seriously.

Forge and Brew is/was a blog targeted at my family and friends. I blogged about travel and cafes and writing and food and books and recreational activities… basically whatever was going on in my life at the time.ย It’s a body of work (739 posts) I’m very proud of, and I still enjoy going back and reading over the archives. These days it’s largely dormant. I don’t want it to be, but I just don’t have the time and energy to maintain itย simultaneouslyย with this one. Besides, there’s no longer a really clear delineation in theme between the two.

When I started this blog, the focus was entirely on writing — craft, process, progress, the publishing industry etc. I called it “my writing blog” and it was designed to demonstrate to anyone who might be interested (wink) I was taking writing seriously. It remained a personal journey. I wasn’t too concerned with “platform” — and I was very happy to fly underneath the radar, while being findable to those who looked.

But in October 2011 there was a lot of discussion about authors and the need for a platform, which resulted in my writing the following two posts:

  • What I get out of blogging (which concludes I don’t think I need to bother with an author platform yet and contains some similar thoughts expressed here – apologies for the brief repetition!)
  • More on writers and platform pressure (in which I change stance slightly and ponder the challenge of unpublished writers establishing a sizable platform and sign up for Kristen Lamb’s blogging online workshop to find out how to do it…)

I don’t want to repeat my thoughts on this subject (they haven’t really changed); but it is interesting that the platform debate has risen again in recent months, with some of the pressure now easing from yet-to-be-published authors.

It seems now many industry experts agree that I don’t need a mega-platform — huzzah! Some have actively come out and said writers shouldn’t bother blogging at all — if they don’t want to. (See this post by L.L Barkat on Jane Friedman’s site). Fair enough — I know plenty of writers who don’t blog. I, as it happens, love blogging, so I can’t see me giving it up any time soon.

It is nice to have some of the statistical pressure off, however.

I mention all this because — platform debate, statistics and personal views aside — participating in Kristen Lamb’s blogging workshop in early 2012 did change the way I approach this blog.

It is now a writer’s blog, rather than a writing blog. A subtle difference, but significant. The content has diverged from 100% writing-focused topics to a broader range of topics that interest me as a writer — most notably the fantasy genre as a whole, the processes of creativity and inspiration, the challenge of juggling two careers, and of course books.

I’ve also learnt about the value of a blogging community — both through the other participants in the blogging workshop and the WordPress community via some of the blogging challenges. Every time I get a “like” or a comment from a new reader — even if only passing through — it’s a new thrill.

Somehow, amazingly, I’ve picked up some regular readers along the way as well — and I thank you all so much for sticking with me. It is so wonderful to know that these posts I write will actually be read by someone. For the first year of this blog I didn’t get many comments and it makes such a difference.

The funny thing is much of the content on this blog would once have appeared on the slowly dying Forge and Brew. I’m still undecided as to what to do with that blog — I’ve considered importing it, but am loath to transplant it from its happy home on Blogger (where certain posts still gets loads of hits).

But for now my focus remains on this blog and today we’re celebrating the 200th post. Thanks for stopping by — please raise a glass and clink it against mine!

And please do leave a comment about absolutely anything — it totally makes my day. I’d love to hear any feedback or thoughts about author platform and blogging in general.

 

32 comments

  1. You’ve done 200 posts! And not only that, you’ve done 739 posts on a blogger blog? Amazing.

    I’m a little over 100 posts and I’m just having fun with my weekly blogs. I’m done my Second Year and will print off another of those Blogger Books for Year Two. I like flipping through the pages and seeing how far I’ve come.

    As for the Great Platform Debate and statistics – I’m with Mark Twain: “lies, damn lies and statistics”.

    Congratulations on post #200!

    Like

  2. Congrats, Ellen! 200 posts is a grand achievement. Well done! Blogging has been challenge for me, but one I’m glad I’ve taken on since it has introduced me to such lovely people as yourself.

    Here’s to another 200 posts! Cheers!

    Like

  3. Congratulations, Ellen! Thanks for your thoughtful discussion about platform, reasons for blogging, and the distinction between a writer’s blog and a writing blog. Here’s to the next 200!

    Like

  4. With wine in one hand and chocolate in the other, I say Clink! and congrats on 200 posts! Wonderful!!

    As far as blogging goes, I guess it’s not a requirement, but it connects the writer with readers and other writers that may have not easily been reached and it keeps writing skills sharp, so I think it’s worth the effort.

    Hey, without blogging I wouldn’t have met you or all of the other cool WANA people and my world would be a little less bright.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  5. That’s fantastic, Ellen! Congratulations!!!!

    As for blogging, I don’t think it is as important for fiction writers as it was once thought to be to sell books (not that I’m at that stage yet, but whatever). Still, I’ve come to discover the benefit of building a community with other writers and people who are interested in the topics we blog about. And that is huge!

    Here’s to the next 200 blog posts!

    Like

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