by: Melanie Jones
Someone once said to me, “I don’t understand people who consider themselves a writer, but don’t write.” That same day I created a blog and began putting out some work. A lot of it was what I referred to as unpolished rants. I would copy styles from Buzzfeed, like Top Five blah blah. I also wrote rebuttals to the content of other blogs I didn’t agree with, and would link their posts in my own blog.
(photo cred: http://windowsir.blogspot.com/)
The first thing that’s difficult about having a blog is getting a fan-base large enough that you don’t feel like you’re writing for an empty (chat)room. Gaining followers on outlets like Tumblr is difficult. Tumblr is not Facebook, not everyone and their grandma has one so if you are relying on followers from people you already know, that’s not very likely. If your only purpose in writing is to get your work shared, then you are on the wrong outlet. Writing a blog should first be a form of self-expression that is fulfilling and enjoyable for you regardless of followers, notes, and shares. You might get lucky and be featured on a larger-name site and gain followers for one timely, well-written piece, but that’s a small percentage of people who regularly upkeep a blog.
If that does happen, you aren’t fully in control of what type of followers you may gain. In my unique case I wrote a rebuttal to a man who complained about doing sexual favors for a woman because he didn’t find them pleasurable. Due to the nature of my blog and the crass language, it was reblogged more times than anything else I’ve ever written. I gained several followers. These followers focused on sexual expression and sex in general on their pages, and some even featured pornographic images. My family asked if I was going to delete my account, but it didn’t bother me. I relay this story just so you are aware of the possibilities.
Another thing to consider before starting a blog is the recognition that any content you put on your blog is considered published work. Many literary journals, including Oyez Review, do not accept previously published work, so if you submit something that’s appeared on your blog for consideration by such a literary journal or magazine, it will probably be denied. Editors and staff will search the internet for works to make sure that it does not appear anywhere else. They want to publish content that’s new, and that could actually lead to more people looking at your blog in the end because they like your writing style. If you’d like to still have a blog then I’d suggest not putting your best work on there, especially if you’d like to submit it to a larger publication.
Having a blog can be satisfying. If you’re not in a writer’s group or a program where you can regularly share your work and receive feedback, a blog is a great option to show your pieces to other writers and receive critiques, or start a conversation about your given topic. Either way, there are gives-and-takes with featuring your work on any site or platform, but regardless of this, if you love writing keep doing it, even if you never plan on sharing it at all.