My first blog post was a year ago - February 6, 2009 to be exact. I had absolutely no clue as to what I was doing. Lots of writers I admired had been writing blogs for years. Had been writing wonderful, supportive, informative, reflective, funny, motivational posts that I loved to read, learn from and apply their advice to my own writing and publishing journey. So what was the point in starting my own blog, I thought? Really, what did I have to say, who was I saying it to and what could I possibly add? What I learned after a year of doing a blog is this: Those questions don't matter. The only question that matters is: Do you want to make connections with others and learn more about yourself - as a writer and a person - along the way?
I had no conscious thought about the direction of this blog when I started it. I first titled it Unpublished. Unfazed. Undaunted. But then, after I got my contract, I retitled it to "About to be published! About time. About the journey." I thought that's what I'd mostly write about - the rejections, the ups and downs, the waiting, the stops and starts on the writing path. And I did - and do - write about those things. But the name of the blog is "Out of the Wordwork" and I named it that because that's what I needed to start doing. I needed to get out of the word work. I'd spent years working on the words but had stayed very insular in terms of my reaching out to others in the writing community. Yes, I'd joined fabulous writers spaces like Verla Kay's Blueboards and had been a member of the Toronto Romance Writers for years. I'd taken various writer's courses and attended conferences. But I never felt comfortable sharing my thoughts on writing with more than one or two people at a time. I was definitely a fly on the writing wall of life. But as I started putting thought into what I should write for blog posts, I started to realize things about myself that I never consciously faced before. I thought I was a pessimist - but because of writing I realize I'm more of an optimist (you have to be in this business!). I never realized how persistent I was - until I started writing about how important persistance was to a writer. I never thought to see anybody stopping by to read my blog and was astounded and amazed by the people I've met through this medium. I never thought I'd ever follow blogging by also joining Twitter but I think having dipped my foot into one 'out there' pool, it was a lot easier to dip my toe into an even bigger pool. And I learned the two of them are very complimentary/supportive of each other. At least the people involved in them are.
And, by far, that has been my biggest revelation: how much writers support each other through blogs and Twitter simply by making comments like "Yay! Good for you!" or "I've been through that…" or "Hey, thanks, I learned something…" or "So happy for you…" I would never have known any of that support was out there if I hadn't put myself 'out there'.
So, if you are hesitating about starting a blog or joining Twitter or any other scary social media out there right now all I have to say is "If I can do it, you can too." Go on. Put yourself out there. You'll be amazed about what you discover about yourself and other people along the way.