A Modest Proposal, or Rethinking This Blog

by Jeff Abbott on January 18, 2009

I’ve been doing the blog now for a while, and I’m rethinking as to how it should be done.

Right now, I have two concerns about the blog: posting nearly daily (as I was for a while) was taking too much time, and too many of the things I’ve posted (especially weird stuff from the news or publishing-related bits) are also posted at plenty of other sites. So–why bother? The plague of blogs upon on the world doesn’t need me doing what other people are doing. I don’t want to simply be a pop culture echo.
I started this blog off as a way to stay connected with readers between books. But a lot of what I’ve been posting as of late has more to offer aspiring writers or writers who are thinking about their processes. And I think I need to go back to that core basic of reaching out to my (and not yet my) readers.So, this is what I propose:
  • the blog will move to being updated once a week, for a while. Whether I go to twice a week will depend on how much I have to say. I think I’ll post on Friday afternoon, and that way I can collect stuff throughout the week. Friday afternoon also tends NOT to be a writing time, but an admin-work time, so I won’t feel the blog is dragging me away from book writing.
  • readers care about books. So I’ll talk more about books here, especially books I’ve recently read or am reading. This is for one overriding reason: a lot of my readers (especially those in their late teens/early 20s) tell me they don’t read much, or that one of my books was the first novel they read for pleasure in a long while, or that they get bored with too many books. I want those readers to know there is a huge world of great books and brilliant authors out there that they should consider when they’re looking for entertainment. I will say this immediately: I’m not becoming a book critic. This will be in the tone of me, as a writer and a reader, saying what I liked in a book, just as if we were sitting and having a coffee together. I read a wide variety of stuff: obviously suspense/thriller and mystery, but also I read a lot of literary fiction and history and nonfiction and YA (with my kids) and sometimes I will read something utterly unexpected because a friend recommended it. That will be the tone of the book mentions: me recommending a book to you. If I hate a book, I’m not going to write about it. Other authors seem to take glee in shredding colleagues but not me; life is too short. Also, please don’t email me, asking me to mention your book. I have a large enough stack to work through for the rest of the year. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
  • because my writing has been described as “cinematic”, I will also write about movies I’ve seen recently or TV shows I’ve enjoyed. I tend to think that film writers and book writers can learn from each other’s works. 
  • There will be no math.
  • I will talk more about myself and my writing life. I am naturally a private person. But I think I can talk a bit more about what the daily work is like (which is what readers want to know, just judging from the questions I get at book club discussions) without compromising my own sense of boundaries. I sometimes think writing about writing is like writing about sausage-making; you can savor the end result (with mustard and a nice beer) but you don’t want to know overmuch about the process. (“Daddy, what’s in a hot dog?” “Never mind.”) The pressure of needing to make more frequent entries led me to write about process too much, I think. And re The Organized Writer, I’ll still talk about organization and time-management/creativity issues if it’s pertinent to what’s happened that week, but I think I’ve said what I could on that topic, for now. I hope it was helpful to writers, and I deeply appreciate the kind comments about that whole series of blog entries. I am sure you are all now perfectly organized, moreso than I am.
  • Finally: I will talk more about my books, both backlist and upcoming. What’s going on with my work, overseas, in film (some of which I just can’t talk about quite yet), and so on. I’ll even talk about the one I’m writing now, without giving much away, I hope.
I hope you will give this new format a fair hearing. Thank you all for having stuck with me so far. I hope the best is yet to come.

    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    jt ellison January 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I must say I like the new direction, but am truly miffed that there will be no math. Really, Jeff. We all need more math blogs.

    James Klousia January 21, 2009 at 5:09 am

    I think it sounds great! I especially enjoy your detailed insights into the writer’s life, and as a huge movie fan I’ll be interested to see where our tastes align.
    I’m not sure whether or not you’re taking topic suggestions, but I’d be interested to read your thoughts on blogging, now that you’ve been doing it for a little while.

    Jeff Abbott January 22, 2009 at 8:40 am

    James: Thanks for the kind comment. Re my thoughts on blogging, that’s a good suggestion. Probably my change in direction about the frequency and the subject matter of the blog says a certain amount. I do think the blog is worth doing; at the same time, I understand why some writers and critics have decided to retire from blogging or never to embrace it. I did so reluctantly, which is probably a terrible thing to admit, I am just being honest. I have grown to enjoy it but I think anyone who takes one on has to seriously consider what role it plays in their life/business, and commit accordingly.
    I’ll write on Friday about the biggest reaction I got to the change in the blog’s frequency and it was one that really surprised me.

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