My Place To Write: The Blog

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Serdar and I discuss writing all the time as we are both writers and people fascinated by writing. The blog post you are reading resulted from one of those conversations – what is blogging’s value? Yes, I am presenting you with a blog post about blog posts.

Serdar eloquently addressed this subject in his own blog, and it is my turn. He has his story, and I have mine, and this story explains why I find value in blogging.

Let’s start at the beginning.

I have always loved writing, and I mean that without irony or guile. I recall all my times writing and making comics as a child, inspired by the movies and shows and books of my youth. Like many children, I had the ambition to write professionally, but even as plans came, changed, and went, the writing continued.

wrote.

Why? Ironically I can’t put it into words easily. Technically there’s the thrill of construction and creation. Emotionally there’s that feeling you get when sensations and experiences flow out of your fingers. Personally, there’s that hope to reach out to and connect people. As a finite being, there’s a sense of legacy, making something that outlasts you.

For all my writing experience, metaphor is the only tool I can use to explain the feelings.

So I wrote, and then the internet came – the age of web pages and text reaching people through HTML and email.

In the 90s I had to get a web page where I’d post links and rants and so on. I reached out to people via words, and though my motivations were a mix of sincerely trying to connect and just wanting attention, it was writing. Eventually, this became Seventh Sanctum, my site of random generators.

The internet kept giving us more, easy ways to connect (as newsgroups faded away). Soon I was on Livejournal, of course, because who wasn’t? That’s where I met blogging.

On LiveJournal I could compose and connect. I could put out a post and reach people. What I said and what I reblogged could influence people, help them, and get a response. LiveJournal showed how you could write and matter without having a book or a newspaper.

But LiveJournal faded, and blogging was the thing for the internet-savvy. Though blogging didn’t have the connectivity of LiveJournal, you had control. It was yours, doing things your way, and owning your name and domain and content. Blogging was perfect for my latest writing venture in the mid-00’s – writing about geeky jobs.

A friend of mine and I had considered writing a book about geeky careers as we knew many talented fanfic writers, cosplayers, and the like. We wanted to see people use these skills in their livelihood, but a book would be challenging to write and publish. But a blog? That was easy.

So we created a blog initially called Fan To Pro (later, MuseHack). We blogged like crazy and had fun doing it, writing about news, career advice, and the like. More people joined us, and we networked with others. Far easier than a book, right?

Then I took my knowledge and wrote a book.

Somewhere after 2010, self-publishing had become easy enough that people could publish their books. I took my writings and ideas and speeches on careers and made the book Fan To Pro (later rewritten).

The child who wrote because of books and TV shows and comics he read finally had a book decades later.

But when you’re an author, you tend to keep writing, and I did. Authors also need a platform – and most authors were starting to blog. Having been blogging for years for Fan To Pro, I blogged for myself as well, beginning in 2008

Thus I had a home for my writing, my way, my stuff. Some of it was for promoting my writing, some of it was done on autopilot so I kept making content, but I wrote.

What’s funny is that my author/personal site has actually created books. Multiple column series I created ended up being the seeds of books on skill portability and  resumes. Yes, my blogging due to my writing a book based on a blog turned into books.

I kept writing. I keep writing. I keep blogging.

Blogs are personal. They are a unique expression of yourself, and you can customize them as you see fit. You can’t get that on any platform you don’t own.

Blogs are long-form if you want. You can do a short post, yes, but you can also do long-form posts. They are a chance to express in detail – and communicate about detail.

You own blogs. Your domain is yours and controlled by you (hopefully). You decide on the technical setup. You are not dependent on any platform – and can move around if needed.

Blogs are easily transformed. Blog posts are excellent fuel for books or a way to try out some ideas to expand later. There is also the advantage that you don’t worry about who owns or rebroadcasts the contents.

Blogs are easily connected.  Blogs have RSS feeds if you set them up, and those can feed into other sources. You connect them your way and in your time.

Blogs last. The site you post to can kill your posts. Companies shut down. Your blog can jump from server to server, host to host, even to other formats (like the books I mentioned).

In an age of posting on other people’s sites, I feel that blogs have yet to be fully appreciated. If I knew how to use their power fully, well, I’d use it.

But no matter what I do or don’t understand, I’m going to keep writing.

Steven Savage

How Blogging Helps Your Career #11 – The Rough Draft

(The roundup for the “How Blogging Helps Your Career Series” is here)

Show me a person who never edits their writing, and I’ll show you a liar, an incompetent, or someone who walks on water recreationally.

It simply doesn’t happen.  We have to try things out and screw them up.  We have to experiment.  We have to get writing out of our head so it’s out and then we can improve it.

Show me a person who writes but never has to just “get something out of their head” and I’ll show you a rarity.  I have to keep a book of ideas just to keep myself from getting preoccupied.

We have to get our ideas out of our head.  We have to see them.  We have to look at them once they’re not rattling around inside our skulls.  Once they’re out we can refine them.

This is where a blog comes in.

Your blog is a rough draft – and a socially acceptable one at that.

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How Blogging Helps Your Career #10 – The Trophy Case

(The roundup for the “How Blogging Helps Your Career Series” is here)

Ever been in an interview and wondered how you prove you know what you’re doing in that short time?

Ever tried to convince someone of your competence if, say, you’re trying to run a convention or help them with a project?

Ever wonder how, in the end, we can kind of ever prove in a few minutes that we’re good at things?  Because it seems way, way too much of our life involves that.  If you’ve ever been on the job search or tried to justify a promotion, you know what that’s like.

We have to show wins.  We have to show proof.  This is one reason I try and end every in-person interview by giving someone a copy of one of my books, because it’s hard to say “you can’t do project management” when I can self publish.*

The proof in many cases has to come quick, fast and solid.

That’s your blog.  Your blog is a trophy case.

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