I am a bad blogger. I know I am. I haven’t blogged for almost two weeks and, as you know, Dear Reader, one of the big musts of blogging is to post often. Most professional blogs, I believe, post daily. (But, DR, honestly and truly, could you cope with me blogging daily? Would you read me every day? I think I know the answer.)
In my very first post, I commented on what I thought was the freedom of blogosphere, on being able – if I so chose – to use things like brackets and adverbs, and to start sentences with And and But, to shake off the many shackles of creative writing dos and don’ts – which, as I’ve discovered, most published authors keep at arm’s length anyway. All too soon I discovered the mantras of blogging. In fact, every few weeks, I discover someone else on Google or Twitter setting out more blogging rules. A few months ago, I wrote about some of the blogging rules… but I’m sure there have been many more put online between now and then.
There are also rules for posting on social media, which, I believe, we take social media far too seriously. From my experience in being in education, I saw a lot of college/ school managers trying to get down with the kids, never a great teaching strategy, and managers in commerce and industry were doing the same. But why? What saddo regularly reads the Facebook page of their hairdresser? Who is going to visit an author’s Facebook page given over, mostly or wholly, to publicising his/her book?
Don’t get me on to Twitter. And, before you ask, I don’t do any of the others.
Twelve people have liked my current Facebook post about coming bottom in a primary school quiz and several others commented. If I had a book, this sort of post wouldn’t promote it. I’m certain that the reason it’s attracted so many likes is because it’s self-deprecating, the opposite of promoting. At its best, Facebook is about exchanging news with people we know and when it stops being that, it stops being interesting, and people stop looking at it. (Note the reps there, Dear Reader. And no one’s asking me to correct it and, actually, I think it adds emphasis. Ooh, and also an adverb.)
So let’s scrap The Rules. Let’s be ourselves when we blog and in social media. Give ourselves the freedom to write it like it is and how we like. One day, what’s on our mind (to paraphrase the prompt on our Facebook pages) will be that we have indeed written a book, and people will read that fact because, over the years, you’ve shared the real stuff – and even the soppy videos about kittens.