Blogging out of the box

Thank you to all who have followed this blog. I started blogging in late 2014, unsure what I was doing with it. It’s been over 5 years, and I’m still as uncertain.

Thank you not just for following me, but for letting the email notifications for this blog fill your inbox. While I’ve been finding my voice in writing itself, finding my “blog voice” has been a secondary pursuit.

As 2020 commences, I’d like to think of what’s next for this blog. A good way to do that is to look backward first.

I’ve written about my writing habits. I’ve written more generally on writing craft. I ran a fun series called World Builders that had 3 incarnations and connected me to nearly 100 other writers. I even tried writing about anything but writing.

My most viewed posts are the ones on writing craft, so I’ve tried to write more of that.

But really…

…why do I blog?

After all, I have a newsletter. The newsletter for me has been a place to talk about progress mostly on my epic. Other relevant writing news is also fair game, such as my educational Highbrow courses.

Blogging is different. I want to create something a bit more public, and because of that, useful.

But I’m also a writer who focuses primarily on the writing that will be published and read, and how to improve that. I don’t have time for side-ventures that take me off track.

For this reason, from time to time I’ve gone quiet on the blog. And that fact is the most important as I reflect on what comes next.

Going forward, I want to try using what I’ll call (since I’m a writer and get to invent names) the Twitter Metric:

If it starts as a tweet but is too long for a tweet, I’ll blog about it.

If it’s official news about my own writing, publishing and marketing, I’ll save that for the newsletter. If it’s something useful, I’ll make a course or a book — which means, like 95% of my writing ideas, it will sit on my project whiteboard and only get written if it stays circled and irks me enough to decide sometime this year or next, that project will work its way into my queue.

One such project: Self-Publishing With A $0 Budget.

As I’ve explored different blog posts on aspects of self-editing, one thing that’s occurred to me time and time again is that this is the shitty rough draft of a book, not a blog post. I’m too daunted to write a formal book on how to edit or self-edit for self-publishing, because I feel there are too many books already on the topic, by authorities more seasoned than me.

But I have a unique experience in my role as senior editor with my company, and I’ve overseen the editing process on over 200 publications. I personally have edited more than 40. So, while I don’t feel I have the authority of others who have written books on self-editing and how editing works, I do most definitely have experience to share, and with my love for educational writing, it would be a fun project.

So, it’s on my whiteboard. Some of you have written to me to give me suggestions for posts on how to edit, which I appreciate, and I encourage anyone else who wants to do so to reach out by email. I’d like to assemble a team of beta readers, particularly self-publishing writers wanting to learn how editing works, who will act like students in a classroom as I write this book, using the comments to “put their hand up” and interrupt my otherwise one-sided lecture. I’d like to explain editing inside and out, how I understand it, but also to receive live input so I have a useful feedback loop, and can use that as part of the drafting process.

At least, that’s the project on my whiteboard as I see it, if is it to become a reality. And, as I find with writing in general, if it’s meant to become a part of the lineup, it will present itself somewhere in the crazy improv act that is the writing life.

I won’t be blogging about this topic anymore then, for the same reason I don’t blog my drafts in progress. I will either refine this into a product worth publishing, or ignore it; but, as Einstein wisely advised, if it comes to anything, I will keep my mouth shut while I work work work.

By the logic of the Twitter Metric, this means you can expect future posts from me will be my occasional thoughts on books I enjoy, the reading process, aspects of writing lifestyle I’d like to share, etc.

The blog will be more about living the writing life, and my unique angle on it, to be appreciated by other writers in their unique journey wanting to draw on inspiration and ideas. In that spirit, there will be long pauses where you don’t hear anything from me, since that’s also part of the game; don’t peek at rice when it’s cooking.

I’m thinking not just about those of you reading this now, but future first time visitors who come to my website and click on the blog link, and what I’d want them to find. The blog is my place to share more personally, less author-business-focused, like a longer tweet that’s worth expanding upon. At least, that’s what it will be from this point onward (and, to those new visitors, this post would be the “sorry for fucking this up the last 5 years, but now I think I got it” post).

Twitter is my heartbeat. And, my tweets are embedded on the sidebar here, so new visitors will find the both of best worlds.

I don’t know what you can expect next from me, but I will endeavour to make it unpredictable enough to amuse you, but not so much that you wonder if I got hacked by a bot.

Here’s to 2020, and blogging outside of the box.

And now, back to Anne McCaffrey’s inspiring Dragonflight, and the cat that won’t leave my lap until I get at least another hour of reading in.

About John Robin

John Robin is an epic fantasy writer, professional editor, and lover of imaginary worlds. He write stories about magic and myth, human suffering and the power to rise above it. He loves world building, coffee shops, mathematics, chess, and is an avid author community builder.
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