I think blogging is somewhat essential for a writer these days. Well, non-literary, non-bestselling writers, anyway. I'm sure Stephen King has no need whatsoever of any kind of blogging or anything else. But it is probably especially essential for new writers. That's the theory, anyway. And it's what publishers and agents seem to be saying to writers. Get online. Okay, so maybe not necessarily a blog, but some form of online presence, and, as far as I can tell, a blog, tied with twitter or facebook or whatever, seems to be the best way of doing that.
But blogging seems to also create a... bubble... around the blogger. Not a soap bubble, either; a hard, impenetrable, survive-out-in-space kind of bubble. Initially, this bubble is a good thing, because it does allow the blogger to survive out in space, which is what it feels like when you start blogging. Like you're out in space and no one can hear you scream. Or talk. Or type. Or whatever. But, after awhile, if you do it correctly (check my "What Your Blog Says About You" series), you'll actually wrap yourself in a bubble of other bloggers. A nice, comfortable, safe bubble.
Now, if you're just a blogger, this bubble is kind of cool. You have friends. People that know you. People you can count on to comment when you post. Whatever, you know. It's all good. As they say. However, if you're a writer, this bubble can be kind of dangerous, because, basically, whatever it is you're writing will just stay confined to your own personal blogging bubble. However big that happens to be.
For me, at this moment, that's not really all that big. For most of us, it's probably really not all that big. Also, it's not gauged on how many "followers" you have but on how much interaction you have going on. If you have 700 followers but no one ever comments, you probably don't really have 700 followers, just 700 people who, at one time or another for one reason or another, clicked your follow button. If you have 700 followers, but your only getting a couple of dozen page views a day, you don't really have 700 followers. Your bubble isn't as big as you think it is.
But that's not really the point. The point is, as a writer, if you're just depending upon your "followers" to support you and your book (or whatever it is you write), then you're not going to get very far. The truth is is that most people that read books do not also read blogs. But it's those readers you need to get to. Those readers you need to make aware of your existence. And, somehow, you have to break out of your blogging bubble to get to them.
I do know what this is like as it's happened once or twice, like I talked about back in this post when I got listed on a site that suggests books to readers. Readers who are not bloggers and who do not read blogs. It's a hard thing to do, though, to get past the confines of your bubble and make other people aware of you.
I think some people are satisfied with their bubbles, but I'm really not. Nothing against you guys that stop by here and read and my stuff and comment and all of that, but my real goal is to burst my bubble. To get past it. Out of it. To get to the point where Neil Gaiman was at when he said "my job had become answering email, and I had to stop doing that." Not that I want to not have interaction with people or to say "well, I don't have time for you guys anymore," but, if you want to be successful as an author, that's the place you have to get to. And I want to be successful as an author, not as a blogger.
So, yeah, I love all of you guys, but my plan is to... go beyond. Break my bubble.
As soon as I figure out how.