I started blogging at Random Curiosity on January 1st, 2012. Assuming two shows a season (I often did more) at 1,000 words per post (that’s very conservative for some seasons), I’ve published at least 150 posts that totaled 150,000 words. Add in season previews, introducing other shows, editorials, and the two particularly impressive posts that totaled 41,000 words alone – not to mention the nearly 50 posts I’ve done since I started this blog – and I’ve easily written as much as 2-3 good sized novels in blog posts. I’ve also had the chance for feedback on every one of those 200+ posts.
Is it any wonder I’m a better blogger than a novelist?
Not that I haven’t put a lot into my fiction. My first draft was ~155,000 words, and though I’ve cut that down to closer to 130,000, I’ve rewritten many of those words multiple times. Then there’s all the discarded drafts from the years before that and in between, and the pages upon pages of defunct scenes that I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of, and so on. Work has not been in short supply.
What I lack is feedback. Feedback is crucial. The internet is wonderful because you can get feedback instantly, and if you cultivate an audience that is kind and cares about you and wants to see you succeed (but only if you give it your best) – or if you’re lucky like me, and walk into one that was already created – then this can be tremendously helpful.
Next to that, I’ve been writing this novel in a vacuum. It’s necessary, yes, but I feel its absence. I can’t be sure that I’m not doing something terribly wrong.
If you want to get better at something rapidly, do it frequently, publicly, and ask for feedback. You don’t necessarily have to take it, but you do need to listen. It’s only by putting yourself out there and actually doing it that you will get better.
My first blog post was terrible. My tenth was okay. My hundredth was pretty good. Hopefully my thousandth will be great. Whatever I mess up on my first novel , I’ll be sure to fix in the second, and the third, and so on.
By the time my tenth comes out, I wonder how good I’ll have become.