Tag Archives: blogging

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Book review

Recently, the book for my budding Book Group was Jenny Lawson’s “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.” Lawson, known as “the Bloggess” is a Texan who has come to fame in the blogosphere, in a way many of us would no doubt love to emulate. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is her first book, and is made up of what she calls a “Mostly True Memoir” about her life.

In places, it is heart-wrenchingly sad, but for the most part, the book is a light and humorous tale of her life and experiences. I believe newspaper reviewers would call it a “romp”, but in the funny sense not the sexual sense.

Did I enjoy it? Yes. In places, it’s laugh-out-loud funny, and it’s certainly nothing like anything else I’ve ever read.

Would I recommend it? I’m not sure. Reading this book was a bit like watching the trashiest of trashy TV, – you enjoy it at the time, but you come away feeling a little dirty, knowing that you have sort of wasted your time and you’ll never get that time back.
So, it depends. I’m more a serious drama sort of a girl. I don’t mind whether the book is based on a true story or not, but I like a bit of character and plot. It’s the same reason I would prefer to see a play than watch stand up, although I do enjoy a bit of comedy here and there.
I supposed I’m not really a laugher. I enjoy laughing with my friends because of the bonding experience it creates, rather than the jokes themselves, but sitting in front of the TV or reading a book and laughing always feels a little bit empty to me – laughter is something I prefer to share.

But if you need a good giggle and don’t mind doing it alone, this is the book for you. And let’s face it – don’t we all want our blogs to turn into successful first-time publications? Sign me up for that one!

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Regarding the Blogosphere

I love blogging. I’ve found a way to meet other writers without leaving the house (I like leaving the house, but Sebastian sometimes makes that a challenge) and to motivate myself to write more, and more widely, than I ever have before. It’s a Good Thing.

And, so various books-on-publishing would tell you, it’s Building A Platform, with which to one day publicise and maybe even sell my Great Work. Although those or other books-on-publishing will also tell you that blog /twitter / facebook followers do not convert very well to sales figures. Not very well at all.

A friend recently pointed out that the blogosphere is mainly made up of bloggers. You might think, well of course, but actually, that’s not what we want, is it? What if only chocolatiers bought chocolate? Or only train drivers rode trains? As writers, we want to reach READERS, and although some of them might be other writers, most (we hope) aren’t. #

I’m delighted to have so many followers – 512, so WordPress tells me – and I take nothing away from them in saying this. Thanks to anyone who reads this blog, regularly, occasionally or even just this once. I value you!

But followers don’t convert to sales – they don’t even convert to views. If I follow a blog, it’s because I want to see what that person has to say, on a regular basis, but I seem to be in the minority. Many people seem to hit follow in the hopes that “If I follow her, she’ll follow me” or something. They hit follow, but do they ever come back?

So, my fellow bloggers – as most of you are – how do we get the rest of the world to join us in the ‘sphere? Or do we have to burst out and find new (or perhaps old) ways to reach them?

 

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Why blog?

I was reading the wise words of my blogging friend Sandra this weekend, about why she has a blog page on her website, and it reminded me very much of my own thoughts about blogging. You can see Sandra’s post here.

In this Information Age, a lot of people share a lot of information, and much of it is, in my view, pointless. I struggle with Twitter because it has such a high noise to value ratio. When I log on, I am overwhelmed by the number of messages I could read, most of which are of no interest whatsoever, a few of which are idly diverting and only occasionally is there something I’m glad I’ve stopped by to see. On Facebook, I enjoy the chance to catch up with friends and to keep an eye on the major life stories of acquaintances, but I am endlessly confused by the updates which talk about incredibly private, personal details of either the poster or their family members. Do these posters not realise just how many people can read what they write? Or has it suddenly become appropriate to share details of relationship breakdowns, bra sizes and toilet habits with the world at large?

The same can be said of blogs. When I flick through blogging sites, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content, and how much of it I can’t imagine being of interest to anyone at all, except possibly the spouse or parents of the blogger.

BUT

I love my blog. When all my other writing projects go to the wall, this is the one I defend to the last. I enjoy the discipline of posting three times a week, according to a schedule which works for me, and hopefully provides something for readers too. I enjoy the writing challenges that Inspiration Monday and the Friday Fictioneers give to my writing, and the chance to exercise the muse regardless of what else she’s doing (which is frequently editing, something neither she nor I enjoy). And most of all, I enjoy the community: the small band of readers who stop by every week to give me feedback and encouragement, and to reassure me that I’m not talking to myself here.

Not only do I love my blog, I also love the blogs I read. For various good and bad reasons, I read a lot fewer novels now than I used to, and that is a sad development in my life, but one I’m not currently in a position to rectify. However, the addition of blogs has allowed me to get a healthy dose of fiction almost daily, and in bite-sized chunks. They exercise my imagination, they feed my muse, and they sate my inner editor when I want to keep her away from my own work for a while. And on top of that, I feel as though some of the other bloggers have become my friends, and you can never have too many friends.

Now I accept that if I spent less time blogging, I’d have more time to write “proper” pieces for submission and even to read the novels my life seems to lack, but I’m not sure I would actually do more of those things, or whether I’d procrastinate in other ways. Plus, my biggest publication success is Reader’s Digest – which was a direct result of my Friday Fiction compositions.

So until someone persuades me there’s something better, you’ll find me here at elmowrites – writing, reading and critiquing to my heart’s content. I hope to see you around!

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