Are writer’s blogs self-indulgent?

A woman in my writing critique group said something last Saturday that’s been rattling around inside my head.

“One of my friends is a writer and she has a blog.” She made a face. “Her blog is just so… so… self-indulgent. She writes on and on about her writing. I love my friend but I just can’t bring myself to read her posts.”

I cringed inside. I haven’t told my critique group about my blog, so none of them are reading it. Though we started our group last January, we are still pretty much strangers to each other. We keep on task during our very short two-hour meetings.

Her comment made me wonder, “Is my blog self indulgent?”

Maybe a little. It’s dubbed “the joys and travails of the writing life,” after all.

Will the future audience of my someday-novel care about what I write here?

Probably not.

For now, I’m bumbling forward as a writer. This blog captures what I’m learning and tracks my progress as I take steps forward. As I take risks. My hope is that I encourage other writers as I share what I learn or, at the very least, help others feel like they’re not alone.

So for now, my fellow writers are my audience. (And I’m grateful to you for visiting me here!)

In the future, I know I need to broaden the scope of this blog. It needs to be about much more than the writing life.

In my work in progress, I’m writing about conflict between siblings over the ownership of property. I’m also writing about denial in a Christian family regarding incest and abuse. On the lighter side, the setting is a Christian summer camp. There are horses and lakes and cabins and crafts. All of those topics are ripe with material for this blog.

I know I haven’t defined my niche yet. That I need to. But I’m not stressing about it right now. I’m enjoying writing about writing right now. If that’s self indulgent, maybe that’s okay. For now.

Question for you:  What makes a writer’s blog self indulgent?

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8 Comments

  1. I think blogs in and of themselves are self indulgent, but what separates a good one from a bad on is the strength of the writer’s voice. If someone wants to go on and on about writing, I’ll read it if he or she has a great sense of humor or a unique perspective. 🙂

    Reply
    • So true, C.B. And I’m so happy you’re reading mine. 🙂 I, for one, love reading like-minded writers go on and on about writing. I guess it comes down to purpose. Right now, my intent is to be a participant in the online writing community – it is vast and varied and fascinating. There’s a bit of safety in that audience, though. Perhaps that’s me being self-indulgent – by playing it safe. 🙂 Hmm….

      Reply
  2. I think that’s a ridiculous notion. What is so self-indulgent about a blog? It’s like a diary. And for writers in this day and age, it is essential. We have to have a way to connect with those who (will or might) read our work. Publishers not only want authors to have blogs, they expect it. So if you truly want to be a part of this new world of publishing, you NEED to have a blog. It’s all part of what they call a platform, and you have very little credibility without one. It’s more self-indulgent to separate yourself from your readers and put yourself on a pedestal, far from the reach of your readers. That’s a disconnect that could sorely cost you. So keep on blogging, Natalie!

    Reply
    • Thanks Nancy. I totally understand how critical a blog is to the career of a writer… and I love how it connects us to each other along with its outreach potential to our future readers.

      To blog or not to blog is not the question. Yes! We must blog! Maybe I should clarify… What I’m trying to get at is, does my blog help only myself or is it of benefit to others? Do I inform, empathize, inspire, etc.? Or is it just a forum for my own thoughts without consideration of my audience? It’s a litmus test—or filter—I’ll apply to my future posts… I’ll ask myself, “is this post self-indulgent?” If the answer is yes, I’ll file that one in my personal journal folder.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’m gonna keep on blogging! 🙂

      Reply
  3. If a blog is “self-indulgent” then so be it. As a writer you need a blog in order to survive out there. How else is the reading public going to get to know you better as a human being and as a writer? Keep on blogging…we’ll be out here reading! 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Wendy. Now I’m thinking maybe I was just having an insecure-writer week and shouldn’t have given my group member’s comment a second thought. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.

      Reply
  4. Interesting comment from the member in your group. My first thought after reading it was “Why are you so hostile towards your friend? I would never share with strangers a negative rant about a friend that I love.” But that doesn’t answer your question! What is it that you want your blog to do for readers? Perhaps that should be your litmus test, rather than whether or not it is self-indulgent. On my About page you’ll find three goals I have for every post and they are reader focused. Yet my posts are all on topics that interest me personally. If they weren’t, then the blog would be informative but lifeless. Self-indulgent? Absolutely. Helpful to others? That’s my goal.

    Reply
    • Darla – good point – why was my group member so critical of her friend. Maybe that’s what should have struck me more than causing me to second guess my blog. 🙂

      When I write posts, I’ll use your question — “What is it that you want your blog to do for readers?” — instead of my litmus test. I’ll check out your About page to inspire me to articulate my own goals.

      Thanks for the advice. 🙂

      Reply

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