“Writing, when properly managed, (as you may
be sure I think mine is) is but a different name
for conversation.” ~ Laurence Sterne
I love blogging.
But seven months ago, I lacked the courage to even try it.
As I searched for information about children’s publishing on the web, I stumbled across one blog, then another.
I was impressed, inspired, and intimidated all at the same time.
I found Cynsations, Fuse #8, Blue Rose Girls, MotherReader, Lisa Yee, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast — and instantly felt connected to a community. I had never met any of these people in person, but I was intrigued by their voices. There were book reviews, accounts of book signings and school visits, interviews with authors and illustrators, and the inside scoop on publishers, agents, and editors.
And I thought, what a grand conversation!
I lurked for months, until one day I finally screwed up enough courage to post my first comment on bloomabilities, the personal blog of Little, Brown, editor, Alvina Ling. My hands shook as I typed. The thought of saying something to a stranger, with a vast, unknown public reading, and no way of ever taking it back, was terrifying. But she had posted about an unpleasant incident in a karaoke bar, where she and her friend were the targets of racist remarks by one of the employees. I was incensed, and couldn’t remain silent. So I forced myself to offer what little sympathy and support I could.
So on August 4, 2007, I wrotemy first public post, and four days later, I received my very first comment, from Kris Bordessa of Paradise Found. Now, a day hasn’t passed that I haven’t learned something new, or been excited about what I’m going to post about next.
Blogging has helped me write faster and focus better. It has prompted me to research, reflect, and ruminate on topics I truly love, and most important, it has enabled me to meet other bloggers and hear their stories and opinions. I think back to when I published my picture books, before blogs existed. I had written them in isolation, and when they were sold, there was no online community to share the good news with, no message boards or personal blogs to promote them, no soft place to fall when a negative review came out.
Blogging is an exciting, new art form. Everyone has the opportunity to create whatever kind of blog they wish, experiment at will, and use the blogging platform to whatever end they desire. There is no right or wrong way to blog.
When I first started, I agonized over what to say. But gradually I realized what a gift I had been given. For much of my writing career, the word I kept hearing from editors was “no.” It was like I needed their permission to speak, for them to say, yes, what you’re saying in this story is worth telling, is worth sharing with a larger audience. They judged everything I wrote. I knew all about not taking anything personally, about persisting despite rejection. But still, there was that deep-seated feeling that unless they said it was okay, I should remain silent.
Until now. I don’t need anyone’s permission to blog. I decide what to say, and how to say it, and take full responsibility for what I post. This is a kind of empowerment I have never experienced before, and it’s heady and addicting. My blog is a place to take a subject or a feeling and run with it, to fully stretch my writing muscle without the pesky editor that plagues my other projects. I am happy to promote other authors and their books, old or new, whenever I can. And I am thrilled to be in the company of so many talented, generous, and supportive people in the kidlit blogging community.
I’m so glad I found my voice.
**For more insight on the blogging experience, be sure to check out “The Beauty of Blogging,” in SisterDivas Magazine, with Live Journal’s Melodye Shore (
), Susan Winning (
), and Tori Winning