2017 – The Year of the Blog?

keyboardIn 2016, I posted a grand total of two posts to this blog. Two! In a year! That’s pretty pathetic. I write novels. I walk around calling myself a writer. So why does my website have such a dearth of content?

Well, the truth is, blogging is hard—for me, anyway. Writing blog posts is a different skill than writing fiction, and it’s a skill that just doesn’t come as naturally to me. But here’s the thing—I want to blog.

That’s why I’m officially naming 2017 the Year of the Blog—or, at least, the Year Larry A. Winters Tries Really Hard To Blog. Call it an experiment, or a challenge. For 2017, I’m committing to updating this blog on a weekly basis for the entire year. That’s right—for one year, you can count on a new blog post appearing here every Wednesday, for your information and enjoyment. (I’m aware that consistency is critical in the blogosphere. A blog post about a great hamburger place in Philly might be interesting, but if it’s one of only three blog posts appearing on the site that year, it’s not going to be read by many people!)

But, I hear you thinking: Don’t you have books to write, Larry? Didn’t you just say you find blogging difficult. Why bother?

Well, like I said above, I want to blog. I have a few reasons:

Reason One: Stephen King.

Let me explain. When I was young, one of my favorite authors was (and still is) Stephen King. He’s one of the reasons I became a writer—but that’s a story for a different day. Aside from his amazing writing, one of the things that inspired me about King was that many of his books included a note to his “Constant Reader.” These free-form, sometimes lengthy notes addressed directly to the reader were filled with anecdotes from his life (both business and personal). King shared behind-the-scenes stories about his books, his opinions on movies, other writers’ books, and his views on the world. There was a strangely intimate camaraderie shining through the text, as if King considered his readers to be real friends. I was and am a fan of many authors, but King’s notes forged a bond with me (especially back in my teenage years) that no other writer did.

Although I could follow King’s lead and add similar notes inside my books (and I may do that someday), the form seems perfectly suited to blogging. My aspiration is to use this blog to connect to my readers the way Stephen King connected to me. (Bonus: Blogs allow for responses and discussion through the Comments section, so it doesn’t need to be a one-way conversation like the old days.)

Reason Two: Content!

You’ve probably noticed, but I’m a relatively slow novelist. Much as I would like to become a fiction factory and pump out mysteries and thrillers on a monthly basis, my brain doesn’t seem to work that way. There are gaps between my book releases, and, while I’m working to shorten those gaps by challenging myself to produce more rapidly (see this and my other New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 here), this blog will help fill those gaps. Anyone looking for new content from me can find it here a weekly basis. As an added benefit, I will probably promote my blog posts on social media, which means my Facebook updates and Twitter tweets will also increase. If that leads to more interaction with readers on those platforms as well, all the better!

I’m aware that a blog post or social media update is not a book and doesn’t satisfy the same craving for new stories and characters. But it is a chance to put my voice to virtual paper more frequently and hopefully inform and entertain you in the process. I’m hoping you will check in with me now and then—and even better, create some great conversations in the Comments section below.

Reason Three: Blogging on a weekly basis will be a challenge for me—a big challenge.

Challenge is good. I believe that pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to grow and improve. If the Year of the Blog goes well, I should be a certified blogging whiz by December, able to whip up a great post without breaking a sweat. (And, well, if it doesn’t turn out that way, I can always stop the experiment after the end of the year.)

There’s one final reason: It’s going to be a lot of fun. (I hope!)

One of my biggest challenges will be coming up with a new topic to blog about each week. It would be great if you could help me. (This blog is for you, after all.) Please tell me what you would enjoy reading about, and I’ll do my best to come through for you.

Please leave a comment below with your suggestions for future posts on this blog! Thanks, and see you next Wednesday!