Blogs versus Books: A Battle of Motivation

BLOG: Have you finished the posts for this week yet?
WRITER: Ummm, no. I was just going to-
BLOG:-Then, you better get on that. We have a strict posting schedule to keep up.
BOOK: [Coughs] Excuse me. I believe I was guaranteed at least an hour of undivided attention each day.
WRITER: Yes. That is-
BLOG: What are you talking about? We got people waiting for these articles.
BOOK: Yes, but your whole purpose is to suppliment me. You can’t possibly think you take priority.
BLOG: Will anyone but us know he skipped a day with you? No. You want people to keep coming to a site, you need new stuff. You can have your turn once he’s finished a week of posts.
BOOK: Do those people pay for those posts? No. If he wants to make this a business, he needs something sellable. You’re nothing but a false high. Good for a 24 hour’s worth of likes and gone the next day.
BLOG: [Simultaneously] Listen, buddy-
BOOK: [Simultaneously] Tell this cretin-
WRITER: -Enough! You’re both right. But I just… I don’t…
[The writer collapses into the fetal position, rocking and muttering about needing more hours in the day. Blog and Book exchange incredulous glances, then, resume their argument over the shaking writer as the scene fades to black.]

Ok. Yes, that’s a bit overly dramatic. But there’s a lot of truth to it. The more projects you start as a writer, the more decisions you have to make about workload and which project gets priority (*cough* time management *cough*). If some of those projects are blogs, and some are books (or other not-yet-published works), then those decisions can be harder.

Blogs projects can be seductive because they have something that unpublished works don’t: feedback. People comment. People like your work. You can see instantly if someone visits your page or clicks on an article. That’s addictive! Someone likes it! Someone’s reading! I should post more to that and get more attention! It feeds the pleasure center of the brain and makes us want more of those responses.

Unless you’re posting them on your blog, books don’t have that. The only feedback you get from books is your own and that of any writing circle you take it to (maybe friends or family if you ask). For the most part, writing a book is a solo task, and it requires a ton of self-motivation. There are no clicks or likes to keep you going. The most you’ll probably get is progress, a feeling of accomplishment, or pleasure in how the story is taking shape.

Next to the excitement of blog feedback, that’s a bit weak. It lacks immediacy. With blogs, there is an impression of needing to do it on that schedule. Needing to post and keep up with it because there are other people besides yourself waiting for those words. Unless you have a publisher’s deadline, that’s not true of a book.

The only problem with that is that unless you’re making money off the blog, progress on the book is actually more important. And missing a blog post is less important than it seems. Is anyone really going to notice if you miss one? Probably not. As long as you’re keeping up with it fairly regularly, it won’t really affect your traffic either – again, unless you make your living off the blog.

But guess what? If you make your living off the blog, it’d be a higher priority than the book anyway, right? (If you think about it…)

So, as addictive as that blog interaction is, be wary of letting it seduce you into throwing aside all your priorities. You can check your stats every few hours instead of every few minutes. You can even work on the book first before writing your blog posts for the week.

(Just don’t tell Blog I said that, ok?)

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