Friday, January 09, 2009

Blogger of the Week:
Debbi Michiko Florence...

Author Debbi Michiko Florence has been maintaining One Writer’s Journey on LiveJournal since September of 2004. Below she talks about her experience as a writer-blogger.

Why did you start One Writer's Journey?

I’d toyed with the idea for a few months prior, but hesitated because I thought, who cares what I think? But I really loved the idea of being able to keep a record of my journey as a writer. At the time, I didn’t think anyone would read my blog save for family and friends. I was shocked to learn there was a whole children’s writer community already on LiveJournal and as we found each other, I gained a valuable group of friends and colleagues.

What kinds of things do you post about? Has that changed over time?

My intention was to blog about my writing process--the ups and downs, and to honestly catalog what happened and how I felt. That was easy at first because I thought that only a handful of people were reading my blog. As the months wore on, more and more writers found LiveJournal and the children’s writer community, and suddenly I was aware that complete strangers were reading about my writing life.

How boring, I thought. So I started sharing good news about other writers and linking to my author interviews on my web site. The warm community feeling made me more comfortable sharing my opinions and stories about the non-writing part of my life, too.

Then, one day, I received an e-mail from a well-known and respected editor who thanked me for talking positively about one of her author’s books. It was suddenly clear to me that anyone could read my blog. While I never spoke badly about books or other people (just annoying TV commercials and miscellaneous pet peeves), I realized that what I said directly reflected how complete strangers (and editors) would perceive me. So whenever I write a post I imagine four people reading it: my agent, an editor, a complete stranger, and my mother--and if I’m okay with that, then I post it.

These days, I blog about almost anything: my writing, my books, good news about other writers, books I love (I keep my reading list on my blog), my dog, and snippets from my life in general.

How has blogging been beneficial to you as a writer?

Blogging has helped me feel less alone. There are wonderful, warm, and supportive writers out there and we offer each other encouragement and cheers. I suspect blogs help with marketing/sales, although I’ve not done any formal research on it. I definitely believe my blog helped get word out about my book. Certainly, I learn about books from other writers’ blogs and have made purchases after reading praise for a book.

What's your advice for newer bloggers?

There are such a wide array of styles and personalities out there. My suggestion is to be yourself, but also remember that your blog is not like keeping a private journal. Figure out who your target audience is (for me it’s children’s writers and book lovers), but also remember other people might come across it (a 10-year-old, your grandmother, a former nemesis). One of my cousins keeps up with me by reading my blog daily. Consider the length of your posts. I like to try to keep most of my posts on the short side, because I suspect readers of my blog read many blogs and are short on time. And finally, post consistently. Figure out what your schedule allows. Daily? Weekly? Probably more often than once a month. You don’t want to lose your audience. Mostly, have fun! If you don’t enjoy it (some writers don’t)--don’t blog. But if you love it? Dive in!


Vodka Mom said...

She sounds fantastic! I'll visit her after school!

She sounds like just the person I need to talk to!

jama said...

Love Debbi's blog. Live Journal wouldn't be the same without her. Thanks for featuring her today!

Amy Atwell said...


Your blog has long been an inspiration to me, and I love your advice about thinking of your readership and your message as you write your posts. Thanks for sharing!

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing Debbi's blog. I love discovering new blogs through your Blog of the Week! I'm off to check hers out!

Anonymous said...

I love her advice about thinking of the 4 people (editor, agent, stranger, mom) who may read it before she posts something. :)

Jeannine said...

Yes, what Jama said!

Debbi is smart, generous, and on top of everything! She inspires so so many, and this interview just added another level! Thank you!

Jeannine Atkins

Angie Frazier said...

I've been reading Debbi's blog for a while, and love it! Glad you chose her as Blogger of the Week :-)

Judy Winter said...

To Debbi's comment about keeping blog posts on the short side, I say 'Amen, sister!'

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