When you are considering what to blog about, things from your current work-in-progress may jump into mind. You may think of posting your worldbuilding notes, or character sketches, or that super-duper scene you just wrote. That will get people all excited about your coming book, right?
Wrong. If people read your blog post and do have a little interest in your story, the first thing they will discover is that your book not only isn’t available for sale yet, it isn’t even finished! Books can take YEARS to get the first draft finished, and then there are other drafts, and the process of finding a traditional publisher or going through a hired editor to make your book ready for self-publishing. Even if you personally write quite quickly, the casual readers who find your blog may assume your book is something that will happen far in the future. They will be disappointed. They are not going to keep checking back with your blog to see if it’s published yet.
Also, if you post things about your WIP while writing, you are restricting yourself. That brilliant idea you had today may not work out a few chapters down the line. When you keep your first draft private, you can change everything around without worry. Put the story in a whole new setting, eliminate your main character and elevate a minor character into that place, do what you think works best.
If you have been sharing your WIP as you compose the first draft, you are inhibited. If you published your character sketch of Jakko as your main character, you worry that your blog readers will not like it if you make Heino your main character instead. And you will get feedback that may inhibit your first draft progress. They may dislike your characters or your storyline. Or they may love you character but assume she’s going to be a feminist heroine and that not only isn’t your intention, it’s something you don’t want to do.
Also, fictional stories may never be finished. Lawrence Block, famous author who also wrote how-to-write books, started a few novels he couldn’t finish. If you are just starting out in the writing game, you are even more likely to start something you can’t finish.
When I blog about a WIP that I later do not finish, it makes me feel I am exposing myself as an amateurish writer. And I don’t want to do that. I have had some writing success, including having my poetry published in a number of periodicals— which would have been more if I had been submitting more regularly. I used to think that talking about a WIP that I’m working on would make me more motivated to finish. Actually, I think it just made me dead-end sooner due to being self-conscious about the project.
Lawrence Block said that he didn’t talk about his WIP before he was done with the first draft. He was afraid that if he talked about it, he would be less motivated to actually write it. He called it ‘leaving your fight in the gym,’ which I think is a boxing metaphor.
The same rule goes for talking about your WIP on your blog or author page or an online forum. Your brain may interpret that talking as you doing the required writing work on that project. And then not give you the writing energy and motivation to make that WIP into something real.
When your WIP is a finished novel out on the market— even if it’s self-published— that is a time to blog about it. Talk about the characters in it or aspects of your worldbuilding. You could even publish the first chapter as a series of blog posts, with your notes about how you did it. But wait until your WIP is finished, please.
Have you ever thought about blogging about your current WIP? Did you ever do it? What were the results?