Subscribing to a Blog: Deep Conversation on Writing and Mysteries


Beth Kanell here, writing from Vermont, where the snowbanks are shrinking in March sunshine.

Have you discovered the new media forum called Medium? It’s a sort of magazine of essays, with the very valuable addition of posting the estimated reading time next to each title — I love that part, because I can make a quick decision on whether to look at something right away, or hold it for later (like, when I’m waiting for my brain to re-boot after writing a good scene).

Today I found on Medium a conversation on today’s and tomorrow’s blogging, which got me thinking more about the SinCNE blog, especially in this statement by Noah Smith:

Blogging 2.0 will be more focused on longer posts, high-level discussions and specialized expertise, while retaining the focus on distinctive voice and free-wheeling subject matter that made Blogging 1.0 so fun. It’s a great time to have a blog.

In the long run, the rest of the piece — to me, anyway — says that a blog is a conversation, and that’s what makes it different from, say, a book or an essay or even a Tweet or Facebook feed. If a blog post just says “this is what I believe” or “here is what I know,” it’s missing the point. Where’s the invitation to get talking with each other? The awareness of the person reading being also the person who’ll write back?

Here on Pen, Ink, and Crimes, Hank Phillippi Ryan has shown how this works at its best: crafting a conversation with an established writer that’s truly a back-and-forth, and at the same time is an invitation to others to chime in, come close, add your two cents (or more).

That’s why, in my opinion, it’s worth “subscribing” to blogs like this one. The surprise of what’s arriving in your e-mail box with a blog subscription can be as intriguing as a new letter in the regular mailbox … or indeed, a new vision for a plot twist in what I’m writing.

So today, I updated my own blog subscriptions. In addition to this one, I want to be more aware of the conversations at Type M for Murder, and at Jungle Red Writers. I also looked at a list of “great blogs for writers” here, and realized I’m already involved in several of the conversations listed, through which I’ve learned to “listen” to everything Jane Friedman says about writing as a business, so I subscribed to her blog too — but as a weekly digest, which seems time-conserving to me (

Now, the whole point of pausing in my mystery writing, to write this blog post, is to say: I really am interested in your voice and experience about whether blogging is worthwhile for you, how you schedule writing your own (if you do), and which other blog conversations have become worthwhile for you. In the long run — what keeps you writing, today?

And if blog conversations aren’t in your top three answers to that question … are there other conversations that matter more to you? Your turn … write something back.

[Oh, for that quick update stuff: I spent most of my winter in revision of three books and I’m really, really glad that spring will mean plunging ahead on the two new projects, for which I wrote one chapter each, to promise myself that I’d get back to them. And I’m joining SinCNE President Sharon Daynard at the Women’s Expo in Manchester, NH, tomorrow. If you prefer conversations face to face, come see us there! — BK]

About bethkanellbooks

My life is always a three-strand braid: love for Vermont, love of reading, and the need to write (and write better and better). Come visit and chat at any of my blogs and posts -- there's a big wonderful world of writing and reading, and we're in it together.
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4 Responses to Subscribing to a Blog: Deep Conversation on Writing and Mysteries

  1. See you at the Expo tomorrow afternoon, Beth!

  2. Great, Edith! I’m looking forward to “talking mysteries” with you and Sharon and many other book people at the Expo.

  3. Pingback: What do YOU Need as a Writer? | Pen, Ink, and Crimes

  4. jpchoquette says:

    Love this post, Beth, and the direction that you indicate blogs are going. I very much appreciate the information regarding “Medium.” Fascinating new tool, I’m looking forward to learning more about it.

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