When I see articles about how following other blogs are beneficial to aspiring writers, it’s usually to the tune of ‘if you follow x amount of people, then you have a better chance of x amount of people following you back’. This is not one of those articles. I’m not going to even talk about how much you should interact with other blogs or contribute to other forums or comment on other people’s blog posts. As much as those can and do contribute to an author’s career, I do not think there is enough emphasis put on authors simply sitting down and listening to other people.
Not just other authors, either. Not just blogs that are experts on the topics that you as an author want to write about. I’m talking about following blogs that are other authors and are written by experts on the topics you want to write about and are run by people you think would be a potential reader of the stuff you write and blogs celebrating your own favorite authors and blogs talking about media representation and blogs talking about trends in publishing and blogs about faiths that you hold and blogs about other faiths, belief systems, cultures and blogs critiquing every single one of the things you love and hold dear to your heart. Though this may seem daunting, I’m not talking about following these blogs to stick your nose in and take hold of the conversation.
As a writer, there is something to be said about following blogs and news and other publications simply to take it all in. To be able to read the opinions of other people and add them to your reserve of knowledge, humbly and without thinking that you can possibly be an expert on everything. To be able to watch and read the trends within the different conversations between blogs full of gifs from that T.V. show you like and inter-sectional feminism critique of that show and shows similar to figure out how you can revise your latest femme fatale character to make her a better, well-rounded character. To be able to read reviews of other books in your chosen genre, to see trends in what really grips people’s hearts, and what offends or rankles or downright bores an audience. The author of ‘Fairytales for 20-something’s’ recently wrote an article about how his M.F.A. was in writing for a Tumblr audience, and I am fully behind him. Even if you’re not posting content for a future book to your blog, however, being a part of the greater blogging network gives you an inexpensive access to a wealth of knowledge that has the potential to transform you from a mediocre writer to a stellar writer who is also socially conscious and morally aware of their craft.
Listening can make you a better person- and listening through following various blogs can similarly make you a better writer.