Blogging vs Books: Similar but different

As a writer and Editor in Chief I have to wear a couple of different hats in the process of getting a book out. Similarly writing a book and writing a blog post are both writing, but there are some real differences.

A blog: writing in the now

Blogposts tend to be things that are on our minds when we’re putting them up. To be effective they are generally about things happening (or at least on our minds) right now. If you’re blogging about something that happened when you were five it is probably because it has something to do with something that’s going on right now. It probably has some current purpose that you are trying to achieve.

Blog posts have a sense of immediacy. They are generally meant to be read shortly after you wrote them. This has effects on the writing process. You don’t have a year to get a blog post out; you want it out now. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t edit your post (PLEASE EDIT YOUR POSTS!!!). It means that you are going to have less time and work in your editing, fortunately you also have less to edit.

Blog posts are shorter (hopefully much shorter) than a novel or self-help book.  A blog post (hopefully) is simpler in terms of themes. There is a real difference between editing a 600 word post with one theme and editing a 50000+ word novel with multiple subplots and shifting points of view. This means editing a blog post can be simpler and more straight forward (I’m hoping you can maintain continuity for a page or two…). Keep your posts simple and to the point, that way you can edit them well and get them out there.

A book: longer, thicker, and more complex

A book has a lot more words in it (usually). If it’s worth reading it also has a lot more ideas in it. That means there is a lot more that can go wrong.

A book will probably have a different voice, sound, and feel than a blog post. You could have blog posts in a book, but the book has a lot more going on than a blog post (or most series of blog posts). There are (probably) going to be some differences in language used and (definitely) major differences in editing.

A blog post with 600 words and one main idea may be editable with a couple of hours work. A 50000+ word book is difficult to completely read in two hours, much less completely edited. Checking punctuation, point of view, continuity, and all the other aspects of good editing are going to take time no matter what kind of book you’re writing.

In fact some kinds of editing (worky icky line editing for example) are best left until you have the have the real ideas and writing part of editing done. Yes, fix that dropped quotation mark when you find it, but don’t obsess about finding all the dropped quotes, commas and periods until you are done getting the ideas and words in place. Until you get the big stuff in place dropped punctuation, misplaced capitals, and other issues of the sort are going to keep happening. Fix them if you see them, but don’t go hunting for them until there’s nothing else to fix.

You are going to have to put real time and effort into editing a book. (Well… you could just put in an hour or too in… if yyou only want a fewy people too read it… and then never read anything you write… ever again!)

You can get your editing done in a number of ways, but sooner or later it boils down to time and skill. Either you have to take the time and learn the skills, or you have to get someone with the time and skills to do it (better yet do both!). Either way if you want to write a (successful) book it is going to take time and effort, and not just in the first draft.

I don’t want to be “Mr. Bringdown” dear reader. I just want your projects to be the best they can be. You need to do the work or find someone who will (hint… editors and publishers help with that…).

Writing and editing are what I do. I want our writing (yours and mine) to be the best it can be. So I’m going to let you get back to work dear reader, and so will I.

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