Your newest reality TV: A writer’s life

While browsing my @alexisgrant replies on Twitter recently, I noticed a message from a follower I didn’t even know I had: @jtlongandco, or JT Long, author of The Writer’s Secret: MasterMind Your Way to Publishing Success.

“I love your blog,” she wrote. “It is like reality TV for writers.”

“Guess I should consider adding more hair pulling and sex?” I wrote back.

I’m not a huge fan of reality television (although I’m admittedly addicted to The Biggest Loser — Helen wins this season? What?!), but her comment made my day. Something I’m writing here must be resonating with other writers, and that’s what I hoped for when I started this blog, to share as a means of learning, inspiring and occasionally entertaining.

But the short exchange also got me thinking about what I could do better, how I could liven up this blog. Readers return to certain blogs not only for the information they find there, but for the personality behind the words. It’s the same reason people buy books.

That’s why blogs like Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist are so popular, right? Because they offer insight into their specialty and their personal lives, details that make readers laugh and think, Wow, I can relate to that. (That reminds me: Check out Penelope’s recent post about how to write a blog post people love.)

Of course, there’s a fine line between sharing enough about yourself to interest readers and offering TMI. I’ve already posted embarrassing tidbits about myself, both on writing and my personal life. But unlike Penelope, I will not be delving into the bedroom behavior of the men I date nor will I offer details about my partying habits. (For that, you’ll have to read my book!)

If this blog is going to meet the standards of drama-laden reality TV, I’m going to have to step it up a notch or two!

14 Responses

  1. You’re too smart for MTV. Maybe one of the A&E reality shows?


  2. I say, COME ON – BRING IT!! LOL

    I use a lot of transparency and candor about myself in my posts – and I often touch on and get controversial with subjects. I like to stir up emotions and cause people to THINK about stuff maybe they want to ignore and hope will go away.

    Try putting “SEX!” in your post tags – you’ll get a whole bunch of new hits that day – haha.

    I think you’re doing fine – certainly you are seriously working at this business!

  3. Can’t wait, Alexis. I already love your blog, so it can only get better.

    Karen Walker

  4. Yes, you raise a good point. I’m struggling trying to find the write (small pun) mixture of humor, personal, professional, and whatever else is out there. Sometimes I’m closer to the mark than others, but, I’ve got a long, long way to go. Good thoughts.


  5. I’ve been blogging for about two years and I still consider it a work in progress as I struggle to find the balance between personal and professional! The blogs I enjoy reading the most are the ones that come across as honest , like yours.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  6. It’s hard to put yourself out there on display in a blog, but it’s clearly the way to find followers. I talked to a published author recently who said she received fewer hits on the days she talked about writing, and many more on days she blogged about other things. The only time I received an outsider Tweet reply was the day I mentioned Adam Lambert as the probable winner of American Idol. Go figure…


  7. It’s a difficult line to toe — sharing information but keeping some semblance of privacy, particularly other people’s privacy. I like to blog about my life as a teacher, but I also need to protect my students and colleagues. I can speak in general terms or sometimes lift a sentence from a student exam or paper, but I don’t want to share too much.

  8. I struggle with finding that fine line between telling reader what I think they want, and give them too much of my personal life, or personal self. Some people seem to have a nack for it, others, like me, don’t.

    Thanks for adding the tips on writing a great blog. Very helpful.


  9. Real World Novelist! Stuff ten writers into an apartment and see how long they last!!

    (It’s not all that far from the group in the Blog Book Tours class – we’re just more civilized)

    Elle Parker

  10. Reality writing/blogging what a concept!


  11. I’d save that little teaser line from this post (“For that, you’ll have to read my book!”) and use it in your query letter somehow! Maybe append it to the end of your bio paragraph! 🙂 It’s that good. Seriously.

  12. I think it’s all about relating to people. Even in this age of instant communication, people are essentially lonely and crave connection with another human who is going through what they are. Share enough of yourself to share your humanity and keep enough of yourself private to protect your identity.

  13. I love your blog – and I like Elle’ s proposal for a reality TV show.

    Jennifer Taggart

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