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January 14, 2015

This Movie Pushed Me to Start Blogging


I was one of those writers flabbergasted to find out I had to start building a platform. When I heard that countless agents advised new/unpublished writers to start a blog to get readers I thought, “How in the heck am I supposed to attract readers who don’t even know who I am? Why would they care what an unpublished writer has to say?” I believed writing a blog was a better strategy for writers with a following.

But it made sense to also ask, “Where did these published writers get their following?” Maybe they taught workshops. Maybe they went to conferences and made speeches. Maybe they started a blog.

For more on this check out: How to Build a Platform

And yet, I remained firm that I could hold off on starting my blog until I was published, but then I watched Julie & Julia for the first time. This is a movie about how Julia Child published Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and how a woman, Julie Powell, started blogging about her challenges to cook every recipe in Julia Child’s book in one year.


I enjoyed this cozy movie by Nora Ephron and while I was watching it, ideas for blogs circulated in my mind. To say it gave me unrealistic ideas about how quick I’d get readers was an understatement. In the movie, Julie’s readers send her goodies, she’s interviewed for the NY Times, and receives deal offers from agents, editors, and TV networks.

Despite the big expectations, I was thoroughly entranced by the idea of blogging and connecting with people on what I love most...writing. I instantly knew I wanted to create 52 blog posts about writing a novel from beginning to end. My blog title, Write with Fey, came to me easily. Fey is from my pen name and since my blog is about writing, asking readers to write with me was a no brainer.
TIP: If you're a writer, I would advise blogging about something in addition to writing. All writers blog about writing. If that's all you do, you'll only attract writers, not readers. This is something I learned.
My blogging journey may not be like Julie Powell’s...it’s better because it's my journey! And I owe Julie & Julia for starting me on this path, because it was the best thing I ever did for my writing career.


Stay tuned for Monday's post...Blogging 101.


QUESTION: How did you decide to start blogging? Have you seen the movie Julie & Julia?


Unicorn Bell: This is my debut week as co-host on Unicorn Bell, so I decided to re-blog 3 old posts that I believe many writers can find useful. Today's post is How to Beautify Your Manuscript.



70 comments:

Nick Wilford said...

I've not seen that movie but I've heard it mentioned as an inspiration to start blogging before! I love how you started off with a concept for your blog. That's a step in the right direction. As for the balance of writing and non-writing topics, well I'm still working on that... A big part of it for me is connecting with my peers but reaching out to non-writers can be trickier.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, I have seen the movie and it was very entertaining.
I blogged because when I signed, my publisher told me to get my butt online.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I enjoyed JULIE AND JULIA, both the book and the movie. I knew I wanted to start blogging, knew it would be about writing and reading and books, but it was the tortoises that really pulled it all together. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I'm still working on balancing my blog with writing and non-writing posts too. Yes, findind non-writers is trickier in the blogosphere.

Chrys Fey said...

Your publisher, in a way, is to thank for IWSG and Ninja Alex. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

I'd love to hear how your tortoises pulled it all together. I do love seeing pictures of them. :)

Carrie-Anne said...

I began my blog about six months after the unexpected, devastating loss of my Angelfire site, which I'd had for almost ten years. The entire site was deleted without warning, and I had to scour through cache and archive searches to recover my posts. I found quite a few, but sadly, some appear to be lost. I learnt a bit lesson and now avoid discussing anything potentially hot-button, controversial, or polarizing, since it appears my site was reported by the sycophantic friends of a very mentally unbalanced blogger. The entire site was deleted, not just the "offending" post.

I figured a blog was more modern than a static website, and had to admit that my Angelfire site didn't have very up-to-date design and functionality. A blog also allows for comments on posts, instead of contact through a guest book or e-mails.

David P. King said...

No way! This movie, and a quote about blogging I picked up at a writer's conference, is what started me blogging too. Could it be that this movie had a hand to play in the explosion of author bloggers 5 years ago? :)

Kelly Hashway said...

I forgot about this movie. I meant to watch it too. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I'm sorry you lost your site. That would've been devastating for sure. I worry about that with this blog, but I do have every post I've published here printed and saved on my computer just in case.

Yes, blogs are amazing. I still will use mine a lot more than my website.

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! That's awesome! I wonder how many people, not just authors, started blogs because of this movie. I bet a lot. If only we could do a poll for that. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

I think you'd enjoy it. :)

Cherie Reich said...

Loved that movie! I started blogging because people said a writer needed a platform.

Chrys Fey said...

Yup, that's why I started too. Last week I put up a post about how to build a platform, which is what led to this post. :)

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Great movie! I can totally see how it inspired you to blog. And whether we want to or not, we all need that platform you're writing about. Congrats on your piece at the other blog.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Like you, I started blogging because everyone told me I should. I didn't get my blog really going until I met some super bloggers like Alex J. Cavanaugh and L. Diane Wolfe. Both shared tips on how to gain followers and make my blog reader friendly.

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome. You never know what connecting with the world will do. =) I've formed so many deep and wonderful relationships through the years.

But why did I start blogging? Because I had a story I was going to share with friends and family on the other side of the country. And it was awful. But they still read it. And then it came off the blogosphere and I blushed at my brashness until a literary agent gave me hope that perhaps I wasn't being so brash. You started with greater direction than me. Some of us have to stumble around a bit before we find our purpose.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I've never seen the movie. I need to change that. I think you're totally right about coming up with posts that appeal to all people, not just writers. I've been trying to switch my focus to more general posts at least once a week.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I enjoyed the movie immensely. I enjoyed, oddly enough, the part focused on Julia Child. Remember the woman's blog was done in the early stages of blogs. Now, it is much harder to attract visitors.

You are right: often we are singing to the choir. We have to find some way to break out of the author ghetto section of the blogverse into the greater world of it. Great post.

Chrys Fey said...

Yes, platform is crucial.

Thanks, Karen! :)

Chrys Fey said...

It took me a while to get my blog going too. My first year probably only brought in 10 comments. lol

Chrys Fey said...

Connecting with the world can be amazing. I also have formed many wonderful relationships. :)

Now I'm curious about that story you shared, could it possible be an early version of Moonless?

Chrys Fey said...

It's a cute movie. I'll be doing my best from here on out to connect with readers on my blog.

Chrys Fey said...

I really enjoyed the part with Julia Child too because I didn't know that much about her and it was interesting t learn about her life.

diedre Knight said...

Oh! You've reminded me I wanted to see that movie! Now I will make it a priority. Carrie-Ann made a very good point about being able to comment on blogs as opposed to websites (though on some, you can). Sans eye contact, comments are a way to know when someone is listening and we all know how gratifying that can be. Great post, Chrys!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I haven't seen the movie but I heard about it. Wouldn't that be awesome. You have some very good ideas here. I think I need to change my blog(s) because mostly I do reviews and spotlights and things about writing. Maybe this year I'll come up with something new. Thanks for the idea.

Chrys Fey said...

You'll enjoy it, Diedre. Yes, she was right about that. Which I guess it's a good thing I used Wordpress for my website so people can comment on it. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I used to do the same thing and realized I was only attracting authors/writers to my blog. Which there's nothing wrong with that, but readers are important too, even more important. Good luck with changing your blogs, Beverly! :)

Scribbles From Jenn said...

I, like many of the others in this post, started blogging because I heard a librarian say that when she Goggled you, she better find you. The A to Z Challenge boosted my numbers and helped me find some great friends.

Lisa Thomson said...

I started my blog because I was told that same as you were, Chrys. I had to have a blog to build an online presence as an author. I launched my blog about 3 months before final publishing of my book.

Julie and Julia is one of my favorite movies! Blogging was relatively new at the time of the film release. I hadn't even heard of the term 'blog' when I watched the movie. That's so funny about how it set you up for disappointment. Of course, blogs are hard to get noticed at all let alone by the NY Times LOL. I love all and any Nora Ephron films. Great post!

Erin L. Funk said...

I enjoyed JULIE & JULIA too, and while it didn't prompt me to start blogging, it's the reason I went out and bought one of those awesome enamel cooking pots lol. Blogging about the experience of writing a novel from beginning to end is such a great idea! :)

M Pax said...

I had a different blog, which was deleted in full, before I decided to come out as a writer. It's a living thing, always in flux. I've restricted writing posts to once a month and otherwise blog about things that interest me.

Chrys Fey said...

I love that! And that's great advice. Many agents do the same thing.

Yes, the A to Z challenge last year (my first time) did wonders for my blog.

Chrys Fey said...

Seems like that's why many of us writers started blogging. I should ask non-writers this questions...of course I'm trying to get non-writers attracted to my blog now.

Julie and Julia is one of my favorites too. Also You've Got Mail. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you thought my idea was good. Those posts are still there, with no comments. haha I would love one of those enamel cooking pots!

Chrys Fey said...

That's a good idea. I'm still doing my writing posts once a week, but I'm trying to bring in more posts about things that interest me.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

10 years ago, I went to the Virginia Festival of the Book and sat in on a session about blogging. I started my blog not long after that. Blogging was very different back then.

Chrys Fey said...

Ten years ago? Wow! I can imagine that blogging was probably much simpler, with far fewer bloggers.

Liz Blocker said...

That is a great movie, but it does give you unrealistic ideas about blogging!! I thought the same thing when I watched it - "Hey, I could be famous in 2 seconds, too!"

Thanks for the great tips - they're always helpful!

Kristin Smith said...

I saw that movie—it was a good one. I think that one got me thinking about blogging too, but I knew I could never do all that cooking like she did, so I immediately nixed the idea! :)

Congrats on your debut week at UB! I enjoyed your post for today—always full of such great info! :)

Unknown said...

I started blogging because a comedian friend of mine convinced me to start one. He had his own blog, which was great. But he's no longer in the scene.

Christine Rains said...

It's wonderful that film inspired you. I've been blogging for over ten years. At first, it was just personal. A way to keep my friends updated without sending out dozens of emails. I still have bloggy friends I made way back then. :)

sage said...

I blogged because, ten years ago, I found myself having gotten lured into the Midwest and wanting an outlet. I had spent much over a decade in the West and was missing it. (this is where my name comes from) I have played around here with all kind of topics, but mostly it's book reviews, outdoor experiences, memoirs and a few satire/parody pieces.

Cherdo said...

For now, I'm just a blogger - but I've always wanted to be a writer. Maybe the reverse will work, eh? LOL.

Denise Covey said...

Hey Chrys. How cool. I loved the movie and picked up the book at a secondhand shop and am devouring it ATM. Great that it got you blogging. Blogging about travel started me off!

Denise Covey said...

There's definitely not enough about Julia Child herself in the book!

Unknown said...

I LOVED that movie, but it was so bittersweet. Julie got all that success with blogging, but what she wanted most--the affirmation of the woman she admired most, she never got.

Chrys Fey said...

It does! I thought in two months tops I would have as many followers as I do now, which took me four years. Haha!

Chrys Fey said...

I like to cook, but I could never do those recipes. They're way to complicated for me. ;)

Thanks, Kristin! I'm glad you liked my post. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I like that a friend pushed you to do it. Your blog is very unique. I like it a lot. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I can't believe how many people have said they'd been blogging for over ten years! I had a short blogging stint on Myspace for a year in 2008 but didn't start this blog until 2012.

Chrys Fey said...

Another one who started ten years ago. Sheesh, I started late! :P

Chrys Fey said...

I think if you're a blogger, you're a writer...because aren't you writing when you blog? ;)

Chrys Fey said...

I picked up the book too, but I actually didn't like it as much. Hmm...

Chrys Fey said...

You're right. That part was really bitter. She ended up handling it well though.

Julie Dao said...

That movie was so wonderful! Meryl Streep was amazing in her role. I actually worked with a woman who used to be a cookbook editor/news writer, and she got to talk to Julia Child on the phone many years ago! She said she was so funny and lovely.

Chrys Fey said...

Meryl Streep was fabulous! She portrayed Julia Child flawlessly.

That's neat!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys .. bet a lot of people started blogging then .. and doing similar things - you can see the copy cats going at it. But still it was a great movie .. and I'm sure the book was excellent ..

Cheers til I return - Hilary

Chrys Fey said...

I didn't see this movie until it finally came out on TV, so I didn't join at the same time as all those other people. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

You're right, Denise. There isn't.

Yanting Gueh said...

I did watch it though it didn't give me so much inspirations as it did you! Before I started blogging, whenever I heard about other people blogging, I naturally (and wrongly) assumed they were talking about themselves all the time. And that just wasn't me. When I entered the writing/publishing industry and heard from so many that blogging was a way to get 'noticed,' I forced myself to do it. True enough, I didn't know what I was blogging about and my posts sounded embarrassingly 'forced' even though I wasn't talking about myself but books and children. I didn't enjoy blogging at all then. It was only when I started sharing books I like and mingling with other bloggers that things turned interesting. I look forward to blogging now.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen this movie. I'll DVR it if I spot it.

I remember being a member of Yahoo 360 about ten years ago. Looking at people's beautiful blogs, backgrounds, and their many comments made me want to be part of the community.

Unknown said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I know what you mean! "How in the heck am I supposed to attract readers who don’t even know who I am? Why would they care what an unpublished writer has to say" THIS. YES. it took me a long while to find my footing. and I totally agree about blogging about other things besides writing. It's why I tend to talk about boy bands a lot haha, we all have so many sides to our personalities, so we shouldn't be limited. I started blogging right after college but I wasn't consistent. When my now agent was on the phone with me about an R&R she was really adamant about getting a blog going, so that's what made me commit!

Chrys Fey said...

I actually thought the same thing when I heard about others blogging, and I would think that I'm not interesting enough to blog about. I'm sure there are a lot of them out there who do talk about themselves all the time though.

Chrys Fey said...

Ten years ago was the time to start blogging, apparently. So many started then. I'm so late! :O lol

Chrys Fey said...

Boy bands are great! Or at least the ones back in the day like Nsync. :D

Many writers started blogging for the same reason. I guess I avoided having an agent/publisher ordering me to get my butt online. ;)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Blogging intrigued me when I first learned about it. AOL was the first site I know of to have a blog option. They called it AOL Journal. I'd blog as a sort of letter to my children, mostly about topics of a more spiritual nature. That was back in the day of dial up Internet LOL. Then there was a site called Vox. I started my next blog there, right before my first novel came out. Neither of these blog sites exist any longer, and the posts are no longer available. Yes, I did see Julie Julia and LOVED that movie!

Unknown said...

Aw, thanks Chrys :)

Chrys Fey said...

I remember AOL Journal. I hadn't used it though, but I remember! I like the idea for blogging for our kids.

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Michael! :D