To share or not to share?

My apologies for such a brief post. I am overwhelmed, distracted, exhausted, and several other “eds.”  So today, I’m just going to ask a few questions of you. A two-part question is in poll form because I think you’ll be more likely to answer honestly, if you can do so anonymously.

Most everyone who reads my blog is also a writer and a blogger.  What I’ve noticed is the wide variance of degrees to which you share your writing on your blogs. Some of you share flash stories or poems or link to your online published work. Some don’t display any samples, but you talk about your works in progress. And another portion of you share little or nothing, maybe not even revealing whether you write fiction or non-fiction.

So, here you go. First, one single and one compound question I hope you’ll answer in the comment section.

  • What do you write?
  • Do you share any examples of your writing on your blog, and why or why not?

And now for my two-part poll question.



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39 thoughts on “To share or not to share?

  1. I’m a professional writer of science and an amateur fiction writer. All my factual material is public – either as published book/chapter/journal articles or documents owned by my employer (the NHS or the university) but my fiction is shared sparingly on my blog where, like a benign pitcher plant, I offer what I hope are aromatic tasters with a view to attracting supportive attention. Other work, usually longer pieces, I lift aloft and launch in the direction of publishers, some of whom I fantasise might have dropped into my aromatic pitcher and be poised, open armed, to catch my fledgling tale.
    It’s probably good that I have other things to entertain me while I wait!

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      1. Anyone who takes the trouble to remark, really! I’ve always thought, somewhat defensively maybe, that I’m not writing for all the people who don’t like my tales, I’m writing for the one who does. But then I’m not trying to make a living with it so I can afford to be insufferably pretentious!

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  2. I write Suburban Noir fiction. Yes, it’s true. When you can’t figure out how to categorize yourself, make it up. After all, we’re fiction writers!

    I post flash fiction on my blog. I do this for a variety of reasons, but don’t want to clog your comments. 🙂

    The primary reasons are:
    1. I think flash fiction is a form suited to the web and its inherently short attention spans.
    2. It holds me accountable to a regular cadence of writing fiction for public consumption during the lengthier process of writing and polishing novels and short stories for more traditional publication.

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  3. I write poetry and do photography….I share my poems because to me poetry is a shared experience and I hope in some way my poetry will stimulate (+/-) some awareness of a given issue or just make someone laugh or think about an issue.

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      1. Pamela, you share so much of your poetry on your blog that I wonder, is there not that same problem of using up “first electronic rights” when you post poems on your blog? Is the rule different for poetry?

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        1. Linda, when I submit, I choose publications that accept poetry already published on a personal blog. And if not, I remove it from public view until I receive the rejection email. 🙂

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          1. But isn’t the poem already archived? I mean, if you googled the name or a line of the poem, it would come up in the results as being, or having been, published online, right?

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    1. Slp, thank you for sharing your thoughts. To me, unless one is a total narcissist, we all intend our writing to be a shared experience, but it seems poets are more likely to share on their blogs or sites.

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  4. I write mostly Speculative Fiction, and I used to have some stories up on their own page on my blog. I thought it was important to give examples of my writing if I was calling myself a writer. They didn’t get a lot of hits though, and I took them down when I did a blog re-jig in the aim of replacing them with links to published stories (which I have 2 of, though one anthology isn’t out yet, and I’ve not actually gotten around to doing this anyway!).

    I do post little bits and pieces into blog posts occasionally, and I talk about what I am working on (though not in huge detail). The biggest reason I am no longer posting full short stories to my blog is because it uses up their first digital rights and that severely limits the places I am then able to submit to if at some point I decided I wanted to. Better safe than sorry.

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  5. I write Fantasy Fiction and I do it because it’s the one thing that gives me joy and fulfils me as an artist. Perhaps I am old fashioned but I am not comfortable posting samples of my work online, I suppose it’s the lack of control one has over who sees it and what they do with it. I know nobody is going to really steal an entire novel, but I cannot get rid of the unease I feel over posting my work, though eventually, I’d like to post at least bits of it for others to read sample of my work. I think this would be different if I were a published writer, though I tend to be a paranoid person in general.

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    1. I’m paranoid too, agatha82, and it’s somewhat justified. Darksculptures, who comes around here, recently had one of her poems “borrowed” by another blogger (without credit, even) so now she only posts her work on a private page for friends.

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    1. Yep, that’s a big problem with sharing on your blog. Although I think it should depend on the blogger. I mean, really, if I posted a story here, how many people would read it? Five, ten tops! How does that qualify as “previous published” work?

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      1. It is a bit ridiculous really, specially if you can see that the story hasn’t been read many times. Still, those appear to be the ‘rules’!

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  6. I write poetry that speaks my life story usually, fictional short stories, some soft erotica, and have posted the beginning of my first novel Pimp Daddy In The Pulpit that I am currently working on, which began as a short story. I love reading your blog Linda. Your insight, and that of your readers is helpful to me.

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  7. I think everyone’s pretty much covered it, and it’s not like you’re unfamiliar with what I do. But for the sake of the post, which I thought was interesting and the responses equally so…

    I write both fiction and non-fiction. Interestingly, the non-fiction agent sought ME out for the project after an introduction by a fellow writer who knows me only through my blog. It will be published later this month in the UK, and it’s very exciting even if it won’t be seen here in the States.

    My fiction, however, remains an unpaid hobby. I post things to a specific blog for my fiction, but I’ve limited it to mostly stuff I don’t think will be published elsewhere. I started doing it LONG before I found out publishers would consider a blog “previously published” and anything posted there as a “reprint”. Now, I use it almost exclusively to participate in FridayFlash exercises. The 1K word count limit is a great teacher for me. I’ve learned to control my prose a little better and it’s made me a better editor, too.

    I can try pulling stuff off my blog and letting the great oracle Google forget me but I don’t know if the ‘Net ever forgets. Nevertheless I’ll try and see what comes of it.

    I think I put it there simply because I don’t write just for my wife and me. I write for others to read. If that’s not happening for whatever reason I’m not as happy as I will be otherwise. And it’s brought me at least one really great friend.

    …and WOW, what a windbag I am! Sorry. 😦

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    1. Darc, I agree that writing is meant to be shared … and we’re all hungry for that interaction, but from the poll results, so far, it looks like our blogs may not be the best way to achieve that.

      It may be different if you have a blog that is obviously focused on that, like your Friday Flash blog, people come there specifically to read your work. But on my blog they don’t come for that reason … actually, I still haven’t figured out why you all do come here, I just know it’s not to read samples of my writing. 😀

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  8. What do I write? Hmm… that’s a tough question. Right now I write a little bit of everything and almost all of it is in flash fiction form. For the most part I post on my blog only my responses for the Velvet Verbosity 100word challenge (http://vv100words.blogspot.com/) as well as links to anything I get published.

    I post a lot more photography than writing; I think because right now I’m trying to concentrate on getting the writing published and having photography only as a hobby.

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  9. I used to think I only wrote fiction, but I’ve written a few non-fiction articles in the past as well. I began by writing short stories. There are one or two links to published stories on my site but most of my work has appeared in print journals. These days I’m concentrating on ya and middle readers, and the occasional short story if I feel stirred to write one.

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    1. I would have no qualms about posting links to published fiction, Laura. I’m a curious (nosey?) person, I always look for either links like that or samples of writer’s work when I go to a new blog. In fact, I pretty much read everything on my friends’ blogs eventually. 🙂

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  10. Hi Linda! It has taken me two days to be able to leave a comment – too many interuptions. (kids,baby…). It’s great to be here! 🙂
    Good thing i’ve been keeping up with most posts of all my blogger friends because my goodness it would take a week per blog.

    To answer your question on this post, I post my work occassionally on my site. I write fiction mainly, shorts, and articles. I have links to some articles on my website, and I post some pieces of my shorts on my blog – normally just something I threw together and not a piece I have seriously worked on. As for the why or why not? Mainly because I don’t kow who would want to read it, my lack of wanting to share (fear, posession, I don’t know), and also because my blog is about writing, not for showcasing my work. Yet, I enjoy reading the work of others, so occasionally I reciprocate.

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    1. You have excellent excuses for taking awhile, Jennifer. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your view. I think once I’m a published author my view will change, but for now I don’t view my blog as someplace to “showcase my work” either.

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  11. I write science fiction for the adult market. I rarely share excerpts, and if I do, they’re extremely short. I’m not comfortable putting material from my manuscripts online when I know they’re going to change so dramatically over time.

    As for short fiction, I write it so rarely that when I do, I want to sell it to a magazine.

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  12. I was just talking to a couple of writers today about “what I write.” Labeling my writing is difficult for me, in some ways because I’m still forging my way. But, I guess I lean more towards contemporary fiction, women’s fiction.

    And, as you know, I do post pieces of my work on my site – mostly flash fiction – primarily for the same reasons Cathryn cited. It is tricky, though. I’d love to send some of those stories out, but once they’re up on the blog my choices are limited. I did discuss, today, (with the same writers above) about the option of rewrites. One writer friend said if only 10% of the story is published online, it can be considered “new” when submitted elsewhere. That’s something I’ll be checking into.

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    1. Like Catherine’s site every day, I know I’m coming to read a story at your site on Wednesdays and I think it’s wonderful that you two can write so many pieces that you don’t mind sharing some online. I’m not that prolific … by a long shot. Sometimes I think I should get more serious with my blog … or have two: one for serious writing stuff and the other for my nonsense. Then again, a thought like that indicates I’m procrastinating on writing fiction. 😮

      So, how would that 10% thing work? Would you take the short piece and fill in 90% more words, or just take the premise and write a completely different story?

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      1. On the 10% thought: If I have an original flash piece that’s 700 words, and I can rewrite it so that it grows to 7000, then only 10% of the story is “published.”

        I also love Pamela’s idea to remove a piece from public view while you submit it.

        Lot’s of great discussion here, Linda! Thanks for the post.

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        1. Yes, so you would just “plump it up” keeping the original story line, right?

          And the problem with removing a story, or poem, temporarily is that it would still show up in a google search. For instance, I removed all the stories I used to have on my blog, but if I search for them, they show up, marked as “cached.” Granted the editor might not search, but what if he/she did?

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  13. I mostly only blog about my personal life, but since the creativity workshop I post just little excerpts of whatever I’m working on. I do post random poems and have a section devoted to haiku…but it’s stuff that I don’t mind sharing. I do hope to try to make a living with writing, eventually…hopefully my blog doesn’t hurt my chances.

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  14. Wow! It would be a simpler question to answer had you asked what I DO NOT write! 😉
    I write poetry about the environment, abuse & healing, and about hope. My two of three of my novels are post-apocalyptic settings and the third is a physiological thriller. But, I mix genre and can’t say that all of my works hang to a single spine other than they are speculative fiction. I dabble a bit in short stories but never as part of my routine, which is why I added them as the second set in the Creativity workshop.

    I used to share my work online until it was copied without authorization. It was then that I realized how hard it would be to pull back a poem or story that I wished to submit for publication. I can control where I post it, but I can’t control who may copy it. Now I post all of my work to private access pages and occasionally post something that I feel will never be accepted for publication.

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    1. Ho-hum, I seem to be stuck in a rut with my writing. 😀 I try different things, but keep coming back to what feels natural to me.

      As for the security of your work posted online, you were the friend I mentioned in my response to agatha82’s comment.

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