Why I Blog by Judy Alter

About twelve years ago one of my daughters-in-law said casually, “You ought to start a blog.” Back then, blogs were neither as common as they became or as dismissed as they have been lately. I barely knew what one was. “I have nothing to say,” I stammered. “Oh, yes, you do,” was her quick reply. “You’re a grandmother, a writer, and a cook. You can write about all those things. You should call it Judy’s Stew, because it will be a stew of writing, cooking, and grandmothering.” And that, my friends, is how “Judy’s Stew” came about way back in 2006.  I’ve been blogging, more or less every night, since then.

Today rarely a day goes by that some mystery author, discussing what works for sales and what doesn’t, puts blog in the “doesn’t work” column. They’ve lost their punch, nobody reads them anymore, there’s no proof that they lead to sales, and, and, the most frequent excuse,   “I just don’t have time.”

Sales are not why I blog. I blog because over the years I’ve made many good friends through my blog. Increasingly, it has become a personal blog, reflecting my beliefs, my likes and dislikes, my family’s doings, and, yes, my strongly held political opinions. Readers have frequently responded that they like it best when I blog about my family, especially my grandchildren, and their doings. So I no longer invite fellow authors to be my guests. I am sorry not to help them sell their books or spread their names—yes, I do think blogs still have a certain value—but I’ve discovered that’s not what my readers want. I value the personal relationship I have with them, and so that’s what I give them.

As for politics, authors are warned to stay away from religion and politics. I have no problem with the former. I hope it’s clear from my blog that I am a person of faith, but I don’t push my religion on others. I’m not so good about politics. I care so deeply about our country, and I believe so fervently that under current leadership it is headed to destruction, that I speak out. I am reminded always of Martin Niemoller’s poem,

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

And so I speak out. Does it do any good? I don’t know. Those of the opposite persuasion to me are rarely convinced, I’m sure, but then again, perhaps there is a benefit to repetition. At any rate, I feel compelled to speak out. It’s partly politics, but it’s also because my faith and my politics are so deeply entwined.

Authors who don’t blog also claim they don’t have time. I have always been efficient with my time management, as those who have worked for me testify with some dismay, so I have a hard time with this one. There are many days when I don’t write—my attention is on research, marketing, business details both for my writing and for my personal life, and just plain stuff. Blogging helps me to keep my writing skills polished, to figure out how to say things, to transcribe my thoughts into words. I think it’s a valuable exercise.

Want to follow my blog? Find me at http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com. Don’t google. You’ll get a bunch of stew recipes!

Perhaps there’s a bit of Emily Dickinson in me (presumptive of me to even think of that!), and my blog is my letter to the world. Unlike Dickinson, I feel the world writes back to me all the time!

Judy Alter

Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries, two books in the Blue Plate Café Mysteries; and two in the Oak Grove Mysteries. Pigface and the Perfect Dog follows The Perfect Coed in this series of mysteries set on a university campus. Judy is no stranger to college campuses. She attended the University of Chicago, Truman State University in Missouri, and Texas Christian University, where she earned a Ph.D. and taught English. For twenty years, she was director of TCU Press, the book publishing program of the university. The author of many books for both children and adults primarily on women of the American West, she retired in 2010 and turned her attention to writing contemporary cozy mysteries.
            She holds awards from the Western Writers of America, the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame, and the Texas Institute of Letters. She was inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and recognized as an Outstanding Woman of Fort Worth and a woman who has left her mark on Texas. Western Writers of America gave her the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement and will induct her into its Hall of Fame in June 2015.
The single parent of four and the grandmother of seven, she lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her perfect dog, Sophie.

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I agree with Judy about most of what she said, I'm a writer and love writing--blogging comes naturally. (I don't do politics though.)

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