I’ve heard from a few folks who have read both my blog and my book, and have remarked that they expected the book to be a paperback version of my blog. They were pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. While it is possible to have one’s blog made into a paperback book, that wasn’t something I wanted to do. Even though both the blog and the book are geared toward a similar audience, blogs and books read differently from one another.
Blogs (weblogs) are like journals. They are a log (daily or as often as one wishes) of activities, thoughts, photos, events, etc. Various entries (posts) may cover a gamut of topics. A blog is primarily ordered chronologically, although some blogging software allows ordering by category. Even so, the daily topics are a hit and miss hodge-podge of the author’s activities and interests.
Even though I’ve had some readers read my blog from beginning to current posts, that isn’t usually the case. A few read regularly, but that also isn’t usually the case. I find that blog readers are more hit and miss in their reading. I know I am, because I don’t have the time to keep up with all the blogs I enjoy. Even regular followers and readers will often miss a number of posts. And if they miss a post that provides background information for the current one, then they may not get the whole picture of what I’m talking about.
Because of all this, I tend to write my blog posts as units unto themselves. Regular readers probably see it as repetitive, but I want to give the one-time or occasional reader all the information they need to follow my train of thought.
Books are different. A reader will pick up a book with the intent to read it all the way through, unless they lose interest and set it aside. They are able to follow the authro’s train of thought. Because of that, the material must be ordered logically. With my book, I definitely wanted to do that. My categories (chapters) include our dream of homesteading, defining our homesteading goals, setting our priorities, developing a master plan for the property, the establishment phase of our homestead, obstacles, difficult things, learning how to work smarter not harder, a look into our future plans, and also the various areas of self-sufficiency we are working toward: food (for both us and our animals), energy, and water.
In addition, I wanted to write the kind of homesteading book I enjoy reading. What I enjoy, is not a book of how to do things, I can find all that on the internet. What I enjoy is reading someone’s story. I enjoy reading how they got started, the ups and downs they experienced, their failures and successes, and what they learned in the process. I learn and remember more from those kinds of books than I do from someone’s road map to homesteading. So that’s how I wrote mine. It’s our story, and a way to share what we’ve learned. Consequently it’s full of practical advice that I hope will help anyone interested in homesteading.
As such, my blog was an excellent resource for my book. I gathered posts in various categories to rewrite into chapters. Yes, quite a bit of the book is excerpted from the blog, but the information is organized, often rewritten, and put together for the book reader. My current blog posts make good drafts for the rest of the story. You’ll be hearing about that one of these days.