Tuesday, October 18, 2011

follow-up to "yep, I'm blog fatigued"

Thank you to all who responded to last week's blog post either here, on Facebook, Twitter, email, or in person. One of the things I learned was that many of you are reading, but not commenting. I can certainly relate to this since I try to keep up to date with certain blogs but don't comment. I also learned that some are not only blog-fatigued, but internet-fatigued in general. Too much screen time, not enough face time. I can relate to that as well. I especially appreciate those who didn't want to see the blog go away, who look forward to my posts and little lessons. Again, thank you all.

Alas, after a week of reflection, I've decided to put the blog on hiatus at least until the end of this year. My priority is getting my novel finished and giving my students the attention they need. Not to worry, you can still catch up with me on Twitter or my Facebook author page. And who knows-- inspiration may strike, and I may have something to post here. I wouldn't be opposed to that.

And so, to repeat once more (sometimes repetition in writing is a good thing), thank you again for your feedback, encouragement, and support. I couldn't have had all these wonderful writing achievements had it not been for you.

See you on the flip side.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

yep, I'm blog fatigued

This past week the topic of “blog fatigue” has popped up in various places (Nathan Bransford being the latest), as well as the debate by both agents and authors about whether authors need to start (or continue) blogging. I can certainly relate. Those of you who have been loyal readers of my blog, especially in the last few years, know the identity crisis it occasionally goes through from time to time. Like me, my blog has re-invented itself more than once. But as the woman behind the blog, I am not certain I want to continue putting in the time an effort to keep its identity intact. Yep, I'm blog fatigued.

I have my reasons. For one, keeping a blog is time-consuming. I bow down to those who have consistently, reliably posted every weekday (I’m lookin’ at you, Elspeth!), keeping their posts fresh and fun. I know that even if I can’t read it every day, I at least know it is there. My teaching responsibilities and my writing/author responsibilities (that includes promotion, etc.) count as two full-time jobs. It can take me up to one hour, sometimes longer, to craft one blog post (I should time myself now as I write this one). Doesn’t sound like much time, but for me, it is. I want to put that hour elsewhere, either into reading or writing, or, when the semester starts to get crazy (like now), grading. I’m lucky to complete one post a week, and even that can be difficult to maintain, as you’ve seen. Without consistency, the credibility of the blog suffers.

Another reason I’m considering putting my blog on indefinite hiatus is that I think the internet is oversaturated with blogs, and readers simply can’t get to them all. Take a look at the blog list on this page—I rarely get to read more than two of them on a fairly regular basis. I believe mine is lost in that shuffle, and based on the number of comments I get per blog, I question how many followers are reading my blog on a regular basis. That may be an unfair conclusion to draw, but so be it.

Besides, I don’t think I’m writing anything original. The things I have to say about writing have already been said by Stephen King, Donald Murray, Peter Elbow, Anne Lamott, Nora Ephron, Larry Gelbart, and more. I just try to apply a firsthand perspective and some humor to it. I could easily share some of these tidbits via Twitter or my Facebook author page, and perhaps save a blog post for those times when 140 characters won’t cut it, or when I get really inspired.

I’m a teacher as much as I am a writer. I enjoy sharing stories and ideas about the craft, the process—I thrive in a classroom. There are times when this blog has been a classroom—I think that’s what I had wanted to be when I started it almost five years ago. But I think it’s time for me to find new classrooms, new forums, and, most of all, to do what I want to do more than anything else right now—write my novels.

What has kept me here all this time has been YOU, my dear readers, and I’m hesitant to leave you. I’d like to hear from you. Do you follow my blog on a regular basis but don’t comment? Do you look forward to my blog posts? Are you frustrated by the inconsistency? If I kept the blog going, are there topics you’d like to see me write about that I haven’t, or perhaps topics you’re sick of me writing about? Or are you also suffering from blog fatigue, as I am? I can’t make any promises, but I’d like for you to have a say. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

stepping out of solitary

A couple of days ago I was struggling to write the final chapter of my novel-in-progress. I knew exactly what the ending was going to be, but tying up the loose ends to get to said ending was proving to be a bit of a challenge. (Part of the problem was that my characters had "forgotten" to an address an issue in prior chapters -- yes, I blame it on them -- and I was attempting to confront it in the final chapter.) And so I did the very things I discussed in last week's blog post -- I sought out my trusted inner circle of writers and talked out some possible scenarios for getting from Point A to Point B.

The very act of explaining the scenario to my fellow writers revealed another oversight that could unravel a whole lot more of the plot. They talked it out with me, gave me ideas, asked questions. They were very helpful and I was so grateful to have them to talk it out with. And yet, the re-writing task felt rather daunting.

That same day, my Why I Love Singlehood co-author happened to ask me how the writing was going, and I shared my frustrations. She invited me to send her the chapter for peer review, and I jumped at the chance faster than I pounce upon a package of Pop Tarts.

Sarah responded to the draft no differently than she would have were it a WILS draft--she asked direct questions, made suggestions for word changes, pointed out problems, and assured me that she wanted to keep reading. She could tell where I'd hit my stride as well as where (and when) I'd hit the wall.

It was like being home.

It's funny how, as a writer, you know the difference between showing and telling. You know the former is preferred over the latter. And yet, you don't seem to realize just how much you're telling rather than showing until someone like Sarah points it out to you. I love her ability to do this for me. I love that she chooses words I wouldn't have thought about, and yet they're perfect. I love that she gets me thinking about ways to tie up those loose ends, and reminds me not to take the easy way out. Best of all, I love that the act of her responding to my draft not only made me eager to get back to work on my chapter, but also re-invigorated her excitement for her own work-in-progess.

Perhaps my writing partner and I were just missing each other and our collaboration. We've enjoyed working solo, but we also enjoyed our collaborative process, and all it gave to us.

Writing is so often a solitary act. But every now and then, we need to step out of that solitary confinement and go out into the community of other writers. As I mentioned in last week's post, there comes a point when we need to share our writing, talk things out, and cheer each other on. Perhaps this is a need that not only applies to writers, but to all human beings--the need to belong, to be part of a group or a community. From one writer to another (and from one human to another), I invite and encourage you to find yours.