Blogging is optional. No one pays you for posting on a blog like this one, you have promised no one anything you must deliver, and the posts usually reflect what’s going on in your chosen topics.
This has mostly been my writing blog and my CFS blog, and they go together because many of the things I do as a writer, except for the actual writing, are affected by CFS and low energy and brain fog.
When I say, not ‘the actual writing,’ it’s because that part is still as much a mystery as when I started. The preparation is tailored to me and my damaged brain – so I can operate on very small chunks of material at a time, and still end up with a coherent whole.
But the writing – the actual words that come out, sit on the ‘page,’ and are chosen to stay in the final product – that is something that just comes when the prep is finished. This post is not about my fiction.
Blogging is different from writing fiction
Up until now, when I had something to say about the things I was learning as a writer or a person living with CFS, I would come up with an idea, sit and write about it for a while, clean it up a bit and add some headings, and voilà, blog post.
Like sitting down, and dumping my opinionated opinion on someone who happened to ask, “What do you think about…?” and then sat and recorded what I said. I often clarified my thinking about something – or organized a proper set of steps to do something (quite different usually from the chaotic way I figured it out) – as I wrote.
These were easy.
Images became de rigueur – so I added some
I’ve added a few photos I took and occasionally worked on. I used programs such as Quozio and Stencil which had free and easy ways to make a few easy quotes and images.
And I’ve created specific images with Pixelmator, as necessary, to illustrate how I do something.
Nothing fancy, but that has been uncomplicated.
Something’s changed, and I’m chewing on what that means
Most of this blogging occurred during the writing and launching of my first published novel, Pride’s Children: PURGATORY.
As a newbie, I first looked mostly online, and some in books, for instructions on how to do things involved in getting a book ‘up there’ on Amazon. If I didn’t find something that worked for me already described, I wrote it up.
Because I have a Mac, and don’t use Word any more for most of the writing, and am not learning Photoshop or GIMP, my solutions were often different – and I wrote about them.
There’s nothing unusual in that among bloggers.
How deep is too deep for a purveyor of fiction?
But now I have 30-40 blog posts that I’ve started – and nothing is coming out of my fingertips.
Thinking about it some gave me the insight that a good number of these abortive topics are ones where I’m getting in a lot deeper than I intended to get on a blog.
Opinions that I hold are coming out of the depths – and I am not naive: I know these are controversial, argumentative, and not bland.
I think that’s why I’m not finishing these posts and posting them. I keep thinking: if I say this, it’s out there forever. Potential readers can find it, and may not read me because of my opinions.
Other people are controversial, but I haven’t been, not out loud. Partly because it takes way too much energy to deal with the controversies in our modern world. If you’ve read my fiction, you’ve probably figured out that I hold opinions that are considered somewhat old-fashioned. But in fiction the ideas are expressed with some subtlety, through characters pro and con, not stated overtly.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do
I like blogging. I like the people who pop by and enter the conversation. I have a variety of new friends since I started commenting on the publishing blogs, and then blogging myself.
But I’m not sure if I’m ready for the consequences of the topics I keep coming up with since I have moved beyond the stage of getting a book actually finished and published.
It’s not that I don’t stand by those opinions. If I don’t feel like entering the fray, I could cut off comments, not approve commenters, or not engage – all valid blogging strategies.
It’s that I shy away from publicly stating that I hold any ONE position – which divides the world into us and them.
Going back to basics: why do I blog?
The original thought was the common one: blog, people will get to know you, and when you publish, there will be a group of people out there who already like your writing, and will try your books/stories.
It doesn’t work like that, at least not with this kind of blog.
That’s more like an Author page – or a Book page – where the main purpose is to let your fans know when the next book comes out because they want to know. Most of those readers are not going to engage with the author on other subjects. They like the book(s), not necessarily the writer and her opinions on writerly topics.
I visit regularly a number of writing blogs. I comment when it seems appropriate. But I don’t buy the books that come out of the same writers often – because they are not, and were never, my kind of book. I still have a lovely horror story I bought because I loved the cover – but I don’t and won’t read horror because I can’t get it out of my head.
Some writing topics are common to all stories; I read those posts. Some publishing or formatting or editing topics are common to all writers; I read those posts.
The future of my blogging is: I don’t know
The internet is forever. If I put posts out, they will be there, part of me, characterizing me, for anyone to read.
I may lose interest in staying relatively informational and bland after I finish my silly little set of Author Photo posts.
I am NOT going to post scenes of NETHERWORLD as I finish them. That I know for sure. I was a huge effort, it worked when I needed a little commitment to keep me going at a couple of tough spots – because I had promised, not because readers were clamoring.
I’m not going to publish much new fiction on my blog, except for adding a few Drabbles I’ve written for something else to the ‘short stories’ tab. I’ve learned that I don’t go to people’s blogs to read their fiction.
So the answer is that I have no idea how this is going to play out – and that’s why I haven’t been posting nearly as frequently. I think that happens to bloggers a lot – when I came to the blogs, Joe Konrath published rants almost every other day, and Hugh Howey’s posts were very different from what they’ve been lately. The only fixed lighthouse has been ThePassiveVoice, and even that has been changing subtly lately.
Maybe the whole thing was fueled by the need to share, to pull more people into self-publishing by showing them how. I came to that party late.
My ‘how to’ posts fit in that category, even though I realized a while back that NOBODY writes the same way I do. They’re quaint when viewed through that lens. I have no followers for my methods, so I failed there. Even though I wasn’t trying to get ‘converts,’ I didn’t realize until I’d been out there a while how very different my methods are. I hope I have provided a few laughs and head-shaking moments for some entertainment value. SP is common now; we are taking down the barricades and coming down from the ramparts.
Bear with me as I figure it out.
Tell me which posts you’ve liked and would read more of.
Tell me what you think you would do, if you were me.
Tell me you’ve been waiting to hear the controversial stuff. Or think there’s plenty of that out there already, and find my blandness soothing.
Because I haven’t the faintest idea how to break this streak of unfinished posts except by writing them, and it will be a lot of work, and I’m not sure anyone wants them.