Am I blogging?

When I first started this blog, almost five years ago, almost every writer I knew had one. Of course, at that time, almost every writer I knew was unpublished. We blogged our writing progress, our highs and lows in agent searching, our frustrations, insights, and dreams. We visited each other’s blogs and actually left comments—the Like button wasn’t here on WordPress and has never been on Blogger. We also had fun.

emptyh1I miss those days, but I’m as guilty as anyone for losing the blogging spirit and becoming too busy or inwardly focused to comment—or even read—as many blogs posts as I used to. Also, I think each of us blogging writers found our niche and gravitated to bloggers who wrote in the same genres we did. As we grew in our craft and became published writers, not just aspiring writers, of necessity, we got more serious about the business side of writing.

(I’ve been using the editorial WE. Feel free to opt out of any statement that doesn’t reflect your experience. From this point on, I’ll be more cautious and speak only for myself.)

My view of blogging turned serious. I tried to make sure nothing I said on my blog could reflect badly on my public image. I felt pressured to offer sage advice. I dared speak with authority on the writing craft. I tried to hide my doubts and disappointments, always projecting positivity in hope of creating good karma. (Failed on that one.)

The word blog is an abbreviation of web log. A blog was meant to be a journal, a daily peek into what’s on your mind. As evidenced by my infrequent blogging this year, it would seem that not much is on my mind. Actually, the opposite is true. So many things are on my mind that I’m overwhelmed into silence—mostly because I’m still in the mindset of the previous paragraph.

So, I have this blog. Although about 500 people are subscribed, I think about 10 actually read my posts—and on a good post maybe 5 leave a comment. Essentially, I’m talking to myself—like journaling. The words are still here as a subtitle, but before I became a published author, this blog was titled Out of My Mind. Though some might say it’s debatable, that title did not refer to my mental state. Rather, it referred to the origin of my writing, which is mainly fiction.

Now, I’ve decided to return to blogging out of my mind. This could get scary, but I think it’s necessary for me to avoid the alternate interpretation of my blog subtitle. Even if I’m only talking to myself, it’s better than this dark silence I’m stuck in now.

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Blog growing pains—excuse the mess!

I’ve been thinking about the purpose and direction of this blog lately. When I started this, I was in the early stages of writing my novel The Brevity of Roses, and blogging became a way to journal my progress. After the novel was written I moved on to blogging about editing and editing and editing, which progressed to querying, querying, querying, and finally to self-publishing. So now what?

For the last several months, I’ve been on a roller coaster of indecision not only about what to work on next, but whether I should write anything more at all. I’ve decided both now. I can’t quit writing—I’ve had migraines the last two days and still managed to get 1,200 words written. And I know which novel needs to be on the front burner, but I think it’s too early to talk about that book much, so that leaves me floundering blogwise.

This photo has nothing to do with the post, but I like it.

I keep promising myself—and you—that I’ll write posts of substance, but I don’t. I’m not confident in giving writing advice, partly because I’m not a teacher, but mostly because I still have much to learn myself. I can’t tell you how to write a winning query letter, scintillating synopsis, or can’t fail cover blurb because I don’t know how. I can’t give you book promotion and marketing advice because I’m even less qualified in that.

I’m just a woman—wife, mother, and grandmother—who sits here at this computer hour after hour struggling to transform my imagination into words. I lead a boring life. The most exciting thing I’ve done in the last week was set up a Pinterest account. Oh yes, and I had to wash off the butt of an aging poodle with digestive problems. (See the kind of stuff I’m likely to say here?)

Maybe I should ask you for ideas. But then, if you have an idea you’d blog about it yourself, wouldn’t you? I wrote a post once volunteering to answer any question you asked me, but that was not one of my more successful posts. The always-guaranteed-to-spark-discussion topics of politics and religion are out, and I’m a lousy book and movie critic. So what does that leave me to talk about?

I guess it doesn’t matter anyway. I hear blogging is dead, so I don’t expect many people actually read my posts. Maybe I’m off the hook. I can just talk to myself here and no one will be the wiser. Years from now, when I’m a famous author, I’ll be able to publish my blog posts as a memoir—or something. ROTFLMAO

Seven Pathetic Random Things

It’s Monday, so I’ll start this blog week with sunshine. A sweet writer friend, Darlene Foster, sent me the Beautiful Blogger Award. Thank you for this pretty award, Darlene.

The rules say I have to list seven random things about myself. I presume these seven things should not be repeats from previous awards posts, which complicates the situation. I thought about this for almost two weeks and never came up with anything interesting, so this is what you get:

  1. I have no fear of spiders, mice, bees, etc. I’m not fond of snakes, though.
  2. The second cat I owned had a very short neck. He was the Silvio of The Cat Sopranos.
  3. I can’t eat salmon. It gags me.
  4. It’s almost impossible for me to fill out “favorites” lists because I’m so indecisive.
  5. The first movie I remember seeing at the theater was Elephant Walk with Elizabeth Taylor. I was five. My mother didn’t have a babysitter. The only scene I remember is when the elephants destroy the plantation.
  6. I consider myself a good speller, but nine times out of ten, I misspell occurred.
  7. I have at least one clear memory of all twenty-eight apartments or houses I’ve lived in since I was eighteen months old. Unfortunately, only two apartments were outside the U.S. (Germany) and all the rest were in only two U.S. states (Indiana and California). How exciting would it be to say I’ve lived in twenty-eight places around the world?

So, that’s it. Isn’t that a pathetic roundup of random things? I think it’s safe to say there’s not a memoir in my future.

As usual, I’m supposed to pass this award on to other bloggers (10-15 in this instance), but I’m not going to name anyone. If you want, slap this pretty award up on your blog and list your seven random things—then leave me a comment to let me know to come read yours.

You Won’t Be Anonymous, And I’m Not Crazy

I’ve noticed that some of you who take the time to leave a comment have become somewhat anonymous. Since WordPress made changes to their comment policy last month, now, unless you’re a WordPress blogger, the avatar that appears next to your comment might not link to your blog. That’s unfortunate because the real reason you bother to comment is in hope someone will click your avatar and visit your blog. Right?

Okay, it’s not the only reason, but it’s a benefit. I don’t mind at all. And I discovered I can help you out. That is, if I know the address of your blog, I can help. I finally noticed that from my dashboard, I have the option to edit the email address or link-back URL in your comment. So from now on, if you leave a comment and it doesn’t link to your blog, I’ll try to correct that.

I’ve said many times on this blog that I find it necessary to edit as I write. It’s almost impossible for me to move on when I’m aware that a sentence is clunky, or I’ve made a poor word choice, or otherwise phoned it in. I’m not saying I never do those things, but when I know I’ve done one of them, I have to fix it before I can continue writing. It’s the same when I know I’m not going deep enough into a character, I fuss and fume until I break through.

But something weird has happened as I write my current novel. I know I’m leaving out things and I’m okay with it. In some scenes, I’ve skimmed the surface of my main character. I know there should be a lot going on in her head, but I’m not exploring it yet. She’s doing things, saying things, but she’s mostly shut me out of her head—if you know what I mean.

That seemed just plain crazy to me because that’s not the way I usually write. Always before, though I wrote the dialogue first, I’ve just as clearly known what my characters were only thinking. This new, seemingly chaotic, way of writing bothered me, but I’d delayed so long already on this book that I had to keep writing.

Then I started to feel excited about these missing pieces of narrative, as if I were waiting to open a gift. Recently, I’ve been hearing passages of my character’s thoughts, and they were worth the wait. I’m not sure where they’ll fit in the book yet, but I wrote them down. For now, what can I do but write and look forward to all my future gift boxes?

FREE BOOK: If you missed getting a digital copy of The Brevity of Roses on the free days in February, you have another chance. Tomorrow and Friday (May 3-4), you can download it free from Amazon. Remember, you don’t have to have a Kindle to read a Kindle book, just install the free reader for your computer or smart phone.