Friday, June 11, 2010

Breaking the Habit

They say it takes fifteen days to make or break a habit. That is what I've been doing -- breaking the blogging habit. I haven't posted to this blog in 15 days. And I've done very little in the way of commenting on others, although I do go through my Google Reader every day. Why?

I have a love/hate relationship with blogging. I love the sense of community it provides, since writing can be a lonely business. I love reading what other writers have to say. I love hearing that I am not alone in the query wars. But I hate what blogging has done to my productivity and my state of mind.

Last spring, I was finishing the first draft of my WIP. It wasn't uncommon for me to write 3000 words a day.  I was dedicated to writing. I had a schedule and I kept it. I felt like a writer.

This spring, while I've been in the throes of querying, I've also been writing short stories for a magazine. Someone was actually paying me to write. And yet my productivity sucked. Seriously sucked. I had an editor waiting for material and yet it seemed like half my day was eaten up by reading and commenting on blogs, writing my own posts, and (this is the pathetic part) watching my stats and waiting for comments and then getting depressed by when I didn't get them.

Now I know that blogging is not supposed to be validation, just like I know I shouldn't take rejections personally. But I don't care who you are... everyone wants to feel liked and important. We want to feel like we are good at what we do. But when you're getting a lot of "Thanks for the query...but no." in your inbox, and when you are making the blogging effort and not getting results, it is hard not to let it get to you.

I get over-focused on things. And in this case, it was blogging. There are so many posts on how you should blog, how to build your following, how to be a good follower, how to be a good blog host, what to say, what not to say. I was trying to do it all. But some days, it just frustrated me to the point of paralysis.

So I made the decision to take a big step back. And it worked. On Monday, I finished my serial ("La Luna" will begin in Woman's Weekly on August 10) and sent in a nice invoice for it. Today, I got approval for another serial. I'm feeling like a writer again.

I'm not giving up completely on blogging. I will post occassionally, I will try to comment to any comments I receive, I will read all the blogs I follow, I will comment when I feel moved to do so (although this won't be as often because I mainly use the Google Reader which makes commenting harder). When I start my next book in September, I will start to look for a critique group. But for me, I have to remember that I am a writer first and everything else must bow to that.

What about you? Do you ever feel this way? Can we be forgiven for forsaking blogging?


  1. I totally get the love/hate feeling. In times when I know I need to intensely push, I will unplug. There are plenty of "active" bloggers who post once a week. You have to find the balance that feels right to you.

    And honestly, when I was under 100 followers, getting the blog platform going was immensely time consuming. Now I don't have to work as hard to consistently connect and get comments. So you might say there is upfront time investment that does pay back later.

    And congrats on the story serials gig!

  2. You've said exactly how I feel about blogging. Sometimes, I'm amazed at how others can comment on everybody's blogs when they have 500+ followers. It's just impossible, for me; and slowly, blogging is eating into writing time.

    And that's when it's becoming too much. Kudos to you for taking a step back. In my opinion, blogging should supplement writing. We're writers first, and thus, writing should be more important.

  3. I swear I'm like a recovering alcoholic... one post and I'm back to my old habits of watching stats and worrying what people think of my post. But seriously, Sandy and Laurel, you two are one of the reasons I keep at it. You have both been so supportive and such fun to keep in contact with. Thank you!

  4. I'm feeling you on the love/hate relationship with the blogosphere. I really like hanging out online, but sometimes I need to focus on my writing or spend a bit more time outside. I vote you just blog about as much as feels right. :)