Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- An Essay on Time Management as it Pertains to This Writer

Back when I was a shiny new blogger, I implemented these Friday posts at the Grille because I wanted a way to showcase different things -- authors, essays, my writing excerpts, interviews, book reviews, stuff I wouldn't necessarily use on a regular blog post.

In all the turmoil of the last few years I've had to let this go, which is a shame because this was my favorite venue. Friday's were more or less play dates with myself. (Thoughts out of the gutter please. You know what I mean.) I got to do what I wanted.

Once I decided to self-publish, however, time seemed to get away from me. I went from blogging seven days a week, to five, to three, and now down to one. And it seems I can't even get a grip on that. Several writer pals who I used to frequent, finally decided enough was enough for them and gave up on blogging for good. Some had personal crisis they had to deal with, some just didn't want to be bothered anymore, some found agents and their writing career took off. I miss them terribly.

Blogging isn't like it used to be. If you're a newbie, it's still exciting. If you've done it for a few years like I have, it's a job. New posts, new ideas, commenting, finding new followers...all takes time. I really don't know how the super bloggers do it -- you know the ones I mean, those with kids, a full-time job, PTO, housework, laundry, those with a life.

I love blogging. I really do. I like interacting with other writers, reading their thoughts, their writing, celebrating with them when they finally get a contract, an agent, a book deal, or self-publish. That stuff never gets old.

For me though, I think I'm burned out. I have three blogs now. That being said, no one reads the other two. And hey, I don't blame you. There's only so much time you have for reading blogs. I don't really know why I started them. Probably just trying to keep my head on straight. I thought if I separated my blogs it would be easier for me to stay organized. How's that working for me? Not very well.

One thing I've learned through the blogs over the last couple of years is that no matter what, writing comes first. It's my career now. I used to be a chef. Now if I make macaroni and cheese out of a box, my daughter thinks it's Thanksgiving. (The microwave is my best friend.)

Writing is the number one priority I own these days. I've steadily built up a repertoire of books, I even think I have a small fan base. I actually get letters from people asking when the next book will be out. I'm happy about that. Ecstatic even, when one considers it's such a micro niche market.

Problem is, writing takes time. Last year I published three novels and eight short stories. Not only did I write them, I revised, edited, proof read, copy edited, formatted and then uploaded. For some, that might be a cake walk. For others, it's burn out. I'm tottering on the fence. This coming year, I hope to do the same. Huge undertaking, but it has to be done if I want to remain solvent. This writing business is my paycheck now.

And with the publishing market changing at lightning speed these days, who knows if blogging is anything other than an online journal. Does it help build a fan base? Not sure. Is Twitter more effective? Don't know. FaceBook? Possibly, but I can't say for certain. Agents don't have all the answers anymore. Some say yes, you MUST blog. Others say it's not worth it. However, ALL of them say, the only way to be successful as a writer is to WRITE THE NEXT BOOK.

As a self-published author, I don't have the leisure of taking a year to write a book or even six months, if I want to be successful. I have to write all the time. I have to come out with something new every three or four months if I want to stay on top of the pile of all the books out there. Competition is fierce. And with the big name New York authors hogging all the #1 spots, a small town girl like me probably doesn't have much of a chance. But I'm working on it. Steadily working on it, book by book.

Also, as a self-published author, I don't have the "machine" of publicity departments, or agents, or publishing managers pulling for me. I have to create my own publicity. Personally, I'm a very shy creature. I don't like to call undo attention to myself. I've never done a blog tour, and quite frankly hate seeing them on the blogs. The same book cover splashed over the face of blog posts for a month is ridiculous. Honestly, it annoys the hell out of me and a few other bloggers as well. Which is why I refuse to do one.

That being said, I have to buckle down and make a commitment to myself, to my books, and come up with other strategies to market and promote my books. I have no idea how to do it, but it's a necessary evil. And that, takes time too.

Anyway, what this all boils down to is I'm taking a break. I'll be gone for the month of February. I have some commitments coming up in March and the first week in April. After that, it's anybody's guess if I'll continue to blog. I really have to get my act together. I don't want to give it up, but it's just not fun for me anymore, and one thing I've always said, "When it stops being fun, I'm done."

So, I'll see you later.

35 comments:

The Happy Whisk said...

I don't find blogging to be work, if I did, I probably would not want to do it.

Whichever you decide to come back or not, I wish you all the best. I didn't even know about your other two blogs.

Shame on me.

The Happy Whisk said...

PS: Where may I find your other two blogs, as I am not seeing them. But then it's early and I just removed a bunch of snow. Brain freeze as gotten me, only I didn't drink a good smoothie.

Laura Pauling said...

I totally understand. I think a blog is great to keep updated for when fans find you. A blog becomes a great platform, once your book takes off. It usually doesn't work the other way around. So yes, I blog once a week now and I've cut back on commenting. Once you start a business, it's not really a choice!

Yvonne Osborne said...

I love Fridays at the Piedmont Grille but I knew where this post was heading by about the third paragraph! Honestly, I don't know how you do all this by yourself, but to get ONE letter from a reader would make it all worthwhile. That is really awesome. I totally understand stepping back from blogging. The writing must come first, and I think everyone understands that. I won't say goodbye because I know we'll keep in touch

Em-Musing said...

You triggered lots of same thoughts on blogs. I wish I didn't enjoy writing them so much. I agree with blog tours. I love to comment on other's blogs, but when I'm asked to invest time signing up for things,or doing 'something'...I usually pass. I've always loved your blog. And you are Super Woman for all you've accomplished.

Anne Gallagher said...

My other blogs are posted on my sidebar. If you click the picture, you should be taken to them. Anne Gallagher is my author blog for my Regency romances. Robynne Rand is my author blog for my contemporary romances, but that's hit or miss lately, as I haven't done any contemporary writing lately. Trying to get my Regencies out.

Anne Gallagher said...

I hear you about the business aspect of it. I used to think I could do it all-- my Type A personality notwithstanding. But as I've come to grips with this whole book adventure, I'm finding organization is the key. I really need to become better at that.

Anne Gallagher said...

I love Friday's at the Grille too. Funny what you miss and you don't even know it until you have it again.

Truthfully, I don't know how I do it all by myself either. I think I fly by the seat of my pants most days.

Writing this post put a lot of things in perspective for me and I think I found a way of keeping it. But I still need to take some time off. So don't say good-bye just yet. Like Arnold says -- I'll be back.

Anne Gallagher said...

Em, yeah, I've never been a "blog hop" or "meme" type blogger. I get why they're done, they are fun and it's great to meet new people, but it's just a time suck for me to go around and around and around. Thanks for the lovely compliments. I'm not Superwoman by any stretch. Just a writer trying to make a name for myself.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I've always enjoyed this blog and I miss it when you disappear and am happy when you come back. I've gone back and forth myself with all of the pros and cons of blogging that you mention but in the end, I believe a blog DOES help a writer sell books, if done right. Burn out is a problem. Selfish blogging is a problem. Boredom, yes. But it's definitely worth doing and figuring out how to do it well.

The Happy Whisk said...

Ohhhhh, there is is. Right in front of my face. Oy, well, I've been up since 3:30 and my brain is a little fried.

Duh.

Thanks.

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks Karen. Weird paradox isn't it? You need to do it, want to do it, but when it becomes overwhelming you hate to do it. I think that's where I am now. Burn out. There are so many other things I need to do in my personal as well as professional life, I just need to really get a grip and organize. That, I think, is my biggest burden -- I've let my organizational skills go and it's killing me. Once I get back on track, I believe I'll be better.

SA Larsenッ said...

I've had my moments when blogging felt like work; then there have been other times, when I couldn't wait to connect with other writers and share my experience. I think it all depends where I am in my 'life' at the time. I've learned that I must be flexible in my blogging life just as in my writing life and regular life. (Hopefully, I don't have to use 'life' again, today. LOL)

D.G. Hudson said...

A lot of bloggers are finding they need a change: Anne R. Allen wrote a post recently about whether one needs 'to blog or not to blog'. If you're interested, here's the link.
http://annerallen.blogspot.ca/2013/01/5-blogging-rules-authors-can-ignoreand.html

Good luck with your decision, you have to do what you need to do. That's life.

Donna Hosie said...

I've followed you for years Anne and always enjoy reading your posts. Your work ethic is an inspiration.

You do what is right for you. I think blogger is winding down for many, but I do think it is a helpful tool for writers.

Johanna Garth said...

Anne, some really good thoughts. I think it all depends on what you want, need or expect to get out of blogging. For me, my blog is a constant writing exercise that takes about 20 minutes so even when I'm in editing mode, I still have the task of putting together something fresh. I've considered scaling back, but I like the discipline of having to get something up online on a regular basis....and btw....I'll miss stopping by here :)

Vanessa Morgan said...

It's true that blogging requires a lot of work, but it is as much a creative outlet for me as writing books and I couldn't do without it anymore.

As for the blog tours, I sell most of my books during a tour, so it's definitely recommended. But why not spread it out over six months instead of a few weeks?

Anne Gallagher said...

I guess that's where I am right now. It's starting to feel like work. And I have other "work" that's taking precedence right now. I think you hit the nail on the head -- flexibility is the key. I'm just so anal that when I say I'm going to blog this many times and comment on this many blogs, I have to do it and then resent it because I "have" to. I've got to get a grip.

Anne Gallagher said...

I've read that post. And Anne's other one about "slow blogging" which is the tack I tried to take by posting only once a week. I think once I've gotten my head on straight I'll be okay.

Anne Gallagher said...

That sounds so strange to hear, "I've followed you for years" but it's true. I'm coming up on 4, or is it 5 now? Can't remember. Maybe that's why I'm in such a funk. It's a long time considering most don't last much past 3 or 4. Blogging is a wonderful tool, but sometimes I just feel like I'm repeating the same things I said years ago. And I hate being redundant.

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks Johanna. Love your blog and how you tie it in with your real life. Maybe you hit another nail -- I'm not sure what I want out of this blog anymore. Perhaps time away will give me an answer. Maybe it is just time to step away. We'll see.

Anne Gallagher said...

That's good advice Vanessa. I never really thought of an extended tour. Problem is, I publish so frequently, I'm not sure which book I could promote. And I'm also not sure how many people would just tune me out if I were around all the time. lol I'll have to think on that idea a little bit more. Thanks for stopping by.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

With all the effort you've put into writing and publishing your books, I'm surprised you had any time left over to deal with blogging. Seems to me you have your priorities in order. Good luck!

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks Susan. It's funny, now that I've made the commitment to take some time off, I'm finding all these new post ideas. I guess I'll just have to write them all down, and when I come back in March, we'll see how far I get.

DL Hammons said...

I've been where you're at, and here I am again. We all need to take breaks, sometimes large chunks, but it is necessary! Do what's right for you!! We'll be here when you get back (and you will be back!).

Anne Gallagher said...

Had to laugh, Don. You know me pretty well. Yeah, I'll be back in March, but only for a few months, then off again for the summer. I think I finally realized that I have to break after every book release or else I'll just burn out. And I know that's the stupidest time to break, I should be promoting, but hey, back to back to back books is hard. I need a break.

Carol Kilgore said...

I think all of us who have blogged a while can relate to this post. I take a couple of breaks a year. It's absolutely necessary.

February Grace said...

Do what you have to do to take care of yourself. Those who really care will understand!

I hope you find some moments of peace and rest in the weeks ahead.

~bru

Shelley Sly said...

Hi Anne. I'm just stopping by to say hi after a long hiatus, letting you know I'm thinking of you. Remember that you come first, and take care of yourself however you need to. We understand, and we're always here. Talk to you when you return!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Writing absolutely comes first. I can only manage two books a year right now. It's sad that publishing and all that making-money-out-of-it thing sucks the life out of you, and can suck the life out of your writing too if you're not careful. I'll miss if you stop blogging. I just blog when I feel like it. It's my happy corner and it will stay that way from now on. If I don't want to blog for 6 months, whatever. I'm just using it as a way to keep track of my journey and what I love. I hope you can do the same in your way, my friend.

Susan Fields said...

Wow, that's a lot of books! You really must be writing all the time. Best of luck with everything!

Bish Denham said...

I hear you Anne.

Bish Denham said...

I hear you, Anne.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I can certainly understand. I think most of us blogging oldtimers have felt the burnout--possibly because we start to wonder if it's even worth it. Does it make a difference? I don't know. It really does start to feel a bit like a journal after a while--or worse, like a job without pay, and that seems to defeat the whole purpose. I hope you find yourself refreshed after your break. And I wish you the best with all your books and with success!

Anne Gallagher said...

Carol -- Yeah, blogs definitely need breaks. Just a small vacation.

Bru -- Thanks. No a whole lot of rest, but not mind numbing free-wheeling either.

Shelly -- Thanks for stopping by. I hope you're feeling better.

Michelle -- Oh it's so sucking the life out of me. But I think now that summer is coming on, I'm getting my second wind.

Susan -- Writing all the time now. Yup, that's me.

Carolina -- Like a job without pay. thanks for stopping by.