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.