Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One year later

My blog turns one year old today, and I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you a couple of things I've learned about blogging and my writing during the past year.

Warning: I wish this could be more optimistic. But it's not. I've been in a rather foul mood of late, and it's going to show in this blog. (Too much real life, I guess.)

Read no further if you are looking for warm and cuddly.

Oh. Still with me? Okay. Your call. But consider yourself warned. Here we go. I have learned that:

1. I am not a very good blogger. For whatever reason, I can't seem to generate many page hits or comments. And try as I may, I cannot top 100 followers. Now I don't equate blog followers and commenters with my own personal worth as a human being or a fiction writer. No. Nor did I aspire to become a top-notch blogger. I wanted to become a published author. That was the whole point. But the blog was fun, until it wasn't. You know? So. I've been running out of steam this last couple of months. When I started the blog, I wasn't actively writing, but was instead messing with my query while waiting for an editor to finish with my first ms, The Devil You Don't Know.

I had more time to write blog posts, read other blogs and leave comments. It was fun, and I had the time to kill. But when I started writing my second book in earnest, I started to slack off when it came to writing posts. That's when my hits dropped, many of my early followers drifted away, and I started to lose interest.

I'm not quitting blogging. Not yet, anyway. But I no longer expect to be the Nathan Bransford of aspiring writers. If I can connect with you, great. If not, sorry. I am going to devote more of my time to my writing, which leads me to my second item.

2. I am no longer confident that I will ever become published. That kind of sucks, doesn't it? It just doesn't seem like it's in the cards, as hard as that is for me to swallow. I'm thrilled for those of you getting agent attention. Really, truly and honestly. But I'm not getting any agent attention. Period. And as thrilled as I am for you, I am equally as worried about my own future.

I don't really know where to go from here. I am meeting with yet another professional book editor right after Thanksgiving, in the hopes that she can do or say something, anything, that can help me generate some interest in my book. But I'm not holding out much hope, frankly.

And that sucks.

I'm still hammering away on my next book, but I'm not sure my heart is in it. I hope it is. I think it is. I'm just not sure.

It's been an eye-opening experience. I honestly thought I had the talent to pull this off. I may yet, but I'm no longer holding my breath.

In the meantime, I AM continuing to write. I will try to get to as many of your blogs as I can, and will comment as often as possible. I promise. I have made some awesome friends here, and I would hate to see that end after only a year.

Sorry to be Debbie Downer here. I'm just not feeling too great about my writing future these days, and it's become damn near impossible to keep it out of my posts. I promised you guys honesty when I started this blog, and I have kept my promise.

For better or worse, this is how I feel today. Tomorrow? Well, that's another day, now isn't it?


  1. :(

    Doubts suck. No other way to say it - they just do.

    We're all part of a flood trying to squeeze into a tiny little crack that can't accommodate our number, but the good news is that it doesn't have to.

    Today may seem grim, but tomorrow you may find yourself cresting the next wave. It's entirely possible the TDYK will be exactly what some editor out there is looking for to fill an empty slot in their catalog.

    And never - never - mistake fervor (or lack thereof) for a diving rod as to the viability of a WIP. You may not *love* your new book (yet), but it could also turn out to be the one that resonates with a group of people you never expected to reach.

    "Murder your darlings" also works in the inverse. Our favorites and "babies" may not be what the public wants to read, but the back burner stuff that feels more like work than the dream may just be what the public's clamoring for.

    You're a talented writer, and a talented storyteller (no, they're not the same thing), and one of these days, I expect to see a blog post about how you went through hundreds (or whatever your number is) of "no" letters before getting that one "yes" that sparked your career and let it burn up the best seller list.

    You're not allowed to quit, so there :-P

  2. I'm so sorry you're down, but I'll tell you "happy blogiversary" anyway. :)
    You have more subscribers than I do and I've been blogging longer.

  3. Keep up the good work. I was reading a blog the other day that compared being unpublished to being single (both of which apply to me =) The best stuff always happens when we are least looking for it and long after we have stopped expecting it!

  4. You determine whether or not you are published, not anyone else. Honestly-it's not the market,or trending, or anything like that. It might not feel that way now, but it's true-whether or not your stories see daylight entirely depends on your own tenacity. If you quit, you will never know if it could have happened, and I don't see you as the type who can rest easy with that idea.

    Keep swinging! We're all still in the first few innings-there's too much ahead of you to give up now.

  5. I have been blogging far less lately, too. I do think reciprocity is the name of the game with blogging. If you demonstrate that you regularly read and comment on other peoples' blogs then they are far more likely to do so on yours. I know, we wish people would just come to our blogs and comment simply because they love our writing. That's what I hoped, at least, but it doesn't seem to work that way for the most part. I wouldn't get down on the publishing part. It usually takes a few completed books to get good enough to publish. I have completed one and am working on some others. I may have given up on getting the first published (for now) but I believe I will be published someday.

  6. They say that you really don't have hope of getting published until your second or third book if you keep up at it. I'm on my second, working on my third.

    Keep up. It does get easier.

  7. Well, congrats on One Year of blogging. I hope you DO NOT quit, and I hope even more more you DO get the Agent Attention you so deserve!

  8. I think ti's totally natural to go to a "meh" period in this whole thing. I stepped away from the blog for a little while when it began to feel too much like work, and now after that break I'm really enjoying it again! You have to go with what feels right.

    As far as the writing, I would definitely caution not to give up on TDYDK completely. You've definitely got talent and you shouldn't doubt that. It may just be (as much as it sucks to think about--and I contemplate this for myself too)that it's the next story you get that lands the agent who you can then get to give an honest look at TDYDK. Just because you wrote it first doesn't mean it has to be published in that order.

  9. Congrats on the year blogging. That's something to be proud of.

    But, Terry, I signed onto your blog because you signed onto mine. To be quite honest, I don't have time to read writing samples, writing advice (except when agts/eds are saying something new), or plaints about how hard it is to get pubbed. Been there, done that.

    I put up a blog because the "experts" said I needed one. Don't know why. Can't think of a thing I can do that's different from thousands of others. So I use it more or less as a diary for whatever's on my mind. So far, so good. I don't get much coverage but I don't expect much.

    I write because I have to. And I think you do, too. It's easier for a first-time author to win the lottery than to write a best-seller so we must be in it for the satisfaction.

    And as Ted said, it takes several finished mss before your craft gets to a professional level.
    So hang in there and keep plugging away. Most of us either are, or have been, in your shoes. Goes with the territory.

  10. Thanks, guys, for your kind and/or honest words. I appreciate them. I know this is just a temporary down time, and it will pass. It always does.

  11. May I point out that you are published by the very fact that you have this blog.

    Not really the "published author" title you were dreaming about, but still ya' gotta' take what you can get, right?