Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, June 6, 2011

Out of the Loop

I went away from Thursday to Sunday, and it's amazing how out of the loop with online activities I feel after just these few days. Not that I personally have considered giving up my online activities, it took too much work to find my place here, but lately I have read many posts by writers getting discouraged and taking breaks and just kind of disappearing out of the blogosphere.

I can see someone never really get established with a blog, and realizing after just a bit that it isn't their cup of tea I love using cliches in my blog, it's the only place I can get away with them, and they'd rather focus their efforts in other promotional activities, well, then that's one thing.

But imho, going offline, quitting the blog or whatever, after a year or so because of boredom, or impatience, or feeling a time crunch-- then it's time to pull it together and realize that connecting with one's readers, one's demographic, with what's happening with the publishing industry at the ground roots level is all part of being an author right now.

Blogging and/or other online activities are part of the job. It can be fun but it doesn't have to be. Just like a real job. Just like writing that novel. Sometimes it's work, sometimes it's not, but you do it anyway because it's your job.

34 comments:

  1. Is it that you're feeling out of the loop or is it that you've just been missing us so badly!

    The other day a cousin of mine (he regularly reads my blog) asked me why I do it. The easy answer was that it raises my profile as a writer, like you say above, but the real answer was that I can't stop... only I didn't tell him that because he wouldn't have understood.

    Hope you had a great weekend.

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  2. I tell myself - and other people - that I keep in the loop because I have to raise my profile as an author. The truth? I love it. I think of my blog, Twitter and Facebook as my personal office gossip centres. If I worked in an office, I'd catch up on news and gossip at the coffee machine. As I work from home, I catch up via blogs and all the rest of it. :)

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  3. Shirley, Me too! I enjoy it, and am thrilled that something so fun can also be considered part of the job of writing.

    Rosalind, Yes, I did miss my friends here! I am looking forward to a couple free days later on this week where I can blog hop like a maniac and catch up on everyone.

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  4. As authors, we should consider blogging and other networking activities as part of the publishing process and as something required in this age of publishing changes. I love it but even if I didn't I would want to keep in touch with fans of my writing and my critique partners.

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  5. Hi Karen .. even though I'm not a writer .. the support, care and consideration of bloggers just makes the world of difference - in all sorts of circumstances.

    And the education we get is absolutely amazing .. and if I ever get to where Shirley is above .. I guess Twitter and FB will become my personal office gossip centre!

    Cheers - god to see you back and wanting to have fun .. Hilary

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  6. It's all part of the job. Sometimes you love it. Sometimes you don't. But at the end of the day, sometimes you also need a vacation. I don't think anyone should quit because, like you said, what better way to promote yourself and connect with your readers. However, time to recharge ones bloggerly batteries never hurt anyone, either. I think it's alright to take a break (she says on the verge of her two-week, internet-free writing retreat), as long as the blogger comes back and make it clear when s/he is coming back. It's hard to get back into the loop afterward, but breaks aren't a bad thing.

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  7. RosieC, I totally agree-- whatever it takes to recharge the batteries and keep things going strong. And sometimes that means taking a much needed break, hope you enjoy yours! I hope you are able to come back reinvigorated!

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  8. I never seemed to be able to stick with a blog until I started looking at it as part of the job. Somehow that made it into a priority, and I've been having fun with it ever since.

    Now, I CAN see how someone could get discouraged, or just plain burned out. It's not easy coming up with topic after topic. That's why I never begrudge anyone an occasional hiatus. A week or so off now and then can work wonders for bloggy morale. :)

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  9. Well said, Karen! I must admit, sometimes spending two to three hours a day blogging is more work than pleasure. But overall, the fun outweights the work side of things... and I'd miss everyone if I stopped!

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  10. These are such true words, Karen. It is work and a responsibility and something writers need to do. But if it weren't fun and didn't feed us in some way, I think more of us would stop doing it. Sometimes life does get in the way, and if something has to go, it just might be blogging. For me, I'm here to stay for awhile, though. Glad you are, too. By the way, Farm Girl is at the top of my reading pile.
    Karen

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  11. True dat, Karen! My non-writerly friends and even some of my writerly ones don't get why I do this but that's OK, I don't need them to. As long as I get it. Sit down and write. Take a break and write, connect, rinse, repeat.
    Jan Morrison (think blobspotty is at it again so will probably have to sign on as annonymous.

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  12. As you know I'm not a writer, but we all can get discouraged about our blogging activities. I had 13 followers for the longest time and wasn't fun. I was trying to be specific in my blog, writing about country life, which I knew little about anyway. Then I realized I wasn't true to myself and started writing about who I am, which includes the dogs,the canyon, but also books, writers, treasures, reflections on life and so on. And things changed as more people responded to a more true me. And now I enjoy the creativity of blogging so much.

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  13. Usually getting bored with blogging is just a phase. All you have to do is slog through it, then wait for inspiration. I think you're right that it IS a part of the job, and with any job, there will be days you don't get much from it.

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  14. I've come to think of blogging as a sort of storefront for my little business.
    But, really, I enjoy the social aspect of it the most. I had no idea the friendships I would make with people. There are times people need to scale back for various reasons, but I think a consistent blog is a must have for a writer these days.

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  15. I took a break from writing but not blogging to gain some perspective--it is helping a lot!

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  16. Oooh for me it's firmly a fun distraction as well as being a portal into lots of things that I would never know about if I wasn't blogging - like weird and strange events and other writerly opportunities (competitions, etc) with lots of exposure from talented and creative people! Take care
    x

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  17. That's so true it's work and it's fun, but it's how you decide to approach it. :-)
    I hate having that out-of-the-loop feeling. Hope you had a nice break.

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  18. We have to pace ourselves. We need to take a break now and then, both in writing and blogging. We have to decide, eventually, as our blogging readership increases, who we really want to keep following. Obviously we can't keep in touch with hundreds of so-called followers each week. After a year, I'm beginning to "see" clearly a circle of friends; to remember more and more things about them. I've started keep a "log" of who's being interviewed where and when; whose blog I want to check out on a certain day, etc.

    Like several have said, I would keep blogging even if I didn't have a book to promote. I love the friends I've made here and want to keep them.

    I also agree this is something you really have to do if you're published or about to be published. Using social media on the Internet is the way the publishing world has gone. Sometimes it feels more like work than fun. We all have those down days, but that's life.

    With summer coming, I suspect blogging will slow down for all of us occasionally, but then we're back!

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  19. You state it very well. I do have fun sometimes and other times I have to remind myself it is part of the job even if I would rather spend the time writing.

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  20. Blogging IS fun, and allows us to connect with some interesting people. And connecting with other people is what it's all about, isn't it? If nobody ever commented on my blog, day after day, week after week, etc, I could see how it would get discouraging real fast. But I have some wonderful followers. Not a whole bunch of them yet, but every one of them is a treasure.

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  21. I've been feeling out of the loop the past week or two, but I've been busy preparing to move from one state to the next. It's been hard to keep up with blogging and reading blogs with everything going on--I can't wait for things to settle back down again!

    Blogs are so helpful. I've connected with so many people who have made me think about all sorts of things, and who show amazing support for each other. It's a really cool thing.

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  22. I completely agree KG, blogging helps me connect with people who are doing what I'm doing as well as with future potential readers. And I've found it's nice to write something else, something that doesn't have to be a story or have great characters or just the right amount of description or conflict or whatever. It's just me writing about writing and a bunch of other random stuff.

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  23. Wonderful post! I haven't been at my blog for a year, but if I hit the mark where I feel like stepping away from boredom or frustration, I think I'll revisit this blog. And then revisit my decision. Thanks!

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  24. I agree! Look at Talli Roland. She's written about blogging and social networking taking a certain amount and being a part of her writing day. Sometimes I post less, and sometimes I post more. But I've made so many good friends and gotten great opportunities from it. And I love helping other writers. Even when I don't really have time, I'm not letting my blog, or the people I've met through it, go.

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  25. Theresa, I think she has the right idea for sure. I've been working on getting more balance between my online activities and other responsibilities. I find that spending several hours a day doesn't always work, but I have a couple days where I can spend a lot more time and that's when i can catch up just a little.

    Caitlin, When I was new at blogging I didn't think I would ever get tired of it. I enjoyed the challenge of mastering the learning curve. If I keep challenging myself with new goals, then that helps me maintain my interest and enthusiasm.

    mshatch, I like the more relaxing style as well. I don't care much about grammar, punctuation, word choice, cliches or all the rest. As long as I get my ideas across I'm good.

    Laura, I've felt that way lately too, because there's been a major move and other things that are keeping me offline more than I want to be. I guess it's why I wrote this post LOL.

    Susan, If nobody ever commented on your posts day after day you would go out and find people and comment on their blogs-- problem solved!

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  26. I feel disappointed when people give up on their blogs. I feel sorry for them, insofar as they have perhaps lost a dream, or got impatient, or something like that. And I miss their insights into life, and sharing themselves with me.

    I take breaks on those very few occasions when I get overwhelmingly busy, but I come back. Writing is too important to quit.

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  27. I agree. My blogs been a little slow because I've been on a time crunch with a request and school work. But I miss not being on and I find that people stop coming to my blog when I'm gone. So I have to keep on going. =)

    Great post Karen. =)

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  28. There is a fine line between blogging for fun, and or the work of writing, and letting the blogging and reading of blogs interfere with the actual writing. I think a lot of folks stop, or pause because of that. Nonetheless, I had when someone I read faithfully goes dark.

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  29. I agree with you here! It is hard to see so many blogs not work out. As a newish blogger, I try to get inspired by the ones that do work, though.

    I'm following your blog now and will be back soon. =)

    -Miss GOP
    www.thewritingapprentice.com

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  30. I couldn't agree more. You have to make time for things you love and things that aren't always your favorite.

    I've been quiet around the commenting spectrum but still remain my weekly blogging schedule and fit commenting in when I see fit. I love all my readers and all my bloggers. Everyone means everything too me. Without them I would not be near the person I am today.

    I think that taking a break is allowing yourself to give up a little and as writers that should be foreign to us. I get defeated from time to time but I grab a cupcake and write crap to feel better. It's the perfect remedy.

    So I guess what I'm saying is... I'm back to being your number 1 stalker.

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  31. Karen, when I can't connect with all of you for a couple of days, I feel lost! Yes, it takes time and effort, but I learn so much from all of you and it's fun to socialize with writing pals.

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  32. Wow! You hit the nail on the head, girl. I go through it all but I keep plowing on. I really do like it and connecting with the writing world is worth it all.

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  33. I feel the same way about blogging....I feel lost when I don't have time read blogs or post. I've met so many wonderful writers and non-writers through blogging.

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  34. I've only been able to blog once a week lately because my new work schedule is taking up a LOT more time than I thought it would. But I don't think I could give up blogging entirely, at least not anytime soon. I'd still be curious to read what other people are blogging about.

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