The Blogs Must Be Crazy

Wordy Wednesday

I’m thinking of quitting the blog.

Okay, not actually quitting.

And at the moment I’m only thinking of quitting. I haven’t quit yet. So don’t unsubscribe or anything–at least not until I totally offend you, which might happen in a few minutes. Let me rephrase: I’m thinking of taking a long blogging hiatus. I should probably not be putting this out there because I really haven’t decided, but you might be able to help, I think.

Stopping the blog now is, from all normal points of view, a Total Tactical Error. I have a blog schedule now which appears to have given my blog traffic a pretty solid boost. Every two days or so the blog gets a new follower. Some of you actually talk to me and I feel like I’m making new friends. In the meantime, this new-found schedule, instead of draining me of ideas about which to write, is generating so many new thoughts that I can’t even write them down quickly enough most of the time.

If you want to get noticed in the publishing world, They say, you need a Platform. I’m still not sure how “Jenn Stories” are a Platform, but they’re the only one I’ve got, and somehow they seem to be becoming a slightly broader one than they once were, so that throwing in the towel now would be to lose all momentum. I am not convinced I could get it back.

Baker Street Tube Station. A literary platform.

Baker Street Tube Station, London. A literary platform.

That’s the “normal” point of view. Unfortunately my point of view is often slightly wonky, as in this case. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a Contrarian or because I’m lazy or because I’m actually right (what?), but I just kind of wonder if the current trends in publishing are really consistent with a truly Christlike lifestyle. Not that I have one of those, but it’s something to which I aspire.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world. I know that. (Although fortunately neither of my two dogs seemed to have figured that out.)

photo by Jennw2ns 2012

So far? Still content with their kibble . . .

But am I just old-fashioned and unprogressive if, when a Christian writer I admire comes out with a new book and starts self-promoting like crazy on Twitter, I flinch? Is it wrong of me to feel at least momentarily horrified when I submit Favored One to a Christian publisher or agent and they specifically state in their guidelines that I need to tell them how I plan to promote it? Am I being sacrilegious when I feel, in my heart of hearts, that literary agents are the pimps of the writing world and in order to get in the game, I have to become a word-hooker? (I’m pretty sure I just lost my entire The Readership with that one–for a multitude of reasons.) Have I attempted to play the game? Yes. Have I been so enamoured of one or two of my own blogposts that I have manually retweeted them all day long? Yes.

Probably next week (because I’ve already semi-committed to writing about something else tomorrow) I’ll unpack why I’m not sure the publishing world of 2013 is really very godly (and I guess I wouldn’t expect it to be, but . . . ) but for now suffice it to say that I feel like if even Jesus, who actually is God, “did not think of equality with God as something to cling to” and went on and on about His Father all the time instead of Himself, then maybe His people should be a little more like that and a little less like . . . well, word-hookers?

Then again, I have also been sensing lately (or, rather, for a long time but finally I think I might be willing to listen) that God Himself wants me to get a little more proactive with my writing. This new blogging format has been my attempt to step into that direction. Am I actually just having misgivings about “the Publishing World” because my subconscious is trying to give me an excuse to drift back into laziness and unproductivity and–if the above is true–disobedience?

On the other hand, I am writing. I’m not writing fiction at the moment, but in my Spiritual Formation class we have to create a Spiritual Autobiography. I am thoroughly enjoying working through the various journaling exercises but, given the kind of person/writer I am, they take me hours. Plus I have to write a research paper for that class, as well as some papers and an exam for my Christology class. Do I really have time to write blogposts, too? (Answer: no.)

I’m thinking of quitting. No, I’m thinking of taking a break. I’m thinking of seeing what happens if I “trust my blog to God,” whatever that means, and just stop writing for a few months, and then reassess this summer.

But I don’t think I’m quite ready to let go just yet. I’m not quite ready to say good bye.

How about you? What would you do? And, um, if I take a break, will you come back?

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33 thoughts on “The Blogs Must Be Crazy

  1. Just limit your posts… But don’t stop. πŸ™‚
    I know how you feel… I think… I find taking care of a baby and the house and a husband and a ministry is hard to manage, but I love blogging and sharing ideas so whenever I get the chance I post. Not consistently because my schedule is pretty unpredictable but I post as much as I can. For the love of it.
    Do I make sense? Did I use too much ellipses? Are there any grammatical errors in my comment? Lol
    Enjoy your day jenn!

  2. When I took a long hiatus from blogging late last year into early this year, I lost a lot of traffic. Now I’m getting maybe half of the daily traffic I had then. So yeah, you may lose some views.

    That being said, it sounds like your publishing experience with mainstream publishers hasn’t EVER been that rosey. Why not skip them entirely and move to self-publishing through e-book format? It’s more work for you, but you get to call the shots. Just a thought.

    And yeah – I won’t stop viewing. You came back to me after four months of silence, remember? πŸ˜‰

    • You KEEP SAYING THAT. πŸ™‚ I just feel like if I self-publish, a) it will cost money I don’t have and b) I will still have to sell myself–I just won’t have the “pimp.”

      But thanks for the feedback and the personal experience. That’s helpful to know. Thanks for being willing to come back! πŸ™‚

      • Yeah, they track that sort of thing. πŸ˜‰ And you’re right – you WILL have to self-promote. My counter to your point is, how much promotion has your publisher done for “Trees”?

  3. You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, you’ll know the answer once you’ve sat back and taken a breather (blogging can be a bit of a roller-coaster, don’t you think?). I don’t think you need worry about people not coming back, just the sight of your image on a blog is bound to get everyone clicking over, eager to know what you’ve been up to and how you got on. I know I’m fairly new to your blog (and Blogging) but I know a unique voice when I hear it, people want to listen.
    For my part, I agree with Rhey, I think limiting but not stopping will help you feel a part of it all still, and after all, the blogosphere is a great place for a writer, would you agree? As for the publishing world…hmmm, maybe the least said the better, eh? It is a fairly soulless domain but it doesn’t have to be a writer’s master, that’s what we’re hearing more than ever now. I hope you get a chance to think it all through, take on board some comments, and find the path that’s right for you πŸ™‚ My best wishes to you, Jenn.

  4. I can totally relate…as I’ve been pondering the same thing…which in turn has me procrastinating…

    My two cents: write. Deal with the other stuff when it comes. You never know what doors may be opened or who God will place into your life to help propel your gift.

    • Yeah, that’s a good point. I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking like this. And hey! Stop procrastinating! πŸ™‚
      (No, seriously. I’ve spent my whole life doing that and it’s . . . well, by nature I guess it’s a time waster.)

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

  5. Jenn, it seems like many of us can relate. I have been pondering getting my PhD, and I’m worried about time as well. I find writing on my blog is therapeutic, so I’m actually afraid if I stop that I will somehow go crazier without keeping up with it. πŸ™‚ The funny thing is that I’m leaning toward not moving forward with my next degree (instead of all the other things I could cut out of my life), and in doing so, I am convincing myself that this is what is meant to be for my here and now…go figure. Then again there’s always the saying, “There’s no better time than the present.” Damn, maybe I need to reevaluate. Ugh…just do what makes you happiest. Best wishes!

    • Wow. Same to you! I actually strongly considered NOT finishing my degree in favour of blogging and spending the money on self-publishing. But I’ve been taking classes on and off for ten years and if I didn’t finish now, all the previous credits would have “expired,” and I did NOT want to go back and retake things . . . so that was the impetus I needed for the degree, I guess. I’ll keep pondering. I get what you say about the sanity thing. That is a big consideration.

  6. You definitely have give lots of food for thought. You must always do what you feel God wants of you. This world will wrap you around it’s finger, so to speak, if you let it. I get overwhelmed with the homework needed (I call it that), when a blogger sends me an award. I love the award and it’s meaning, but doing all the weighted down stuff that goes along with it, is much on my plate!. So listen to that small voice inside of you. You’ll do fine. If you did go off the grid for a spell, I’d await your return!

  7. Wait. You can’t leave now! I just got here! (Though if you go, I’ll be here when ya get back.)

    Look, publishing is a tough racket — and many of the small publishers out there live or die based on the sales of their next title. It’s OK for them to ask for a marketing plan, I think. Christian publishers are still publishers, and they have to use the free market to promote their wares and survive. They’re going to want your help with this.

    Now, does that make you a word-hooker? No, I don’t think so. It does, however, make you a working writer.

    If you have an important message to tell (and you do) then tell it. Tell it the same way a preacher does from the pulpit. If you are uncomfortable with making money off of a religious title, then give your royalties to a worthy cause.

    That being said, yep, agents are pimps.

    • Hey there, writer fellow. Thanks for the observations. Also, way to spin the preacher analogy. πŸ™‚ I dig it.

      I get that publishing is a business and that smaller houses sink or swim based on how their books sell. I’m not even saying I’m UNWILLING to, as you say, do the work. I’ve just really been going over and over in my mind for the last few months if people like me who, in our better moments (as opposed to our worse ones, which sometimes happens, too) purport to be Jesus-followers should be doing business differently. I have no idea what “differently” looks like, though.

      As for literary agents . . . thanks for verifying, but I still think I probably shouldn’t have said that!

  8. I had an intermission a few weeks ago, kept away from my blog totally for nearly a month, when I returned I cut the blogs I follow back to 50 regulars (you included) from 350+. I answer emails when I want to now. Blogging has returned to being fun, not an office job. Good luck Jenn. Just do what you have to do. I am still following. Ralph xox πŸ˜€

  9. I didn’t really understand the question being ADHD and all but please don’t quit Theological Thursdays..that’s MY favorite…and I will come back if you take a break…

    • Thanks, Donna. Actually, those posts are the ones I’m having the hardest time with, because it takes so long to figure out what I really think and then figure out a way to talk about it so that everybody else can understand the chaos in my head. But they’re the ones I least want to quit, too, all the same.

  10. I so identify with this post. I am in the midst of trying to sort through the publishing process, figuring out if I even want a “platform” or not, and how to go about getting one if I do, and if my blog is in any way positioned to become that and if becoming a word hooker would be worth it. . . I have actually been considering an entire internet hiatus since I’ve noticed that I don’t even really read that much any more. Tough questions, but thanks for wrestling with them with all of us!

  11. Whether you have a mainstream publisher or not… Self-Promotion is a given and, well, my next post “The Conundrum of Awesome” I think is REALLY going to resonate with you πŸ™‚

  12. Jenn, forgive me for saying this, but you just need to slow down rather than taking a hiatus or vanishing altogether. I can impart more wisdom but you have stopped visiting my blog even as I’ve been pouring my heart out. πŸ˜‰ I’ll just stop then!

    • Uma! I’m so sorry. I have followed your blog twice and never intentionally unfollowed it, but for some reason I never get notifications of your posts. I follow too many blogs to check on them individually, but I’ll go back at some point today (I’m not currently home) and try to see if for some reason I’m not set as “following” again.

      In the meantime, knowing myself, I think I DO need a break, but I’ll be back. As for advice, I’m always happy to glean from your wisdom. Just please with a little less passive aggression than the above comment. Thanks.

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