Advice from the Greats & a Terrifying Revelation

I worked up the courage a while ago to ask a question. A question I’ve been struggling with since before I started this blog, over a year ago. Then I needed to work up the courage to post this.

I didn’t just ask my Facebook friends. I humbly asked three honest-to-goodness published, famous authors I look up to.

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And even crazier, they responded to me.

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  • Eeach of the authors I asked responded–amazing.
  • Each of them had a different perspective on the answer, but they were similar answers.
  • Each of the authors like the other authors’ tweets, showing that, to some extent, they all agreed with what each other.

 

“Do you want to be an online personality or a novelist?”

 

Brent Weeks’ question began haunting me.

Why did I start this blog? The more I see on Pinterest from ‘professional’ bloggers, the more I asked myself this question. They’re doing it to make some money on the side, either lots of it or enough to supplement other income. They’re promoting DIY projects, new products, recipes, etc.

I’m not here to sell you anything. That’s not why I started this blog. I started the blog because I had decided to self-publish, and countless articles said that having a blog was essential before self-publishing. Growing an audience, a readership. I thought I’d share my writing journey, grow some similarly-minded writers, and share advice along the way.

I started this blog because I heard that writers need to have an online presence even for seeking agents for traditional publishing. That agents won’t sign with you if you don’t have a blog. I don’t think this is universally true, but they framed it in a way that if you didn’t have a thriving blog, you were kicking yourself in the shins. Never mind even trying to write the book at the same time.

With a polished first draft of a novel sitting ready on my laptop, I first had to worry about a blog. Worry about creating an ‘author platform’ for myself. Worry about gaining followers. I don’t have many. Worry about how releasing my first novel would mean getting the second in the series out within no more than a year after the first because your audience wouldn’t wait that long for another. Worry about making an online personality for myself. Not being a novelist.

That’s not me.

As a writer with only a few short stories published, I feel fake shelling out piles of ‘how-to’s’ on writing, pretending like I know everything to hook another reader. And I feel the same way reading others blogs offering advice on writing the best dialogue, the darkest villains, etc. If you haven’t published anything, by what basis are you offering this advice?

And while I stress on getting blog articles out to keep the blog going, I set my writing more and more to the side.

That’s bad. That’s down right the opposite of what needs to happen.

It became a chore. If I wasn’t writing posts on my blog or working on my novel, I felt more and more guilty until now, turning on my laptop for the express purpose to sit down and write gives me roiling anxiety.

I’m not a blogger personality. I’m a creative writer. I’m a fan-fiction enthusiast who delights in complicated villains and shades of grey and have won several contests doing just that. I enjoy grappling with turning the usual way things should go on its head and surprising readers. Tell me I need to write a story about a kiss and I’ll give you love lost and poisoned, a lingering cruel brand on a cheek. That’s me.

I don’t want to be an internet personality. I wanna write. I want to get back into the grit and not worry about blog stats and followers. My writing should speak first.

I’m going to stop putting expectations of thriving success on my shoulders. Of the how-to’s and ‘tips for success.’ Not a single one matters if I’m not writing. Instead of listening to Pinterest, I’m going to listen to me for a while. That had gotten me the farthest.

I’m going to disappear for a while.

See you all on the other side of…writing.

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