Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group:Overwhelmed



Source


My road trip to Boston at the end of August arrived just in time to relieve me from the constant head banging on the wall between me and my writing, blogging and freelance career. The permanent knot on my forehead, bald patches and a jaw that clicks every time I open my mouth has transformed me into a monster you might catch in the dark alleyways of Gotham City.

I overdosed on advice in writing magazines, on writing-related websites and blogs. If you peek through the windows, you catch me wandering around the house strung out, too jittery to sit down at my laptop. As an information junkie, I hoarded writing techniques, strategies and prompts. I shoved them into every available space in my writing toolbox, reminding me of an overly prepared-style of packing. Overstuffed. I would sit on the lid to force it shut if it weren’t for the motivational quotes spilling over the sides keeping me from latching the damn thing.

Then I come across an article contradicting the notion blogging is an effective marketing tool for fiction writers. Does that mean I don’t HAVE to blog? Because that is exactly how it feels. It feels like I HAVE to write a blog to build my platform. The whole process is joyless.

In the beginning, I enjoyed the few blogs I followed. I made great writing friendships and found support on days when I wanted to jump into an empty grave and wait for someone to throw the dirt on me. Then, my list of followed blogs grew. My friendships circle widened. My time for blogging had to be shared with more people.

The worst part?

Completing the mandated blog visitations to drive traffic to my site, coming up with topics to post about and writing the posts put so much pressure on me that I stopped writing my fiction. The writing life I was building dictated when I needed to make myself available for public consumption. I felt the control slip. The paranoia started to sink in. It felt like my skin was burning from the magnifying glass held by all the readers hovering over me. “What is she doing now?” “She didn’t finish her story?” “This post reads like something she might’ve pulled out of her ass.”

Keeping up with the blogosphere was one of the major roads to making it as an author. Then the thoughts of not writing anymore swirled around me. Riddle me this: how does one build a writing platform, but not produce any writing?

My instinct? Cut and run.

So, I did.

I went to Boston to see family, take naps and drink good beer. I pushed writing out of my mind for as long as I could. My anonymity felt restored. That is until I got back home and everything I left punched me in the face the minute I sat down in front of my laptop. And I found myself in the exact same place. Pissed, confused, unhappy and unproductive.


Check out the posts from other writers below.




18 comments:

Siv Maria said...

LOL, Did you pop out of my head or are you real? I am running away soon, maybe I will not come back, who knows. A cabin in the woods sounds good to me and that old typewriter with the click, click, click sound...remember that?

Heather M. Gardner said...

I overdosed too. It was sad. I believed every word even when they contradicted each other. Then someone told me to just shut up and write. Working on that now.
Great post.
Thanks for sharing.
HMG

Anna said...

This is so brilliant. Thanks for sharing-now I'm off to read the posts!

Donna said...

Oh I get this way a lot. And the break sometimes helps, but at other times, I'm ready to yank my hair out.

It'll get better.

Laura said...

This is such a sad post (gorgeous too :) I had the same thing as my circle widened and I went, oh shucks help!!! But now, I have a small circle who I try to keep up with daily, and I pop in on the others as and when the whim or need takes me. I love to gather these people to me, but I've discovered that it has to be on my terms slightly, otherwise I'll never write...

Guess what, your blog readers will be the first to understand this need!
By the way, I LOVE your writing style,
Lxxx

Jessica Salyer said...

I just started blogging, but I can see how this can happen. Already I find myself cutting into my writing time to blog or check out blogs. All I can say is.... I don't know, moderation? Don't let it overwhelm you. It sounds like you are a great writer who loves it. Don't let the necessity of blogging destroy that for you. Try to find a happy balence? Good luck.

M Pax said...

I make a schedule ... this block of time for visiting blogs, etc ...

The support is invaluable. Who else gets this but other writers?

Yeah, if you follow every bit of advice it will suck all the life out of your writing and your voice.

Nicki Elson said...

Burn the magazines, perhaps step away from the internet for a bit, and focus on what got you into this mess in the first place---write. You don't have to blog, but even if you decide to (because you find something valuable in it for yourself), you don't have to report on your writing progress. You don't have to do anything; remember that.

And P.S. I recently blogged about getting my armpits waxed, so yeah, I've fully come out of the closet as far as pulling posts out of my arse. I highly recommend it. Totally freeing. ;)

Susan Gourley said...

I spend too much time on blog visiting some days and not enough others. I do my best but it's impossible to keep up if you want time to write. Better to do what you can and not worry about the rest.

Lynda R Young said...

it's easy to burn out with social media because we forget the joy of writing. The simplicity. Breaks are essential, so is cutting back a bit.

Sommer Leigh said...

As a blog junkie, I understand this immediate panic. I have to carefully sew up my time - this amount allotted to blogging, this to comments, this to reading other blogs, and when that time gets all used up, then people are going to have to wait.

Our corner of the blogosphere is unique, though. We all have writing to get done so there's ample space to take off and work alone and a generous forgiveness when we fail to return for three or four weeks. You don't have to blog and you shouldn't if it doesn't make you happy. I think in 2012 we're going to hear a very sharp turn around on this stance that writers have to have online platforms that includes blogs and tweets and facebook and whatever. I think the message is going to change, not a 180 but a little. I hope.

Ella said...

I think we all can relate. We all bonk and need to back away and do something else. I know some people share their voice, write on their blogs 2-3 times a week. You have to find what works for you. Me, I need to be reminded to stop signing up for so many challenges. I did that over the summer, it was not a good fit for me. I thought it would push me. Oh, it did; it pushed me to feel insane. We sometimes need to back away and rediscover the magic and then write a time line. Thank you for being so honest~

ali cross said...

Ohhhhh Laura. I totally understand. But that's the wonderful thing about your friends here--we will still be here. If you only post once in a while, we'll still be here. If you only make it to our blogs once every few months, we'll still be here. The nice thing about blogging as a writer's tool is . . . it works no matter how long it hangs on your tool shed's wall. Hang in there!

Caledonia Lass said...

Wow, I totally understand where you are coming from. I got all flustered and panicky when I began to blog. What will people think? I'm the kind of person who doesn't believe in sugarcoating anything, so how many people will follow me just to have me piss them off? Will my writing suffer? What if I let everything I do on the blog interfere with my work (writing)?
This is why I don't do blog hops or memes. Some look fun, but then I don't keep up and well.. they fall to the wayside because I would rather write. That is why I am blogging after all and what my readers want to know/see.
Great post! I'm a new follower and my name is Mel. I'm an insecure writer. ;)

Powdered Toast Man said...

I am with you on naps and good beer. Keeping up in the blogosphere is tough and sometimes not fulfilling enough. I don't think I would be able to write professionally, just for fun.

I found you through the blog hop.

Tara Tyler said...

great dramatic reading!
after this campaign i joined, i'll be taking a break from the everyday myself
blogging is feedback, relating, commiserating and sharing
just like w/everything else, read a lot and apply whats best for you!
thanks for the read =)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Laura, I'm sorry I missed your post last week. Thanks for joining the support group.
I guess there's a balance, and if you're not enjoying blogging, then it becomes a job. I was told by my publisher to get my butt online and build a platform before my first book was released. Now, I don't do much with other social networks, so blogging is my thing. Once I began posting about my passions, which often have nothing to do with writing, I found my groove and I've never looked back. That said, I will be cutting back soon to write my next book.

Margaret said...

I haven't looked at your blog, or Gretchen's for a long time so I know exactly what you are saying. I have taken a break from everything lately--writing included. I'll get back to it but life has just gotten in the way--things like getting sick, having my house damaged in the earthquake on August 23 and now seeking repairs, readings for my book clubs, etc. etc. etc. Keep writing. You are so enthusiastic and real when you write. A book to recommend: The Miracle of Language by Richard Lederer. Margaret

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