I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now, and I thought that an Insecure Writers Support Group post was exactly the right place to finally bring it up. And believe it or not, though the title of the post might throw you off, this is not going to be an overly negative post.
Here’s the thing…when I started this blog, amongst other things it was a way for me to create an author “brand” for myself. I’d read so much about how important social media is to a writer, and I agreed, no two ways about it. I’ve seen the power of social media, so it only made sense for me to make this blog as a central point for the web of social media that would become TRACEY THE AUTHOR. I still think it makes sense. An author has to be seen as a person as well, someone that her readers can communicate with, someone within reach. I’m definitely not denying that fact in the slightest.
However, my life has changed a fair bit since I first started this blog, and it’s busy.
For one thing, I’ve been doing the “working out West” thing for a few years now, and that understandably takes up a massive amount of my time. Even though I only work for two weeks and then have two weeks off, you have to consider the whole picture of that… Those first two weeks are 14 days straight of 12-hour shifts sandwiched between half-hour bus rides and a desperation to try and get some sleep in a work camp whose walls are about as thick as a saltine cracker. The second two weeks are time off, sure, but they’re also spent desperately trying to get done all the things that I can’t do while I’m out West (in other words: they’re pretty damn full).
For another thing, somewhere along the line I got this silly idea to start making YouTube videos. I was just doing it for fun, here and there as I received my subscription boxes, but over time it became an entity in and of itself, something that also takes up a great deal of my time. I still do it for fun, I love it, and my husband has been an enormous help in taking some of the weight off my shoulders (via editing, creating thumbnails, etc.) but my output has also grown quite a bit, along with the need to engage viewers, so quite a large amount of my “free” time is spent recording (and sometimes re-recording) and juggling multiple tabs of social sites on which people are looking to talk to one of their favorite YouTubers.
There’s also the matter of family and quality time. While I’m on my days off from work I get my daughter ready for school every morning. When she comes home we do her homework together, and at the end of the night I read her a story, every night. We watch the new episodes of her favorite shows together, I help her beat hard stages of the games she loves, and I’m always sure to find time to spend on My Little Pony pool parties and Disney-Princesses-at-school games, because a girl needs her mommy as much as possible when she can’t have her for two weeks out of ever four. Similarly, when the kid is occupied or asleep, I spend time with my husband, watching our shows together, going shopping for geeky collectibles, and having as much fun together as we can cram into those days off before I have to return to work again.
And of course, these things don’t account for those day-to-day basics…cooking meals for my family, catching up on the news, running errands, occasionally doing a thing or two to try and keep myself something resembling healthy…
And if it seems like I’m rambling, I’m not, because what it all comes down to is this:
I hardly ever spend any time writing. I call myself a writer – and I am one, no doubt about it – but I spend very little actual time sitting down with a pen and paper or my laptop and just writing.
Of course, the thing about being a writer is that you have to force yourself to write. You can’t claim that you don’t have the time; you have to find the time. I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while, and since I began using a day-planner to keep track of my goals and day-t0-day nonsense, I’ve found that a pattern has emerged. That very little amount of time that I spend writing? It’s mostly spent writing posts for this blog. And that, to me, is a horrible waste of time.
Should I ever become a popular novelist there is no doubt that I should have a blog, along with a web of social media to promote myself and engage my readers. But for the time being, with one unsuccessful novel under my belt and a zillion other things eating up the overwhelming majority of my time, taking what little spare time I have and investing it into this blog is not only pointless, it’s stupid. What is the point in maintaining an online presence as an author if I never actually publish any new books because I never dedicate any time to my actual manuscripts?
And to be honest with you, especially given all the other stuff that’s on my plate that I’ve mentioned above, this blog has been mostly just an added stressor for quite a while now, and that’s a stressor I’m finally willing to cut free.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not going to delete the blog or anything, and I’m not going to abandon it completely. I’ll still put of “Flash Fiction Friday” posts when I’ve got something to share. I’ll still write IWSG posts and my monthly “Goals in Review” posts. And I’ll still share my YouTube videos (although I won’t accompany them with a post). But this will not be a dedicated part of my life any longer. I won’t sit at my computer and struggle for post ideas to make sure I have five posts per week. I won’t waste any more time writing half-assed posts about whatever topic I was able to drudge up just so that there will be something up on the page.
To be honest; I probably should have done this a long time ago. This blog was never as successful as I’d always hoped it would be. At the moment I have 443 followers, which is less than one person for every three days since I’ve opened the blog, and the majority of those people rarely ever engage the blog. I only get an average of 35 views per post. By comparison, my less-than-two-year-old YouTube channel has almost 1600 subscribers and each video gets hundreds, sometimes thousands of views. So again, I ask you, why do I spend so much of the precious-little spare time I have on this blog when I could be using that time to do what I actually love…writing novels?
So, again, long story short, this is the end of an era for No Page Left Blank. There will be a (mostly) guaranteed two posts per month for IWSG and my Goals, and there will be a smattering of videos and flash fiction as I see fit, and other than that I’ll only be posting when I actually feel I’ve got a reason to post.
That feeling that I’m feeling right now? That’s called liberation.
For those of you who read my blog regularly, I do apologize, and I hope you’ll still stick around for what will pop up every so often, but I imagine most of you understand what I’m going for here: it’s time to finally put the focus on my novels instead of the superfluous stuff that currently has little point or impact in my life.
So without further ado, it’s time to sign off for now, open up Scrivener, and get down to what I’ve been failing to do for countless months now: write some damn novels.