I’m reading a lot of blog posts in my Google Feed and tweets in my twitterfeed about blogging and social media and if writers/authors need to tweet or have blogs and what not. It’s made me think a lot about my online presence and the me that I put out there to the literary world.
About a year ago, I had a twitter account for writing. I decided I was totally, for serious, gonna do this writing thing. I followed a lot of writers, most who were in the trying to get published/marketing/developing a platform phase of being a writer… you know, all the stuff that you do when you’re not writing. I tuned into #writechat and #litchat and tried to take notes and make connections and dig in …and you know what?
I found out that I just wasn’t ready for that. At least not for the people that I was following. What I thought would encourage and inspire me scared the pants off of me. What I thought would propel me forward made me jealous. I would log into twitter and see all these people sitting down to their desks at 7am to ‘write’, but would tweet all day. About writing. Blog posts and pithy quotes and exchanging details about how to do this right and that right, what book is releasing when and what kinds of things were being done to push it. I didn’t see a lot of posts about ACTUAL WRITING. Everyone I followed must have been already past the ‘what comes after chapter one??? part of writing. It made me angry to get up and go to work and then try to squeeze in some writing from 7to 10 pm every night and then hunch over the laptop on the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like to write, but I was jealous that others got to write, full time. And they were significantly better than I was. They had ideas and the words flowed and they were getting signed and published and gaining raving fans, oh my!
I opened up Word and typed exactly one chapter of my breakthrough, awesome YA novel. One. chapter. I’ve yet to get past chapter one. Oh, I planned and outlined. I had the book cover half designed in my head. I was about to arrange for headshots for my Bio. I hadn’t. written. the book. Because… I couldn’t. I felt like a failure.
I also saw a lot of marketing. A LOT of marketing. A LOT of posts on Platform and pitch and queries, and not that that isn’t important, because it IS, when you’re at that point in your career. I wasn’t. I was looking for a camaraderie of writers. Of people who were on my level, of people who were in the same space as me, of people who were struggling with the same concepts and ideas that I struggle with. Of people who knew what the hell to write after the first chapter.
I wasn’t ready for that jelly. So I dumped it. I dumped it all, deleted the Facebook page I’d set up for my blog, deleted the old twitter account that I had, and just… wrote. Along the way, if a link got RT’d from somewhere, I’d check it out. If it was too far ahead of my progress, I knew it was something I couldn’t read without becoming overwhelmed. However, a few authors out there were posting blogs about writing– about the process, the methods, the triumphs, the joys. talking out their WIPs and making me feel a lot less alone. And a lot less like a failire. The mistakes, too, were helpful. What not do to. Great resources. For being a WRITER.
I won’t lie… being published is a dream that I am harboring. A very lofty, floaty, thin, webby, far away dream. If it ever happens, I’ll be BESIDE MYSELF. But I’ll be ready because before I can be an author, before I can be published, before I can worry about markets and platforms and queries and pitches, I have to be a good writer. I am easily overwhelmed by “too much”, specifically too much at once. A year ago? Too much.
Right now? Just right. :) So, if I had to say anything to anyone just starting out, I’d say “know your place”. And find people who are there, too. And grow with them, because you won’t always be a novice and you won’t always be a beginning writer and eventually you’ll have to face all those things that scare the pants off of you… eventually.
My answer? Patience. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. It’s also not at all easy, but it’s worth it.
If you’re interested in the blogs I read daily for encouragement and knowledge from down here in the trenches, feel free to check out my link over there—->. I’ve gathered all of the links that I’ve categorized as Writing/Writers into a bundle, to which you can subscribe, if you like. If you publish a Writing Blog and you’d like for me to follow you, I’d love to! Comment with a link and I’ll check it out!