Wednesday, February 1, 2012

IWSG #6- Is Blogging Sucking the Life out of my Novel?

This is my contribution to the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group. Spearheaded by the multitalented ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. Every month we get to air our dirty little writer insecurities, to find support and others out there who surprisingly feel the exact same way.



I started my blog about five months ago. In that five months I've made some good friends, learned valuable information, and found out I'm not alone in my neurotic little writing world. When I first started my blog, I knew nothing about blogging. I didn't know how to set one up, how to link pages, or even what to blog about. Some how, miraculously each week I find something to blog about and even more amazingly, people actually read it. (and comment. Imagine my surprise.) I love blogging. I love checking my e-mail to find out what people have to say about my posts. I love to go to other people's blogs and see what they have to say. The only problem is... is blogging sucking the life out of my novel?

Since I started blogging, my word count per month has taken a major nose dive. I can now go for weeks without even opening my WIP. When I lay in bed at night instead of my story running through my head like it used to, I wonder what I should blog about. I started my blog to document my journey, all the joys and frustrations that happen along the way of this new adventure I started. I expected it to take up some time, but never did I expect it to consume as much as it does.

Balance. That's what I keep telling myself. I need to find a happy balance. I need to make a more conscious effort to work on my writing. Make a time limit for blogging and then have a set amount of time for my WIP. Today it worked perfectly.

When I finished for today I had exactly 30,000 words. How cool is that. (I know that I said I hit 30,000 last week... I have other scenes written that bring me up to about 32,000.)


How do you balance everything? Do you find your WIP suffering? Any tips?



48 comments:

Sabrina said...

I'm working on a novel too, and I, too, have come to discover that I tend to blog instead of writing my novel. What I love about blogging is that it's instant. You post something and people can read it and give feedback on it immediately, whereas your novel doesn't get read (or reviewed) until it's done. And even then it's usually only handed out to a couple of people for feedback, before sending it to the publisher. So, I think that makes blogging addictive.

But good for you that you've reached 30,000 words! I like what you did to your blog, too.

Em-Musing said...

I'm guilty of having my hands on my blog too much and getting off on the instant gratification of comments. I've decided my blog is going to go "dark" in February so I can concentrate on sending out submissions. AND...thanks so much for the blog award. :) Congrats on 30,000 words - awesome!

Kyra Lennon said...

First of all, 30,000 words is an amazing achievement, well done!

I am very new to blogging, so I haven't yet been sucked in to spending hours and hours reading, writing and thinking about it - but I know that time is coming lol.

The thing that slows me down more than anything is having to work a "real" job during the day. It's great because freelance writing is what I do, but by the time my work day is complete, it's hard to settle down to do even more writing. I haven't quite found the right balance for it all yet, but I'm working on it! :D

Susan Roebuck said...

I think there are days, Jessica. Some days (like today :D) I'm spending a lot of time on my blog, but others I'll spend more time writing. Actually, blogging can help release "writers block" - I think.

Cassie Mae said...

I always schedule out my posts and set a day aside for writing them and putting them out there. Then there is a two hour time period on certain days for me to just go around to other blogs and read and comment and such. Scheduling... never thought I would be a scheduler, but I have to be with this or my wip will sit on it's dusty cyber shelf for a long time :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh yah, blogging gets in the way at times. Balance is a hard one Jessica.

It blows my mind how so many bloggers seem to have so much more time than I, when it comes to blogging and blog hops. I can't do many, unless I want to live on the computer. Ah, no.

What it's coming down to, at least for me, is I need to write for me, first. So, in the mornings, even on my blog days, I have to write on my fiction. Then, I go on the internet and deal with the other stuff. In between all that is necessary chores that must be done. So it's a matter of picking and choosing.

Suggestion: Write up a few blog articles in a advance and have them in your files. That way you don't have to angst over what to write. It's already there--click and post.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

30,000 words - perfect!
It's difficult sometimes. I can blog from work, but I still put several hours a day into it. I'm not writing as much as I should, but ultimately it's not a race.

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks Sabrina. That's what I like about blogging too... instant gratification. :)

Jessica Salyer said...

Thank you Kyra. I know, the real job gets in the way sometimes doesn't it. :) If you figure out a solution let me know.

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks, I've been meaning to do that, just haven't found the time yet.

LindaK said...

Well done - 30K is amazing! I have to be strict with myself and only do the proctrasinate-y-type-things like blogging and Facebook and Twitter and clothes shopping... AFTER I've done my words for the day. Doesn't always work. To be honest, I've even been thinking of using an old laptop to write on that doesn't connect wirelessly to the internet, just to keep me doing what I SHOULD be doing! Looks like you're doing well, anyway! Great blog and you've got lots of followers who like reading what you write! :-)

LindaK said...

*procrastinate-y-type-things. Tired fingers! LOL.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I go through a write-procrastinate cycle. If I didn't blog during my procrastination I'd be stalking people on Facebook! And blogging IS writing, it keeps my brain occupied. If you've only been blogging for 5 months, it's still a novelty - you're still playing with it.

30k is a great number, so you've obviously not stopped writing completely :-)

Rena said...

Yeah, blogging and writing are hard. I set aside some time everyday, and I only come back when I'm in a tough spot, or when it's lunch time.

The key is balance. Blogging really helps people reach out to others, but it definitely eats into writing time. On the other hand, blogging helps with the sanity. That's important too.

DL Hammons said...

You do have to be careful. I quit blogging back in April of last year, for numerous reasons, but foremost being that it was preventing me from developing as a writer. I have worked had since I've returned to keep a balance and not let blogging take over. Here's the thing though...I LEARN A HECK OF A LOT OF STUFF FROM THE BLOGS! There is some excellent writing tips and industry information to be had, and I wouldn't have found them if I stopped blogging.

Like Alex said. It isn't a race. there is time for both! :)

farawayeyes said...

Balance,balance,balance...that seems to be the key. Living on the lunatic fringe, like I have been lately, I see clearly that it is because I am terrifically OUT OF BALANCE. The road to balance is a long and bumpy one, but worth the journey. I need to get my WIP, blog and life back on track. Thanks for helping me see that and offering a solution.

Stephen Tremp said...

Now that I'm finished with my latest book I can blog in peace once again. Blogging can be a time suck when writing a book. You just have to block it out and write. Easier said than done hahaha.

Jeremy Bates said...

i agree jessica! since ive started blogging, my writings slowed too! now im trying to get the writing back up to speed, and just cut out on other things ....... sigh!

themidnightnovelist said...

Actually, since I've started blogging I've found that I've been able to focus on my novel more. I know that sounds strange, but since I'm so busy I have to stay on a very strict schedule. I think participating in ROW80 has a lot to do with this, too. I try to offset my writing days and my blogging days so that I'm not too overwhelmed, and it still gives me the chance to write something everyday.

Good luck!

Eve.E said...

I have to agree with the comment you wrote on my page that you have to try and limit your time to each thing and divide your attention accordingly.x

Sarah Pearson said...

It's tough to balance everything, I agree. My problem is that I'm having trouble with the wip at the moment, so it's tempting to ignore it and read blogs instead :-)

The Golden Eagle said...

I have trouble finding a balance between blogging and writing. I try to follow a schedule but there always seems to be something more to do that throws it out of whack again.

Misha Gericke said...

Sometimes. Blogging is a lot more harder work than it looks. But when I have work to crit, I made myself a rule not to open a single blog until I've finished what I'm supposed to.

If I skip a few posts, I assume that my readers (most of whom are writers) will understand. :-)

Patsy said...

Balance *sigh* that's what I need too.

S. L. Hennessy said...

I have this exact same problem! I decided that in 2012 I am NOT going to spend as much time blogging - as sad as that is for me - until my edits are finished and my novel is off to publishers. It's hard to balance, but I do think setting time limits helps. Good luck and keep at it!

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks Linda. This summer I would go to the park and write, were I didn't have internet access for that reason.

Jessica Salyer said...

Yeah, it's easy to get sucked into the blogging vortex. :)

Jessica Salyer said...

Really? Wish I had that. :) What's row80?

Emma said...

My problem is that my blogs are more popular than my books. You are so right in what you say...comes down to choices like most things I guess.

inluvwithwords said...

Hi Jessica,

New follower here. I found you through Melissa's blog. It's nice to meet you. This is a great post. I feel exactly the same way. I was hesitant to start blogging, but now that I've started, I absolutely love it. But it is a huge time drain and my writing time is NOT what it used to be. I, too, am searching for that elusive balance.

Paul Tobin said...

Good question, I am always after balance and this will change as life develops, so sometime I spend more energy/time blogging then I will spend more time on WIP, though I usually have 4 or so of these on the go at any time. My advice is do not be hard on yourself, and set achievable goals.

Rachel Morgan said...

Your word count does take a nose dive once you begin blogging. But I think it's worth it! I honestly do! So it's like you say: BALANCE! If you tell yourself to only blog on certain days, then you can make sure you keep your word count up on other days. (Turn the internet off on your "writing" days if you have to!)

Thanks for stopping by and following my blog :-)

Lynda R Young said...

When I first started blogging I blogged every day. Now I only blog twice a week and I put a time limit on the time I spend online. Because blogging is so much fun, it's hard not to let it take over, but writing is my first priority.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

I actually wrote a tertina poem about that:

http://bookinamonthmom.blogspot.com/2012/01/tritina-poem-blogger.html

Totally get where you're coming from. Need to blog to pickup followers (for my as-yet nonexistent platform!), now I'm twittering...wondering why I haven't worked on my next novel for days. I'd rather write books!

David P. King said...

I know I've felt like that sometimes. Where's the time gone? As if there isn't enough time, I noticed you in the YA group for the campaign. It's good to meet you.

New follower! :)

Patsy said...

Jessica - there's an award for you over at my blog.

viewfromfairview said...

Following you too! You're in the YA group for the campaigner challenge. I have the same problem. Worry about what to blog instead of what to write.

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks for stopping by. I keep trying to train my brain... everytime I think about my blog, I switch to my WIP. It's not working to well so far ;)

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks Patsy! Heading over there!

Jessica Salyer said...

Nice to meet you too. Thanks for stopping by. Need more hours in the day. :)

Jessica Salyer said...

I've totally dropped off on twitter. Something had to give. It's a crazy ride we've all jumped on. :)

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks for the advise. I'm going a little easier on myself than I was in the start.

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks for stopping. If you find the key to balance can you let me in on it? :)

Jessica Salyer said...

The unachievable goal.

Jessica Salyer said...

Easier said than done. I seem to keep getting distracted. ;)

Melissa said...

Hi! I'm also a member of Rach's campaign and a fellow nurse. Just wanted to stop by and say Hello.

And, yes. My writing has been put virtually on hold to get my blog up and running and participate in this campaign. But I think some rather intense time spent on it now will pay off in the end. ; )

www.melissamaygrove.blogspot.com

Tia Bach said...

First of all, I need to look into this group... I definitely am an insecure writer who needs support! ;-) Balance is tricky. Social media is a must for building your author platform, but it is a time and energy sucker... not good for writing. If you figure out the key, please share it. Better yet, write a multi-million dollar bestseller with the secrets!

I came by to say hi from the campaign trail (I'm in your YA - All Genres group). Looking forward to connecting and following your posts!

Jessica Salyer said...

You should definitely join. It has been a world of support. Thanks for stopping by. :) I'll head over to yours.