March 9, 2014 by bdetienne
Nine months ago I hit the Publish button and delivered my 54th Burtogram. I cannot recall my exact emotions at the time but I certainly was not thinking that in the time it took to deliver my next Burtogram a baby could have been conceived and born into the world. [No, my wife and I did not have a baby but it is a great visual to represent how long it has been since I last posted!] For several weeks now I have wanted to return to posting blogs but before I did I wanted to delve into the reason(s) why this lapse occurred.
After pondering the question for awhile I came up with four issues that contributed to my blog negligence:
1. Not a Top Priority
The reason I got into blogging in the first place is simple: I have a dream to become a published author one day. I even have a compelling story to tell. But it turns out that just because you have an idea for a book and you have read dozens of books in your lifetime does not make you John Grisham or J.K. Rowling overnight. You have to work at it, and if you have little experience in the field like myself you have to work even harder to accomplish it. What better place to start and practice the craft than with a blog? So I started a blog and for a few months, life was good. I was averaging two posts a week and feeling good about it and the content I was delivering. But when life got busy here and there, did I make my blogging a priority over my other leisure activity options? Nope. That decision making will not get me to a publisher’s doorstep. Ever.
2. Wrong Priority
A common issue for bloggers is getting frustrated at the lack of attention their blog post garners. “I just poured my heart and soul into this blog, and all I have to show for it is 10 page views? And 1 lousy comment?” I wish I could say that this thought never crept into my mind but that would be a big fat lie. Even though my intentions for this blog were internal- for me to become a better writer- I found myself with expectations that were external. I should not be looking for affirmation or applause from others, but rather at the progress I am making as a writer. If an audience happens to catch it, that’s great. But I am here for me first and foremost. Selfishness is typically not a good quality to have but in this case it is.
3. Attention Span of a Gnat
Writing is hard enough as is without allowing distractions to take you away from it. There is a reason why the late Vince Flynn would travel to a cabin in Wisconsin to write his novels and John Grisham writes his novels from an office on his farm that is not connected to the internet. No distractions. Nothing intruding the world they are delving into. Now, most of us do not have the resources that these authors had available to them but we do have the opportunity to isolate ourselves when we write. We can head to the nearest coffee shop or library, pop in our headphones, and attack the page with reckless abandon. We can head into a room in our house or apartment, make sure the TV and phone are off or silent, and go. We can even head to a nearby park to grab a bench and begin scribing. These are good options. On the other hand, trying to write while a TV show or sports game is on, or you are playing Candy Crush, or you are trying to write while Google chatting with someone is a terrible idea. You will look up at the end of the program/game, you run out of lives, or you say goodbye and see that only a paragraph [or less] of words occupy the screen. I am very guilty of this, particularly the TV.
4. The Princess Syndrome
The three aforementioned reasons play a small part in my blog negligence but the overwhelming cause for my long absence can be summed up in two words, princess syndrome. Blogger Judy Lee Dunn coined this brilliant phrase and explains it like this:
“[Bloggers] want every post they write to be perfect. Beautiful. Appealing. Worthy of applause. With all those readers gathered at their feet.”
Gulp. I have had a similar thought run through my mind numerous times. It makes sense, I am a meticulous person in a lot of respects. I take much more time to paint a room, balance my checkbook, pack a suitcase, and so on because I want to make sure that everything is correct. Possessing this character trait is not altogether bad, except when you are trying to write a blog. First, no perfect blog or book has ever been written. Despite the attention/praise/sales/etc. a writing gets there will always have detractors. Second, with me the goal of the blog again is to become a better writer. At this point in my career it is about quantity, not quality. If I continue to practice my writing it will eventually improve over time [hopefully, right?].
I have identified the problems that have prevented me from blogging and found solutions to overcome them. All I have to do now is write. Hopefully, it will not take another nine months to do so.