That’s the single word to summarize the past couple of weeks.
Nothing tragic or overwhelming, but the last month has been the exception, and certainly not the rule. My wife has been off work seven days, all but two of them were unexpected. She’s been to the doctor four times, she was in a musical, and had several special services she sang for at church. I’ve subbed at the middle and high school ten times. Our clothes dryer died.
On the positive side, I submitted fiction stories to another 22 literary markets. I began writing my graduating seminar paper (which I hope to also expand to an eBook, in the future). I received great feedback on my short story collection. I heard back from two online journals that want to publish two of my stories. (Check out Ozone Park and Eunoia Review…my stories will be appearing there early next year, but you can still check them out.) Things were still being accomplished, even as Stories I Read, Stories I Tell sat idle.
I’ve found it hard to concentrate on some of the daily things. Blogging was one of the things (along with a consistent presence on Twitter) that didn’t “make the cut” some days. There were blogging ideas that are still on the “to do” list. I’m hoping to resume “regular programming” this week.
I know that I’ve been in a unique position, where I’ve had the time to devote to blogging and other activities while still maintaining a consistent and productive fiction routine. Having that routine disrupted got me thinking.
Why do I do this? Why do I try to cycle through three to five blog posts each week? Is it worth the time? Is anyone listening?
Blogging, for a fiction writer, serves a couple different purposes. Here’s my thinking:
Writing about writing helps me internalize the things going on in my head.
If I didn’t blog some of these things, I would write them down, anyway, because that’s how ideas take permanent shape for me.
If something I’m writing anyway might help, encourage, or otherwise benefit someone else, I should make it public.
Blogging is also a great way to meet new people, to solidify literary friendships, to build a list of “fellow workers”.
Blogging helps me exercise the non-fiction muscles and give the fiction brain a rest.
At the same time, the reality is, I’m a fiction writer. The fiction comes first. There will be times when I have to prioritize and some of the “extra” things I do with social media have to be put on hold. And, that’s ok. I do believe that blogging and building an online community is important for writers, whether we write fiction or non-fiction or poetry, but these things must remain in balance. I’ve been blessed to have the time to focus some on social media concerns and write at the same time. And, I’m looking forward to getting back to a more predictable schedule in the coming weeks. (Just in time for the holidays! Ha!)