I’m thinking I need to change the way I do things on this blog. I’ve been posting up works in progress and word counts, and for a while, that worked. But I’m starting to think it’s not working anymore.
For example, I’ve already posted up works in progress over the past year that I ended up ditching later on. I can think of a couple off the top of my head, and right now I’m wondering, “Why don’t I feel like writing Clayton’s Win when it was finally getting back on track?” I don’t know the answer to that.
I think it boils down to stress. I think by putting up these books and saying I’m going to work on them, it somehow creates pressure to get them done and published. It used to motivate me, but now it seems to have trapped me. Maybe that’s the thing that happens to everyone at some point. You start out doing something, and it works great for some time. Then along the way, you realize it’s not working so well, but you press through it anyway because it used to work and you wonder, “What’s wrong with me? I used to do this all the time.”
The longer you push through it, the harder it gets, and then you find you’ve stalled. You realize there’s no way you can keep doing it. The system did work great, and it’s worked great for about a year. I loved it, but it’s looking like it’s time to move onto something different. I’m not sure what different will look like. I still like character interviews and the scenes that never made it into the book. But I don’t think I should post up works in progress until after I finish the first draft.
So I’m going to remove the widgets on the side that list my works in progress. Works that are being edited or have just been released, I can see putting up there because once the first draft is done, I know I can say the book will be published.
I’m also going to stop talking about my works in progress. I know I’ve disappointed some people by mentioning books I’m going to do or have started and then I stop writing them because I stall out or realize the idea isn’t going to work like I thought it would. I’m tired of disappointing people. I’d rather post up a “I finished the first draft of this book…” announcement than say, “I don’t think this story is going to work after all.” I feel like a jerk when I say, “I won’t be doing this book like I thought I would.” 😦
I don’t know if this new system will work, and maybe it won’t. But I need to try something else. If it doesn’t work, I can always go back to the old way or try something different.
I totally agree! It’s hard to let people down when they have expectations of a book or when it will be done. Just write as you can, it’s the best you can do and your readers will appreciate the quality over quantity.
It is hard to let people down. I hate saying no. I’ve learned to say it because I’ve had to, but I hate it. I need to stop thinking in terms of the number of books I can publish in a year and just let the characters tell me when they’re ready for me to write their books and determine what pace to write them at.
This is what I’ve always gone through. You’ll get through it. It’s good that you figured out what wasn’t working and can make the necessary changes. I still post word count updates and occasional teasers on the works I HAVE to finish (aka Starfire Angels series books) on my Facebook pages and in updates on my blog, but not until I there is significant progress so that I feel comfortable doing so because I’m confident I will finish.
That’s the key. I have to be sure I’m going to finish it. It’s hard to predict which books will work and which won’t or even in what order I’ll be able to write them in. Hopefully, this will help. 😀
We all grow and change, and that means the way we do things changes. For instance, I used to be motivated by setting word count goals. Now I just sit down and write. And I’ve ended up with higher word counts than before. I still track the word counts, but I don’t set word count goals. That was a change for me. I do think if you tell everyone what you’re doing, you could be setting yourself up for too much pressure. I’ve heard other authors say they intended to write a certain book, then it never happened because the story just didn’t do anything for them or it stalled out. I’ve only had one time that it happened to me, but luckily, I was only a tiny bit into the story. But since I only write one book at a time, I’m not as likely to have that problem. Trying to write two or three at a time is a lot of pressure, I think. Especially when you tell everyone you’re doing it.
I rambled about all that to say, maybe you’re right in changing the way you talk about things on your blog. And maybe do a more personal post from time to time, or tell something funny that happened to you, and relieve yourself from having to post about your writing for a bit. I blog about a little bit of everything. LOL.
Did it take a while before you were able to relax and write? I feel so wound up right now, as if my nerves are on edge. I thought if I made the announcement and removed those widgets, I’d feel relief, but I don’t yet. I’m thinking it’s going to take a couple of weeks before I break my habit of thinking in terms of daily word counts. I can see the benefit to figuring out how many words I did but not setting a minimum goal. I used to think in terms of chapters before I was aware of how many words my books were. LOL So I’d be pushing myself to finish the chapter, which isn’t that good either so I’m not trying that.
I’m going to try writing more personal things on my blog. I’m not sure where to start, so I think I’ll start with what is on my reading list, though I think I might scare or shock some people since I doubt it’s what they imagine I spend most of my time reading.
No, it really didn’t take me long to relax. As soon as the weight of word count goals was lifted from me, that’s when I relaxed. It was like a burden had been taken away. And it was weird how I ended up writing more because there was less pressure. I just made myself sit down at the computer and gave myself a certain amount of time. Even if I just sat and stared at the computer, I had to sit there. But I wrote. Now I don’t even set aside a certain amount of time. I just sit down and write until I’m done.
I wonder why you’re on edge. Do you think it’s because it’s such a big change, you’re afraid of it? You’ve been doing those word count widgets for awhile, so maybe you were just scared to change. If it felt like a big step to take those off, you might just be feeling angst over the taking that step.
I like to see personal things on blogs. Andrew Mocete wrote a blog post the other day talking about blogging, and he actually mentioned my blog. He said that sometimes my post is just a paragraph, but it always tells a story. He said when my blog comes through his feed, he never knows what he’ll find when he reads it. LOL. That’s what I want my blog to be like. I honestly think it would be interesting to see what you’re reading. My reading tastes are very eclectic, so my reading list might surprise people as much as you think yours will. I say go for it. Let people know what you’re reading. It tells us a little about you. Sometimes you could just tell a funny story about something that happened to you. Do you remember the post I wrote about my slip falling down around my ankles? That kind of thing is fun to post about.
I hope you’re able to relax soon and get back into your writing rhythm. 🙂
What I’ve been doing is sitting with my computer here and there throughout the day. With my husband home, it’s hard to nail down a definite time of day every day, so I opt for downtimes to sit. Usually, I’d focus on a word count, and I do think that will be hard to give up publicly. I have a private blog that I transferred the widget to so I can see my progress. I do like seeing a visual of the progress I’m making, but I need to keep it private. What I think stresses me out more than anything else is the fear my next book will bomb (as in it’ll suck). So I’m having a hard time figuring out what the characters really want to do (instead of what I think other people will want them to do). In my comedies, I get low ratings because my characters are immature. In my historicals, I get accused of some inaccuracy that I think is minor but ruins the story for the other person. In my contemporaries, I’ve been accused of being unrealistic about how real life works (as in “that’s unrealistic”). Those are just a few complaints, but after a while, the complaints start creeping into the subconscious mind and it’s hard to force them out when I’m trying to create a new story. The key is how I react to it. I need to figure out how to push all the outside voices telling me what I need to do differently or what people think the story should be. If I don’t get to that place where I really can brush it all off, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to tune into my characters with the same ease I did when I first started writing. I’m hoping by not sharing about my works in progress until the first draft is done that I can help focus on how the story needs to be. I don’t know if it’ll work, but the other stuff I’ve tried up to this point hasn’t worked and you know what they say: The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting a different result.
LOL I remember that slip falling down. 😀 I don’t know if I have that exciting of a life, but we’ll see what I can come up with. You do have fun blog posts.
The same thing happens to me, Ruth. What works for awhile and motivates me eventually becomes a suffocating trap and soon i resent whatever it is I am working on… I think you’re right and just as we constantly evolve, so should our methods 🙂
That’s the word: suffocating. LOL I felt like I was being pressed in from all sides. The feeling hasn’t gone away yet, but I figure it’ll take a while because I’m still trapped in the “I have to write so many words today” mentality. I think you’re right about us evolving and our methods need to evolve along with us. 😀