Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shhh - We're Putting it to Sleep

 by Anita Mae Draper
Several months ago I came out of my cave and wanted to spend a few minutes blog hopping. I was dismayed to find one of my favorite blogs had closed down. Their main reason being, they needed to spend more time on their manuscript writing instead of blog writing.

I remember thinking:
  • I’m going to miss them and the fun they brought to my day
  • Must be nice to have a real deadline
  • At least I still have the Chicks. That’ll never change.

Well, guess what? Things do change. And although I’m not happy about Prairie Chicks ceasing the publication of new posts, I’m excited at the changes which brought us to this point. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

I started my own blog months before I got together with the Chicks. I added new posts a couple times a week and played around with widgets and gadgets—the fun and somewhat exasperating part of blogging. A pathological picture taker, I always had plenty of material to post when I didn’t have anything to say. Or, didn’t have time to say anything because I needed to work on my work-in-progress.

When we decided to start Prairie Chicks, I turned to the author who’d first put the idea into my head. Donna Alward, who writes emotional stories for Harlequin Romance, told us during a workshop to get our blogs and/or websites in place before publication because there just wasn’t time after. And once your book hits the shelves, readers want to know about you. Donna was a tremendous help. As well as giving ideas for our blog guidelines, she became our first every guest guinea p--ah-- Honorary Prairie Chick.

I’ve enjoyed most of the posts although admittedly, a couple of them were not within my comfort zone. A couple posts come to mind but I’m not going to list them today. I know there were one or two posts brought on by some of my guests whom everyone didn't agree with either.

In these last few months as my career winds up, I’ve resented the time spent on blogs. I need to take more time to finish on deadline. And so, I’ve found that blogging is like baling twine. It’s the best thing ever, but what a nuisance!

A case in point is the post I wrote upon my return from the RWA conference in Orlando. I wanted to show all the promotional possibilities you could create to publicize your book, so I took many photos of the Goody Room at the conference. Back home, I organized and photographed all the items I'd picked up. It took several days to get it all organized and drafted onto the blog. As an additional enhancement, I gave away one of the books I’d lugged back from Orlando – Maggie Shayne's Killing Me Softly. Which reminds me – Jana, you won the book. No, I haven’t forgotten. I just haven’t thought about it for a while. It’ll go out shortly.

Anyway, the Goody Room post went live and I received all of 2 comments. Although I don't want to begrudge any information gleaned from the post by Karyn or Jana, the lone commentors, I felt my time could've been spent in a wiser fashion.I didn’t mind writing the post. Quite the opposite because I love taking pics.

What I minded was that my time was taken away from my manuscript. Especially, since I was trying to complete it prior to attending the ACFW conference in mid-Sept. And no, I didn’t make my goal.

And if I'm not surfing the blogs and leaving comments, then how can I ask my fellow writers to do the same? I can't.

I still feel that blogging is a tremendous opportunity when you can afford the time. But at this time in my writing career, I need to spend every available moment on my story.

Selfish? Yes. But, only for self-preservation.

I’m thrilled that the blog will stay live because there’s such a wealth of material here and I want it accessible for us writers as well as anyone else who may need it.

Thank you to all the Chicks and Dogs, regular and Honorary, who chose to join us on this educational experience. The blog won’t die. It’s just going to sleep. Now, that’s comforting.


Karyn Good said...

Managing blogging time is a challenge. The most important thing is to keep writing the stories and getting them out there.

I've always enjoyed your posts and I'm glad they'll still be around to enjoy!

Toni Anderson said...

Sorry to see you go, but hopefully you'll get great writing time instead :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

I know. Even if I say I'm just going to read one or two, something else will catch my eye and away I go. :(

Thanks, Karyn. Right back at ya!


Anita Mae Draper said...

Yup, Toni. Gotta get my priorities straight first. I've been working on this book longer than I've been blogging and I want to be done with it so I can start the next one.

Nice to see you here.


Jana Richards said...

Hi Anita,
I won a book? Yay! Give me a shout later.

It's difficult to balance everything a writer has to do - blog, network, use social media - and still actually write. Sometimes something has to go.

Good luck with your rewrites on Emma's Outlaw. I hope it's going well.