Hi, guys. Can we talk?
Blogging is going to be spotty for about two weeks, starting Tuesday. I’ll log in, and post, maybe even pictures, but I’ll be in Europe, so making it coordinate with early morning here will be difficult.
Heck, it has been difficult for about a month.
And perhaps that’s why hits on this blog have gone from 4k a day to about 200. And why comments that were once around 300 or more are now struggling to break 50. I don’t know. I know we’re getting low hits, and at some point I wonder about spending an hour of my day on that.
There’s other stuff going on. In November my mainstains for income fell apart within a week. The later change in one of them only made things worse, as in, technically now that’s not paid at all. (Yes, I know, and I’ll explain in private if you wish, but let’s say that my chances of getting paid anything in any month are lower than 0%)
This is a problem because we were counting on my income to not completely crash and burn the final year of supporting kids through their degrees.
And yes, I know. I even try to find meaning in it. Sometimes in public (but I always wash my hands afterwards.)
There is something human in trying to find meaning, to find “where I’m supposed to go” particularly when you’re in a year of “things fall apart” which seems to be the theme for 2019. You build, it collapses. You build, it collapses. And you think “What do you want me to build?” And “what am I supposed to do?”
Maybe there is something that wants me to do something. (NOT Ilhan Omar’s something.) Who knows. I have trouble with “lives guided from outside” because, what part of it is hindsight? And wouldn’t it violate free will?
I don’t know.
I know some hard facts: I never wanted to do political commentary or, in fact, non-fiction. Time there was that I worked really hard to write an article, even a blog-post-like article, and it took me about a week, while I could dash out a short story in two hours.
I felt compelled to blog, and it seems to have helped some people, but it was never something I wanted to do. I’m still not amazingly fond of it.
Fiction writing seems to be — now — designed for my talents, since indie is a volume game, and I am/used to be a volume writer. It’s just that between the blog and various other things going on, and particularly financial worry as we try to get through this very bad year, I don’t know how to get back “there” again. I’m going to try again today. But other than a story that was contracted, nothing has got finished and very little has got finished since the end of last year.
I’ve done some cover work, but that doesn’t have the joy it once had. (It pays. And I’ll have a site soon where you can order them, and I can do it when I’m about dead. All these are helpful. They just don’t feed the “must create.”)
All of this is distorted and influenced by the fact that right now I’m having a massive auto-immune attack presenting as a head cold/massive URI. I know it’s autoimmune because my eczema is ramping up with it, which never happens with real viruses, and also because it ramps up with each new worry/upset.
I had to stop singulair, which was giving me ADHD and memory issues (as well as depression.) I don’t know if I’m depressed out. I’d classify it, rather, as extremely stressed. Both work on the auto-immune, though.
Now, some of the lability is still the come down from what the singulair was doing, but the issues are real.
Unless hits on the blog pick up — and yes, I know, it might be throttling. But it could also be “one of those things.” — I can’t justify the time I spend on it. It’s a “duty” hanging over my had every morning, that consumes a lot of the energy I have, first thing.
I can do more guest bloggers (I’d need more guest bloggers, of course) but that’s not a long term solution, and the current hits are too low to attract much.
As I said, this is going to be weird till the 15th of May, which won’t help hits, but shouldn’t alarm you. I’ll just be in another time zone and probably very busy. It’s not the statement of any decision.
You guys have been here a long time, some of you from the beginning, so I thought I’d turn this over for discussion.
As I see it my options are:
1-Shutter the blog.
Pros – This would free a ton of time and remove the obligation from over my head. Kim du Toit, in former times, advised me to do that multiple times.
Cons – I like you guys, and this blog has formed into a sort of little community. And sometimes I do have things that must be said. This is a much-diminished platform, but it is still a platform.
2- Reduce the blogging to 3 times a week on specific days: say Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Pros – much less work, much more free time to attempt to sit down and do fiction.
Cons – my guess is that would take the hits to about 20 a day. Blog reading is a matter of habit. If you don’t do it every day, you’ll eventually not do it at all. And then it will not be worth to keep open. So I see 2 leading to 1.
3- Do long blog posts when the mood strikes, but post something every day. A quote from something I’m reading; something that struck me as funny in a facebook exchange; a link to a blog post that interested me. I mean, there is something that amuses me/interests me every day, but not necessarily something that I need to/want to write a long post about.
Pros- I’d still be posting every day, and maybe you guys would still come back every day to see what’s up. If I make it amusing enough, maybe the discussion will be interesting, too.
Cons – is it enough? What do you guys think? It’s not hard to do, and there would still be the occasional long post once a week or more. But is it enough to keep the blog alive, even if it just stays in this diminished state?
4- go on as I’ve been.
Pros – traffic will probably come back. We’ve gone through low times in the past for two/three months, but it always comes back.
Cons – it’s an hour and sometimes two every morning. When I say “I haven’t written” it ignores the 1 to 2k words poured into this every morning. And since it started mostly as a vehicle of promoting my fiction, it’s counterproductive if it’s eating my fiction.
So — I’d like your opinions. #3 is the most feasible to my mind, I just don’t know if it will be enough.
Additional to that is that I must find some way to make money. Yes, fiction writing will do it, if I can get back to that, and I’m going to try very hard.
But I won’t lie that having say 10k in the bank right now would clear my mind wonderfully and allow me to write. (For perspective, it’s just the cushion is gone, from well, stupid university tricks, mostly.) It has occurred to me to teach an online workshop or two, but it would have to make a good amount of money, so I don’t know. No, Gofundme isn’t an option. It’s not that I’m not making money from fiction (Not this last year, but I also have not written much.) It’s more that oh, at random, delivery payments, not to mention royalties are paid unpredictably in my field. And non-fic used to provide the cushion. I feel even more need of a cushion before jumping to indie, and right now…
I realize this is mostly psychological. And maybe Himself is trying to tell me something, lead me a new way. I don’t know. If so, I’m an exceptionally bad listener. (What else is new.)
To fully explain how pathetic I am, the auto-immune is increasing my stress because I’m afraid of gaining weight, as I usually do when it’s going nuts.
Yes, I’m aware what I need is a long week away in the center of the city, near the museums, with my husband and just writing. What’s actually ahead is a two week trip to Portugal, with the stresses that always brings (through no one’s fault. It just piles on the guilt and the grief to see how much everything has changed, people included. There’s also the fact the older I get the more I hate and dread traveling, no matter where REALLY. Which is why the relaxing weekends/weeks are half and hour to an hour from home and in well-trod ground.) And then two conferences before the end of June. If I could I’d totally fast forward to July and start writing and cocooning, but life isn’t a DVD.
So, guys, give me your wisdom (such as it is.) And yes, prayers and well wishes much appreciated. This year isn’t BAD like oh, 2001 was bad. People aren’t — knocks on head — dropping dead left and right. It’s just a time of transitions, sudden inversions, things falling apart.
The way life goes through these periods is in itself interesting and almost evidence of external plotting. If that’s the truth, then there’s something I must do, a change of course I must effect.
Well, a change of course is in the plans anyway, because what can’t go on, won’t.
But right now, I literally don’t know which way to turn, and nothing seems to work.
So…. give me your wisdom.
This too shall pass. It’s just a rough patch.