How many hours, on average, do you spend per day (or per week) on blogging-related activities? And, what do you think you might do with your time if you didn’t spend it on those blogging-related activities?
“Blogging-related” activities gobble up a whole bunch of my free hours. Throughout the day I peek into my reader to check out posts and save any I might want to reply to later. When I have more time, I’ll create new posts, sometimes several at one go, to schedule on dates in the future. I visit my own blog often to make sure everything looks as it should (you never know with WP’s constant shenanigans).
Blogging is how I “do” writing now, which has been my main hobby for decades, so I consider it an important part of my life and the time I spend on it is time I would spend writing something, somewhere. I’ve tried other venues over the years, including self-publishing, but none of those has given me enough attention readers.
Writers should also read, and I devote time to books, usually before falling asleep, but also at other random times. It’s impossible to put a number on the hours I spend reading/writing. It’s time well spent! 😻
PCGuyIV has lost some of his blogging mojo and consequently flung his prompt open to whatever truths we want to reveal about ourselves. I’ll stick to the mojo theme here and discuss how I have lost all interest in writing another book or putting together a new poetry collection for sale. This isn’t a “problem” to solve, as I’m better off for not worrying about it, since my stuff doesn’t sell well on its own and I have zero interest in intense marketing.
I do have a new laptop, which I love, but that’s not the point. I still want to write, right here on my blog, as well as for my nonfiction side hustle. But creating a whole set of complex characters and a plot for a novel? Meh. Tedious. Eventually, it will probably bug me that I have so many half-done projects and I’ll reconsider getting back into “real writing.” But for now, I’m good with this.
Also, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy getting enough sleep!
Idk what the hell happened, but I had to delete my Song Lyric Sunday post just now, plus about a dozen past SLS posts. Somehow, I messed up my reusable block when I created next Sunday’s SLS post tonight and it affected many posts. WP wouldn’t let me edit today’s SLS post, remove the block, save new text… NOTHING. But next week’s scheduled post previews correctly, which makes no sense. I didn’t hate the blocks at first, but now I’m fully on the block-hate bandwagon. I also hate that everything about WP now is geared to marketing and money-making rather than writing. I wonder how long actual bloggers will stay here given what a pain in the butt blogging is. BTW, I hate blogger too.
I just paid the $48 to renew WP, lol. Figures as soon as I do, I end up in a rage at the whole site. Even more annoying, I already wrote my Monday peeve and don’t want to substitute this for it, but I need to rant now, so I can’t make this next Monday’s peeve. ARGH!
Speaking of Sunday night rants, let’s talk about Medium, which I b*tched about last week. I took the advice offered by several peeps, cancelled my subscription, and faded away. I have 47 posts there and will probably make another $5.00 (same as last month). As soon as I quit “clapping” (liking) other writers’ articles, my claps disappeared, proving that it’s just a bunch of BS, unless you’re one of the very few big fish who gobbles up a huge share of the pot. Even though a subscription is only $5/month, I don’t want to contribute that to the top writers who write about making money on Medium. Geez, what a racket. It wasn’t about making money for me though ~ it was about being read and just having my words OUT THERE in another venue. But since I didn’t perceive the place to be a community of people who CARED what I wrote, I switched to thinking okay maybe I can make some money. Nope. Bleh.
Anyway, thanks to all who responded last week ~ it was helpful. I’m just TIRED of doing things that aren’t fun and don’t generate results. I mean, I WORK a real job full-time, plus more, so I don’t need hobbies that cause me stress. That’s why I quit writing poetry on Twitter a while back and it’s why I’m not interested in writing another novel or poetry compilation to plop on KDP. As I asked last week, what is the effing point?
I’m super bummed out again. I don’t know why I thought Medium would be a good place for my writing ~ not only am I never going to make money there (beyond pocket change), but there’s almost no camaraderie. There can’t be when you need to read as much as possible, react briefly, and move on… hoping others see you and add you to their following list. I’ll never get as many hits as a tech writer or someone who goes on (and on) about politics or making money or whatever the hell people can’t resist clicking. Barely anyone cares about poetry or fiction or personal essays. It makes me so annoyed I refuse to click on the “trending” articles ~ why is the Medium algorithm helping the popular writers, those who jabber on about tech and money, instead of assisting others in becoming visible? Welp, I’m thinking of canceling my membership ~ why should my $5/month help support someone writing about writing for money instead of engaging in ACTUAL WRITING? Eff that!
And it’s not just me. I see great writing there, really excellent poetry, funny rants, solid flash stories… all with minimal recognition from other readers because the site pushes articles about bitcoin, Trump, or having a colonoscopy (the first three trending stories in my feed today). It’s super discouraging. 😢
I know we’ve talked a lot about the “hit & run” in Blogland, but the difference is that here I feel like I “know” some people and have valuable interactions with them… Sadje, Fandango, Angie, Melanie, Rory, Di, Barbara, Jim, Ashley, et al, plus the people I knew already from other venues, such as Keera, Roy, and AD. There are more in both groups, so please don’t be upset if I didn’t mention you ~ those are some of the people I saw in my latest notifs. Point is, interacting with these folks makes the “hit & run” bloggers tolerable. I understand that the majority of likes here are from bloggers who don’t know me, won’t ever care about my writing or buy one of my books, and only pay attention to me (for the nanosecond they do) in hopes I’ll follow them down a link-strewn path to some garbage video where I’ll be assaulted with ads. However! The small community of kind and fun folks who continually interact make WP a happy place to hang out.
I have spent so much time writing online for the past 20+ years. Usenet, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, yada, and now Medium. Not to mention that I’ve written actual books! And… nothing. Minimal book sales. Scant interaction on the other sites. Why do I keep wasting my time? I just don’t even know. I really don’t. Maybe I’m just not good enough or funny enough or poetic enough. I AM NOT FISHING FOR COMPLIMENTS. Please don’t. It’s actually worse for people to keep saying they like my writing (I know you mean well, so thank you) when the evidence is in that I can’t make it as a fiction or poetry writer, not even as a small side hustle. I do earn money via business writing, but I’m not talking about that now. I’m talking about the writing I love to do. Fiction and poetry. 💖
If I’m only writing for the love of writing, then I’ll do it here on my blog exclusively where I’ve enjoyed writing and interacting all along and where there’s no money to be made in the first place, so I don’t have to obsess over the lack of it flowing my way. It’s not like I’ve neglected my blog or anything, but I’ve spent almost all my other free time the last couple months on Medium, and it’s just depressing to me now. I can’t help but see the parallels to dating. It took me many years to acknowledge that I hate dating sites, dislike meeting new men who are going to judge me as a romantic prospect, and don’t even want a relationship at all under these crummy conditions. Since I’ve quit trying, that area of my life is calm and peaceful because I’ve filled it with more family time, friends, reading, movies, and painting. Why shouldn’t I do the same with the writing venues that are causing me distress? (I’m not dumping Twitter because it’s a good source for info, but I haven’t written poetry there lately.) That includes putting out more books for Amazon Kindle, where they’ll just sit on a virtual shelf growing mold like old banana bread no one wants.
I have many questions but principally three questions for you …
1] How real do you need your reality reading or fiction reading to be?
This is an interesting Q. I mainly read fiction because non-fiction is BORING. There are some exceptions, such as a few bios/auto-bios, some books about animals, and a smattering of self-help (Mark Manson). So, let’s talk about fiction. I think we all have our own standards for what gets us in “the zone” of a novel ~ so much so that little glitches don’t pull us out of the world the writer created. Some of that is due to our varying knowledge bases.
Forex, someone in law enforcement will probably be turned off from a detective story about a crime that contains mistakes regarding police procedures. I probably wouldn’t even notice those errors. I do notice things such as when people are out and about for a whole day and no one has to use a bathroom. I mean, wut? I will also notice inconsistencies in a story, such as minor details about clothing and descriptions. I knock off a star for any popular book that is sloppily proofread. If it’s an indie, I’ll give more leeway. I’m an indie author, and I know it is super hard to proofread your own work, especially a lengthy novel, but I don’t make enough money from writing to pay someone else to do it.
As far as including major details of “reality” during the time period a novel is set in… it depends. If I were writing a story taking place in 2020, it would be ridiculous not to include details about how Covid-19 has impacted the characters’ lives. Depending on the type of novel, I might also mention something about the US election. But these things that seem earth-shattering to us now tend to fade with time, so if I’m reading a novel set in the fall of 1963, I might not care that no one is talking about JFK’s assassination even though people most likely were jabbering about it constantly back then.
My novel Ghosted takes place in 1996 and 2016, and I researched many details of both time periods to include music and movies, as well as some teen slang for 2016. I didn’t mention the presidential election of 2016, though I did check out details of the locations I used. And I made up some stuff too, such as a mail center in Aruba. I don’t think your stores/restaurants have to exist in reality, but I do think the names of your major streets should be correct ~ unless you are creating an entirely fictional location which I have done in my romance novels.
2] Have you knowingly noticed over the last 9 months and since the arrival of Covid – 19 your writing style has altered?
Not really except that I’ve had more time to write, so I managed to finish my novel and keep up with my blog AND write a pile of poetry for Medium. My Twitter use has declined this year ~ I find Twitter to be super frustrating. I will retweet and compliment poet after poet, but they just ignore me. My poetry was receiving barely any “hearts” or comments or retweets. What’s the point then? A while back, I curated some poetic tweets into a book called Bitter Sweets, and recently I posted “Punctuated Poetry,” which is a selection of some of my recent poetic tweets. Lately, I just promote my Medium writing on Twitter or retweet the occasional funny/kitty/otter/political whatever.
I have noticed over the last couple years that I’ve lost interest in writing romance novels (though I will still read them occasionally). I think that has to do with the fact that I created a writer as a character to pen that work, and she no longer exists for me. She was a necessary escape from my own reality back then and I’m okay now.
3] Have you noticed any changes in the way that you personally blog – for instance your overall outlook and positivity reflects upon you differently now?
Yes, but that isn’t because of this weird year. My blogging has always been personal where I am not afraid to talk about my own experiences, and nothing has changed in that regard. But I’m bored with repetitive posts, so I won’t do any prompts/questions that are the SOS, such as why did you start blogging, what’s your favorite topic, where do you write, yada. I’m also careful with fiction/poetry when I use the prompts ~ I cringe at some of the silly stuff I’ve written, and now if a piece isn’t GOOD on its own (in my opinion), I won’t post it. I used to post new flash fiction and poetry several times a week, but I’m more judicious now. I am no more positive or negative than I ever was ~ my crabbiness transcends any petty plagues or joyous moments. It just is.
The lovely Sadje has nominated me for the Outstanding Blogger Award! Thank you so much, Sadje. It’s nice to be appreciated. As per my award policy, I choose to answer the questions only.
How did the Covid-19 affect your life? I feel luckier than most. My work and income have not been affected (so grateful for this), and I have been able to stay pretty isolated from people and minimize my risk. The worst thing for me is that I’ve hardly seen my daughters and their families, and I miss them so much. I also miss friends/movies/restaurants, but that hasn’t been as big of a deal as not seeing my daughters in person.
What one special thing would you like to do for the world? Wave my magic wand and clean up all the garbage everywhere so we and the animals we share the planet with can have clean, healthful air, water, and land to live on.
It’s almost the end of the year, what one thing do you want to accomplish before saying goodbye to 2020? I have already accomplished my goal for 2020: finish writing my novel Ghosted and publish it on Amazon for Kindle.
What do you look most forward to in 2021? Seeing my family in person, selling the books I’ve written, becoming a popular writer on Medium.
What is your favorite song of all time? It varies with my mood. The ones that hold the top spots are “Hotel California” by the Eagles, “This Guy’s In Love With You” by Burt Bacharach (Oasis has a great version too), “If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot, “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks, and “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison (the entire Moondance album really).
What one book would you recommend to everyone? Where I’m Calling From by Ray Carver has something for everyone.
What one question would you like to ask me? Have you bought Ghostedyet? 😀
Melanie gives us some seasonal Share Your World questions today…
Do you enjoy skiing or ice skating or if it’s warm where you are, hiking or enjoying outdoor sports?
Basically no to all except normal walking on the beach or in the park. I love to see snow (if I’m dressed warmly), but have never skied. I’ve ice skated indoors, but I won’t be doing that again with all my aches and pains. I’m a terrible skater anyway due to balance issues.
Do you give to charities or homeless that you might encounter, during this time of year, more than you do otherwise?
I don’t have a lot of income to give away, but throughout the year I give a little here and there to various causes. The holidays don’t motivate me to give more. Generally I don’t give to beggars/homeless because they annoy me so much. Occasionally I may give to a woman though, but never a man. GET A JOB.
What is the most enjoyable activity you engage in during December? Is it a tradition for you and your family?
I’m not big on traditions, but I do enjoy driving around and seeing the Christmas lights.
What changes will C-19 bring to your festive celebrations this year?
The same as it’s done all year ~ no gathering with friends at restaurants, no movies in theaters, no potlucks, no game nights, on and on. One of my friends always has a super fun NYE party, so that’s out too. 🙁
GRATITUDE SECTION (Optional of course):
Please share a good will wish for the world!
I wish everyone would buy my new book Ghosted ~ it is finally ready after 3 years! 😍
Dr. Tanya continues her blogging about bloggers series with this question:
What are your “dreams” regarding your blog?
First, I hope our WordPress community is able to weather the continuing parade of changes and glitches to hang together in its present form. Why? Because I really enjoy it! Blogging, and in particular this community-based cluster of lit’ry folks, is my favorite form of social media. I find a lot of writing inspiration and support here, and I hope I offer the same. This is my main dream, basically that I don’t wake up. 🤣
Second, I hope to entertain people with my posts. I try not to jabber on about my boring life too much (unless there’s a funny) and instead focus on short fiction and poetry. Posts like this one are okay once in a while, and I do have my weekly peeve, but I try to balance this info type stuff with actual writing. And every so often, I switch things up with photos, music, etc.
Third, I hope to generate interest in my work for sale (cheaply imo) via this blog. I’ve been working on a novel and occasionally discuss the writing/publishing process. It would be great if some of my bloggy buddies bought a novel or book of poetry I wrote and liked my writing. 😍
Soooo, I have tried to avoid bitching too much about WordPress, as imperfect as it is. Not to mention that I don’t hate the block editor (heresy!), though of course I have empathyfor anyone experiencing difficulties getting their writing to publish. The thing is, blogging is my favorite form of social media by far, and I’m super grateful it’s surviving when almost everyone else just twitters and faceplops. I blame a short attention span… I remember when some of my writer friends kept interesting blogs, but now they just quote boring political crap on FB, or repost dumb memes. I guess it’s easier. 🙄
H O W E V E R!
I had the damndest time getting my last post to publish properly. And this has nothing to do with the cursed BE because I was using the app in classic mode. Ooh, maybe they’re screwing with the CE to get us to switch over entirely (I use the BE on my laptop). I had to keep fixing it and republishing it to get all the links to “take.” They would disappear in the process and I’d view the post only to find them poofed. So maddening!
I understand that the outcome of writing to WP for help is zippo, nada, crickets. So why bother? Instead I’m venting here, especially because this wasn’t a one-off. I’ve had to repost other pieces of writing due to formatting glitches. Sometimes my video links don’t show up with previews, and it looks stupid when the html link sits there alone instead of a nice music image. Btw, I’m in the process of labeling all my saved images, since the WP search function is crap. Not talking about their library, but trying to find something I’ve used before and saved in mine. Yes, that’s a differentissue, but why not throw everything into the Big Casserole of Doom?