Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Non-Post Post

This post is about not succumbing to the pressure to post just for the sake of posting something. If I post three times in a month, I’m doing well. I feel comfortable with that. The biggest obstacle to posting more often is that I never know what to talk about, so I ramble on about the first thing that comes into my head. This also happens in other social situations—and yes, blogging is every bit as social.

Yeah, as I’m approaching someone who I see standing alone in a group, I’m thinking of all the nifty conversation openers I’ve learned through the years—Get them talking about themselves being at the top of the list—but is that what I do? Noooo. I start blathering on about some ridiculous nonsense (usually self-deprecating humor delivered in about three hundred words without a breath between sentences) just to distract both of us from the awkwardness of talking to someone we are only marginally acquainted with, if at all. Not that it isn’t a perfectly legitimate way to socialize—Okay, aside from the wide-eyed, ‘what the heck is wrong with this chick? gawks—it works well in a forget-about-my-dignity, maybe-I’ll-never-see-them-again-anyhow sort of way, and it keeps me from having to come up with something substantial. And if my husband is in the mix, we’ve been known to devolve into a sideshow. The interaction—and I use that term loosely—may last less than five minutes—probably less than the time it took you to read this post. But it exhausts me for the rest of the day…

So, that’s really why I don’t post more often—aside from not knowing what to write about. Any suggestions? Anyone want to tell me a little about themselves so I can practice being a good listener? 


  1. Hahaha. I try to post 3x a week on my blog. I'll write 5 or 6 posts on one weekend so I'm not consistently writing a post every other day. I dislike blogging just as much as I dislike going up to random strangers and striking up a conversation, haha! I at least get some comfort in the fact hardly anyone ever leaves a comment. I'm horrible when it comes to responding back to people. I prefer to leave my blog alone for months at a time--that's why I plan out a whole month of blog posting in one sitting so I don't have to deal with it as much.

    If only I could live out my life as a hermit and still survive in the writing business... *le sigh*

    ~Cheers from the Vegetarian Cannibal!

  2. Laura wrote a post this morning and I explained why the pressure is there. Not the same as yours, but pressure to post nonetheless.

  3. When I first started blogging, I couldn't wait to post! I was writing and it fulfilled me. Now that I am doing a lot of writing elsewhere, I'm struggling to post too. If I get a couple up each week I consider myself successful. Sadly, I'm not one to plan ahead. Once I've written a piece, I want it out there. As for the party scenario, I'm right there with you. When I am lucky, I get into zany conversations with folks who are receptive to my "nonsence."

  4. When I started blogging, I decided to borrow a theme from my novel to explore on the blog. Maybe you can do that, borrow some theme from your novel to really scrutinize here? I've found it helps to come up with posts with that kind of focus.

    But as an aside, your post today entertained me just fine too :)

  5. Vege Cann, “If only I could live out my life as a hermit and still survive in the writing business...” I think there’s a whole lot of us writers who would love to go the way of JD Salinger. The internet has sure changed that! On the one hand interacting should be easier, since we can do it from the comfort of our writing hovel, but on the other hand, the internet feels like a far more precarious place than out local bookstore or writer’s group—and it is!

    Okay, so let me ask you this, Does it seem that posting as frequently as you do sells more books? Have your posts ever lapsed for a long period and you notice your sales dropping? (sorry, don’t mean to force you into further interaction, lol)

    Anne, I think anyone who aspires to publication and having a readership feels the pressure. I’ll have to go over to Laura’s blog and check out her post.

    Liza, When I first started blogging, I was so desperate for interaction and encouragement, all I wanted was to meet other writers and learn about getting published. I had no idea about building a platform or that my blog would be a place where potential READERS could get a feel for my writing and who I am.

    …and then there’s the pressure to keep up with other bloggers…

    I have a list of must reads, and I have to say, even if I adore the blogger/writer, I’m just as happy, if not happier when they post less frequently, because then I feel as if I have the time I want to give them. Your posting ‘schedule’ feels just right to me! :)

    Joanne, I love the way your posts revolve around and embellish a specific theme (which auspiciously turns out to be your novel’s theme!). I do like that approach, and themes of my novels have made their way onto my blog occasionally. I really ought to explore that more…

  6. This is a great post, and I completely agree with you about "blogging only when you have something to say." As for blog ideas, Michael Hyatt has a great list here: http://michaelhyatt.com/13-blog-post-ideas-for-novelists.html Dell Smith has some more ideas on Beyond the Margins: http://beyondthemargins.com/2011/11/how-to-write-a-blog-post-about-writing/ But stick with your gut here; it is, after all, YOUR BLOG.

  7. I know exactly what you mean. That's why I cut way back on my blogging. Many days, I don't have a clue what to talk about.

  8. Carol, Thanks so much for those links! What a great list of reminders...definitely bookmarking them :)

    Susan, You've always had a handle on some great themes in your posts--seems as though many of them could be resurrected and embellished upon a bit. The trickiest part for you is coming up with a shoe-tie-in!

  9. I, too, used to be anti-social, but that all changed once I attended the Wilson Institute's Seminar for Entertaining in All Social Situations (WISEASS). Now, when I enter a room, within minutes no one else will look me in the eye or dignify my ramblings with a response... making me the most social person in the room.

    As for posting only three times a month, I did that once. But I'm really more of a five-times-a-month kind of guy. Like some other commenters, I only blog when I have something to say (at which point, most readers avert their eyes and refrain from dignifying my ramblings with a response).

  10. As one who will try to quiet my racing heart at the thought of having to attend a party by manufacturing excuses as to why I just can't go, I completely relate to this post. Not that reinforcing your self-doubt is admirable behavior on my part, JB. And self-deprecating humor seems to be the defense mechanism of choice for me as well. What's with that?

  11. I enjoy blogging, but I am among the occasional poster crowd, too. For me, it's mainly a matter of time. I don't have a lot of extra free time, so when I get it, I feel as though I should be working on my WIP insteading of blogging or Twittering.

    As for topics, JB, I don't think you should force it. I would much rather read a blogger who only posts when they really have something to say, than one who posts everyday because they feel they have to, they're building a platform, yada, yada, yada.

  12. Nate, You don’t get over-stimulated in social situations, do you? All of your posts are nothing if not entertaining. Honestly, I don’t know how you come up with most of it—it must take hours of intense thought and meditation.

    Sharon, I think self-deprecating humor is a subterfuge—it puts us in control. This way, we get to pick which one of our flaws (one’s we aren’t too sensitive about) to showcase in hopes that no one will notice our bigger flaws. It’s sort of a smoke-and-mirrors approach to socializing. Is it healthy? Sure beats me!

    Scott, I think you have a very sensible approach to blogging. I’ve always admired that. I mean, we are writers, first and foremost, right? I do find that when I’m blogging—writing my own posts or reading and commenting on others’—I get very little writing done. And when I force the blogging, it sucks my brain cells dry…

  13. No, Bridget, I don't actually get over-stimulated. Not usually, anyway (despite what my wedding dance photos might have you believe). I used to be shy when not among close friends, but over the years I've become what I like to call "less shy." And as for how I come up with my posts, best I can figure my brain isn't wired quite the same way as everyone else's.

  14. Nate, you are one very interesting species...very interesting indeed...worthy of further study...

    I can say with albeit-unprofessional certainty that your brain is not wired quite like everyone else's! Personally, I think generic, one-size-fits-all wiring is highly over-rated! ;)

  15. I can relate to your quandary, Bridget. :) The links that Carol Newman Cronin posted are very helpful indeed! Sometimes that's all I need -- a sort of list or outline as to what-to-do and how-to-act in public places. :D

  16. Oh, and I'd like to add this one more comment, while we're on the topic. There have been a number of times where I would've liked to have posted something in my blog, and had something to express, but chose not to, (or deleted it soon after). The reason being, what I had to write was negative. At times, similarly to what you wrote in your blog post, I'd be self-depreciating. And, the way I look at it, no one wants to read negative crap ... the angst that a writer,(or me, at least), goes through. I can see, maybe, this being expressed once in a great while. It shows that I'm human. But not writing about it on a regular basis, or so it'd appear, (like, every other blog post or something -- that's too much).

    That's all. :) Cheers.

  17. Craig, I know what you mean! it is a quandary--just how much angst is too much, and how much gives our reader a glimpse at what being a writer feels like--lots of ups and downs. I've always veered toward self-deprecation. I suppose a lot of that has had to do with wavering confidence. I hope I'm getting better with experience ;)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Always happy to hear them :)

  18. What I don't understand (and I have fallen under the spell many times) is why those who hate to blog keep blogging. There's some sort of pressure to keep posting, for some reason. We feel the need for validation, maybe, the quick hit of getting comments or something, I don't know. Lately, I've been trying to go in the direction on my blog of posting only when I really have something to share and say, and not because I feel pressured to post at all. To me, that's what you have done on your blog, and that is refreshing to me.

    I guess what I really want to say is that if blogging isn't someone's cup of tea, they shouldn't force themselves to do it.

  19. Michelle, I agree that there is something (especially when one begins a blog) about "the quick hit of getting comments"--Wow, someone is reading MY stuff! It is a rush--at least for a while. I'm not saying that I don't appreciate every single comment I receive--I DO, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I don't get a gazillion comments and I can actually interact with each one and feel like a good hostess.

    ...and it's all fun and games when its just a pastime...

    As you know, it's different when your blog is not just about journaling your life, but about sharing with potential readers and I think that's where a lot of writer bloggers get bogged down, feeling pressured to perform and do fancy tricks to keep up a readership.

    I started blogging to meet writers, not readers. I suppose there needs to be a shift in my thinking if my blog is going to become a device to attract the latter, but I'm not there yet. I'm still thrilled that people read my blog and comment, and if a few buy my book as a result of this blog, Yay! But in the long run, I don't know how much my online presence will have to do with sales. I don't even like to think about that...

  20. Oh! I hope my comment didn't come across as rude. Sigh. Being sick is not doing great things for my online presence, lol.

    In all reality, I'm quite tired of blogging because I just don't know what to say anymore. I don't want to keep "performing tricks" as you put it (that's what it feels like sometimes), and I don't want to put up stuff that's too personal. But lately, everything is too personal. And I really don't want to talk about publishing all the time - or ever, really - anymore. I also don't want to quit my blog, because I really do enjoy it over the long run. It's just right now I'm having issues, I guess.

    In reality, I haven't seen my blog directly related to more than a few dozen sales. It's really not what sells my book, or anyone's book unless they're selling nonfiction. If I were you, I'd keep your blog just the way it is if you want to. It's easy to feel pressure to suddenly switch to readers, but in all truth, I don't think many readers read author's blogs. Perhaps a small percentage. I know a few non-writing-readers read mine, and that is nice.

    The conclusion I've come to is that I just have to keep my blog honest and real and fun for me. My books are the entertainment for others. My blog is just an outlet. :)

  21. Michelle, I don't think you came across as rude at all! :) I think you and I struggle with very similar feelings about blogging. I guess it comes down to balance--knowing when to pull back and just how much to share--and yes, "keeping it honest and real and fun."

  22. Yeah, I understand. I only blog when I have something interesting to say, or to post worthwhile links or some-such. Who wants to hear what you had for lunch or what color your socks are?!

  23. Catherine, some bloggers can make their lunch and even their socks sound interesting or entertaining, but I'm sure not one of them, Lol.
    I guess for some of us, the slow and steady just feels better!
    Thanks for stopping in! :)