No, Crissi, you can’t do all the things

It’s been almost two weeks since my last blog entry. I’ve been a little busy. You see, in the past 20 days I’ve written 59,331 words in my NaNoWriMo story, a 1,300-word article for a local newspaper’s holiday guide, attended my weekly creative writing class, worked 40 hours a week, lost a little weight (20 pounds total, since May!), made sure my family was fed, went to the gym far too few times, read a few books, breathed, and even slept (a little).

I’m not complaining. I actually feel more alive than I have in a long time. Can I tell you how satisfying it feels to write as much as I am now? I’m waking up every morning at 4:30 a.m. so I can get in 30 minutes of journaling and 2 hours of writing before I start my day, and then I’m coming home and writing more at night. And the story is just pouring out of me (most days…there’s been a few slushy days, too) because I’m writing more regularly right now, and my body is starting to understand that at 4:30 in the morning, we write. Plus, closing in on 60K words in only 20 days feels damn good.

However, there’s a trade-off with focusing so heavily on my writing.

First….

There’s my books challenge. Remember how I wanted to read 100 books in a year? I’ve come pretty far. Currently I’m at 85 books. I may even finish with 90 or so. But that 100, I kind of stopped caring around book 70.

Earlier this year when I proclaimed this hefty goal, one commenter said they didn’t recommend a goal like this and kind of threw doubt at my whole goal. My ego was like, “Oh yeah? Watch this!” And I read like crazy those first 6 months of the year just to prove that ONE guy wrong. But then I got tired. And about September, when school started, I realized how crazy it was that I was pushing myself on a goal like this. I told myself it was because I was learning about writing from reading so many books. But when I was reading poorly written books based on their length so that I could keep my book count on par, I was missing the point. The clincher was when I told my creative writing teacher about a book I really enjoyed, and he asked me why I enjoyed it so much, and I COULDN’T RECALL! It was because I’d read so many books that the characters and storylines were all starting to blur together.

So I’m still reading, but I’ve slowed my roll. If I don’t enjoy a book, I put it down. But if I do, I savor it. Slowly. Then I allow space in between that book and the next book I enjoy. It’s a nice way to read.

Second

I cannot blog three times a week. You guys may not have noticed it, but after being pretty lax about posting updates, I decided to amp things up with three posts a week. Mondays were when I shared about books – mine or the books I was reading. Wednesdays were when I shared updated to what’s going in my world – writing or otherwise. Fridays were when I shared something inspirational, and it usually had to do with something I needed to hear that day.

Basically, I went from 0 words a week to about 2,000, which isn’t really that insane, except that it took up so much time curating those blogs, my actual writing was taking a backseat.

That’s the insane part.

Now that I’m novel writing again, my blog writing has obviously dropped way back. Once November is done and I’m in editing mode, I can assess what a healthy blog schedule will be for me. Or maybe there’s no schedule at all. All I know is that I’d like to write here when it’s enjoyable, and I think that will be more enjoyable for you, too.

Third

I have to give up a few things my ego desperately wants me to cling to. One of those things is The Village, the family blog I started for the Press Democrat way back in 2012, and then resurrected earlier this year by request.

The reasons I wish I could keep going with it: .

  • It’s on a HUGE platform with the opportunity for thousands of readers to see my name and possibly click over to my blog (and discover my books)
  • I started this blog, so there’s a lot of sentimental feelings about it
  • It’s a nice boost when someone enjoys what I’m writing there and lets me know about it
  • Plus, I was asked to write again. That was kind of a big deal for my ego me, especially since I missed writing for the newspaper

The reasons it’s time to let go:

  • I received maybe 300 views on a good day, and zero comments, unless I wrote about something controversial. I didn’t want to write click-bait stories that elicited angry commenters, so for the most part, no one cared
  • It’s a family blog. My kids are 18 and up. The people the Press Democrat wanted to attract have kids much younger. I don’t even remember what it’s like to raise a young child, and my older kids are blessedly self-sufficient. I’m pushing the baby birds from the nest while my readers are just now laying eggs. There’s a huge disconnect.
  • Positive feedback? Let’s face it, newspaper commenters are the worst

I wrote my last blog entry at The Village in October. Then I sent the online director my resignation. It was kind of telling how important my contributions were when she never wrote back – not to express any kind of regret that I was quitting, or to even acknowledge I was leaving until a few weeks later when she said, “I know you’ve quit, but maybe you’d like to write something on this timely issue…”

I politely declined.

The takeaway with all this?

Saying no is a good thing. I think I’ll always be one of those people who likes to take on new projects and try new things. I love the excitement of a new challenge, and the ego boost from accomplishing a lot. However, I’ve also learned to recognize when something isn’t working, and when it’s time to say ENOUGH. I’ve been doing a much better job of that this year then I have in the past.

But for now, I have a story to write.

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