On Writing: Something To Talk About

There are pros and cons to not blogging daily.

Pro: You alleviate the pressure of having to come up with something fresh and entertaining or educating on a daily basis.

Con: You get rusty.

I'm feeling rusty today on this one of my formal blog days. I don't have anymore pictures of pets to post. You met them all, Billie, Cheyenne, and Sadie. Although a friend did email pictures of three kittens they found abandoned, asking if we'd like one. Hard to say 'no' to a cute kitten (or any animal in need for that matter), but now's not a good time for us. I didn't feel too bad, because I just know my friend will find those kitties good homes. Gosh, they were cute.

Lots of times when people get stuck for something to say, they talk about the weather. It's really hot here. Sticky hot. Then again it is summer and this is New Jersey. Can't wear shorts to work at the library, although I'm not a big shorts person anyway, although I do like those new skinny bermuda shorts I've seen some girls wearing. I used to shy away from skirts and dresses in the summer because no one wears pantyhose or tights in the summer, and I was uncomfortable with my blindingly pale white skin and random patches of spider veins. I have recently conquered that insecurity and have rediscovered the delight of feeling feminine and pretty in stylish skirts and dresses that fall just below the knee. Cool and comfortable when matched with flirty flat sandles or funky Mary Janes.

Another pro to not blogging daily: It frees up energy and time for working on my books. Since I am now working full-time at the library, I need all the writing time I can carve out. I've been pretty religous about getting up at 5:30am every morning to write before work and then writing until 10pm after I get home. Although last Friday I hit the wall and it took a couple days to recover. I'm currently trying to listen better to my body.

Another con to not blogging daily: Your blog readership slips. Guilt niggles that you should be keeping in better touch. That sets off the ancient and on-going concerns regarding self-promotion. "You should be doing more!" More chats. More interviews. More booksignings. More newsletters. More advertising. More podcasts, book vids, and whatever it is all the other authors are doing. Well, not all, but a large majority. Except I can't physically do any more than what I'm doing just now. My body shouted that loud last Friday.

So what's an ambitious and dedicated author to do?

Write the best stories that she/he can, do what self-promotion one comfortably can and have faith that word will spread.

I can hear some people groaning. Skimping on self-promotion? Relying on your publisher and your story? Career suicide.

I'm not so sure. Putting massive time and energy into self-promotion, skimping on time spent on revisions or in knowing your characters better or experimenting with a plot twist or in self-editing to create a lean, mean read. I'm thinking that's career suicide.

A multi-published friend of mine attended a workshop at BEA where booksellers spoke about what sells a book. The cover and the blurb ranked number one. Two things that are out of the author's hands. Next came word of mouth. Write a compelling story, people will talk.

So that's my focus just now. Writing the best stories I can. I'm currently working on two, each in a different phase of production. Challenging, but fulfilling. When all is said and done, I'm hoping people will talk.

Hmm. Regarding blogging. Guess I'm not so rusty after all.

By the way, any thoughts pertaining to any one of my above rambles is welcome!


Mary Stella said…
Well, Beth, you hit a key point. If you don't produce a good story that people want to talk about, what the heck's the good of self-promotion? Same thing with blogging. The book writing must be the priority. It must come first on your list of business things to do. Write away, my friend.

Now about the library dress code. Can you wear capris and the length of pants that some people call city shorts? As you know, for my day job, the normal apparel includes shorts, T-shirts and sandals. However, I've invested in capris and city shorts for "dressing up" here in the Keys. The city shorts fall below the knee and are more tailored. I like the look since they're cool but don't show off my abundant thighs.
Jordan Summers said…
I think you're right, Beth. The book IS everything. All the rest is marginal at best.
charleneteglia said…
The book has to come first, or what do you have to promote? Very smart to put your energy into the highest priorities.
flchen1 said…
Didn't seem very rusty to me!

Just wanted to say that I agree--blogging and other self-promotion is great (not to mention really fun for your readers) but I'm glad you're prioritizing! If you've got no book, those same readers would be pretty bummed ;)

I've noticed that some writers band together and blog jointly--not sure if that would work for you, but it seems to divvy up the responsibility a bit :)

Anyway, happy writing, and I'm sorry for the heat! My kids are all about the Otter Pops and frozen Gogurts :)
Roni said…
Writing the books has to come first! While we all enjoy reading the blogs, it's the books that we LOVE. Also, I actually prefer (don't throw something) the once-every-few days blogs. I don't always have the time to read a daily blog, just as authors don't have the time to write daily ones, so reading every few days works better for me!
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi Mary! Writing away as suggested, my friend! Right back atcha!

As to the shorts, I think the skinny bermuda shorts I mentioned are perhaps one in the same as the city shorts you mentioned. I didn't know they had a name. Name or no, we can't wear them at the library. Although we can wear capris and I do!
Beth Ciotta said…
Here, here, Jordan. Or is it, 'hear, hear' as in 'hear ye, hear ye?'

Beth Ciotta said…
Charli, I know, through previous PMs, we're on the same wave-length. Great minds and all that. *g*

flichen1, group blogs are great for the reason you pointed out. Who knows? Maybe in the future, the perfect opportunity will arise. Until then, I admit, I enjoy having my own selfish world in which to interact with all of you!

Okay. Now I have to google Otter Pops. Oh, and Gogurts.

Man. Am I out of the loop or what?
Beth Ciotta said…
Roni, I'm not throwing anything. In fact,knowing you prefer sporadic posts takes a load off. As they say.

Where did that originate anyway? As. They. Say.

Melissa Lopez said…
Hiya Beth,

I'm feeling better after reading your blog. Great books first, everything else second. *Crossing my fingers* for a kind cover goddess.

I recently signed with Roberta Brown. My mind has been on promotion a lot recently.

Happy writing!
Beth Ciotta said…
Melissa, so nice to hear from you. Congratulations on signing with Roberta Brown! Thinking positive for a fabulous future!
Jaynie R said…
I think as long as you update at least once a week. A lot of author blogs I read don't get updated every day, but I don't stop reading them unless they slip to once every couple of weeks or so.
Beth Ciotta said…
Good to know, Jaynie. Thank you!
Gabriele C. said…
I'm with jaynie. I read a lot of blogs that don't update daily. As long as there's 1-2 posts a week or a regular schedule (every other Monday or so), I keep reading. The only way to lose me is to stop posting for weeks without a note, or changing the themes beyond what originally attracted me to a blog (I recently kicked one that turned too political).

I post 2-4 times/week and try to stay with the habit of Friday Snippets several bloggers have joined. So far, people keep coming back. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Gabriele, thanks for sharing your take on this. Nice to know how others feel. As far as your own blog, sounds like you have a winning routine!

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