December 5, 2012

Enough to Say?: IWSG & ROW80 Updates

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for my Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for putting together this group. I appreciate the opportunity to share my insecurities on the #IWSG therapy couch.

First, a confession. I have been quite absent on social media... both as a blogger and a commenter. November kicked my ass, I won't lie. I started to say it kicked my butt, but quite frankly butt didn't do the sentence justice.

During November, I participated in my first NaNoWriMo, a wonderful yet exhausting experience, and helped my daughter through some medical issues (which resulted in severe diet and medical changes). I did win NaNo, *throws confetti*, and my family is adjusting to my middle daughter's new needs. But my blog suffered, getting very little of my time and attention.

Maybe it's because I haven't blogged consistently for a couple of months, but now I'm left wondering... do I have enough interesting or pertinent things to say to keep these pages going?

I love the writing community and connecting with readers, but I don't want to get repetitive or share too much. My writing methods don't seem all that original or awe inspiring, so I often hesitate to share them. I have plenty of kid stories, but this isn't a parenting blog. And, I'm a grammar nerd, but I don't want people running away because I remind them of their picky seventh grade English teacher.

What to do?

I'm a little stuck right now, I must admit.

My gut tells me to have a mixture of all the things I like here, even some of the random things that come into my head. I always do better with focused blog challenges like the Blogging from A to Z challenge (coming in April, YEAH!). I find staring at a blank blog post page quite frustrating.

But, if I make this page a mixture of my interests, will readers come and go instead of sticking with me? Should a blog have a singular focus?

I set up this blog to build an author platform, so I went to the Internet to define author platform. I found a great blog post by Jane Friedman: A Definition of Author Platform. She shares the definition according to most editors and agents, "They’re looking for someone with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience."

Visibility --- Check
Or at least normally. I need to get back to a more frequent blogging schedule and stick to it, so that people know I'll be around.

Authority --- Insecurity Issues (see above)
Yes, I'm published, but I made a ton of mistakes in the process and managed somehow to succeed anyway. I'm always happy to share, but an authority... not feeling it. Then again, I have three kids ages 12, 10, and 7 and I'm convinced I'll never feel like an authority on parenting, either. So admittedly, my expectations may be way too high on defining authority.

Proven Reach to Target Audience --- Complete Confusion 
I reach out to readers by building my writing community. However, I'm not sure womens fiction readers (and soon I'll need to also reach out to Young Adult readers) would follow my blog. I'm so confused!

If any of you have figured out the magic key to an effective author platform, one that attracts both writers and readers, please share.

And now it's ROW80 update time.

Like I mentioned before, NaNo really threw me off, but it's time to get back to goals. I'm a bit at a loss, because I've been so focused on word counts with total disregard to most other things.

New goals for the remainder of Round 4:
(When does it end, anyway?)

--> Write a chapter by Sunday on my Depression Cookies follow up. Mom, if you are reading this, it's coming. It's coming.
--> Catch up on blog reading and commenting.
--> Apologize to my editing clients again for disappearing in November, and spend at least two hours a day catching up on editing projects.
--> Catch up on my reading TBR pile.

I am taking at least a two-week break from Chasing Memories (NaNo piece). I love the story, but I need to let it soak, so to speak.

I look forward to catching up with all my ROW80 and IWSG friends. I hope the muse grants each of you a lot of quality time throughout the remainder of 2012.


Stina said...

Sorry, I have no advice. It's something I've wondered myself. But I figure my blog isn't for readers. I don't read the blogs of authors. I read their books. Books sell via word of mouth. So even if your initial exposure to only to the writing community, that's better than nothing. As long as members of the community are reading your book and talking about it where it counts. :)

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I think the most important part of writing a blog is being yourself. You may have some favorite things that you could tie into writing or pick some features for certain days a week. But first and foremost in importance is to sound like you - whatever that sound is :) Glad to have found your blog!

Jo Michaels said...

Just keep plugging away at it. I'd do a search and find readers' forums online and join up. Don't go posting like a mad woman because they have the potential to eat up a lot of your time, but pop in and talk now and then. Link to your blog in your siggy. :)

Advice: Let that book sit for a solid six weeks. It'll feel like an old friend when you do revisit it and you'll get new ideas.


Unknown said...

I love the sound of your group! I definitely feel like I need a therapy couch for my writing issues. Thanks for sharing!

alberta ross said...

well who knows but personally I have read masses of 'expert' advice since I have been up here - I quite like seeing how the rest of us mortals cope with this writing lark, tell it how it is for you - your travel through the process, if it includs other aspects of your life and how can it not then includ them too. I like knowing about peoples lives. You don't have to blog every day anyway - I can't keep up with those who do, theres too many people I want to follow

if you want to widen your scope seek out bloggers who deal with books, reviews, tours etc, get to know them, build up relationship and then maybe they will help in that word of mouth bit.some of them have huge following.

I like your voice:)

Georgina Morales said...

I think blogs and books are to each other what MTV was for musicians. They feed each other in a never-ending circle. But you have to write first, as long as you put your writing first, things will be alright.

Congrats on NaNo!

Tia Bach said...

I'm a dork and accidentally erased this wonderful post from MPax...

When I'm hunkering down to finish a piece, I go on a blogcation. I usually blog 3x a week, but would like to go down to 2x. The more you blog and interact, the clearer what your 'niche' is will become.

With that said, mine evolves. I do blog about different topics, but lately find my blog focused a lot on other writers - their book releases, etc... Whatever you're passionate about, blog about. Even if it's not about writing.

Tia Bach said...

Thanks, everyone. I just need to write the posts I'm feeling and let it "evolve"... thanks for all the wonderful advice. IWSG rocks!

Elise Fallson said...

Oh I know you have lots to blog about! November was tough on a lot of folks and now there's the stress of the holidays to deal with and it may feel a bit overwhelming. A short break from your story I think is a good idea, it'll give you fresh eyes to read it with when you go to edit. As for your blog, that's up to you. I love your content and wish I could be as inspiring as you. But trust your gut and if you want to change things up a bit go for it. (: