When I started this blog, last spring, while taking Meghan Ward’s Social Media Madness for Writers class at the Grotto – which I highly recommend to any Bay Area writer mystified by the demands and protocol of social media – I vowed to keep to it regularly. Habit, discipline, building a readership – all that good stuff relies on consistency. OK to take a break for a vacation or such, Meghan advised, just let your readers know.
I sat down this morning to let my readers know that this morning, I won’t be posting because I need to work on a revision due to my writers’ group in two hours.
I started blogging here, in part, because I needed to keep writing while planning my wedding. I’m one of those people who tends to think she can clean out the closet, re-organize all the bookshelves, make soup, and still have time the read the Sunday New York Times – in one Sunday afternoon. I like to make to-do lists, lists that suffer from overambitiousness.
So when the reality of wedding planning didn’t allow the kind of writing time I was used to – three to four hours, every morning – I fought the inevitable. I can’t stop writing! If I don’t write, I’m a failure! Then, somewhere between lining up the caterer and ordering the invitations, I gave in. I’d put my writing on hold when my mother got cancer and when my father died and I was the sole adult survivor, when I became seriously ill, when I bought and moved into a new place. Sometimes life events get in the way, and why not make room for joy as well as sorrow and mortgage pre-approval? This would be my wedding; I wanted to get it right. Some writers are able to keep to their writing schedules no matter what life throws their way – and they seem to be men, don’t they? men with wives or the book royalties to afford the kind of household help that facilitates writing all day? – and I’m not one of them. I’ve made my peace with that. I may not clock my four hours every day, but I do what I can – scribble notes with story ideas, make rambling entries in “Write It All Down,” a file so named after my friend Michael’s advice to me when Mom was diagnosed, post to this blog.
The wedding is over now; a new life has begun. (The wedding was perfect, by the way.) I feared the transition back into daily work. I had left a few projects on the back burner, and I didn’t know which to pick up first. I feared the empty screen. Last week, I turned to one of the many piles on my desk – next weekend, I’ll go through them all, right? and get the Times read, too – and pulled out my notes from a few months ago. I’d shown my writers’ group the first chapter of my novel, and they’d had many helpful things to say.
I began re-writing the chapter. I have two versions of the re-write now, and I’m toggling between as to which works best. But here’s the point: I need to spend the next two hours in Rincon (the fictionalized town where the novel takes place) not in the blogsphere.
Does this mean the blog has run its course? How disposable, after all, is a blog? (Pretty disposable, I’d argue, and yet I keep at it.) Has this one run its course, having served as a way to keep writing when I couldn’t Write? Here I sit, in my bathrobe, empty coffee cup at my side, typing out this explanation for why, this Friday, I won’t be posting. And before I know it, that’s my post.