I’ve Hit the Limit to My Obsessiveness

Many years ago, when Frank was a toddler and we were at loggerheads, I had to scour a different set of parenting books than the ones which had helped me with Molly. I was looking for tips on how to remain sane. (Whether I won that battle is not for me to decide, nor within the scope of this blog post.)

One of those books was Raising Your Spirited Child: a Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. You know, I didn’t read more than fifty pages before getting what I required:

  • I needed to reframe how I saw my kid, to understand at a visceral level how the very qualities challenging me in the present were strengths, if properly harnessed.
  • I had to drop any aspect of blame or victimhood, for to a large degree, temperament is genetic. In other words, this wasn’t transient. I better just get on with the job of learning coping skills.
  • I had to acknowledge my role as the genetic donor. Yes, I’m sure this will shock you, but Frank and I clashed because we were two eggs in the same carton. 

Intensity — I haz it. I don’t seem to have mellowed much with “maturity”, either.

What does this have to do with writing?

Well, I’m whispering this, so as not to agitate my Muse, but I’ve fallen back in love with my work-in-progress. It’s possible it’s both working and progressing, finally, after much heartache; after months of losing my characters’ voices and the story and thinking I’d never get them back. 

I’m crushing on my heroine and hope to ride this wave as long as possible. I want to do right by her.

All this is a long way of saying that because I’m not an easy-going person like my husband — because I do everything I take on with intensity (no claim to excellence here) — I’m modifying my schedule here at Tartitude. I’m going to take a page from my two favorite bloggers — Jennifer Crusie and Joshilyn Jackson — and blog when I’m able. It’s possible that will continue to be three times a week, unlikely to be less than weekly. But the times? They are a-callin’ for some flexibility on my part. I would have to be nuts not to listen.

So tell me, if you have a blog, have you needed to alter your schedule to accommodate your fiction? What do you think is the optimal frequency for a writer’s blog anyway?

24 thoughts on “I’ve Hit the Limit to My Obsessiveness

  1. I’m not the right person to ask about blogging. Don’t do it, and wonder if I ever will. So many of you guys do it well, and so many clamoring new voices out there fighting for my attention as a blog reader. The prospect of joining the fray is daunting, let alone – to your point – how time and energy consuming it must be. As a reader, I’ve had to pick and choose. I go back when I’m informed or greatly entertained, which I’ve done here (proud to call myself a zesty!)

    I’ll continue to come back when the blogging urge moves you, Jan, and will try not to be put out by the frequency. I’ll just accept the intensity you can share, and be grateful. I’m so glad you found your mojo for your wip again! I know the feeling, and should whisper now too–I know because I have it right now. Shhh, these things are fragile. Clinging with all my might, as I gallop toward the first-draft finish-line.

    1. Go, Vaughn! Hope you cross it soon!

      Blogging isn’t for everyone. I love it. I just need to adapt the schedule a bit for the times when several deadlines are hitting at once, even if they are of the self-imposed variety.

  2. I think the optimal number of posts is whatever works for YOU. I like reading what you write, but I want you to be writing because you want to, not because you feel some obligation to the imagined reader.

    And I, too, live with intensity. I can be exhausting or energizing, depending on who you talk to. And I have two lovely, daunting, world-changing, infuriating spirited children. 🙂

    1. Sarah, those kids are sooo much fun when you’re not being stretched to your parenting limits. At least that’s true for me. Hope you feel the same way. 🙂

      And thanks – to both you and Vaughn – for the affirmation. I’d rather be here a little less, but from the same place, than push and lose my own zestiness.

  3. Jan, this sounds like a great decision. I’m pondering some reduction in my blogging, since I’ve also added the Heroes and Heartbreakers blog to the twice/weekly blogging I do at my place, as well as the twice/monthly group blog elsewhere.

    As I make this decision, I’m looking at what it was I wanted to accomplish with the blogging. I feel like I’ve done what I set out to do, so now it’s time to recalibrate, so that the most important things get the most important part of my creativity and mental energy. 🙂

  4. I began blogging as a way to publicize my novels. First it was recommended that a person blog once a week, then twice a week, then once a day…just to keep one’s followers from going elsewhere. Since my ‘net time is limited to begin with there was no way I could keep up with it. My poor blogs haven’t see me in months. Yet once in a while someone finds one and leaves a comment. The good/bad thing about the Internet is that once you post it, it never quite goes away. When you don’t have time to post the next best thing is to link everything. My Tweets automatically go to Facebook. Videos can be posted on YouTube with the link posted to other sites. There’s also a list of links on my website, which is professionally hosted (partly because I don’t have time or the tech skills to make it look as good as they do.)

    And comments on blogs of like-minded people are awesome. If you don’t have time for a post, you might have time for a comment.

    This frees up time for things like taking courses (I just finished my film course with 81%! Yay!) and making films. I expect to finish my Sci-fi spoof this weekend, which will then be posted on my YouTube channel, tweeted, linked to my Facebook, Myspace and Goodreads accounts, etc. BTW, if you’re an author with a book on Amazon, Goodreads.com is a great place to network with other writers, authors, and readers.

    1. A film course sounds neat, Phyllis! Congrats.

      And yes, you’re quite right, if the only concern is platform, then there are other means to stay relevant than blogging. I just happen to like it and enjoy the community here. Thank you for the suggestions, though! Don’t think I’ll ever be a Youtuber, but you never know, huh?

  5. I’ve been trying to update my blog more frequently, but I’ve been making sure that my blog posts do double duty. Each one this month is a story prompt for next month – that sort of thing. The bottom line for me is that if I am blogging instead of working on my fiction, there is a problem. Ultimately, I think I want readers to come to my blog because of my fiction writing, not the other way around. Whatever frequency is appropriate to achieve that is a good kind of frequency, if you know what I mean.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. 🙂 My friend Teresa Frohock says she’s a novelist, not a blogger, and if I must choose, that’s the way it’ll fall for me, too. I’m hopeful, though, to have the best of both worlds.

  6. Hi Jan — Not sure if I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’m always happy when my favorite bloggers (like you) decide they’re going to blog less frequently. That may sound strange, but I can barely keep up with all the reading/commenting I would like to do as is, so even just one great post every week or so is enough for me. I’ve been trying to post twice a week on mine, but sometimes it’s too difficult to find the time. When you’re off and running with your WIP, it’s hard to stop, open the blogging compartment of your brain, and write a post.

    So glad to hear that you’re back in the honeymoon phase with your project. Good luck, and keep us posted!

  7. Amanda, in part that’s why I posted this, when I might simply have altered my schedule and said nothing. I didn’t want people to wonder what was up, and perhaps worry. I’ve also found that sometimes others are at the same point and might feel encouraged to take care of their priorities. When Teresa changed her frequency, I sure noticed. 🙂 And thank you for the wishes on my WIP. BTW, I don’t make it to your blog nearly often enough either, though I’m always appreciative when you make it here.

    CBlaire, yes ma’am! LOL.

  8. Quality trumps quantity every time. And the key, as you put it is a ‘self-imposed’ deadline. Who said you had to post every day or more frequently than once a week? When your WIP has become a completed mss, you can decide to up the posts, but, as I’m learning, we need to find our oasis of calm amid the sandstorms of life (to keep the same metaphor.) As a result, we’ll be able to contribute so much more authenticity to each endeavour. I applaud you the decision and so glad you’ve found your muse again!

    To take a page from your parenting story and relate it to writing, we need to bring our strengths to the process, but be ready to adapt to what we’re presented with – a character that evolves differently from what they were when we introduced them, a story that takes an unexpected turn – and not try to bend them to our will. 🙂

  9. I agree with other comments that it’s got to work for you. I blog when I think I have something to say, and I try not to let it go much more than a week between posts, but blogging and keeping up with other bloggers is a big time commitment and in danger of becoming a self-serving end unto itself. I don’t want that.

  10. Jan,
    First, a whispered congrats! I’m glad the writing is going well. I think it makes sense to cut back on the blogs — I’ll be here to read whatever you post!
    I also have to chime in to say that the Spirited Child book is a go-to on my parenting bookshelf. I have two intensely intense children (and certainly they didn’t fall far from this tree). My poor husband is the only calm, quiet one in the bunch! But, as you say, sometimes the challenges are also strengths and blessings (and I am repeating this in my head as my four-year old throws an Emmy-winning tantrum in the other room and my sanity, what remains, is slipping!)

  11. Deborah, thank you. Yes, I’m slowly but surely learning these lessons about control. It’s the Virgo in me I’m constantly fighting, I guess. 😉

    Botanist, you’re so very wise. Did you begin that way or evolve? I began blogging as a way to share my wip and get critique, if you can believe it. When I discovered I loved it, it took on a life of its own.

    Lisa, *whispering* thank you. And you’re so kind. Re the intense children: Oy. That’s one thing I had when Frank was young: I was working. At times my medical office served as a refuge. Hang in there! They do grow up. Also, you’ve found a good book to refer to. 🙂

  12. Yeesh! I haven’t updated my blog since January 31st…but I’ve got some great ideas floating around in my head. One is eggs and the other, author Beverly Cleary, my favorite author as a kid, who celebrated her ninety-fifth birthday last week. I’ve been busy working on posts for another blog I contribute to and that’s sapped all of my energy.
    Jan, sending you good writing karma. 🙂

  13. Jan, I agree that blogging has to work for you, and although I’m always disappointed when my favorite bloggers (including you!) decide to post less frequently, I get that real life gets in the way. It certainly does for me! I’ve set a goal of posting three times a week, just to stay in the habit, but I’m happy if it works out to two posts.

  14. Jennifer, “eggs” sounds intriguing. And you know, I didn’t realize Beverly Cleary was alive. I adored her books when I was a kid, as did my children. How wonderful. As for your personal blog, when you’re so busy on a group one, I think it has to take a bit of backseat. That’s partly my issue at present.

    Liz, thank you! Three times a week is best for me in terms of keeping the habit going and nerves down. Interesting you’d pick the same frequency. 🙂

  15. Dang – we’re on the same wave-length – I was thinking of making a change – I went from most every day to 3x a week and now am thinkiing of once or twice a week — visiting used to be a few times a week, then on Sundays, now it’s sporadic!

Leave a Reply