One of the things I like best about blogging is the other bloggers I’ve met this way. Wonderful writers, women and men, who live all over the globe, some of whom share my day-to-day routines of parenting, writing, house-maintenence (or house-neglect which is more apt these days), others whose schedules do not revolve around carpools, pick-ups and drop-offs. I look forward to reading the blogs of the people I follow, many of whom follow me. Through my followees (and followers) I am exposed to lives I’d never have discovered on my own.
There’s responsibility in blogging, though. Your blog is more than an expression of yourself and your take on the world. As it gains an audience, your blog becomes a thing of its own. When I am asleep, someone on the other side of the planet might be reading, sharing, commenting on my blog. When I check it again, it’s got new growth. Like a garden, you have to care for your blog, feed it, nurture it, recognize when it’s stagnating and then do something about that.
When the bloggers I follow are silent for a while, I might miss them, but I won’t judge them. I know we all have to live our lives and that often the blog is the piece we can leave unattended while we’re caring for a sick relative, working, hosting the in-laws or, what was that other one?–writing a novel. For me it’s that last one I’m having trouble balancing with the blog, though it seems like everyone else online manages to do it.
(Yes I know, everyone chooses what they reveal of themselves online; some let it all hang out, others show only their most glowing selves. Recently I read a great article about social-network envy–the perception that everyone on the internet is accomplishing more than you and having more fun doing it!) I am sure everyone struggles balancing blog and life, or in my case, blog and book, but I find myself occasionally overwhelmed with guilt for choosing one over the other. Not that I believe there’s a galaxy of fans who would be devastated if I took a hiatus to power through my novel.
The most regular of my followers and commenters happen to be kind and supportive and understanding (and yes, I feel like I know you and wish I could have coffee with you sometime!). But I’m not worried about letting other people down. Instead, I’m concerned about missing out, which I know is a piece of my character that stems directly from being an only child. What was the sibling world doing while I was home with my parents? With all their brothers and sisters around, would they forget about me?
If I took a month off from my blog, what would happen? If I abandoned Twitter? Would I have to start from scratch? Would people remember me and still be my friends–I mean followers? I don’t know, but I have decided not to find out, not yet. I will slow down here, though. I’ve actually slowed down already. I’m giving myself until June to finish a draft of the new WIP, and will post here only about once a week for now. (Don’t worry: I’ll still read your blogs because they are often so wonderful and mentally sustaining.)
But, as much as I don’t like to blog about blogging or write about writing, I’m going to temporarily let go of that to make this blog a better partner for my fiction. Actually, that shouldn’t be hard, because my new WIP is all about body image and identity, which is the tagline for this blog.
I’m almost done for tonight, but first I’m going to share something about my WIP’s protagonists and why I think their struggles are relevant here. They’re seventeen year old twins, both pre-professional ballet dancers, one male and one female. Here I’ll just call them GT for girl twin and BT for boy twin. Here are their conflicts:
- BT is bullied by his homophobic father who suspects (correctly) that BT is gay. BT’s father makes BT promise to give up dancing, but BT continues behind his back.
- GT is bullied by the directors of their pre-professional ballet company because of her weight. GT is a normal, healthy weight for a seventeen year old girl and the powers-that-be find this unacceptable.
I’m not going to share plot details because, though I’ve written over seventy pages, I haven’t yet finished the outline. But these twins will face major obstacles to their dream of succeeding in ballet–all directly or indirectly related to the themes of body image and identity. (See? There’s my blog tie in.)
Anyway I hope to finish a draft, possibly a second draft, by the end of the school year, when I will lose a good chunk of writing time (as my angelic children will be home). Please root for me! Thanks!
Stay tuned …