My blog has been in hibernation mode since I started work on a new novel. I’m about to ease it awake again, but I want to do things different this time around. If you scroll through my posts, you’ll see a compulsive attention to detail, from the photoshopped images to the long form editorials, from the spoken word recordings to the music behind them. I’ve put my whole ass into everything I post.
The problem is I held so little back. I spent more time blogging than writing fiction. I fed every scrap of inspiration into the gapping maw of the content dragon, and it paid precious few shards from the hoard it sat on. Now I’m venturing back into the Lonely Mountain to separate Smaug from his coins. These are my resolutions this time around.
Stop throwing shit at the wall in the hopes that it will stick
I love writing satirical editorials on the craft, but The Onion isn’t exactly knocking down my door. I love writing monsters into current events, but my bandwidth for the news has shrunk. I love giving writing advice, but I’m not about to start selling masterclasses. It’s time to think about what am I actually doing.
How can I be useful to an audience?
I’ve self-published. I’ve been published through an independent. I’m shooting for the moon this time around. Writers might want to track my progress, to see which of my world domination plans could work for them.
I also want to focus on horror fans. My current project has me buried over my head in cryptic research. I’m learning things all the revisionist history podcasts gloss over. Like: how kingdoms used the witch trials to snuff out their poor. How the gods of yesterday become the devils of today. How Satanism has its roots in performance art. And what the Ren Faire and fetish dungeons have in common.
I want to be an author NOT an influencer
When you’re reading a story, you’re should be so emersed you don’t have time to think about the author. Their hand should be invisible, hidden behind the veil of your imagination. You’re not supposed to turn to the back flap and a think, “He looks like the type of asshole who’d write a woman like that.”
That said, I don’t want to post selfies with my blog entries.
When I was teenager, I wanted to be a rock star, with my leg up on the amp, hair flowing in the wind, the subject of a thousand grid-method illustrations. Now, my self-image is less about the visuals. Call it ego death. Call it social media burnout. Call it covert narcissism. I’d love it if my writing was known independently of my personality.
I know, this spits in the face of everything we’re told about building our brands, but I’m not trying to sell me. I’m trying to sell my stories.
Sure, I can fill a counter with Tupperware containers and tell you, “This is what you’ve gotta eat to bulk up like me.” I can do a TikTok dance, swish my pencil skirt, cross my eyes, and stick my tongue out. I could list every mental illness I live with and wear them like a fashion statement. Or I could just not.
I have never been the cool guy at the talent show. I did my finest work at show and tell, where the message wasn’t “look how cool I am,” it was “look at the thing I’ve created.”
I don’t want to use social media like a sociopath
I don’t enjoy treating every online interaction like a transaction. I don’t want to think thoughts like,
“Will adding this stranger minimize my impact with my current followers?”
“How will wishing this person a ‘happy birthday’ benefit my brand?”
“Alright, I’ve posted five comments, not it’s safe to post a link.”
I’d rather reach out to other creators and figure out how we can help each other.
I don’t want to become a guru just to promote my writing
I don’t want to be a knowledge leader, with halo lit eyes, goading you into meeting your wordcount goals. “Come join me in the light. There’s room enough for everyone.” Nor do I want to be the shit poster, dunking on BookTokers for trying to cancel each other. “Of course, she’s being called out. Her trigger warning failed to mention the strobe effect in chapter one.” I want to be authentic, not YouTuber authentic, “Oh gee, more technical difficulties,” but authentic authentic.
Not another white man with a premature persecution complex. Not an ivy leaguer speaking in enlightened jargon. If I had my way, I’d be nothing, the fiction would be everything. I want to be an author with stories so cool that I, myself, am incidental. I’d like to do things backwards and put the art before the artist. But in this world full of bright young things, dancing in a line, it is hard to get noticed for just your writing.
So, I will continue to hatch my schemes. Maybe I’ll start a podcast. I’ll call it Square-Help-Fresh. No banter. No filler. Just ads for Square Space, Better Help, and Hello Fresh. Yeah, that’ll work.
4 thoughts on “New Year’s Writing Resolutions”
Same here, Drew: I realized last fall that my deep-dive blog posts were consuming too much time and creative energy that would be better invested in my fiction, so I dropped down from a monthly to a quarterly publishing schedule, and I’ve vastly reduced my time on Twitter (and, for all sorts of reasons, I don’t miss it). Good luck to you as you reprioritize your goals for the new year!
Yeah, I’ve pulled back from Twitter almost all the way and my life is better for it. I have an idea for a release schedule. It’s not going to be 2 posts a week, like before.
Two thoughts that stood out to me:
“…I’d love it if my writing was known independently of my personality. I know, this spits in the face of everything we’re told about building our brands, but I’m not trying to sell me. I’m trying to sell my stories.”
“I did my finest work at show and tell, where the message wasn’t “look how cool I am,” it was “look at the thing I’ve created.”
I’m pulling away from the grind and presence of social media as well, mainly Instagram for me. I’m in the middle of my second month-long hiatus. I thought it would be easier the second time around, but it was harder. Maybe because it’s winter and gloomy outside here in NorCal. But when my fingers feel itchy I pick up my phone to journal in my Notes app or I actually open up a journal or go to my blog and finally post something I’ve been wanting to for awhile.
I’m sitting in a similar tension–promoting me/an online presence vs. actually writing my novel. Last year was mainly the novel and I loved it. So, I’m dipping my toe back into my blog, but trying to keep it short and sweet and about things I love, like books and games and Story.
Such a thoughtful post about writing goals. Thank you for sharing, Drew.
Thanks so much for commenting. Social media can be such a tedious grind. Balancing a novel and a blog always feels like serving two masters. It’s great to do it when you have that itch to blog when it feels like you have to.
I’m going to experiment with deemphasizing myself on the blog. As you’ll see I’m going to be including more illustrations from my stories as a way of passing the spotlight to my characters. That’s one way I’m trying to be the show and tell guy.