Monday, May 10, 2010

In which the frog jumps out of the pot, or see you in September

I have been thinking about taking a sabbatical from my blog for a while now, and it seems I'm not the only one who is stepping back. Lady Glamis is closing down her blog, Innocent Flower, Miss Rumphius is stepping out for a little while, Lotus girl is going through a purge-a-palooza, and Corey at Thing 1 and Thing 2 has lost her mojo for her blog.

My reasons? Several. First, summer is a time to be with my children, to do spontaneous things like make crepes or go for a bike ride or hang out with the neighbors. It is a time when fresh vegetables and fruits abound, and this year especially, I am looking forward to making wonderful meals from the produce I will receive from a local farm through an CSA program. It is also a time when, if I don't pay attention to the backyard for a few days, it will be overrun by weeds and over-exuberant ground covers.

Here is another reason, one which I'm not even sure I can articulate properly. The best I can do is with the metaphor of the frog in the pot of boiling water.

In my version of the story, I somehow become aware of the water getting hotter than I can handle and I jump out (hopefully not into the fire, but that's another metaphor, isn't it?) before I boil into a lovely frog broth.

Let me explain. I love interacting
with writers and people who love the arts on blogosphere. I enjoy participating in different activities: commenting, following, joining Ning groups, entering contests. But without realizing it, I've gone too far.

It's not just that I am spending too much time or energy, it's also that I am doing some things I am not entirely sure about.(This is the part that may get me some flak, but I hope you understand I am describing my struggles, not passing judgment.)

Take contests, for instance. Most of them now offer a point system to reward readers for publicizing the event. This has made me wonder: is this for me? If something is done by the majority and I choose not to do it, does it mean I am intentionally leaving myself/my book behind? When will the saturation point hit, i.e. if and when I do decide to engage in publicity this way, how can I be sure that people will not have become sick of them/blase/overwhelmed by too many people doing the same thing?

I guess the underlying reason, for me at least, is that there is something about those actions that is one step removed from the real motivation--following or blogging because I want to qualify for a contest, or requiring people to follow to qualify for my contest--that makes me ever so slightly squirmy. Lots of things in life are done for extraneous reasons, I realize that. But I still wonder.

Other issues relate to how this blog fits into my writing life. I know many bloggers re-evaluate their decisions periodically and I'll be joining them. Thoughts and arguments will brew in my mind as I fly kites and weed and grill. When I see you again, I hope to have a clearer mind, whether or not I resolve all my questions. I already have an idea of what I can do about my blog when I return.

Hope you'll join me on my journey again. I may even throw in a couple of contests and devise a new point system.

Enjoy your summer, if you're in my hemisphere, or winter, or monsoon season, and see you in September. (Anyone else thinks of this song when they hear this phrase?)


beth said...

This is a very thoughtful post and I totally respect your position. I have also felt squirmy about requiring others to follow, for example, to enter a contest. But, on the other hand, I feel publicity is important in some situations. It's certainly a double-edged sword.

Enjoy your break, and I hope to see you around the blogosphere again!

Lydia Kang said...

Hey there! It was nice meeting you while I could! I totally understand the feeling of having it up to here (points to chin) with blogging. It can be overwhelming and at some times, I wonder what I've gotten myself into. But again, we can all take breaks and reevaluate (and more importantly, just live life!)
Have a great summer! And this is a good reminder to myself to enjoy my summer as well, and not spend all my time blogging!

Yat-Yee said...

Beth: thanks for your response. Double edge sword: how true. If not for some of these contests, I would not have come across some bloggers I now follow. See you when I get back

Lydia: me too. Here's wishing you a well balanced summer!

lotusgirl said...

I can completely understand your struggles. I have the same ones. It was nice to take a couple weeks away from the blog. It helped me refocus a bit. I will probably take off several times in the summer, but for now I plan on blogging most of the time.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I totally get what you're feeling. But I'll miss you!

storyqueen said...

I will miss you!

For me, even though many would argue the whole networking/publicity angle, blogging is mostly a way to talk about writing with other writers.

My target audience (5-7 year olds) are not bloggers. They will never enter a contest I have or read my blog, unless they are doing an author report and stumble upon it. (That is why my blog is always G-rated for the most part.)

But the blog keeps me connected to the "writingness" of life.

and I need that.

Come back soon!


Yat-Yee said...

Lotusgirl and Sherrie: thanks for understanding my situation. Your support is very much appreciated.

Shelley: I know exactly what you mean by being connected to the writingness of life. And I am not aiming my blog at the intended target (MG-ers) but thinking of how the network of bloggers can help spread word of my book eventually. I don't want to "taint" (perhaps it is too strong a word but I can't think of another) the connections and relationships I've formed online. Yet, getting fellow writers and librarians and teachers to become aware of my book seems like a good goal too.

These are the things I'll be mulling over.

Thanks for being a blog friend.

Molly Hall said...

Sounds like you are making a very wise decision. I hope your summer is fulfilling and wonderful, and we WILL miss you!
I have the same exact reaction to some of these point systems and publicity/marketing strategies. I do get it, but ot usually makes me run for the hills. I really like following the blogs of thoughtful, heart-centered writers. I love hearing stories about the process of writing and the adventure of publishing. So... I'll look forward to seeing your posts when you return! : ) Take good care.

Yat-Yee said...

Molly: I love your description "thoughtful and heart-centered"! Thank you. If I ever do contests like those, I hope you won't run too far!

Myrna Foster said...

I hope you have a wonderful summer. I've had to cut back on my blog time the last month or so - there are too many other things I need to be doing. And your blogging friends want you to do what you need to do to be happy.

Yat-Yee said...

Myrna: thank you for your wishes. I hope you're finding time to pursue what you need. Have a great summer.

Lydia Kang said...

Hey there,
This is probably too late, and maybe waiting for you to tackle when you return form your reprieve, but I tagged you over on my blog for 5 x5.
Because I did really like your blog even though I just started following you!

Cuppa Jolie said...

Absolutely understand! Hope you have a beautiful summer and I look forward to seeing you in the fall!

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Nandini said...

I know how you feel. I'm more often blogging about taking a break from the blog than actually blogging (sigh). But for me living well and mindfully (summer, kids, all that) comes even before writing well, and definitely before blogging well. Have a wonderful summer break, my friend. Catch you in September!!!

Julie Dao said...

This is a very wise decision because it sounds like it is right and perfect for you. I've often wondered about the time I put into blogging and Tweeting and all that jazz, because it really is just a distraction sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I love networking with writers online, but the cyber stuff definitely takes away from time I could spend writing my actual story or doing other things. I hope you have a great summer and feel refreshed in the fall!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'M really late in saying I will miss you but know you are doing what is right for you. I actually haven't been able to keep up lately which is why I found this post weeks after you put it up. See you when you're back (except I still owe you a critique whenever you are ready to email!)

MG Higgins said...

I figured it was time to venture out to the blogosphere, since I've been on a major break and SAID I'd be back mid-May. I'm not sure I'm ready to return. You've stated my thoughts exactly, Yat-Yee. Thank you for your thoughtful post. I don't feel so alone.