Thursday, May 31, 2012

Self: This is Not Really a Post.

Image Credit: Stock Photo by Karen Humpage


In December of 2010, Faith in Ambiguity was born. I invested no time in site design or graphics and haven't since. I just set up a Blogger account one afternoon and wrote a silly post about winter squash. I posted erratically, often going months between posts, and put everything on Facebook. Family and some of my friends were my only audience, but they seemed to like my writing and soon a few people would come up to me in the supermarket or at church to tell me that they enjoyed my blog. The next fall, I had put up only 30 posts or so since I'd begun, but I was ready to have people really read me.

I geared up to run a marathon. I participated in Reverb Broads. I signed up for NaBloPoMo. I joined GBE2. I learned a bunch of how-tos about blogging and tried to carry them out, one by one. I participated in Leap Blog Day and accidentally met a kindred spirit and writer with whom I have a vibrant email friendship. I went to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop. I was ready to play big, to get my blog noticed. I joined Linked In. I created an editorial calendar. I revamped my blogroll. I got up to spending twenty hours a week on my blogging activities. I started to see some results, as the occasional post got picked up on message boards and page views spiked.

And then the weather got warm and people, apparently, stopped reading blogs. Someone accused me of racism in the comments on an old blog post. I posted an interesting question on a message board and nobody understood it. Lately I sometimes find myself having spent three hours researching and writing a post and getting 20 page views. BlogHer fixed "reads" counter so that it reflected actual reads, proving that it is really not worth my cross-posting to BlogHer. My stats graph lowered its standards. And then lowered them again.

A couple of readers have told me that they hope that someday I will publish something. Nellie of Buttons are Not Currency even said "I always look forward to your posts, but I also find myself a little disappointed when I see that you have something new for me to read. It only means you are not working on something that would certainly get you published."

So, I am changing priorities a bit around here. I love Faith in Ambiguity. I love my community. I love the Ask Team Ambiguity posts and I still hope they, and things like them, catch on like wildfire. I look forward every week to posting for GBE2. There is much that I have to say that lends itself well to blogging. But I am, perhaps, too obsessed with some sort of fictional "making it" in the blogging world, the bar for which will simply get higher and higher with time and success. There is a sensation of immediacy to blogging, with its comments, page views, and retweets. But this can also be a pitfall when you feel compelled to put something up, and when the constant production of blog content interferes with writing anything else.

So, I have this book that wants writing. It is a cross between a book of memoir pieces and a book of personal essays. The essays and memoirs are intended to be like conjoined twins. And I have two hours of writing time scheduled each morning. It takes a surprising kind of discipline to make myself give up some of the instant feedback of blogging, to use Word rather than Blogger, to see through a much longer project. And without Faith in Ambiguity, I wouldn't have the body of work and the audience feedback to see that I should even bother.

I started by trying to respond to a prompt about "Self." And, somehow, weirdly this fits, although it's not at all what Beth had in mind, I'm sure. It's not my best writing. It's full of clich├ęs and something that smacks vaguely of self-pity. It sounds like the Academy Award acceptance speech given by Moaning Myrtle, who didn't even win. And yet, this is where I find myself. And because you're all apparently at the beach, I think it's probably OK.

I see myself along some sort graphic continuum of evolution as a writer, beginning with a knuckle dragging scribbler of histrionic adolescent poetry who regards the deletion of a single word as an insult to her character, progressing to the producer of prose choked with adjectives, unable to breathe. At some point, I became a blogger–one part used car salesman, one part Jerry Springer guest, one part writer. Now, perhaps I will reach the next stage of evolution: person who spends copious hours producing content that, as of yet, nobody reads. This will be followed by more used car salesmanship as I whore my book around town. And yet it feels like a departure. Next, when I am actually published and reviewed, I will grow enormous feathered wings and be shot down by the army.

Somehow this has turned into the take-off on a scene from X-Men. We will see if anyone notices. Or sends a beach ball bouncing into my comments section in reply.

29 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Larissa. I will need both luck and perspective. You guys provide both, I think.

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  2. I am not at the beach and I read every single post you put up. I relish every word you share and wish, wish, wish I could write like you.

    That said, you should do what you should do. Write your book. Post thoughts here on your blog. Continue your email relationship, do what moves you.

    We'll be here. Or, we'll be at our favorite indie bookstore to purchase Tara Adams' bestseller. Probably both.

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    1. That's OK. I told you I sounded like Moaning Myrtle. I'm not actually sure why I posted it. The fact that you manage to read me while in Europe is rather impressive, I must say. :) I will definitely keep posting. I am thinking I will just post less and try to be less hung up on my stats. *try* Ha! I get weirdly obsessed with everything I do. Not just blogging. Everything. It's a fatal flaw.

      And I appreciate your support more than I could possibly express.

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  3. I will read everything, anything, you write. Eventually, and in whatever form it comes. I'll wait.

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. I'm realizing now that it seems like my blog has written a suicide note. It's more that it is having an early mid-life crisis. So, I'll be around, both here and I hope, someday, elsewhere. And you better be in both places too!

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  4. I must be an oddball, I am not at the beach, of course it's in the 50's here today so I am inside rather than out. I read most everything you post and I enjoy seeing inside your brain. I like the way you unravel things in your writing and I am sure you have a book that needs to be written before it scrambles your brain. That's how I am, anyway. Once a story has begun to form in my head, it screams until I sit myself down and let it out!
    You're a gem and I, for one, am very glad you ran over to GBE and play with us weekly.
    Oh, and that stat thing, forget about it! I used to obsess also now I realize that I write for mental therapy and if no one reads, though it makes me a little sad, I still got it out of my head. It's all good. ♥

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    1. So true. There are many reasons to write and most of them have nothing to do with recognition.

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  5. Oh, and now I get an email that I'm going to featured on BlogHer Moms so I guess I will stop complaining about my 8 reads per post over there. :)

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  6. I must be odd too, because I haven't been to the beach since before I had kids. Of course the fact that I got fat and am susceptible to heat strokes have lots to do with that. Enjoyed your blog.
    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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    1. Sigh. I am not at the beach either, because we don't have one here. We have wildfires. I could, I suppose, go sit at one of those and get a tan. Thanks for coming by.

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  7. Glad to drag my knuckles and sell used cars with you, Tara. Keep writing. We'll figure this whole thing out eventually.

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    1. Or you will, and I will just end up copying you while trying to look vaguely as if I came up with the idea on my own. ;)

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  8. LOL never saw X men...but love summer squash..and these "ramblings" of what makes you YOU...key isn't it? this flowing....no need to control or manipulate...yup!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. The fact that I have seen all the X Men movies is symptomatic of the fact that I have three male children. At one point, I also watched several short films on construction vehicles and could identify every kind. On balance, I prefer mutants. It's hard to generate much ethical grist from the study of backhoes.

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  9. You just need the same thing I do: three extra hours each day.

    Follow your heart and chase your dreams. And enjoy the ride.

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    1. I totally need three extra hours a day. All between 6 and 7, when it's light out and my kids aren't up. That would handle everything. Give me six extra and I'll get a permaculture design certificate as well. Twelve and I'll end world hunger. :)

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  10. Blog readership goes up and then goes down. Its a cycle I think. And so what if we weep, moan or have a self pity fest, its allowed on our own blogs, once in a while

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    1. And still if I had thought anyone was reading it, I suspect I wouldn't have, but you know. Murphy's Law...:)

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  11. Too cold here for the beach.
    Go for it Tara. You can do it, be a (dare I say it) 'Real Writer'!

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    1. Thanks, Julie. (Grins broadly) By the way, for some reason, in a stupidly childish way, I am fascinated that you are in another hemisphere. Like I could just stand around forever flushing your toilet to see if it swirls backward.

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  12. For some reason, I saw those huge bouncing white balls from 'The Prisoner' when you mentioned beach balls *grin* Writers gotta write. Go do it, publish and be damned... or jumped on by large balls... which sounds horribly wrong!

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    1. It sounds hysterically wrong. I will keep that one with me all day, I think.

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  13. Loved your post. First time on your blog. Will try to hop over often ;) Best wishes and happy writing to you . Have fun.

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    1. Thanks, I sort of cringe that this was the first thing you read of mine, but if you come back, perhaps I can redeem myself. And thanks much for stopping by.

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  14. You have no idea how happy this makes me. Who am I, really? Just someone who really believes you were meant to be a published author. Blogging is great, but you spend too long doing it and it's easy to forget your other projects. The ones that truly feed your soul. I just hope you still post on occasion. A few paragraphs every now and then to keep us updated.

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    1. I still will, definitely. I plan to just cut back on my posting. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  15. I think blogging is a great ground to find your feet...it seemed to work that way for me...I'm still to write properly but it's been just as much about therapy for me and just expressing...I chop and change if I do it sort of properly...enjoyed this and another of these self blogs that could almost be along the lines of one of mine...

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    1. I think it is a great way to find your feet. I'd recommend it to any writer. Thanks for stopping by!

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Faith in Ambiguity by Tara Adams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License