I am not one to toot my own horn when it comes to much of anything, but in the case of worst blogging awards, I think I have a chance of winning this particular distinction. If you could only see the number of blog posts that I have started but have yet to complete. They are sitting in my “Draft” folder like little lost ships just waiting for a rudder to guide them to their final destination. Each little darling began with a good idea. At least I thought it was good at the time of its conception. A handful of posts matured beyond a title and even graduated to the state of gaining a few paragraphs of text. Yet something invariably came along to stymie their final development. I am not referring to some wondrous, noteworthy distraction or dire medical emergency which would make my reticence somewhat justifiable in the eyes of the rest of the world. I am talking about a nagging doubt that ground everything to a halt once it materialized. A seed of uncertainty that, once planted, prevented me from completing what I had started. Dramatic sounding, I know, but all too true.
Blogs are troublesome for me somehow. They are so different from writing a novel. I find them vexing to be honest. The truth is, I doubt anyone really cares what I have to say about most topics in this overburdened electric world of words we live in, where everyone and there mother has the means to voice their opinions on everything from cat litter to the gray matter that builds up between their toes. I am one, tiny, obscure voice in a veritable sea of voices, and I am less inclined to speak my mind to the outside world than most other people I know. That is saying something significant for someone who is a consummate writer. But blog writing and creating fictitious worlds are two entirely different creatures. The one makes me flounder like a fish out of water. The other makes me flourish like a well-loved plant.
My trepidation for blogging and electronic social media in general was birthed a few years back when I was still tapping away on my first novel. I remember reading a post from a young woman who wrote about her favorite author. She had just found his Facebook page which was at that time, newly minted. Rather than being delighted by her discovery, she was disappointed. Why? Because she learned to her infinite horror that the man, whose work she had loved, was boring outside of his work. He was nothing like his books at all. He wasn’t dashing or hilarious or deeply philosophical as she had built him up to be in her imagination. The reality of who he was outside of what he wrote had failed to meet her expectations. I don’t know if she ever found the heart to read another one of his books again after that. I didn’t have the heart to ask her.
The young woman’s perception of the man behind her favorite books was one facet of the endless demands and expectations that are put upon authors these days. It is not enough to write a great book. In fact, there are some who say that writing a great story for an author isn’t even necessary to be well-known, widely read, and much talked about. According to some “experts”, it is the public persona which will make or break you and so a million and one blogs, books, articles, and self-helps have been created to guide us hopefuls towards the magic formula of public perception which will make us famous. The problem is, none of the experts can agree what that magic formula of presentation is.
Be yourself. Don’t be yourself. Be funny. Be serious. Write about writing in your blog. Don’t mention your craft. Highlight other authors. Don’t mention the competition. Whatever you do…..no puppies! (I literally read that one in a ‘How to be taken seriously as writer’ article.) The conflicting advice is endless. And for someone who is desperately trying to navigate the murky, shark-infested waters of publishing, it can be downright discouraging. I finally had to walk away from all the noisy advice and begin my own small steps towards finding my own voice.
I can never be anything but myself. My books are a window into the inner complexities of my mind and heart. Yet even with such a seemingly intimate view, I am simply me. I love my family. I love my dogs. You will see them often enough in my posts. Look for the ones entitled “Life Lessons From My Dog.” Now plural thanks to the addition of Sassy back in October of last year. Yes, I broke that ‘no puppy’ rule early on in my blogging attempts, and I have never looked back. Even as I type this post, I am affectionately watching my pups dream sleepy doggie dreams while laying spraddle-legged on the bed.
I cry at sappy commercials and laugh at inopportune times. I wear knee-high character socks with everything. In my mind, Hello Kitty is acceptable at any age, and I pray I never get too old to appreciate the child in me who longs to peek her head out at every opportunity. There are times I actually miss that odd orange colored pizza they served in middle school cafeterias that smelled really good from the classroom but tasted like cardboard. I like Nat King Cole and Skrillex, but not played at the same time.
I like my real life to be simple and uncomplicated, enjoying the mini miracles each day brings. Part of me fears the simplicity I bring to the table may not be enough for a world that seeks perpetual stimulation. I am not edgy. I am not rude (that I know of), and I do not have a provocative side that I am just dying to expose to the world, so I wonder if this whole blogging thing is a good idea for me. Only time will tell I suppose. For now, I will do my best and nadder on when the urge hits me (which it seldom does) about whatever odd topics come to mind. I will probably break most of the rules at some point or another. Not because I am trying to. Just because I don’t know what they are and I don’t care enough to learn them. I suppose in life, sometimes ignorance is bliss. There are puppies to be kissed after all, and the little miracles in life that bring us the greatest joy must take precedence.
Until next time my friends……….
If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to connect with H.L. Stephens on Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. Also check out H.L. Stephen’s mystery series The Chronicles of Mister Marmee. Book 1 – The Case of Jack the Nipper and book 2 – The Case of the Wayward Fae are available in print and eBook format. Coming Soon! Book 3 – The Case of the Monkey’s Misfortune.