Monthly Wrap-Up, Blog Changes and Housekeeping

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Monthly Wrap-Up, Blog Changes and Housekeeping

Hi team – thank you so much for reading today.

I have some announcements.

1) I just spent two hours trying to figure out a way to say this: I’m gonna be posting less often here, probably twice a week, max. I’m averaging 17 posts a month for the past few months and while it’s fun, I really need to winnow back and decide what I’m all about here. How unusual for a writer to be having an identity crisis. I know, it’s so banal. 

I’m smart: I don’t have a ton of followers, so my even making this an “announcement” is sorta… well, fancy:

2 archaic (of a drawing, painting, or sculpture) created from the imagination rather than from life.

I’ve said all along that this blog is really for me to post my observations and for my kids to have something after I’ve left this world, so I’m anchored, although it’s hard to ignore the draw that comes with watching the blog stats modestly rise along with the number of my Twitter followers. In the final analysis, none of that means anything if I’m not actually writing a book or being a mom or a balanced, healthy person. It means I’m living in La-La Land, and I don’t like my neighbors here. I also don’t know if I am into all the networking; my kids are still young and they need me, especially the teenager. So I’m really reassessing how to best use my writer brain.

I am who you think I am: random, mindful, vulnerable, candid, authentic, introspective and hopefully clever. But if any of you happen to believe a word I say, I must adhere to my definition of my prosaic and practical self: I am genetically a writer and gratefully a mother. I also happen to write a blog.

The rub: the blogging world is a wonderfully loose and random place where anyone can write about anything. While that has been good for gaining practice and confidence, it yields nothing toward my long-term actual writing-a-book ambitions. But, I’m a communicator, so I love blogging too. Admitting all this, instead of riding on some sheepishly embarrassing fantasy that my content is ever viral will allow me to work smarter not harder. Look, it’s not like I don’t have any pride or confidence, I do, so this isn’t about me not believing in me. It’s about me believing in me so much that the me I’m dealing with right now is sorta… lost.

As I said to a friend the other day,

Since I was a very little kid, I’ve ambivalently worn the mantle of The “Person who knows” the best ___, the way to ___, or how to find ___. I can’t tell you how backhandedly wrong that was to do to me because one day, like today, I won’t know the best ___, the way to ___, or how to find ___ , and and I’m gonna feel like a failure. So when it comes to figuring out who I am as a writer, I’m like… well, I’m like someone in that marching band in the parade scene at the end of Animal House: I’m about to crush my trombone because Stork has led us all down an alleyway and into a brick wall so that D-Day can ram the Omega Theta Pi house’s parade float. The bottom line is that burden was never mine to have been saddled with. For parents, there’s a distinction between empowering your child and just being too lazy to do it yourself.

Despite the singe of what I said to my friend, I’m good and I’ve moved on.

This decision comes as I’m realizing that all the fanning on Facebook and Twitter and StumbleUpon isn’t gonna really change things. And I’m putting the cart before the horse: I’m marketing, “creating a platform” (as it’s known in the biz) for something that hasn’t happened yet. Here’s what I know I’m good at: promotion. I can and love to promote anyone and anything. But what am I running away from? Writing. The long-term kind of writing that makes you go mad, makes you sit still and face your fears. So: what creates change? Change.

This decision is buoyed by a timely post written by the inimitable Kristen Lamb and then seeing a Twitter post by August McLaughlin regarding their thoughts about trimming their own sails. I hope I can keep it together and stay on this course. My challenge is this, I’m a little ADD-esque: when the thought strikes me, I write it and then you get it. But this habit can be refined.

As for writing a Big Book, I don’t know if I’ve got the chops for that. I fancy myself more of an essayist or short story writer, so I need to cast aside some demons that are suggesting the epic tome-turned doorstop: just because other people do it doesn’t mean I have to. I sense many writerly people are dealing with a lot of pressure in this world to somehow matter — it’s very odd and hard to articulate — as if just being happy with what you’re doing isn’t enough: you have to be a NYTBSA and if you don’t know what that means, I’m sorry… we just can’t talk anymore. Here’s your coat. (It means: New York Times Best Selling Author.)

And… I would also love to hear from you about what you’d like to see me do…

So I know I’ve got your support and understanding. This “situation” has a lot of layers and I also need to be careful that I’m not creating some form of chaos for myself. So, I’ll be figuring it all out over the next few days… decades.

2) October has been the month of guest posts around here – I’ve both hosted and guested (is that even a word?!) and because we’ve got a hurricane bearing down on us here in D.C., I don’t know if I’ll be online at all next week other than from my phone, which I can assure you: will not be used for blogging. With November on the horizon, here is a wrap-up of what happened around here, please check out these posts if you’re so inclined:

  • Sensitarian posted about the day she learned she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • DeBie Hive shared what fall means to her in gorgeous pictures.
  • I posted over at Good Geek Ranting about my confusion over his blog’s title my new driver’s license photo – this was a hilarious post if I do say so myself.
  • Then I hosted the lovely and amazingly networked Lillian Connelly who guest posted about how she painted a rooster for me.
  • Then I posted on DeBie Hive about the meditative aspects of rowing. I wish I could say the post is mostly photos, but I felt that rowing requires a technical explanation so, I gave that as well. Seeing those pics I took two weeks ago on that gorgeous day reminds me how much I miss the water, kids.
  • If child safety is important to you, or you have kids who walk to school or see kids who walk alone, this post was HOT: 65 FB shares, 105 views in only 8 hours (which is a lot for me!) and then it stayed high for a couple days. Please check it out and share it if you are interested. I never ask for that (I feel my writing should stand on its own, so I don’t ask people to LIKE me or SHARE what I do… I can’t tell you how insalubrious I feel that is), but I did this time because the message is important.

The funny thing about guest posts: even though I’m not writing them, they’re actually hard to work around because you have to upload pictures and synchronize “shares” and the like. I know… you don’t have to get out of the trouble you don’t get into, but I love guest posting. It’s good for us all.

3) I am thrilled to share with you that I have been invited to join a multi-author writer’s blog, “Peevish Penman,” where they posted an interview I did. Go here: http://peevishpenman.blogspot.com/2012/10/molly-field-tells-it-like-it-is.html and you’ll find I’m my usual candid self. I find it ironic that I’m there because I’m nowhere near where some of these other authors are: published, but they seem to like me and my random, candid ways… the poor dears. I will always link to what I publish there.

Which brings me to my next point…

4) NaNoWriMo is ramping up next week, on Thursday to be exact. So I’m planning to be involved there writing another book. I’m very excited about the idea that I will be amongst hundreds of thousands of people around the world who will be drinking too much coffee, obsessing, gnawing on pencils, pulling out hair, banging on desks and forgetting to shower for 30 days straight, well: we must be clean for Thanksgiving. I hope to really do something with this upcoming book because I’m doing it from start to finish, as I should have done the first one but I wrote 25k extra words to make it a legitimate 50k as the challenge requires, so the tone and treatment should be consistent… save for some unavoidable hormonal burps along the way.

Would you like me to post about it as I go along?

5) Last but not least, Hurricane Sandy is indeed near. It’s odd here because the temperature outside has dropped from 65˚ this morning to 53˚ now which is NOT normal for hurricanes around here. Usually, it is warm, humid and very still until the bitter end… that said, keep your fingers crossed for us here. Thing 2 who is 11 is pretty scared and so we’re keeping the news off but checking the weather from our phones.

Despite the storm, as usual I laugh at life and so I want to share this parting thought with you:

Well, they just announced that schools are closed tomorrow and Tuesday due to the storm. Great. No, really, this is good but … well… here we go!

Thank you.

About Grass Oil by Molly Field

follow me on twitter @mollyfieldtweet. i'm working on a memoir and i've written two books thus unpublished because i'm a scaredy cat. i hail from a Eugene O'Neill play and an Augusten Burroughs novel but i'm a married, sober straight mom. i write about parenting, mindfulness, irony, personal growth and other mysteries vividly with a bit of humor. "Grass Oil" comes from my son's description of dinner i made one night. the content of the blog is random, simple, funny and clever. stop by, it would be nice to get to know you. :)

8 responses »

  1. I get it………………You are not alone……….I too have felt this way; the need to find your true “voice” can be overwhelming, and figuring out how to balance the rest of your life, at times feels insurmountable. Find your balance…………..the rest will come. You are a star and your light shines in many ways. Writing is only one of them!

    I look forward to your next post, in the mean time, I will catch up on the older ones…..

    AC

    • AC, you have written the nicest comment I could have ever heard about this situation. I’m torn because I love to write, but I know it’s time to shift gears. I know that when I devote myself to what I am being pulled to do, it will be great. Thank you so much for your support. And for looking for me and for commenting and for getting back in touch. It is good to hear from you. You have always been so creative and have such good energy there. Love to you and G and little (probably not so much any more) C. xoxo

      • Molly, you are more than welcome. Maybe it is I who should be “thanking you” for making me see so many things in a renewed way and also for seeing and feeling some things the same way I do. It really is wonderful how you make someone “relate” to you and your stories.

        I know you will do great things; you have already! No pressure here! But I do believe you should follow your bliss and take that path where ever it may lead…….I know, easier said than done!

        I am glad I have found your blog once again, because I always loved talking with you….I do so enjoy what you have to say, and how you say it. Many of your posts are thought provoking and many of them resonate with me on many levels. Kindred spirits, perhaps??

        I am sorry that I have not kept in touch……I am trying to put myself “out there” again…..Life is simply too short!

        Hugs,
        AC

      • I’m glad you’re back out. I have thought of you a lot and yes, we are kindred spirits. I don’t know about your childhood, but mine was … different, in the Augusten Burroughs sort of way but he makes it funny and I can too, but I don’t know if I’m there yet. Read my post on “perfect mother? not even close” – if you are interested.
        thanks again, AC.

        and your timing is impeccable, divine actually: just when I was feeling low, ready to sorta pull the plug, along comes you… putting wind back in my sails. thank you. truly.

  2. Twice a week is plenty. You’ll be fine! I am trying to figure out how often I want to post and when. I am trying to find that balance as well. It’s not easy to prioritize and sometimes when you step back you can see the big picture better. Then you can ask yourself what is helping you achieve your goal and what isn’t. For example I was unsure about some aspects of social media and my cousin said, “Well, is your goal to make money or to be popular?” So, do I spend time playing link it up games and get lots of followers and go around chatting all the people up? Or do I buckle down and paint and write and focus on selling my work? Obviously a little of both is needed, but you get what I am saying about focus.

    The other great thing about all of this blogging and writing and creative internet stuff is there is really no “right” way to do it. I have read a lot (SO MANY) people’s opinions on the right ways to do things, but for each expert there will be another expert that tells you to do the opposite. Post more, post less, post every minute….you just have to do what works for you!

    • once again, LC, your “eye” is clear and your voice is too. thank you for your insight and experience. i like the no-rules part of it all, yet it bugs me too. but there is no bar against which i can measure myself other than against myself so that is good. 🙂 xo

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