Monday, October 25, 2010

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

One of the reasons I started this blog was because I love to talk about writing. Indeed, that's why I first embraced the online world - I missed having a writig community.

I have a couple degress in Creative Writing, and one of the great things about those experiences was the fact that I wasn't alone. Writing is such a solitary endeavor at times, and yet there's a part of me that wants very much to share the process. Not the immediate act, but the sense of the experience itself. It's nice to commune with like minds, with people who understand what you're going through, who've shared the same (or at least similar) experiences.

After I finished my Masters degree, though, that community split up and scattered across the world. I found myself missing that sense of a shared journey. I turned to the online world and found a new community, and I've been grateful ever since. I've met so many wonderful writers and people who are on the same journey. A load shared is a load lightened.

And yet it's so hard to keep up with that community the way I want to. Yes, I'm particularly busy right now, but I'm certainly not the only busy person out there. Many are busier.

There are so many interesting writers and interesting blogs, and yet I struggle to visit many of them as often as I'd like. So what do you do? How do you keep tied into this wonderful community? How do you find time to take it all in?

I mean, my friend Tahereh must have friends lining up around the block, her email account bending and bowing down in the middle under the weight of all those friendly messages and communiques from fellow travellers.

So how do you do it? How does a hermitish fellow keep the conversation alive? How do you make time for everyone?


Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

Also, um, without spending so much time on the internet that I get divorced. I like being married.

Franklin Beaumont said...

I wish I could tell you, but I have the same problem. My writing workload, both on my blog and off, never gives me as much time to read/comment on other writer's blogs as I'd like. And that's without going into the general chaos of life outside of writing.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

You must only do what you can. You must also not agonize over not doing more. This is what I tell myself, and sometimes I listen.

Seriously, I try to stick to my blog schedule, but when I need to set it aside, I do (like this week, for instance - blog haitus! Revision wildness!). Friends understand you don't have unlimited time, and they almost always welcome you back when you have time - and if they don't have wildness of their own. :)

Deb Salisbury said...

I've given up trying to read every blog entry - as much as I would like to. I hit my favorites, plus the ones with the most interesting or useful-looking titles, and cringe a little each time I bypass the rest.

I've gotten to the point where I'm grateful to the folk who post only once a week.

TLH said...

I don't usually feel like I do. Most of the people in real life think I'm neglecting them for my web friends, and probably vice versa. So far they're both tolerating it pretty well.

Ugh... it's hard juggling two lives!


Donna Hole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Hole said...

I don't always either Bryan. Give me some alone time with a computer with any kind of word processing program and I'm in hermite heaven. I'd rather be alone with my imagination than anywhere else in the world.

But not always. I need to talk about the process of writing, share what I've learned, learn from other's experiences and knowledge. I like not feeling alone in my writing universe.

I keep up with the blogs/people that truly interest me. For whatever reason. The rest, I visit as often as I can, or care to.

Personally; I try to visit everyone who comments on my current post. If they left a comment, then I'll make the special effort to visit, even if I have no clue who they are. You made the effort for me, I can at least return the courtesy.

I also try to visit every one of my followers at least twice during the month. That's not as hard as it seems, because many of those who comment at least once in a while are also followers. But if a follower never leaves a comment, or if there is no link back to their personal blog, then I don't feel obliged to make the special effort to track them down. I gotta know where to find you to reciprocate.

There are those rare individuals that I visit and comment on who have never visited my blog. That I know of. That's about me, not them. Something about their consistent posts interests ME, and that is all that matters.

You see for me, this community is much like any other social gathering. Sometimes you want to talk to folks, and sometimes you don't. The draw is that we all share a common interest; writing. The drawback is that not everyone is on the same interest or writing level.

Its like going to a bar; everyone is there to meet people, but not all the agenda's are the same.

You've got to find a balance that works for you in this community Bry.
B/c we're all doing the same thing: balancing work, family, writing, blogging, learning, and socialization; we understand how complicated life gets. Sometimes we have a lot of time for this community, and sometimes we don't.

Well, that's my way; just cuz you asked.


Matthew Rush said...

Tahereh sure is popular isn't she? Probably because she's so awesome.

I don't have an answer though, I do spend a lot of time online networking and blogging, but to be perfectly honest, time spent writing has paid the price for that. It's hard to find a balance.

Tahereh said...

oh, Ink.

i don't even zZzZzZzZzZzZzZzzZzZZZzzz


Douglas Morrison said...

Ive got a strange problem related to yours. Now that I've written my novel, gotten an agent and editing as soon as suggestion pages appear, I'm bored out of my skull.

It doesn't feel the same when I go back to the forums. I feel like I'm intruding. I'm new to the author world, so not many friends in the industry. I'm in this bloody limbo between what I used to do and what may be my future.

My blog is growing, more through twitter than the followers button. I find blogging was more fun when it didn't matter if anyone ever read my blog. Now it's social networking...

I wonder if this "gray area" time is normal?


Adele Richards said...

I'm amazed by how much you do juggle, Ink....considering your work hours at the carrot factory, Nathan's forum and flashing here (!) you have kid(s)?! Wow. I think you can rest on your laurels already! :-)

wanni_wanu said...

Sometimes... sometimes... ya just don't. I haven't been able to stay active in writing groups for a while, but also during that time all the newsletters and updates I'm subscribed to kept dropping into my inbox. With perfectly good intentions I made email folders and kept tucking the emails aside. When my unread mail hit the five hundred mark, I realised catch-up wasn't gonna happen! Crikey, that's just the info that comes to me, so when it comes to the things you strive to go looking for I think it really is one of those things - nogo when there isn't enough time, and full engagement when there is. Everyone's in the same boat though (or should that be, 'everyone's in the same smoke-filled writing pit?') (what a thought! :s) so anyway, yes, it's the constant juggling act of life, and the trick is to accept that sometimes ya balls are just not all in motion. (:O)

Mira said...

Very good topic.

When I first came on-line, I began to make lots of friends and had lots of e-mail buddies. I felt terrible, but once I started full-time school on top of f/t work, I had to let those go. There was just no way I could maintain all of those pen-pal situations. I still feel terrible about it, because although I let people know what was happening, I still sort of disappeared.

In order to avoid that happening again, now I'm being very careful not to start e-mail friendships with folks. I don't have my e-mail on my profile, and I am careful not to take things there.

There's a real loss, because I made great friends through the e-mail exchanges, and it's possible that in the future I might carefully start that up again, but for now, I only interact on the blogs and forum.

For the most part, that works out fairly well, since I can decide when I have time to post. Lately, I'm very busy, so I post less, but that will change and I'll post more.

But I am also holding off on having my own blog for exactly this reason. I think I'd enjoy having a blog, but the possible social pressures feel daunting. Once you have a blog, when folks come to your blog, it's only polite to go to their blog, to develop relationships with them and on it goes.

It's too much - not that I don't enjoy interacting with folks on-line - I love it - but it's just too much to manage with outside responsiblities. There are hundreds of people on-line. So, for now, I don't have a blog.

I don't have an answer, but I completely respect your struggle, Bryan, with three young children, a wife, a demanding job, and all of that. I hope you feel comfortable doing only so much, and letting the rest go.

Also, I know there is alot of pressure on authors to social network, but I continue to sincerely believe that the only really necessary thing to sell a book is to write a very good one. So, social networking, I believe, is more a matter of community and support, but the priority is putting time into writing.

Those are my 18 cents, for what it's worth. :)