Tuesday, April 27, 2010

THE WRITER'S DILEMMA: To blog or to actually write a book?

A "quilt" based on my book BLUE, created by a middle school student at H.H. Poole Middle School in Stafford, Virginia. I love how each square shares a bit of the polio story or a piece of history.

I have a theory that one reason blogging is so popular is because it represents the fulfillment of our dreams to be published. We toss a few words on the page, move them around a little, add a pic for emphasis, and then, Voila! we click on a button that says PUBLISH POST!

This is heady stuff.  And guess what?!  We don't even have to go through an editor, marketing team, copyeditor, or book designer.  Just like, that with no roadblocks in the way, our words are out there!

Never mind that relatively few people are reading those words.  Never mind that the words do not shake the earth or even make a reader laugh or cry.

It just feels good.  Blogging satisfies a writer's needs to express herself.  And that, my dear imaginary readers, can be dangerous!

Because, in my case anyway, blogging can take an unexpectedly large chunk of time. Usually, it takes the most valuable time in my day - my writing time!  By the time I get that blog post, up my bones are begging to move about.  My brain requests a change of activity.  The clock reminds me of some unavoidable activity that I need get to.

Therefore my work-in-progress does not progress!  Some days it becomes a work-in-stagnation.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about this because blogging wisdom says that regular and frequent posting keeps my imaginary readers coming back.  Publishing wisdom (out there in the for-real publishing world) seems to indicate something similar. 

At least, in the real world of publishing, I do get requests for more books.  I'm not sure anyone has ever begged me for another blog post!

Now that ought to tell me something...

I'm not saying I'm giving up blogging. I'm just saying, don't be surprised if I start posting lots of fabulous middle school book related projects and go back to de-stagnating my work-in-progress.

If they make you laugh or cry or if you beg for more, I'll know I've hit on something.

Another H.H. Poole project based on BLUE.  This one gets me at an emotional level.  Something about those health dept. officials/polio experts arriving at Ann Fay's house.  It doesn't look good for Ann Fay.
I know this scene is depicting the emergency polio hospital in Blue but it also reminds me of a potential scene from Comfort - physical therapists attending polio patients at Warm Springs, GA.


  1. Dear Joyce,
    I am one of your imaginary/real readers and of course totally empathize with your sentiments. Yes, blogging does fulfill the need to be "published"-- at least momentarily--until the next one is due to be written and published!!

  2. Carol, thanks for being real! And reminding me that another post will be due shortly! ; )

  3. I know students often share their tear bottles/descriptions with you. If you have permission to post some of those I think it would be interesting to hear from your readers from that perspective.

  4. Amy, interesting suggestion. This morning I emailed the teacher about that possibility. And I'm even dreaming of adding a tear bottle page ot my blog. Kind of a virtual Kindred Spirit. What do you think of that?

  5. The quilt is fantastic! And you're right blogging is a real time sucker upper.

  6. Shannon, don't you love the stitching in the quilt? Someone did a lot of work.

    I hope writing is going well for you.

  7. I love the smiles on the faces of all the health professionals in the ER.

  8. Yolanda, it always helps if the ER people are smiling!

  9. The best line in this post?
    "At least, in the real world of publishing, I do get requests for more books. I'm not sure anyone has ever begged me for another blog post!"

    How true! And how funny!

    OK, I'm leaving for a little while to get to those unwritten books now...

  10. I know what you mean, jellybean. I can't seem to blog successfully AND write successfully at the same time. I haven't been blogging as regularly as I once did, but I need to and want to.

    And FTR - I enjoy your blog very much - no matter WHAT you post!

  11. Thanks Donna, for liking my blog. Here's hoping for time for you to blog and real write!