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Drowning on Dry Land

Sometimes being a writer is a wonderful thing. We get to entertain people. We can make them laugh, cry, feel. We can give them nightmares or inspire them to action. We get to tell stories all day. Being a writer gives one a unique way of looking at the world, and we notice things others are bound to miss.

These are all great things.

But sometimes writing sucks.

Last weekend was one of them.

As many of you know, I recently started blogging my book. I knew going in that this could be a very bad idea.

Writers are terribly needy creatures, you see. In order to get better at our craft, we must have the tough critiques, but when all is said and done, we just want you to like our work. Love it, even.

To take this very personal thing and put it on a blog which sometimes gets comments and readers and sometimes doesn’t was a dangerous move on my part.

I did it anyway.

I told myself I expected nothing. No responses, no increase in readership, and no donations. “If I make two dollars, that will be more than I’ve ever made from my fiction,” I thought. I steeled myself against the possible lack of response.

It didn’t come.

My launch was fabulous. I set an all-time record for comments (which writers who actually have popular blogs would laugh at). I got some very generous donations. And my readership numbers were at an all-time high again. I was elated. It was like Christmas and my birthday all at once, only better.

The second week wasn’t quite as good, but it was still strong.

Disaster didn’t strike until the third week.

By the middle of that day, I had one comment. (Thank god for friends.) I had no donations. My numbers were very low.

I shrugged it off. “It will get better,” I told myself. Well, it didn’t.

There are times I am strong in the face of disappointment. This wasn’t one of those times. I was devastated. I seriously considered deleting my entire blog, and not only my blog–all of my social media accounts as well. I contacted published authors I know and asked them if this whole social media platform thing was really necessary, because it was breaking my heart. And this was not the first time blogging has made me feel that way.

All of the writers I contacted had great things to say, but one in particular resonated with me, and I hope she won’t mind me sharing some of her message.

“I do think it’s a great way to get your name out there and engage with others. I have met some great people, such as yourself! I don’t want to look at blogging or Facebook or any of these sites as just a means of making a book sale. I genuinely like getting to know people, and engaging with them on Facebook. If someone gets to know me and decides they want to read my book, that’s something for me to be grateful for.”

She’s right of course, and I definitely didn’t get into this thinking it was going to make money or sell books.

But what she said struck me in a profound way, because this woman I respect and admire and think of as a friend? I met her through blogging. Most of the other writers I’d contacted in my distress? I knew them from blogging, too.

The most supportive, wonderful people in my life aren’t necessarily the people I went to elementary school or college with. A lot of them I’ve met over the Internet, and whether they reached out to me or I reached out to them, our connection is very strong and very real.

I’m not saying it won’t bother me if this Friday tanks, too. I’m not saying I’ll never feel wounded or rejected through this blog or writing in general again.

But I hope I’ll remember my friend’s words the next time things get tough.

I have met some great people. People like you.

Thanks for being here. Be it one or two or twenty, I appreciate every visit and every comment more than you’ll ever know.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.

36 Comments

  1. TAH

    This is almost the same conversation my CP and I were having last week. My favorite part about the last year of learning about the “writing biz” was finding out how amazingly supportive the online writing community is!

    It’s great to meet people who really want others to succeed! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Holli Moncrieff

    Ha! I just sent you a message about this post.

    While my other writer friends got back to me, you were there for me in real time. I probably would have done something really stupid (deleting this blog comes to mind) if you hadn’t been there.

    Thanks for talking me off the ledge. When you think about supportive writers, please put yourself at the top of the list.

    I’ll never forget your support and will repay it tenfold. <3

    Reply
  3. Chris

    Thanks, Holli. It takes a lot of courage for anyone to put themselves out there like you’re doing. There’s a certain vulnerability inherent in the act of sharing your creations with the world. A good support network can make all the difference.

    Reply
  4. Melissa Marsh

    I completely agree with you! I have met some amazing people online that I never would have met otherwise, and they have been an incredible support group for me through my writing journey.

    And it took a lot of courage for you to put your writing out there like that – kudos to you! 🙂

    Came here via the IWSG. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Chrys Fey

    I am starting to learn that the amazing people I’ve gotten to know through blogging are more of a friend to me than the people I called friends before. Bloggers and other authors are so supportive, helpful, and inspiring to me that I don’t know what I would do without them.

    We’ve just recently “met” but I’m sure we will get to know each other and become friends too. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Melinda O'Neill

    Here’s to new friends too Holli. I couldn’t have survived my recent life events without the support of my online writer friends.

    The other thing to remember – if it’s not this Friday, maybe next…we fail when we quit and there are points award for continuing to show up. And if not this book…you know the drill. Hugs.

    Reply
  7. Elle Rush

    Only the bravest of the brave can be writers because everything we put out there is part of our soul. Keep being brave, Holli. You’ll beat back the self-doubt and get the brass ring in the end. *hug*

    Reply
  8. Zsanett

    It’s funny you’re writing this now, Holli. In my new job I come across a lot of highs and lows. The past few days were definitely in the lows with appointments cancelled, unsuccesful phone calls made, and talking to some rude strangers is also not on my list of favourite things to do.
    I had to have a heartfelt talk with my director who assured me this is normal and there are many more to come! So at this point the only way to go is forward and while I can’t change people who cancel on me or are rude over the phone I can try to change how I react to these situations.
    Easier said than done, I am still working on this myself. But that’s my best advise to you too.

    Reply
  9. Isis Rushdan

    I admire you for putting so much of yourself out there. If we approach social media as only a way to get book sales, we’ll hate it and probably not sell very much. I value the friends I’ve made and the support I’ve found.

    Reply
  10. Donna B. McNicol

    Great post!!! Got to add your blog to my daily read. Like you, I have made a LOT of virtual friends, many of whom I may never meet, but others I have been fortunate to get to know in person. Either way, I count them as friends and their support over the last ten years has been amazing. Now if I could only translate that into book sales…LOL!

    Reply
  11. Angeline Trevena

    We’ve all felt like that and, funnily enough, I’ve blogged about a very similar thing today too. Social media is, in the grand scheme of things, a brand new media, and we’re all just finding our way still. Good luck, and chin up!

    Reply
  12. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. As I’m sure you can guess, this was a very hard post for me to write. For me, this blog was never about book sales–it’s about building community. But sometimes it feels like there’s very little of that going on, too, which is when it gets hard. Thanks for your support and comments. They’re much appreciated.

    Reply
  13. M. J. Joachim

    I’ve met some great people here too. As much as I love comments, sometimes I just have to be satisfied with looking at my page views. If one person reads what I write, that’s good enough for me. And over the course of time, more and more people read different things I’ve written every single day. It all adds up and it’s definitely worth it.

    Reply
  14. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    I didn’t know any writers until I started a blog. Now this is where I come for support.
    People do like to get to know you. I’ve tried to make my blog a fun place, not always revealing as much about myself as I should but I try, and not worried about book sales.
    Welcome to the IWSG, Holli. You are in the right place.

    Reply
  15. L.G. Keltner

    I’ve also met some great people, so I’ll never regret my decision to start blogging. Some days can be downright discouraging for us all. Hang in there! You’re brave to put your work out there, and that bravery is bound to pay off, even if it’s not always in the ways you hope or expect.

    Reply
  16. Patricia Lynne

    I’ve forgotten from time to time that blogging is more than just hit count and comments. Then someone reminds me and I stop fussing over those things and start connecting with people again.

    Reply
  17. writerlysam

    Oh, how I can identify, Hollie:) You’re not alone in feeling this way, trust me. I’ve hosted huge collaborations with Hollywood players, and despite thousands of views, I would get, maybe, a dozen comments. I’m still perplexed by the lack of commenting. I wish I had some helpful answers for you, but, alas, I can only say, don’t give up. There are truly wonderful people out there and you may only meet them online. It’s worth the trials and frustration to establish even a handful of lasting friendships. Hang in there!

    Reply
  18. J.L. Campbell

    I think as long as you’re enjoying what you’re doing, that’s most important. Readership, along with comments, ebbs and flows. There are day when I’ve wondered if my blog is invisible, but I get past that because I know we all get busy with life and all that goes along with it.

    Reply
  19. Charity Bradford

    Amen! The blogging community is so supportive and at times the best thing for a writer.

    Hang in there!

    Reply
  20. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks so much for your comments! You’re an amazing group of people, and I’m hoping that all the blog love and support I receive today carries me through the next tough spot.

    @ Alex: Thank you so much for creating this community. I’m really glad I joined. It is definitely the place for me.

    I will visit everyone’s blogs, if I haven’t already. Thanks for being here! xoxo

    Reply
  21. Crystal

    I love this post for its honesty. I’m right there with you, Holli. Sometimes it can be scary (painful) to put yourself out there, but judging from the comments you’ve received you’ve got a great community backing you! *hugs!*

    Reply
  22. Mystic_Mom

    I hope you stop by and read some poetry soon, and you know I love your reading. I try to keep up with commenting and it sometimes it has to wait for family, critters and life. And sometimes, sadly, I don’t get back to it. Keep going girl. Some of my best friends are ‘online first’ friends – it’s a huge community and many great groups are out there. And some super awesome friends!

    Reply
  23. Rachel Pattinson

    I really admire you for putting yourself out there in the first place, Holli! It takes guts to put yourself out there (and I know I’m too scared to do that at this moment in time). But ever since I’ve started blogging, I’ve met some amazing people, and I love being able to chat to writers all over the world – they really are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever met. Hang in there, you’re doing great :)!

    Reply
  24. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks so much for your comments, everyone. I really appreciate them.

    @ Crystal: Since this post is for the IWSG, it will get a lot more comments than usual. Check the post right before it for an idea of the response I usually get, and you will see why I was upset. 🙂 If it was always (or even mostly) like this, I’d be quite happy.

    @ MM – No worries. I certainly don’t expect the same people to keep commenting…I didn’t have anyone in particular in mind–it was just overall disappointment. I have been to all your blogs and read some poetry, but as poetry isn’t my genre, it’s difficult to know what to say. I believe I did leave a comment, though. If there’s a blog you’d like me to read regularly, please send me a link and I’ll make my presence known. 🙂

    @ Rachel – Thanks so much for the encouragement. I really appreciate it. Sometimes it’s wonderful, and sometimes it’s horrible. Much like writing, I suppose. 🙂

    Reply
  25. Empty Nest Insider

    You’ve definitely come to the right place Holli! I agree that the blogging community is especially supportive. They understand your plight more than most “outsiders.” It’s great to meet you, and I wish you the best of luck!

    Julie

    Reply
  26. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks so much for your kind comment and your follow, Julie. Your support means the world to me. I have met such wonderful people through blogging, to be sure. Are you a member of IWSG as well?

    Welcome to my blog!

    Reply
  27. Michelle Wallace

    The online writing community is one of the most supportive in the entire blogosphere. It doesn’t get better.

    Reply
  28. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks so much, Michelle. I really appreciate your comment and your follow. I hope you feel welcome here, and that you enjoy my blog.

    Reply
  29. Donelle Lacy

    Lady, I know exactly how you feel. Though I haven’t posted chapters of my book on my blog, I’ve posted snippets. I mostly post illustrations.

    Recently I’ve been trying this November sketch challenge (instead of Nano). It’s a personal challenge, but it depends on responses from people on Twitter to help it grow (like rain on seeds). I’ve had some great responses to it and I’ve been all elated, but then I’ve also had some let-downs. The last one made me forego drawing that day altogether. I’ve also been sick and that didn’t help either.

    I’ve been where you are in considering not blogging, not tweeting, not going on Facebook. Why call it social media when it doesn’t feel social? When I feel like I’m just chucking words down a well to have their echo bounce back at me.

    A month or two ago, I stopped blogging for awhile because it just wasn’t fun anymore. Then I came to the same realization you did. That I’ve met great people, in spite of the cold unresponsiveness I get a lot of the time. I started blogging again, trying to reach out. It does take time and it doesn’t always feel like it pays off, but those people make it worth it. And it becomes fun if you think of it in that light.

    I’m going to follow you because I think it’d be great to get to know you. If I don’t always comment, it’s probably because life got busy, but you’re on my blogroll. ^_^

    Reply
  30. Holli Moncrieff

    Aw, thanks so much Donelle. Your message made my day (the supportive part, not that you’ve been going through the same heartache).

    It’s really hard to keep putting yourself out there like this, isn’t it? We just have to keep focused on what we really want for ourselves and in the end realize it’s not about the individual days and posts but the overall big picture. It’s so hard to keep this in mind when things go sour, though.

    I will do my best to support you in kind and will also follow you and add you to my blog roll. I think you’re a talented person who deserves to be cheered! If you’re ever having a tough day again, please reach out to me and I’ll be there. It doesn’t have to wait for the first Wednesday of the month.

    Sorry to hear about your health. I’ve been there, too.

    Reply
  31. Suzanne Sapsed

    Hi Holly, Coming late to the party I think everything has been said 🙂 I’ve been blogging for 7-8 years now and for a long time I never worried if I never got comments, I posted as a way for family and friends far and wide to keep up with my ever-eventful life! Then I joined the A-Z, my followers went up from 6 to 54, and suddenly I was checking every day for comments! It’s been a bit of a mixed blessing, I love to know that more people are looking at my blog, but hate that I’ve become a bit obsessed with stats and comments!
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe
    xx

    Reply
  32. Holli Moncrieff

    Hi Suzanne! Thanks for visiting my blog–I really appreciate it!

    I have a friend who actually disabled her comments for a long time because of that. She found she was caring too much about it and it was controlling her to an extent. Even when she enabled them again, she was able to keep the perspective she’d gained by not having them for awhile.

    I don’t think I would go that far, but it is a potential solutions. And please tell me what this lovely A-Z is! I must know.

    Welcome to my blog. You are welcome here anytime!

    Reply
  33. Michelle D. Argyle

    *HUGS* We’ve talked about this through email already, but I hope you know I do care … but don’t always have time to show it through blog comments and visits as soon as the posts go up. I want to read your book, too, but I’m afraid the blog format doesn’t work well for me … and neither does a chapter every week because my memory is freaking bad that I’d have to go back and read every chapter every single Friday just to catch up again. Still, I do care! And I hope you know I’m rooting for you and patting you on the back with everything you’re doing!

    Reply
  34. Holli Moncrieff

    Hi Michelle,

    Of course I know you care! You are always there for me. I hope you understand this post was a general one about my own insecurity and dependence on external validation to my own folly. It wasn’t meant to single out any one person. Of course everyone gets busy and I don’t expect my blog to be a top priority for anyone but me.

    I knew blogging my book would be a risk, and that not everyone would like the format. But just like not everyone will like the stories I have to tell, I have to keep hoping this project will find its audience, however small.

    Thanks for commenting. And btw – you can find all the chapters under the “Fiction Fridays” turquoise button if you ever need to easily find them all in one place. 🙂

    Reply
  35. Jen Chandler

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog the other day! I appreciate the comment 🙂

    This is a wonderful post. I haven’t done a book release yet or even posted from a book yet, but I did write a series of stories based on a novel concept for the A-Z Challenge last year. It was hard letting my work out there; it was also hard when no one seemed to care.

    BUT, you made the excellent point that the main reason we should be doing all this social media stuff is to meet other writers. I have met TONS of writers, such as yourself, and they have all been wonderful and encouraging! Actually, much more so than any writers I’ve met in real life. Keep going! You’ll make it! And it sounds like you have a fabulous team of writing friends to cheer you on!

    Nice to meet you,
    Jen

    Reply
  36. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks so much, Jen. I’m glad you liked the post and could identify with it. It sucks that we all have to go through this sort of thing, but it seems to be part of the price that comes with sharing our work.

    I’ve also noticed how incredibly supportive the online community is. Maybe it’s because we realize how important comments and shares are? And because we’re already here, so why not support others? No matter the reason, it’s a wonderful thing.

    Thanks for the follow and the comment. Come back any time, and I’ll keep visiting you as well. 🙂

    Reply

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