Monday, July 25, 2011

To post or not to post

So I had this whole post ready to go for today, and at the last minute, I pulled it.

It's about where I am in the submissions process and my thoughts and concerns--mostly my feelings of self-doubt and second-guessing. But then I got to thinking about all the things we're advised not to put "out there." How we might hurt our prospects through a careless online post.

That makes me sad.

All through this process, you guys have been my support network. Through development, writing, querying, revisions... It's difficult for nonwriters to understand what this path is like--the ups and downs--and it can be very isolating.

It's hard for me to believe that what I put in this little space can truly harm my career. First, I don't write inflammatory posts. Second, even when I do write posts that are borderline rants (have I ever done that?), I temper them with enough rhetoric to make them palatable to any reader.

So I'm frustrated.

We have such a great little writer-friend support circle, one that would be difficult (impossible?) to create were it not for this medium, and now I can't use it.

True confession: It's also hard for me to believe anyone is out there searching for me right now or interested in what I'm posting online at this point. My ego is not that inflated.

One of our bloggie buddies at times will email her posts to some of us to get our responses before she puts them up. As in, "Is this offensive?" or "Am I going to lose all my followers if I put this out there?" I always err on the side of caution. She always posts them anyway.

Then we joke that if this were American Idol (which I don't watch), she'd be Simon and I'd be Paula... I don't think she's lost a follower yet.

What do you guys think? Should we self-censor our posts? Should we put whatever we're feeling out there or hold back the borderline stuff? Is censoring defeating the purpose of what we're even doing here?

I don't know. I'm not naming names. I'm not even saying anything bad about where I am--I'm not in a bad place! I'm just feeling self-doubtish. And I'm sure it's provoked by this move...

So. Terrible about what happened in Norway, yes?

Til Thursday, I'm just over here playing Hamlet. <3


35 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

I'm not an expert on what we should or shouldn't blog about, but I am an advocate of posting what you'd like to. No one should have to censor their feelings, but I understand the delimma of not wanting to offend anyone. It's a tough decision. Good luck with the submissions. I enjoy reading how things are going for others.

Laura Pauling said...

Personally, I don't blog about where I am in the submission process. I don't mind when others do. I save those posts for emails to close writer friends. I know other writers appreciate it, but I don't agree with authors posting their laments about how their book is not doing well or their publishers didn't offer enough support or their discouragement about not having a book deal yet. But that's just me. I don't stop following them. I don't find if offensive. But for the most part, I've read it's not really a good idea.

But, I think to post it in a way to educate readers and not for self serving reasons is totally different!

LTM said...

@Laura--that's kind of where I landed. While the post was ultimately about second-guessing oneself (prompted I'm sure by our recent major relocation), my waffling is most likely best discussed with Agent. ;p Thanks, girl~

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love reading those posts about where a writer is in the process and about their successes and failures (because it's inspiring. I don't feel so alone). However, I'll never blog about it because I know it's frowned upon. I might tell you I'm about to query, but I probably won't do that anymore. I'll save it for my close writer friends. :D

Lydia K said...

I really appreciate hearing the real stories about submission, but I think (personally) they should be done more anonymously. The publishing company has a stake in how your present yourself and how professional you are going to be. I wouldn't personally risk doing any rants to risk that.

That being said, I'm all for ranting in private with other writers going through the same process, or on a locked forum. You have to get out your frustrations somewhere!

Old Kitty said...

I say it's your blog and if the post is well written with a theme and a purpose, then why not? So long as you know the boundaries and are aware that what you post is in a public forum and the internet is a very public place, easily navigable and accessible.

Writing is a very isolating experience and finding like-minded people who are able to emphathise and give support is such a lifeline. I find email exchanges with a few trusted friends/CPs a more personal and private way to vent!

Good luck! take care
x

Clarissa Draper said...

I believe you're right, you have to be careful about what you post especially before you are picked up. I think after you're picked up, your publishing company watches you more and will probably ask you to take certain posts off.

Me, I try to keep my opinions low and focus on fact. But, it's my blog and I like to be able to talk about what interests or concerns me.

Perhaps we can set up a little support group on google+ (maybe in a hang-out) where our conversations are private but we can still rant with our close writing/blogging buddies.

Janet Johnson said...

I'm like you, I err on the side of caution. If I really need to rant/vent/expose my inner self, I can usually e-mail/talk to a good friend. (And you can always lament to me privately if you ever need an ear . . . no judgment or wrecking of careers here!). :)

Summer Ross said...

I think sometimes in order to be who we are we have to post things that could potentially have a negative reaction. It doesn't mean we have to word it poorly, or blame someone else, or even curse up a storm. But we can divulge things that are part of what we are going through and who we are becoming. Its natural I think.


(Finally have posts again. I switched to the old editor so I can post. Its a bit tricky, but I think it will work for a while.)

Lady Gwen said...

Ranting could come back to bite you in the butt at some point, so I'd sit on it like you're doing, first. But, nothing wrong with a heart-felt, "This is How I'm Doing, Got Any Advise?" type post...

Sarah said...

Um ... yup, you should self-censor. Editors will google you. They will FIND YOU. And it's awesome that you have such a lovely blog here for them to find and enjoy. Submission can be so so so hard, and believe me, I totally sympathize with wanting to use your blog as a way to get support from this wonderful community we have here ... but I guess that's best done privately, where it won't give away details about how the sub process is going for you, good or not-so-good. Hang in there! I'm right there with you :)

DEZMOND said...

I remember reading somewhere a post from a blogger who had problems after writing certain posts, but I don't remember what it was about. The point is that certain things can hurt your career :)
At the same time, I don't think anything you write Lee, could ruin your publishing opportunities :)

Anita Grace Howard said...

I think your agent would tell you to self-censor. As much as it hurts, you have to ask yourself which is more important to you right now. Self expression through your blog, or self expression through your books. There's a time and place for everything. Right now, your time and place are dedicated to your career. So as hard as it is to bite that tongue, maybe venting w/friends and fam in a private venue will help soothe the ache. And yes. Norway=tragic. 'Nuff said.

Ella said...

I do think we need to we need to be cautious. I almost did it myself today~ A rant type of post; life has been getting in the way and I was frustrated, but I decided not to air my dirty laundry. I am sure my followers are better off :D

Yes, it is terrible~

555 <3 xXx

erica and christy said...

I've had friends who've been able to share their submission stories with me by email, and they're often heartbreaking. I think it's wise to save them until later - when you can look back and laugh. :)

I wish you the absolute best and hope things look WAY up soon!
erica

LTM said...

@Summer--I agree so much. At the same time, I'm always so cautious. But I hate it. I feel like it's the same as with our writing. We'll never be truly great until we let go and become fearless. ... just wait til *after* the contract. *LOL!* :D

@LG--oh, I've never been a ranter. No worries there. It's more just me being a self-doubter, which is more my typical M.O. But I agree w/you a thousand percent~ <3

@AGH--I'm sure she would, which is why I just decided to can it. I can discuss any self doubts with her or with my spouse. Or like Clarissa said--on G+~ :o) <3

Carol Riggs said...

Interesting. Well...I look at it as a very public thing that should be treated as such. If you're emailing other writer friends or chatting at a retreat, you can be more candid. On your blog post? eh...not so much. It sorta depends on HOW you do it. Some "rants" and ventings are more inflammatory than others!

Lynda R Young said...

I tend to err on the side of caution as well. A standard self-doubt post is normal for writers. When I'm self-doubting I usually write a post on how to overcome the self doubts. lol. (There's a few of 'em on my blog hehehe).

The Blonde Duck said...

Fellow writer popping in to say hi! It's so much harder than people realize. Sometimes I get so frustrated because between rejections and queries, it feels like I spend my time chasing a dream that everyone finds ridiculous...

Jen Daiker said...

I was going to say write what you feel but then thought about it. I don't know the rules. I suppose if your personality isn't out to be offensive then you should be fine, then again we'll say things that come off the wrong way unintentionally. Isn't it awful how the line is drawn in the sand but nothing is as it seems?

I save venting for emailing. It helps to have people that I can text, email, or call and SCREAM out my frustrations. It saves face on my blog.

Liz Fichera said...

If it doesn't feel right to you, don't post it. If it's not something you'd want your mother or Aunt Ethel to read, don't post it. Otherwise, everything else is fair game IMO. Friends understand. I think some of the best posts are the ones that feel real.

Patti said...

Like most people who have already commented, I don't usually put up stuff about the querying, submissions, etcs.

But I also know when I read other talk about their experiences, it inspires me. So maybe it's good to share in a limited way or maybe after the fact.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I don't blog about my querying (or other projects) because there is so much up-and-down and I'm-crazy-I-swear and then WOW-EVERYTHING'S-GREAT. I don't want to take my readers on an emotional roller coaster ride - I can save that for my friends and my mom. But I think resonant posts about the journey are always welcome!! It's a fine line.

Elle Strauss said...

When I first went on submission I thought, like with the rest of my journey as a writer, that I would share my experiences so as to help educate others heading in the same direction.

What I found is that the submission process is different for everyone. Some people go on submission for the first time, get picked up in weeks and make a huge sale. Those are the ones we hear about, and it makes it seem normal.

But it's not normal. It's far more common to go out on submission for weeks and months and to get passed on over and over. Then to go out on a second round, and possibly a third, then shelving that book to work on another one.

But who wants to hear about that? Who really wants to hear that, this second scenario is that greater possibly for them? No one.

So if we were to blog about that, it would come off as, I'm a loser/whiner (I mean, I have a book out on submission! Do I know how many people would kill to be in my shoes?)

Until you don't sell.

And yeah, you don't want editors to get the impression that your an author who's out on submission all the time and can't sell.

It's a catch 22. I've decided to keep my submission processes under wraps until I do eventually sell, for these reasons.

However, Natalie Whipple finally laid it out in black and white after being out on submission for a year and a half with no sale, but she still eventually sold a two book deal to Harper. So, who knows. In the end, I think a great book will sell no matter what's on the blog.

Indigo said...

I hate to admit it, but yeah, I have someone read my post before they go. One - I tend to be very outspoken. Two - I worry about offending someone. I think the safest thing to do is give a broad spectrum and cover the good and the bad. Let your readers decide which side of the fence they fall on.

In any case, I'm not used to playing inside the box or well with others (very opinionated). So for me, it truly is work to post anything on my blog, but it does reign in my personality somewhat.(Hugs)Indigo

Caryn Caldwell said...

I totally, completely understand where you're coming from with this. I wanted to put up a million different angsty posts while I was querying, and each time I managed to squash the urge, but it made me feel a little isolated, too. Then I turned to my writer friends and fired off giant, neurotic emails all about how I felt instead. It helped, but it would have been fun to have the support of the entire blogging community.

I think it's hard to choose topics sometimes. If you write about something good, then you're bragging. If you complain about something, then you're whining. It's no-win.

Theresa Milstein said...

I do think it's hard to say just anything without worrying about consequences. When I want to keep some details private, I'l try to write the post in a vague manner.

Usually a few people pick up on it and e-mail me. Those are the ones I share the parts that I couldn't put up for everyone.

LTM said...

@Caryn--I think it can definitely feel that way at times... In this case, I've decided that hanging out and waiting was the best option. Things might change, but I'm glad for now I haven't "gone on the record" with anything. I guess that's another factor. Once we post it, it seems it's hard to take it back~ :o) <3

LTM said...

@Ducky--If you don't think it's ridiculous, then it's not. It's your dream, so hang in there. It'll happen! <3

@Liz--LOL! You're so right--on both accounts. In this case, I'm glad I kept the matter to myself. We'll see how things play out~ <3

Angela Felsted said...

Playing Hamlet. What a great way to put it. We all have self doubt, and I don't think posting about those feelings would hurt you. Not unless you named editors, agents, and other industry professionals that have "made" you feel that way. But then, isn't that just common sense?

Talli Roland said...

I would *love* to rant about negative reviews, how hurtful they are, and how they make me feel like a big pile of gooey runny stinky POO. But I hold back (and instead rant about it in comments!). Ha!

So yes, I think the further along the road you get, the more you self-censor, because you have to protect your 'brand' and you're out in the public now, yanno? It suckith.

M Pax said...

Insecurity and self doubt are normal, and I don't think will earn you a demerit.

If it's something more specific, then it should go less public.

Hugs to you. I believe in you. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

I feel if you're passionate about a subject you should write about it. Posting you passion creates a real, heart felt post. Most of us who surf the blogosphere are not THAT sensitive.

If a follower unfollows that is THEIR loss. Our opinions make us human. Why should anyone conform to what others find offensive.

Leigh, I don't think you could write anything that isn't post worthy...

Pk Hrezo said...

I have wrestled with this myself. I have to remind myself that this is the internet and open to anyone's eyes that wants to look. But I also know that we have to be ourselves and let the real us shine thru. SO many bloggers are out there, and many are unique, creative, inspirational... while others seem like carbon copies of each other.
The blogs I like reading the most (like yours) are the ones who are real people with real dreams, fears, joys, ups and downs. I want to be able to relate. And seeing that others have less than stellar days reminds me we're all human and we're all in this together.
So I say as long as you're not offensive (and I know you never would be) don't censor yourself. Peeps respect you for your honesty and for being real. :)

LTM said...

@PK--You're right about the Internet and it being public (not to mention forever). And while I didn't have anything "rantish" in mind, it would've been out of context for many and premature at best. I'll save my story for later. But hey! Thanks for the props! I also find your thoughts unique, creative, and inspirational! :o) <3