Am I meant to write?


I think all authors think this at some point in their writing career.  I know I certainly have, but not as much as I have today.  Today left me feeling hollow and sad to the point I’m not sure how to react.  It started two nights ago but today took the cake.

What happened a few nights ago?

I sat in on a very informative seminar on blogging.  What to do, what not to do.  Comes to find out, I’ve been blogging all wrong…at least in the context of collecting followers.  I found out that to be a successful blogger, I should be (1) an expert on a topic that affects millions, (2) driven to share that expertise, (3) willing to work my butt off, (4) capable of dedicating myself to growing a blog without earning anything from it for a few months, and (5) must be a passable writer and write to engage.

I apparently lack #1 and #5, at least according to a blogger who was following me and then left today, but not until after she sent me an e-mail that stabbed at my heart.

According to this person, I am not an expert at anything, my posts are boring and unengaging and I’m selfish when posting on other people’s blogs, especially hers.  She also said my writing was sub-par and perhaps I should consider several courses in creative writing.  I then needed to figure out who I’m writing for because it’s not her.  She withdrew her “follow” from my blog and asked I do the same for hers.  I don’t have the heart to do it because I really like her blog.  I guess I can still read but not post anything.

You know, when I embarked on my adventure into blogging, I wasn’t trying to land 1,000 followers in one day.  I set out to write and hopefully touch some people’s lives and expand my ‘friend’ base.  I wanted to make new friends around the world…talk to other writers who are experiencing all the same hopes and fears, highs and lows, all the doubts and joys of success on the road to publication as I am.  I never wanted to come off as selfish in my posts on other’s blogs.  If I was/am…I’m so sorry.

Please understand.  I’m not looking for pity or sympathy.  This is yet another bump in the road, another form of rejection I have to go through to make me strong and resilient, but her words hurt deeply and made me question myself and my writing, as most rejections do.  This, coupled with what I learned about myself in the seminar the other night, left me feeling like I’m floundering.  I see other bloggers who are just starting out and they’re collecting hundreds of followers.  I look at mine and I sit at below 150 after 2 years of blogging.  Those aren’t good stats.  Maybe I AM blogging wrong.  All I can do, though, is blog from my heart. That’s all I know how to do.

Who do I blog and write for?  I suppose I blog and write for anyone who wants to listen.  Maybe I should refocus and blog about writing and reading young adult fiction. Maybe I should do what the host of the seminar said the other night and take down my blog, go through the process of getting 1,000 followers and then relaunch my blog.  Maybe I shouldn’t blog at all.

My brother told me once I excel at being a loser.  After five hours of soul-searching, all I have to say is “You’re wrong.”

Now I just need to convince myself.

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54 thoughts on “Am I meant to write?

  1. I just read this and my heart squeezed a little for you. I enjoy your blog, I love your comments to mine (always so true and heartfelt) and basically I think you’re awesmome. There, I said it 😀
    What disturbs is not that someone cannot like whatever you or I write, after all think about the fact that once you get many readers, some will complain or not enjoy the words you put on paper, that’s life but there is a way to deal with it. Writing to tell you that you suck is not one of them.
    Hugs!

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    1. Thank you, love. Yeah, it was the direct attack that hurt. I would never think of doing something like that. Then again, I’d never kill or rob anyone either. It takes all kinds to make the world go round.

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  2. With all due respect, the so-called “expert” that gave you this advice is dead wrong. I keep coming back every day because I love how you write and the topics you choose to showcase. Keep at it and always love what you do, regardless of what anyone says. That passion is what appeals to readers. 🙂

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  3. First of all, DON’T quit!! I agree with the others, let this person’s words go. They obviously don’t get you and that’s too bad because from what I’ve seen of your blog, you’re driven and on target with your audience. As for the seminar, I don’t know if I’d pay much attention to them either. Obviously, these are out to make money, so they give you a list of rules to follow and then crack your knuckles if you don’t. You DO have an area of expertise: you’re a writer. Writers write. Sometimes, they help each other out. That’s what I see your blog as, not a business proposition, in fact, that kind of blog turns me off. So hold true to yourself. I love your visits to my blog, and in turn, I LOVE to visit yours. You make me feel welcome and wanted here. I think, ultimately, it’s like writing that book. Some people are gonn love it, some won’t. Pay attention to the ones who care, not the naysayers.

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  4. Your blog hate mail was beyond GRRR level. It violates every proper etiquette rule in person and cyberspace. I can not imagine what you might have said that would offend someone to that extent.

    You are nothing but kind and complimentary in comments on my blog. I don’t visit your blog every day simply because I have to self-discipline myself. But, I visit often. Those I’ve read contain excellent advice, warm words. They’re a reflection of the special person that is “you.”

    My blog is in its infancy. I know it will take time to find my voice and platform. The only restriction I have is to do not harm.

    The out-pouring of support validates your talent and appeal as a blogger. I’m getting to know your voice. That’s what I want to know when I communicate with fellow bloggers. That’s what I want them to get when they visit my site.

    Perhaps the old adage I used to use when I was in sales and got the big N-O would help? I’d walk out of the business and mutter, “I’ve been kicked out of better places than this!” Google Jenny Hansen Cowbell and read her Z is for Zen post today, There is a self-esteem piece featured in her article that rang my cowbell.

    Hang in there, wonderful YOU.

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    1. Thank you, Gloria. I miss some of your blogs, too, and for that I’m sorry. I’ll try to pop by more often.

      I’ll definitely head over to Jenny Hansen and read her Z post. Thanks for the info and thanks for being such a great blogger buddy. Big hugs to you and thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Ouch! Ultimately, I think blogging should be about what interests YOU and what you are passionate about in life. Don’t give up! Writing is a release and a teacher. We learn so much through the process of writing.

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    1. you are so right and since I’m passionate about so many things, I may just be known as the random blogger. 🙂 As long as I’m writing, I’m doing what I love to do. I refuse to fit into another mold, and neither should anyone else. Dr. Seuss once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind, don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.” True words to live by Mr. Geisel.

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  6. This is a hard post to “like,” so I didn’t mark it so. It is, however, a well-written post — well beyond “passable!” So, one person freaked over something you wrote? You know, who cares? There are probably people who didn’t like the Harry Potter series, either. If you want to get rich off a blog, maybe you should take the advice from the seminar. If (as I believe) your primary writing is not this blog, then don’t worry about how many followers you have on WordPress. It doesn’t look like any of your other readers here are going anywhere, especially me.

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  7. someone really told u to not follow part was just rude I think. At least you have rights to choose who you follow and not. Soon as I build up confidence of knowing whats out there, there is a new challenge. lol.

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    1. Yeah, apparently I offended her in some way. Whatever. Today is a new day full of all new kinds of possibilities. Upward and onward. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the follow! Loving your blog, too. Great stuff. Awesome inspiration.

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      1. oh wow. really? thanks a lot for your words. will keep in touch.Seems interesting to me what you write about. have a busy job, but i do make time to read a lot here. wud read more of ur stuff later. bye for now.

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  8. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog (thanks for stopping by mine, by the way!), and it seems very lovely to me. One point of view does not a majority make. 🙂

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  9. I read your blogs everyday and like most of them, there is nothing wrong with your writing or your subject matter or the manner in which you present it.
    I recently published my first book ever, its a short epub novella, after uploading I found a critical error in format which needed changed, I changed it within the first 24 hours, but the system I was uploading to didn’t publish the changes even though the preview showed them in place. So I had to unpublish and then republish, it was horrible! Then some nasty person made some very disparaging remarks as a review of my book, even went so far as to admit he hadn’t actually read the entire book, and that he probably won’t because he doesn’t feel its worth his time. I reported the review as abusive and inappropriate, but the publishing company is refusing to remove the review. So there sits a perfectly good book with a very damaging review.
    I truly know how you feel. Please don’t stop writing just because of one nasty person. You have much to offer.

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    1. Oh, Katrina, my heart aches for you. This is awful. Don’t you wish you had a magic eraser and could wipe it away? What you should do is get a few people you know to read the book and leave their feedback. I know that all reviews aren’t going to be good but there’s no room for rudeness or nastiness. Good luck to you. I’m sure others will come along and leave great reviews, leaving this one behind in the dust. ((hugs))

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  10. OMG that’s outrageous!!!!! I am so angry that someone made you feel like that!!!!!!! 😦

    I LOVE your blog, and ok, perhaps I dont comment as much as I should, but I always enjoy reading it 🙂

    Please don’t listen to one persons opinion, this is your blog and if people don’t want to read it then just wave bye bye to them.

    I’ve only been blogging daily since January, but, I never started with the idea of attracting lots of followers, the ones I have now are great, I love receiving their comments and I’d rather have a few that comment on a regular basis than hundreds who don’t bother, if that makes sense? Lol

    By the way….I think I fail miserably at all 5 of those points lol

    Do what is right for YOU honey, you’ll never please everyone 😉

    Xx

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    1. Aww, Vikki, thanks. I love your blog, too. I’m with you. I’d rather have 20 followers that I connect with and love talking to than 30,000 who I can’t see their faces, know their ups and downs. I don’t want numbers…I want people. You’re a gem. I hope you stick around for a long time.

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  11. You say you dont want sympathy or pity, good, you don’t need it!!

    You can really write Jen and there is no one writer who is loved by all, even Jk Rowling has people who don’t like her writing!! The fact is that you’ve got to just write for you and know that there are ALOT of people who do enjoy your writing. This person, I could come up with several other names for her but I won’t, is just trying to make herself feel more important than she is with these comments. Anyone who has read any of your manuscripts or any of your blog posts knows that you can write.

    I find all of your posts engaging and interesting, they always make me think, the titles always make me read on and most importantly you inspire me to write. After reading your blog I always want to go away and write. Personally I think the key to a good writer is someone who can inspire others with their writing, no matter on what scale.

    You deffinetly do that, therefore you are deffinetly a good writer.

    Don’t listen to the haters Jen, we’ve all got to have them, but in the end they’re just a distant, meaningless hum in the background!!

    Keep writing!!
    xxxxx

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    1. Thank you, Hannah, my sweet cheerleader, who’ll be doing a week’s stint at Elle magazine!!!!! Big shout out for you. You are amazing. (you should all check out this stylin’ young writer with big dreams of fashion and writing.) You’re going to go far, love. Thanks for having my back. (I also liked your “distant meaningless hum in the background” line. Nice.)

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  12. Dear Jen, what a nasty, spiteful, cruel woman! What she has done is quite out of order. You mustn’t let it get to you. There ARE nasty people in the world who somehow feed their own egos by attacking others. I wonder what brought this on? Is she jealous? Just resentful of other writers? Like you, I would have been deeply hurt by her comments, but honestly she isn’t worth the pain – I know that’s easier to say than to act on. However, by sharing the experience you have helped to draw the sting. We’re all on your side! As for the seminar, it sounds to me a very blinkered approach. If one were the world expert on, say, ingrowing toenails, it might be an appropriate formula. All the sufferers in the world would flock to your blog. But that’s all it is: a formula. Like those guides for would-be writers which set out a formula for writing the next bestseller. Writing is an individual, idiosyncratic, creative process and a writer’s blog cannot be dictated by formula. It must and should be a reflection of that writer’s own thoughts and experience. So put aside these so-called “rules” just as you set aside the horrible attack, and let your OWN voice grow all the stronger. Much love, Ann

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    1. Thank you, Ann. After the initial shock and pain wore off and I vented, I was okay. You’re right. People that do these sorts of things are not worth the pain. It’s trying to remind myself of that when I’m going through it. By the way, I loved your newsletter for this month. The pictures were glorious. Scotland is definitely on my bucket list of places to go before I croak. 🙂

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  13. Based on the seminar, I think I lack all 5 points to being a successful blogger, so please don’t think you’re the only one! That other blogger sounds a bit harsh. I mean, by all means, provide some constructive feedback, but to ask someone to unfollow her blog? What gives her the right to tell you who to follow? that statement made my hackles rise.

    Sure, we all blog for ourselves, but as writers, we are also establishing a platform. I suppose to achieve that, we have to decide on a target audience, and to deliver all posts towards that audience. As a crime writer, I try to post information I gathered through research for my books. However, I also interview non-crime writers and books on my blog … is that the wrong thing to do? In my opinion, if it introduces my readers to a new writer they might like, or to a new book/genre they may enjoy reading, then the answer is NO.

    Some people also claim that a writer’s blog should be targeted at readers, and hence not contain any “how to” posts on writing. But as a reader, I would personally like to find out about my favourite writer’s creative process, so again I think this is a load of bull.

    End of the day, it is your blog, it is your brand, and you are free to create whatever image you would like.

    Please do not get disheartened by one thoughtless e-mail. You need to prove to them and to yourself that you are meant to write!

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    1. Maybe you could write a crime novel about a serial killing blogger who stalks out and kills other bloggers. 🙂 Hey, I can’t help the way my mind thinks.

      Thank your for your words of wisdom and I will try not to be disheartened when rejection comes my way again. It is just an opinion, and not one I wish to adopt as my own.

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  14. Yeah, I’m kinda with Jennifer. When the email notification for the post came through, it did somewhat madden me. If you’re uninterested in what a blogger has to say then you find another blog to follow. But to email you and tell you as such, and even ask you to unfollow them, is nothing short of poison.
    Each person who blogs has to find their own stride, Jen. They have to reach the place where they understand what their aims/goals are, who they want their target audience to be (if you want to be that specific)–but on top of both of those, they have to find what is pertinent to themselves, what *they* are interested in, otherwise their blog post will fall flat. Some people successfully blog about anything and everything. Others successfully blog about one specific topic. My own blog has altered over the 18 months I’ve been blogging for. It’s gone from blogging about my writing (experience, musings, rants & rambles), to my publishing experience, to my published works, and now people sometimes even get to learn a little more about me. I haven’t, myself, found a specific formula that works the best. I just keep trying. But you’ve always got to stay true to yourself in the meantime–otherwise, folk won’t get to know the real you, and thus will struggle to know if you’re someone they want to follow.
    Don’t over-think this spiteful person’s comments, Jen. Just be yourself. 🙂

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    1. The e-mail is what bothered me the most. To think someone would take the time to spew venom personally was very, very painful, especially when all I did was make a comment about my husband doing the same thing as someone she wrote about on her blog. I guess connecting on an “I understand exactly how you feel” basis is being ‘selfish’.

      My blog is always evolving because I’m always evolving. I’m trying to find who I am, too. I lost her along the way because I listened to too many people. Thanks for sticking with this whack-a-doodle (don’t you just love Penny’s description of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory) while I get it all sorted out. It will definitely be a bumpy ride, but like a wooden roller coaster, the bumps and sharp turns will make you laugh, cry, scream and when it’s all over, either make you want to do it all over again, or puke. 🙂 Hope you’re not a puker. I really do have enough to clean up living with three guys. LOL!

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  15. I am so sorry you had such a negative reaction! If it’s any consolation, I read just one of your posts (referred by someone else) and decided to follow you, so you must be doing something right and pleasing some people. Maybe you can do 2 blogs – one the ‘prescribed’ marketing one, aimed at the correct audience to drive up sales bladiblah- and one for your own heart. Although I just read a writer’s analysis of whether Twitter and blogging had really increased her sales and the conclusion was: not really. But it had provided her with some really valuable connections and friendships.

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  16. Wow, those are some harsh words that person threw at you. I can understand why it would get you down.

    All I can say is keep your chin up. We love your posts and even though I’ve only recently started following you, I’ve found them to be interesting and enlightening.

    You can always try re-focusing to a more YA oriented blog; but ultimately you have to make yourself happy. You won’t ever please everyone, but you have to find satisfaction and conviction in what you do, others be damned.

    Good luck! and don’t pay attention to the haters! 🙂

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    1. 🙂 Chin is up and looking for ways to refocus. It’s just I’m an all-over-the-place kind of person. That’s why my posts are so random. I don’t like being in a cookie-cutter sort of mold. That’s not the real me. All I want to do is write, and write I shall…with conviction…others be damned! (I call that line. It’s perfect for a character in a new story I’m working on) 🙂

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  17. I have to agree with everyone else – ultimately your blog is your machine, and you shouldn’t let one person get you down, just because your way of writing doesn’t fit their little and probably narrow-minded world. You have a great blog, and the speed at which you gain followers really has nothing to do with the quality of your blogging, I don’t think. I have come across some blogs which have hundreds, sometimes close to thousands of followers. And when you look at their comments sections? Nothing. Zilch. No comments at all, no real connection between the readers and writers, and if there are comments by the readers, the writers don’t seem to respond to them, only further cementing that horrid, lifeless, robotic or business like feel to their blogs. I’d rather a blog with less readers but a real, human voice behind it, than one of those formulaic, boring machine-like blogs any day! 🙂
    As everybody else has said, your posts are honest and funny, interesting, and most importantly, they’re you! As long as you stick to that, you will always have a loyal base of readers, and you will continue to enjoy it yourself. 🙂
    As they say, “haters gonna hate!” 😛

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    1. (((hugs)))). Thank you so much for your encouragement and kind words. You’re right about some of the big blogs being cold with no interaction. That’s not what I want. I just want to be me and connect with as many people as I can. I’ve learned a lot about myself from this experience and it furthers my belief that everything happens for a reason. Yesterday the words hurt so much that I believed I was a failure. Today, I’m surrounded by love and support, a reminder I’m not a failure but someone who has something to offer. So what if I only touch and connect with a couple of hundred people. That’s more than I would have touched without blogging. Not to mention my peeps are the most amazing anywhere. We’re always there to pump each other up and that’s what this blogging thing is all about. Making friends. You guys rock my world. 🙂 Thanks for being there.

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      1. Not a problem, and I’m glad you’re feeling much more positive about it all today! As you say, it all happens for a reason, but at the end of the day it’s hard to beat the feeling of making such strong connections within the blogging community, people who are positive and encouraging, and don’t go around looking for negative things to say about other people. You’re great at what you do, and people enjoy what you do! Simple as that! 🙂

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  18. I discovered your blog very recently, and after reading just two posts, I knew I had to follow you. I think that every writer has their own way of doing things, and if you change how you write and what you write about for anybody other than yourself, you lose your integrity as a writer. And as a person, I think, because writing seems to be a part of who you are.
    Your posts aren’t boring. They aren’t unengaging. They’re honest, and funny, and I find myself smiling and nodding at the end of most of them. And judging from the responses you get, I’m pretty sure a lot of your readers feel the same way. 🙂

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  19. First of all…. let me calm myself down by saying I LOOOOOOVVVEE the peach color scheme… soothing and easy to read. Ahhhhh. It is making me feel better already… which is good, because I read this in email and got HOPPING MAD!

    I was just short of cussing.

    Don’t listen to people. You are fine. People are reading your posts, and you have the 21,000+ reads to prove it. Maybe your blog started slow, but you are getting momentum now. Why fret over sucess?

    It’s all good. Remember that. Nomatter what happens, it’s all good.

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. You are always a beacon of hope to me. LIke I said, I was blindsided by this. I’m better now. Just trying to find ways to reinvent myself and to stay humble and true while developing skin thicker than a rhino’s.

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    2. I agree with Jen.

      Plus people can choose what they want to get out of reading a blog. You should not be catering to the whims of someone else nor should they have sent a nasty gram. That is one person out of many.

      Personally I blog because I love writing, and it does not matter if I have 1 follower or 20. Half the fun is just getting my words and experiences out there.

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  20. I agree with Mary Ellen. I wouldn’t be following your blog if I didn’t enjoy your writing style, your advice and your voice. I guess what you need to do is decide what you want to get out of your blog and whether you are achieving those goals. If you enjoy writing your blog, enjoy the majority of the people you’ve connected with and who are following you, then I wouldn’t worry about the one person who doesn’t appreciate you. 🙂

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    1. I DO love what I’m doing and I love my regular followers. You guys are awesome in every way and I love your blogs and the friendships we’ve made. My problem is I’m one of those that wants to please everyone, and while I know it’s impossible, it’s me. I hate it down to my core if I think for one minute something I’ve done has hurt, angered or saddened someone else. Leftover thinking from my youth, I suppose. I’m transitioning.. It’s a process. I’m just glad I’ve teamed up with a great group of people that’s willing to go on the journey with me. Thank you.

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  21. The thing about blogging is that you have to do it for yourself. Sure, you want to find your “audience” as they say, but if you are only blogging to make other people happy, what’s the point? I’ve been blogging for two years, but I don’t have a big following either. There is always someone who won’t like you for some reason. Don’t let it get you down. Blogging is a release of stress and the chance to share ideas with others. If they don’t like your blog, they don’t have to read it. Now if you want to try and rethink your blog in some way, that is up to you. But don’t quit just because someone got their panties in a twist.

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    1. Thank you, Mary Ellen, and you are right. I think it was the personal e-mail that got to me the most. I wasn’t expecting it and it blindsided me. I felt my skin get two inches thicker…after I released my stress to the universe. Rejection is a good thing, once you wipe the tears and self-pity off your shoulders. 🙂

      Like

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