It may turn out I suck at blogging.
Here’s something we authors are told when we set up a blog/website/information hub like this: blog regularly, on a schedule, at least once a week. The idea is to become a dependable online destination, because this adds value to the website and encourages people to check it regularly and join the mailing list, which is important because regular visitors and especially mailing lists are important.
Mailing lists are important because a list is comprised of a bunch of people I can tell about new releases and sales, and if you’re a part of my mailing list you already know I have yet to tell you about either a new release or a sale, because—to reiterate today’s thesis—I’m bad at this.
All right, to be slightly kinder to myself, it has really only been a couple of weeks since my last blog post, I also happen to have a good excuse or two why I haven’t blogged, such as my nearly perishing in a bicycle accident last week (on what was also my birthday) but that isn’t the reason, which is why this will not be the last time I skip a week.
Aside: that thing about the bicycle is mostly true, except for the nearly dying, which was added for dramatic effect.
If you don’t already know this, I have a day job, and I bike to and from that day job (It’s just shy of 20 miles each way) on a route that cuts through downtown Boston.
My front tire got caught in an embedded trolley track, because I had to avoid an SUV driven by someone who doesn’t understand traffic law and right-of-way, but fortunately did know where the SUV’s brakes were when I landed on the pavement in front of her. I came out of it with a severely sprained thumb, road rash on my elbow, and what I’m nearly positive is a fractured rib. But it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t bike the remaining four miles to my destination. Oh, and it did happen on my birthday.
There’s a decent chance the reason for gaps in my blog record is that I’m unreasonably motivated by failure.
I think on some fundamental level, in order to succeed as an author, every one of us has to develop a certain kind of oh yeah? I’ll show you! attitude about our writing, because rejection is a powerful de-motivator and this industry is full of rejection. Motivation to write comes in all different shapes and sizes, one of which is blogging, both because it’s a great for a writer to keep sharp and because of the above blogging+readers+mailing list = success!!! equation.
What’s interesting is that it appears that while failure is motivating, lack of it is somehow de-motivating.
I had a very good week last week,—notwithstanding the fractured rib. (In brief: The Spaceship Next Door reached #23 overall on Amazon due to a one-day sale, and it’s still doing quite well indeed at full price.) When this kind of thing happens, I tend to disappear completely. I neglect to do the things—blogging, tweeting, interacting on my author page, instagramming—that we authors are always told to do, because I just want to watch my sales all day long.
I know even as I’m doing this that I should keep writing and social media-ing, but telling myself this doesn’t help at all. It’s some weird combination of fascinated paralysis and don’t talk about the no-hitter superstition. Fortunately, for better or worse, it doesn’t last.
There’s a way forward, and I know because I’ve been through this before. A lot of the time, my sales drop to their original levels, which is devastating and sometimes seems inevitable, but is also incredibly motivating.
I’m past the point where that typically happens though (JINX!), so I may have to go with the thing that works nearly as well, which is to redefine failure.
I expect sometime in the next week or two I’ll look at my sales numbers, and instead of saying to myself (as I have been every day for two weeks) holy shit holy shit holy shit I will say something like I can’t believe this number, which is more than I made in any single day before mid-May, refuses to go any higher.
The bad news is, I’ll be complaining about a decently large number, which means by my own standards I’ll have become insufferably annoying. Please accept my apologies in advance.
The good news, I’ll end up in a weird zone of almost entirely artificial personal discontent.
And then I’ll start blogging again.
Here is your completely unironic opportunity to Join my mailing list!