27 January, 2012

January Challenge - Day 27

I hope you're following along with TinaJeanKrista, and Kat. If anyone else wants to play, just let me know and I'll stick you on the 30 Day Challenge blog roll. :) My list (with links to each post so far) is here.

It's been twenty seven days, and I haven't missed a one. Been a bit late a couple of times (frankly, I've been fighting a crappy-ass headache and cold and have been going to bed much earlier, which screws up my evening routine, so I've written a couple of posts in the morning instead of the night before, but I still think that's 'on time'. Right?) but have not missed a single day, or a single post.

Why, then, am I doing this, this crazy, self-absorbed 30 day challenge?

For a few rather specific reasons, most of which involve my introversion.

To start, I'm trying to decide how I will approach social media in the future. I've pretty much abandoned Facebook because it was getting too personal, too invasive, and, frankly, too nasty. Bad words and bad attitudes seem to breed there like lice on a gradeschooler's head. And I know about that, because we fostered three kids back in 2007 and I have HORROR stories about the nasty things.

The lice, not the kids. The kids were pretty much awesome.

Anyway, Facebook was not a good fit for me (not only the negativity, but the time suck), and I don't think Twitter is either. I'm not clever enough for Twitter (nor do I have anywhere to tweet from other than my desktop puter which kind of defeats the purpose, I think) and I just don't get it. I've tried - and am, kinda, still trying - but... Damn. Most of the stuff in my feed I simply do. not. care. about. I don't. I try, but I don't. I pretty much consistently like Wil Wheaton's tweets, and TheBloggess as well as a few others, but I really don't give a flippity do about politics (the one reasonably-minded candidate I did like dropped out already so this fall's choices will once again be shitty and shittier. Yay for the USA! Again.) I don't follow sports. I don't care for the seemingly endless marketing and promotion from fellow writers (Good God, do NOT let me do that shit when M sells), and, well, I don't feel like I fit in. Re: I am not clever especially not in 140 characters or whatever.

So that leaves Google+ and - in theory - blogging.

G+ is all right, so far, but I'm really not all that involved. I read my friends' posts, usually, and it's certainly a lot more adult and mature than Facebook, but it doesn't have any urgency or zing, either. And most of my friends aren't there. So, shit, I dunno. Even the one game I played, Triple Town, has fizzled for me since they 'improved' it.

That leaves the blog. I was kinda getting into this blogging every day thing until my darling husband asked me night before last why I was bothering because 'isn't blogging dead?'.

Oh, gee, thanks, honey. I'm trying to get back into a habit of communicating with the outside world, so let's just kick it in the knee and watch it twitch.

For those of you who don't already know this, I am damn near a hermit. A stay at home wife/mom/writer/quilter who generally considers it an exciting day if I go to the grocery store and Target on the same day.

I'm not exaggerating much.

Anyway, I am shy, okay? Introverted. I don't like noise, don't like crowds, don't like unfamiliar places and events and hullabaloo. I can backspace when I type online, make little tweaks, not stick my foot in my proverbial mouth every 28 seconds. Sure, sure, once I know someone and feel comfortable around them, you can't shut me up - just ask people who actually know me - but, mostly, I'm quiet. Silent. Blogging is okay with that, most social media is not. The demand (real or perceived) by various social media outlets is to post frequently, comment often, and share, share, SHARE!! I'm not good at that, unless of course it's on my own terms.

And let me assure you all here and now that despite the open, genial, conversational tone of this blog and most of my online interactions, I don't share as much as folks might believe. 

I don't talk about my family other than in the most general of terms. I don't talk about Bill's job. I don't talk about my job. I don't talk about our house or where we live or what problems are making us lose sleep this week. I don't talk about health issues (other than my own safe ones - re: allergies and rosacea) and I don't talk about personality conflicts and troubles that erupt in my life. I do have them, btw, just like everyone else.

That shit's private. My goofy pets, a small fraction of my sewing projects, and some of the stupid messes I find myself in are acceptable blogging fodder, at least for me. They're also boring as hell, surely, which is another reason I accepted this challenge.

It's dragging me out of my comfort zone, at least a little.

As an introvert, the exquisite horror and shame of posting my own freaking picture, several times, was almost debilitating. Some times my hands shook as I hit 'publish' and I can say with absolute certainty that I never, ever would have uploaded any of them if they had not been demanded by the schedule. Shudder.

It wasn't just the pictures, but other things as well. This challenge nudged me into writing about things, even obliquely, that I tend to avoid. But I bit the bullet and only turned away from posts that might hurt people I care about. If it hurt me, eh, suck it up, Tam.

Another aspect of this challenge was the daily nature of it. A big part of me wants to keep a regular interaction with my online friends, far flung family (most of whom are on Facebook. Sigh. Miss you guys!!) and the fans. 

Yes, the fans. 

I love my fans - well, all but the crazy stalker ones who worry me - and I really do enjoy interacting with you all. I do my best to answer every fan email that comes in - including the 'you and your writing and characters and stories suck donkey balls dipped in dog shit!' letters.  I figure, if someone who's read the Dubric books takes the time to write to me, I shall make the time to respond. Heck, even the obvious crackpots who write their emails in crayon (and, yes, I've had several of those) get a thank you for taking the time to contact me note. 

I have been taking - for me at least - huge steps to get back into writing for publication again. I've talked and emailed back and forth with my agent more this past year than during the whole 'Dubric Books Publication Saga'. I want to work again and, perhaps more importantly, my brain wants to work again. It's all healed up and raring to go out there and tell stories.

This blog challenge is part of that, my regular interaction with the story telling part of my brain, and the people who read it. I will finish two novels this year, maybe three next year. It's all about habits, and this blog is a habit, too. Blog something, even just a short note, every day for a month. Read something. Write something.

They say it takes a month to set a habit into place. For me, that was the main purpose of this challenge and I think I've managed it fairly well.

It's almost over though, but I intend to keep it going through February. I will admit that the topics and focus will surely be different and will not include photographs of me. Enough of them have been inflicted upon the interwebs already. ;)

Does anyone have any comments - good or bad - about this blog challenge and how it's played out here on TamboWrites?


JamesO said...

Struggling with the shyness myself, I've found your month of postings very encouraging. Also a bit daunting as I realise embracing the whole social networking thing is something I need to do if I am to sell my books.

I can't be doing with facebook either - not from any bad experience particularly, more that I just can't be bothered putting in the effort to learn how to use it properly. In that respect Twitter's much easier, but it can be an even bigger timesink. And I agree with you about the blatant self-promotion that seems to be growing and growing there. I suspect there's going to be a big backlash against it, if it hasn't started already.

As for blogging being dead, well I don't think it is, really. It's true that the only way to build a blog audience and keep them is to post something, anything, every day. Alas, I started writing a blog post on January 17, got distracted, and haven't finished it yet. The previous one was posted on Christmas Eve. Perhaps I should have taken this challenge too.

Jean said...

I found the challenge...challenging. And more enjoyable (overall) than I thought I would at first. I'm glad I decided to do it.

I have the rest of the posts scheduled but may tweak them a little before they hit the pixels, but they're acceptable enough to go out at this point.

I'd like to find a "365 Days of Posting Ideas" to flow with somewhere. Maybe that would be something to work on as a personal project. I can't be the only person who would appreciate something like that.

Maripat said...

I've enjoyed reading these posts, Tammy.

I've heard blogging is dead too but you know...maybe the reason why folks say that is because too many folks started blogging just for connecting to potential readers or consumers. And I have to admit, I had waaaay too many blogs to follow. This last year I had to cut back or I'd go crazy trying to keep up. Now I read read blogs from folks that I enjoy. People that I could imagine if we'd met in real life I'd click with. Does that make sense?

Noooo...I'm not stalking you, Tammy. Really. I swear.

Oh Jean, I think that would be a cool idea about the whole 365 ideas. I've thought of doing a photo one.

Linda said...

Read in interesting article in Time about introversion. There's a difference between being shy and being introverted. You're introverted and that's not a bad thing. So embrace your introverted nature. It's what lets you do your work.

On the other hand, you need to come out and play with the other kids sometimes. And you do that, which is why, technically, you're not shy.

I'm smack dab in the middle. Introverted in some ways and extroverted in others. Mainly, I get crazy if my "time with people" gets out of balance. If I get too much, I tend to go hide for a while. If I get too little, I tend to overcompensate and overschedule myself with activities that involve other people.

I've been enjoying your posts, Tammy, and I hope you won't stop writing, even if you choose a less frequent schedule.

I sincerely hope blogs aren't dead. I'm hoping to get back to mine, and start a foodie blog, after I'm done with my crazy job. February 15 is my official last day.

Kat BM said...

I don't think Blogging is dead, but I do think it's changed from how it used to be. I think it boils down to WHY you do the blog. Are you doing it to promote your work? Or are you doing to to have a connection, however tenuous with other people? I've been blogging pretty regularly ( 3 times a week is my goal right now) and I have 30 odd regular followers and I hear from customers that they glance at it from time to time. So I do use it as a way to get my jewelry out there. But it's really more about connection for me. I can slow down and explain why I do something the way I do on a piece of jewelry, and then turn around and chat about a book I just read that has nothing to do about jewelry. I honestly enjoy blogging most of the time. And if I need a break I take one ( I took 2 weeks off turning the umber extra special stressful holiday season this year) Even if it was the best marketing tool ever ( which it's not) if I didn't enjoy it on some level I wouldn't do it. So that's really the question Tammy... do you enjoy it on some level?

EJ said...

You are so brave. It was ultimately the multiple self portraits that turned me away from this challenge. That, and I was going to be away for several days, and it didn't occur to metro do them ahead and schedule them.