I have fallen down the rabbit hole again. Fallen, actually, is rather off the point. Its more like I dug myself down, lower, lower each day. Finding new spots to rest along the way down and enjoying the descent. Looking at my surroundings and thinking "Well isn't this nice?" and plotting my next move as I slid down, down, down. So now I'm here. I'm all the way in the hole. And I want out.
Somewhere between writing for my blog and reading so many other blogs, I dug deeper and deeper in. I don't post every day because that is not the point of my blog, the point of my blog is to write longer pieces. Write being the operative word. So. I don't post every day. But I could. I don't cover other blogs, but I could. I don't link to a million other blogs, but I could. In fact, I could do a feature each day on my neighborhood -- homeless situation, the artistic quality of the graffiti, the photographer that lives down the hall -- it could all go into the blog. I could then read everyone else's blog even more than I'm reading them now and I could then comment and cross-link ad infinitum.
I could then maybe be part of something bigger. Part of the collective litblog universe of which I'm not really a part because, after all, I'm not a litblog. I'm a writer. Some writers have litblogs but I don't really know how they do it and it seems that more often than not, the people with wonderful amazing litblogs are actually not writers in the sense that they are trying to write novels or short stories (hats off to those that are, you are made of something I'm not) but more that they are writers in that they write fabulous posts about the writerly world. Some also seem to be very good readers with no writerly ambitions. For these folks, blogging makes sense. For the booksellers. Yes, I get that too.
But there is an odd thing that happens when a writer (who is, yes, actually trying to write things that are NOT their blog) begins to feel pressure to do more than write about writing. There is so much I want to say. But should that go into the blog or into the book? Common sense tells me to use it in a book. Strong desire to save face among my blog peers tells me to put it in the blog. Slowly, by degrees, I give in. I post a little of this. A little of that. And its easy. So much easier than actually writing the novel in which many chapters need to be re-sorted, several characters re-imagined and the plot re-worked altogether.
The ease is the problem. My need to receive feedback and crosslinks is the problem. Just as with work, just as with reading, just as with so many other things that I very much enjoy but that are not the thing I'm trying to do -- I get caught up in wanting to be good. To be great. If I can have a so-so blog about writing, why not have an amaaazzing blog about writing? If I am going to work as a freelance marketing consultant, why not take on several more clients and have a phennommmenal year? I forget that I am a WRITER. I have organized my life this way so that I can -- you guessed it -- write!
The lines of blogging about writing and actually doing the writing have blurred for me and I need to make them clear again. I need to live the life I blog about, not live it vicariously by reading other blogs. Reading four book reviews, two author interviews, and a host of discussions on the latest literary phenomenon doesn't bring me any closer to completing the next chapter in my book or the story I said I would send out next week.
What lies at the heart of it all, I'm sure, is fear. Fear that my writing -- my fiction or even my blog posts -- won't measure up to the intelligent scrutiny of those I admire. The more litblogs I read, the more intelligent readers-cum-critics I find. The more I find, the more I begin to see the world as a sea of readers and critics just waiting to dissect my work, should it ever see the light of day. And it never will see the light of day if it never gets finished because I'm so busy seeing what other work HAS made it out into the glaring light and what others think about it. In reading so many blogs as of late (and trying to keep up with their reading schedule -- my god, I'm trying to write a book, not win a marathon for how many I've read this year), I've buried myself way down the rabbit hole. So far down, I see now that it may take some time to claw my way back out.
I will get out. Slowly. By degrees. Words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters are already writing themselves in my head.