An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance – Author or Blogger?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance - Author or Blogger?Five years ago someone asked me, “Do you want to be an author or a blogger?”

I scratched my head and wondered why I couldn’t be both.

Balance is something I struggle for all the time. I take a few steps on the slackline and feel in control just to plummet face first in the grass. “I can’t do it all.” I said that to my husband, Danny, a few weeks ago and he laughed. He knows how hard I work. Blogging while writing books and screenplays, promoting through social media, pitching, and querying, are all a struggle of priorities. I just love to write.

With requests made for my book, I set aside my new manuscript to polish the old. I wanted The Foreboding to shine brighter before sending it out on a wing and many prayers with hope that an agent or editor would see value in my work and want to represent it. But ideas for my new one have cried out from recesses of my tiny cranium and I had to work on it too. Blogging became a low priority. It threw me off balance.

I can’t imagine life without my blog. I already write in a vacuum alone with my thoughts most of the time. Blogging is where I practice. It’s where I get instant gratification in views and comments and feedback. It’s where I “see” and meet up with my writing friends. It’s my hollow in the woods where I let crazy ideas flow and I share my life adventures.

Therein lies the conundrum, the paradox, the tangled cat’s cradle that trips me up and tosses me off balance.

If blog posts are like paper to the flame, books are the mighty oak. I’m still waiting for the gratification of feeling the weight of my first novel in my hands. It will happen. In the meantime, I stoke the fire with kindling and fan the flames, and breathe life into my words until they crackle and burn. I watch the word count rise up until…. Sorry. I got carried away….

Any writing is like breathing. It’s all good practice and something I have to do.

Last weekend I met someone online who gets thousands of views a day on her blog through social media. Seduced by the thought of going viral, I downloaded her tips and tricks. I assumed she held back. She didn’t, but the list was dang long. It would take a huge time commitment promoting, editing photos, and writing generic or shocking posts to get views and shares. And there is still a ton of luck involved. That’s when I hit a wall.

Slacklining Susie“Nope. Not doing it. It’s not my goal to be a professional blogger.” Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get thousands of views here every day. Most writers want to be read. “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s what we do when sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. If I didn’t want people to read my work, I’d write in Dear Diary.

But spending even more time blogging is not why I started writing. I have much longer stories to tell. They require many hours and self-discipline.

And so I’ll continue to seek balance on this unstable line between blogger and author, even though it’s an ephemeral, momentary mirage. It will never be perfect. I’ll rise up to the line and I’ll flail. I’ll fail. I’ll fall. I’ll face plant and it will hurt. But I’ll brush myself off. I’ll take a deep breath.

I’ll rise up to the line to try again.

Do you find it hard to balance your time with blogging? Where are you seeking balance?

Click for more of my life adventures!

87 thoughts on “An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance – Author or Blogger?

  1. There are times when I go through dry spells with blogging, mostly because life just gets busy or my focus needs to be elsewhere. I don’t sweat it too much as I am not in it to be a professional. I blog because I enjoy sharing stories & thoughts, I love connecting with people all over the world & thoroughly enjoy reading their thoughts & stories. I think if my blog became a thing of pressure, that enjoyment would be gone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Lynn!
      That’s so true! When friends don’t blog for a while, I wonder if I’ve missed some posts or if they’ve quit. The majority of the bloggers I started with five years ago are gone.

      I think I put pressure on myself. I’m naturally competitive and want to improve in everything across the board. But I use this place as my break time. It’s where I relax and kick back and see what others are up to along with sharing what’s on my mind. I can’t imagine life without the Wild Ride!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The struggle is real! I’m trying to balance blogging with every day life, while you’re over there juggling china for god sakes. I was sweating just thinking about your balance. (Badass in that tightrope by the way)
    On another note, tomorrow is my Wanderlust festival. I’m attending alone, which is out of character for me, but I think it’s for a reason. I’ll let you know.

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    • Thanks, Lisa! My badassery on the line is harder than it looks and I fell right after that shot. Ha!

      I started the Wild Ride because of a non-fiction book and to build a writer’s platform, but I quickly abandoned the idea. For the first year, I focused on blogging. Now that I’m working on all kinds of projects and ideas, it has become a real struggle. I’ll continue to use it for playtime after the real work is done. Because all work and no play, makes me crazy!!!

      You will love Wanderlust!!! Where is it? It was a life-changer for me. I’m sure you’ll meet all kinds of people. Have fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I admire your drive! Keep it up! I have a great idea for a book, but I have zero time to even breathe lately. The most I’ve done so far is write up a really messy outline for it. It’s got potential, just no real solid sentences or paragraphs yet. haha! Maybe one day when I’m old and gray and living on the coast of Maine with my two dogs in a rambling Cape I can start that first chapter….

    As for balance and blogging, I have “quit” blogging in my mind a hundred times, but it keeps dragging me back in. I love to write and interact with readers too much. It’s like an instant rush and there’s no cure for that craving.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so with you on this, Darla. It’s not trying to find a balance between writing a blog and writing a book, it’s the rest of life that gets in the way; primarily the need to work to make a living. Can I have the spare bedroom on the back of that coastal cottage someday?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Non-fiction doesn’t require much at all for submission to agents. But if they like it, you’d have to hustle to write it! Your kids are young. Enjoy your life and keep jotting down those notes. In the meantime, I love reading your funny posts. 🙂
      I agree about that rush! It will take at least another year maybe two before my book is in print, but I can write a blog post and get instant feedback. It’s so addictive! At Courtney’s suggestion, I made a five-year plan and realized I will have a pretty big inventory of books and screenplays. The blog will be the shadow that tags along.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I can’t imagine life without my blog either. But really I am having a drought where I haven’t had so many awesome ideas come up. I believe they will be coming soon.

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  5. Wow I love the honesty of this post! I think this ALL THE TIME!!! I struggle with balance too but am searching everyday for it! I love love love this! Good luck in all your writing!!!

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    • Thanks so much, Mel! You made my day. I woke up at 4:30 wondering if I should post it, but I’ve always been honest and tend to over-share.
      I figured most could relate. It might be different if we were paid for blogging. I need my fix of feedback and the practice of short essay. I think the trick is in not spending too much time on them. I used to post a lot of photo essays. Talk about labor intensive! Are you writing a book?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve had so many ideas flowing through my head and stopped and started so many times! I struggle at finding my tone and voice sometimes and I worry a lot about how my work will be received! Which is horrible because that comes with he nature of writing! Other people always make it look so easy and I find myself getting discouraged a lot… that’s why I loved this post so much because I really so think a lot of people can relate! Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid to blog?! Lol.. I love it and I love telling my stories and meeting other people who are the same from all over the world! One day I will have my book out there!

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  6. With my severe social anxiety, blogging is my way of sharing myself without having to fret over the myriad (perceived) threats of face-to-face interaction. There’s always that “Delete” button if I don’t like a comment, but to date the feedback has mostly been quite positive.

    Sometimes I envy those with large readerships as I rejoice over having reached 300 this year. But then I remind myself that that’s not the point for me, and I can fall back into the satisfaction of just expressing myself.

    “Any writing is like breathing.” Nothing wrong with taking a nice long breath when you feel the need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Maggie!
      I know what you mean about socializing. It is pretty tame around here. Once in a while a joke or sarcasm is lost in translation.

      It’s hard not to compare myself to other more successful bloggers. I think we all took a hit this year when Google changed its SEOs. It comes down to people like you who keep me blogging. We form our tribe of friends and followers. It’s a huge reason why I write!
      That’s so true about the breath. It’s also important to put all of it away and enjoy life! I keep reminding myself to “step away from the computer.” Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a seven day a week posting schedule, not including re-blogs. Each day is a regular feature and almost all of it is not about writing, but rather common stuff that I hope readers find interesting. I do not have what I would call a “blockbuster” blog but do pick up followers on a daily basis. I, like you, love to write and my blog keeps me connected while I’m working on a novel. I have three published now with one in editing and another in WIP. I don’t want to spend any more time with the activities you describe. I think the blog serves to help me experiment with different forms of writing and keeps the cobwebs out. Excellent post, Susie.

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    • Thanks so much, John! Congrats on your books!
      It takes a lot for me to get 2 posts out a week. I can’t imagine posting every day! I would love to try it for a month to see what happens. I used to write flash fictions and I’ve been toying with a serial idea. Do you think writing posts get easier when you’re in the habit of posting every day? Also do you think blogging translates to book sales?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think once you have a routine of features it gets easier. I do Views of the Neighborhood on Sunday, Top Ten Things Not to Do on Monday, Anything Possible on Tuesday, Story Day on Wednesday, A Little Personal on Thursday, JohnKu TGIF on Friday, and Stream of Consciousness on Saturday. There are three days of flash fiction under those features. Not sure there is a direct link between blogging and book sales. I have to books on the sidebar and hardly mention them in my posts. Maybe if I pushed them more but then again the purpose of my blog is to entertain not push books. 🙂 Thanks for the interest.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I constantly struggle with the balance of “all things writing”, but first and foremost I’m a novelist. I only blog once or twice, when I truly have something to say. This works for me. We all have to find what works for us (more than once). Good luck to you.

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    • Once or twice a month? That’s what a lot of people do. If it’s a newsletter once is perfect. I need to start one of those!
      Even though I started my blog because of a book idea; I was really a blogger first. Those were the days! So many great writers burned out, but there are still a lot around. NYT bestselling author, James Rollins had a blog until a couple of years ago and he was and is a prolific novelist. Chuck Wendig blogs almost every day. I don’t know how he does it. One thing I haven’t tried is blogging more often. It sounds counter-productive, but it might be good practice. Just write them and let them go.
      I’m enjoying your book by the way!

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  9. I’m with you–I can’t stand the thought of giving up my blog but I can’t put in the thousand hours (or however much it would take) to gain a huge following. I’m fine with my modest audience. Besides, how could you even interact with the commenters if you have thousands of readers and hundreds of people responding? Daunting!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I know there’s a book in me somewhere. I think it is a mystery novel because I have no idea where it is. As for me and blogging, where else could I publish my befuddling thoughts and call myself a writer?

    P.S. Your high-wire act is impressive. And no net!!

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    • I thought I responded to this! Sometimes commenting from my phone is glitchy.
      I think blogging has a niche for that “itch.” Ha! I’m working on my own befuddling thoughts today, so I know what you mean.
      The high wire act was scary until I tried it, since I can’t afford to fall on my left knee. I landed on my feet, unlike my metaphorical crashes which were face first anxiety-ridden face plants.
      Looking forward to that mysterious book when you find it.

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  11. Do what you have time for, do what you enjoy, keep writing. I’ve tried all this “stuff” people keep saying you “have to do” to “hit it big.” Whatever. You’re fun to read (and banter with!). I’ll keep reading if you keep writing. :-]

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    • Thanks Frank! I think you’re right about the stuff. I just can’t. When I first started writing five years ago, I would have been all over it. I had abandoned a nonfiction book and was immersed with blogging.
      Have you seen Genius, with Jude Law as Tom Wolfe? Amazing movie. I had strange dreams all night.:)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have not, but it looks interesting! How did I miss this?!

        BTW, curious synchronicity, Susie, I’m currently working a short story with Tom Wolfe-not-identified-as-Tom-Wolfe in it (I call him the “writer-in-white”)! Funny!

        Okay, you gotta tell me your dreams! :-] I had dreams about travel and being in a small airport, picking up and dropping off people….

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  12. OH YEAH, that’s me….I understand where you are coming from ….. I began blogging on a lark…six years later, I crave the practice of writing and thinking but I struggle with the balance. This morning I spent time writing and thinking and it takes time, time that I don’t have when I have papers to grade, lessons to plan, and time with my wife and kids and faithful pup. Life is about figuring out the purpose and balance. I wish I had a magic wand to get all that I have to do and need to do done, so I could work on the want to do. I love your blog and enjoy reading when I do and when I can. peace.

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    • I envy you!! I was like that my first year, but I don’t have the time to read everyone’s posts like I used to. I do my best while my eye is on the prize of publishing. I’ll get there…. some…..day….

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My life is always about balancing time! 🙂 Blogging takes its part along with other social media, writing and all the other things I do. Sometimes, when deadlines press I have to put other things on the back burner – parked but not forgotten.

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  14. Dude balance! Yup. That’s what I’m looking for Wild Rider. It’s funny you say that because I’ve been thinking of all the blogging buddies I met that I’ve lost because their blogging journey was done or they just changed focus and either I never saw them again or every once in a while they pop in … Sad for myself because I liked the buddies I’d made, but happy for them. As for myself I really enjoyed blogging because it was a way to put stuff out there, people would read it, and hang out for a bit, plus I was able to write up all these adventures and stories beefing up my writing chops and working on my voice. I enjoyed it., but I definitely lean towards the author path a bit more, because like you some of my adventures are a little longer than a post and I can’t wait for people to read those 🙂

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    • Hey Guat! It’s been a wild weekend so speaking of balance, I’m just catching up!
      I miss a lot of my old buddies too. I wish there was a way to reel in time. It seems to slip through my fingers every day. I don’t know where it goes, but it’s 9:00 PM again! I’m so much better with a structured schedule, so this is really challenging for me, but I’m making progress. Like you, I will have longer stories to share someday! 🙂 We have to keep on plodding along. Progress measured by inches is still progress!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Buying and smoking Cannabis is legal here in our State’ so I feel it’s ok to mention its effects upon the mind as an aid in achieving balance’.
    I use to mountain climb/ scrabble/ Ridge Run/ and Kayak Northern Idaho’s Mountain ranges.

    -My Climbing partner taught me that people with ADHD have balance and focus issues due to ‘Hyper activeness flooding all of the senses at once. So I smoked a hit of Cannabis at the beginning of the climb’ which mellows out the hyperactivity in the human brain. Allowing for far better heightened awareness; when high, there WAS NO FEAR’ because I know where my next step was going to fall’ before I stepped out’ Pot eliminates the mind ‘Bees’ I became one with the mountain’ with nature’ because my mind was freed of stress of uncertainty ‘What ifs’.

    -There was an article I read years after of a young teen girl, she also has ADHD and climbs mountains, she had concurred many world class mountains by the age of 13 – 15’ but to achieve perfect balance one must relax and calm one’s mind. If fear at all is an issue’ or ADHD and you rather not calm your mind with herbals, then have Mr. Danny wrap you in bubble plastic and a wear a bicycle helmet for your first 20 rope walks. Susie I didn’t learn to ride a bicycle until my mind would allow me to achieve it and that was at age eight. I had delayed reactive response’ so my Dad set up a speed bag for me to develop my rhythm and timing.

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    • Got it!
      That might be part of my problem. I get a lot more done when I’m exhausted. I felt really grounded after Wanderlust. Meditation took me down a few feet since I tend to levitate with all my high energy. 🙂

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  16. I find the balance hard as well. I have not written much in September due to work being crazy busy and renovating the house. Where do I find the time to write let alone read and try to catch up with my friends in the blogsphere. I find that my blog gives me a creative outlet though to write it out and if I want to publish what I write I can or place it in the trash can. It feels good to release and let go at times – find my center again for my whole well being. I am itching to get back out and photograph too – been way too long.

    Happy Creating – Happy Week – Enjoy 🙂

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    • Thanks Renee!
      There is a huge benefit to blogging, but like most things, it takes a lot of time. Real life adventure should always take precedence over writing about it and it sounds like you’re in the middle of one! Good luck with your renovation. We are almost finished with our place in the mountains after gutting it. Thank God!

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  17. I blog because it’s a direct, authentic way to connect with readers. Plus I like the idea of not being filtered by an editor or a publisher. I don’t think that I have the patience to write a book, which like you said, is primarily a solitary pursuit. Although friends who are published authors tell me that many of blog posts are book ready, so maybe I’m missing the boat. I dunno. Like you said, it’s all about balance… and paddling your own canoe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like, “I blog because it’s a direct, authentic way to connect with readers.” That’s exactly why most of us blog. I don’t think I would get that from magazine articles. The first time I wrote a feature for the newspaper, there were so many trolls, I never looked again.
      The blog to book thing is a completely different animal. I have friends who have published them with success. My Boob Reports will be a book someday. It has occurred to me that I should write posts that would serve as chapters, but I’m not that analytical about it. I just write what’s on my mind and I’ll keep on paddling!!
      Thanks, Ally!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. All the lines stringing up everywhere are so good to see – we always had ropes or chains to balance across as kids (low hanging tree branches made shaky handholds.) It was great fun, kept us busy, and probably had some educationa;/character building components. People right now really do need to rediscover childlike fun.
    Blogging, writing, the real world all difficult to balance. It does provide a social community – and support for writing and other stuff. Going cold turkey and stopping would be difficult (even though time crunch makes it hard and there’s the guilt of not “return visiting”)
    What seems really difficult for writers/ published writers is that blogs/social media seem to be mandated almost by agents and publishers (who smugly shift publicity onto writers’ shoulders a great deal now – cost effective). The situation reminds me of the old fairy tale of “The Red Shoes” or that movie/book about ballet dancers “I’m dancing as fast as I can” Burnout and depression could be a real possibility for authors. That balance has to be found
    I started blodding just to be able to write freely as I feel like it after years of rigid AP forms, closely examining every little word and phrase for possible meanings, connotations, connections, and emotions in research writing/editing and website content. Blogging on WP is likw running in a field of wild flowers.
    In order to write, you ahve to write a lot and frequently – blogging is a way to practice to prime the pump. (and it’s a fun place with lots of helps and hints for later)
    Take to the air and balance, Wild Rider. Write on.

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    • I’m not sure how much blogging translates to book sales unless it’s non-fiction, but I hope someday to find out!
      It all takes time. I wrote a post today. I thought I could limit my time, but some just require more of the precious stuff. It is great practice, so I’ll continue.
      AP forms? Whatever they are, they sound tedious!
      I’ll keep stepping up. Thanks Phil!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh my God I am so happy you wrote this and I found it today! I am still new to WordPress and not brilliant…getting there, with the blogs workings. I’ve joined so many of you and wondered if anyone wrote. Until today when I found the “reader” and that all the amazing artist and writers are in that cabinet.

    I have been asking myself the same thing, “blog daily or focus it all in my books?” I love blogging, sort of addicted actually. However, my writing has taken a back seat. I feel that blogging has improved my writing and is building muscles…and it’s sucking up all my energy. I will continue but I’ve already cut down to 5 days. Thank you for this and I love the way you write. I’d also love to have your skinny figure!

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    • Thank you!
      The reader is the best for catching up with others.
      Five days is a lot of blogging. I’m going for once or twice a week since October is a hectic month for me. Something has to ride in the backseat. I have my eyes set on the publishing prize, so I’ll continue driving ahead!
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  20. What I’ve discovered, is that there are many people who read my posts who do not click ‘like’, because they don’t want attention for having read or liked a post with certain subject matter. I’ve also found there were others who simply clicked like and didn’t read it at all. And, I would not have known that if they hadn’t made a comment after only reading the headline..lol And like you said, it takes enormous amounts of time and coming up with ‘shock’ posts and headlines on the social sewer to get all that attention. If you’ve ever heard of Examiner.com, they no longer exist because they heavily promoted those methods, (along with conspiracy theories), over and above content quality of articles. But, WordPress is still here. 😉

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  21. Who says that what you’re doing right now isn’t just exactly right for you? You love to write and you’re writing, and you’re quite good at it. I love photography. My passion is getting beautiful nature shots with my “good” camera and lenses. But I carry a point and shoot in my purse for everyday photo ops (it has a great zoom). And there’s the cell phone camera too. I use them all, and when I can, I use my best one. But sometimes life is such that it’s all I can do to whip out the cell phone. No matter what, I still love to take pictures and always will. Keep doing what you’re doing until it doesn’t work for you any more. Then make a shift. Repeat.

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    • Thanks so much! I do enjoy it.
      That is so true! I’m in Wisconsin visiting my mom and have really put writing on the back burner. And so it goes!
      Photography is a passion of mine too. I had hoped fall color would be at its peak here in the land of cheese and happy people, but it’s still a week away. I’ve still taken a few photos!
      Great advice… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I understand what you are going through – in a different way. I have put writing a book on hold because I feel I need to work on creating a site for Invisible Illness – a place to help break the stigma, ask/answer questions and provide a “safe haven” for people who suffer to hang out. But I am tied down with technical issues and a can’t seem to get past it to work on content. But I have my blog to fall back on which is always a good thing.

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    • Computers can be so frustrating! Good luck with your new site. It sounds like it will help a lot of people. Maybe a computer geek could help you. It does take time.

      Something has to give. I looked back and in 2012, I blogged 130 posts. This year I’m at 70, but I have a finished book. I couldn’t have accomplished that if I still blogged that often. It’s all about prioritizing. I keep as many balls in the air as I can handle while still being a participant in life outside the keyboard. 🙂
      Thanks, Lydia!

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  23. Pingback: An Ode to a Midwinter Cold | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

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