So what happened? When I started this website, it was fun. I enjoyed it. I'd just talk about anything knocking around in my head, have fun with it, and it seemed like folks went along with it. They didn't always like it, but no one seemed to hate it enough to say "I hate you and you suck!" or "Why don't you shut up!"
Here's what I think went wrong, for what it's worth. I let people get into my head. Not people reading here – people in the industry telling me what I should be doing or that what I was doing was all wrong. Your blog has to be about something specific. But stop writing about this or that. But write about one thing. You have to be consistent. You have to write every day. You have to treat it like a job if you want to it be a career. And all of that is true to an extent, but my head just doesn't work that way.
I'm an observer, and here's what I have observed. Everyone has an opinion, and some are paid to give it. I'm not saying these industry folks are wrong – not at all. They have the benefit of expertise that I'm still developing. I'm saying I let it affect me in all the wrong ways.
I stopped being what makes me special. I started doing book reviews and talking about writing processes and getting snarky because that's not what I'm good at and I was frustrated. And it's not bad enough that I allowed this to affect my prattling on my website (which is just prattle and should never be taken as gospel), I let it affect my writing, too. Not surprisingly, it has become an almost painful process. I stopped having fun at it.
So here's what I think I'm going to do – I'm going back to being my silly, rarely-serious, sassy self. I'm going to write to please myself. I'm going to be random and goofy, and sometimes talk about books and writing and being an author, because I hope I can give a little support to anyone else out there who is trying to do the same. But I'll also talk about other things that are just taking up space in my head and need to come out. Because that is what I do here.
So here's my best piece of advice to myself and anyone else listening for today – listen to the industry advice to better your chances of surviving, because this gig is really hard and you need all the help you can get. But also, don't forget that just because your work is different than someone else's doesn't mean it's bad or wrong. It's your work and people are allowed to like it even if it is different.
Ahem... pay no mind to the industry folks who just gasped and fainted and are milling about outraged. They'll be fine. They may even rant about it on their blogs! Hey, just doing my part to support my fellow bloggers.