This is a bit of a long (okay, long) post. I hope you'll read it all, but if not, I've broken it down a little so you can read what you want to read.
Like everything in life, there's a progression to blogging. I used to have so much to say, but as this blog has gotten older, I've covered so many topics, to the point I feel I have less to say, and thus, am doing a disservice to my followers by trying to maintain a semblance of a 'blogging schedule.'
I'm tired of feeling guilty because I don't post 3-5 times a week on this blog like clockwork. Which isn't to say I don't absolutely love those type of blogs, because I do. But I don't love them because they post 3-5 times a week like clockwork—I love them because they have something interesting to say 3-5 times a week like clockwork. Good examples of this type of blog are Kiersten White's and Natalie Whipple's. Both of them, I'm sure, would also tell you how hard they work to be as interesting as they are as often as they are.
Because let's face it: no one's life is always interesting. I'm pretty sure even the president has days where he sits in boring meetings and signs boring paperwork and reads boring briefs. And maybe it's important work, but it's boring.
The rules, the experts, say set a schedule and stick to it. And in an ideal world, I would post interesting, funny, thought-provoking posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, like I used to (I hope the posts were interesting, anyway).
But. Where I am now in life, blogging—or trying to blog, anyway—when I have nothing interesting to say is draining me, taking vital time and creative energy away from my writing. When I try to force it, my blog ends up resembling one of those cheap Easter baskets you get at Wal-Mart: there's a few cool things in the basket, but the majority of it is candy nobody eats and toys that break within 5 seconds of being opened.
Filler, in other words. I don't want my blog to be a few great posts strewn amongst bloggity filler.
So where does that leave me? Hopefully somewhere close to StephaniePerkinsland.
You see, Stephanie Perkins, awesome author of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, does not blog regularly. Sometimes no blog for a month. Sometimes a couple in one week. But every time I open my blog feed and see a post from Stephanie, I get excited. Her posts are always interesting, informative, entertaining, poignant, funny, silly, cool, and sometimes all of the above. So regardless of whether I 'hear from' her for a month or a week, I stay subscribed to her blog, stay interested in her, because she blogs when she can be interesting.
So from now on, THE TABBY CATT is scheduleless. I worry about this a little. But I also know it's what is best. You might hear from me a couple times a week and then not at all for a few weeks. The only rule I'm giving myself is not to let 2 weeks go by without blogging because... well, I'm afraid I'm probably not as interesting as Stephanie Perkins, so maybe her rule-breaking awesomeness won't apply quite as well to me. However, what I can promise you is you'll be getting interesting Abby, not Abby scrambling to find something interesting to say. And no filler.
Reading and commenting
You have to be careful that in blogging, you don't lose yourself in the contests, the cliques, the memes, the following just to follow, the reading just to read, the commenting just to comment. When I comment on someone's blog, I want to be thoughtful. Occasionally I get comments on my blog that I know are perfunctory—the well, I haven't commented on that blog in a while, better do it or they'll stop commenting on mine type comments. I know I'm guilty of this sometimes, too. Those types of comments, though, we all know them when we see them. And they don't put a smile on your face, or offer insight, or do anything really except add a +1 to the number of comments at the bottom or the top of your blog post.
I don't need those, and I don't want to write them. So last week I went through and pared my blog feed down to my favorite 50 or so blogs. That's a lot to keep up on, but I also got rid of a lot—a lot of blogs that are good, quality, interesting blogs. But you just can't read them all. When I open my Blogger feed, I want to be excited about what's there, not overwhelmed! I don't want to go... oh, gosh, I took a few days off and now I have to slog through 37 blog posts. After reading 20 or 30 blogs, none of the posts are going to interest you.
I came into the YA game less than 2 years ago, so I've spent the better part of the last 2 years 'catching up' on the multitude of YA out there. In fact, 35 of the 62 books I've read since 2009 were YA, and since January, 11 of the 15 books I've read are YA. I just finished FLY AWAY HOME by Jennifer Weiner. That book came out almost a year ago, but I just got around to reading it because I'd been trying to stay up on YA. I shouldn't be putting one of my top 3 favorite authors to the side to read ARCs that I probably wouldn't have picked up in a store, except for the fact they are YA and I feel like I have to read every YA book I can get my hands on in order to stay up on the market.
We talk a lot in the YA community about diversity. I think that should extend to the books we read, too. Not just one genre, not just one market, not just one age group. I read adult books long before I was an adult, so why should I only read teen books now that I'm an adult? I want to read Tony Blair's autobiography and Jeanette Walls' "non-fiction novel," and EAT PRAY LOVE and AN AMERICAN WIFE.
So I'm going to. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the 'right' thing, and it doesn't help that there's a lot of experts out there telling us what we must do—many qualified, but plenty not. But you know what? From now on, I'm going to do what works best for me. I'm going to treat YA books like any other type of book—if it looks interesting to me, I'll read it. I'm not going to allow myself to get caught up in the 'oh-this-is-the-next-big-thing-you-must-read-it' buzz. If it doesn't interest me, I'm sure someone else will love it, but I've got shelf after shelf of books that I hand-picked waiting to be read.
Please don't take any of this as a judgment against anyone. If you want to read only YA, knock yourself out. It won't affect me, and I won't mind. Boiling it down, I basically have just been thinking a lot, have rewritten the philosophies that I've developed regarding writing blogs, reading blogs, and reading books over the past few years. I just thought I'd let you know... in case anyone else felt the same way. :)
The good part
As a reward for getting all the way to the bottom of this long, winding, and occasionally whiny post, I'd like to say thank you. I'm clearing out my bookshelves again (so many new books just keep coming!) and giving away a gently used set of YA (and one MG) books:
The usual rules apply: comment to enter, must be a follower, extra entries for tweeting/putting it on your sidebar. No links necessary, I trust you. ;) US & Canada only this time. (:()
Giveaway ends 6/23.
Thank you all for being such awesome followers. Blogging and being part of the YA writing community has had a very positive effect on my writing, my confidence in my abilities, and my life in general. Please know that.