Author Sherman Alexie wrote that the more words you put in your blog, the less words you’re putting into your novel. I paraphrase, I’m sure, but that was the gist of it. He’s right, but I think I’ve taken his advice a tad too far, having disappeared from this blog for several months. I spent that time writing a novel, tentatively titled Change of Plans, which only took six months to draft versus 20 years for Blood and Loam, which I continue to revise. Now it’s time for a little balance. Yes, Sherman, I believe you, but I’m in the revision phase, and blogging allows me to continue to write without making heavy commitments to a new project. I need to write every day, or I get cranky. So there.
I first encountered Alexie’s work many years ago in an independent bookshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, a collection of connected short stories that would later appear in movie form in Smoke Signals, literally fell on my head. That got my attention. Later, after reading other works by him, I heard him speak in Houston and stuttered and stammered as I stood in front of him for a book signing. Given our long literary relationship, then, when I read his comment about blogging I decided to heed his advice.
Besides, I needed time to figure out what this blog is about. I wrote about writing and travel, but the garden had started to take over, and I wasn’t sure what to do with that. Before 2010 I couldn’t tell you a thing about gardening, and suddenly my passion for the subject threatened to hijack this blog and turn it into something very different from what I had intended.
I also needed to step away from the whole blogging as marketing thing. Yes, I sell books, and I won’t turn anyone down who wants to buy one, but more than anything I want to connect with others, writers or not, who may have an interest in what I have to say. I write because I breathe, whether or not anything sells, and I hope not to stop writing until I stop breathing.
The net result of my pondering is that I have moved my gardening thoughts to a new blog, Art of the Garden (artofthegarden.wordpress.com). Also, if I feel the need to write about yoga, which I do from time to time, I’m putting those musings on the YogaHub.com website. If you are into yoga, check them out for some cool online yoga programs.
As I move forward into 2011, I am seeking agent representation for at least one of the novels, maybe two. I’ll share those adventures, along with some upcoming fun stuff: a literary tour of Massachusetts in April, and a writing retreat in Vermont in May. I’ll introduce the characters in Change of Plans and share stories of how this book developed and what I see for its future. I’ll talk about what’s going on at She Writes, where I’ve increased my involvement. I’ll share details of the annual Writers’ League of Texas Agents and Editors conference. I’m currently working on the text for a yoga relaxation recording that I’ll offer for free to anyone who is stressed out. In other words, there’s no shortage of possibilities as to what I’ll write about here, and the year is just getting started!
It’s great to be back. Thanks, Sherman, for getting me to write a novel. I’ll take it from here.