It’s (Not) All About Me

It has been one year since I made my first terrified post on this blog.  I started out determined to write about writing, as well as my experiences with querying agents and figuring out the publication process.  Boy, have I learned so much during my one year of blogging.

 Here’s a sampling of what one year of blogging has taught me:

  •  Sometimes less of a plan is more.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that I couldn’t blog about writing alone.  There are only so many posts a person can do about (still) doing manuscript revisions and getting (another) rejection to a query. <Yawn!>
  •  Too much ambition can be a bad thing.  When I first started blogging, I was so focused on the end goal of publication that I ignored the joys of my writing journey.  The query rejections and resulting disappointment made writing not so much fun anymore because they stood in the way of the only thing I wanted:  publication.
  •  Scary stuff builds character.  I began chronicling my spiritual journey in January 2011.  To say I was hesitant about baring my soul is a HUGE understatement.  I imagined the few regular readers that I had running for the hills with my “God” talk.  That didn’t happen at all.  In fact, I’ve even met a few more readers because of some of those posts.  The exploration has had the unexpected benefit of erasing my publication anxiety.  I still have a dream of one day being published, but it’s not my ONLY goal.  I am now free to write from my heart in peace.
  •  My blog isn’t a platform.  My blog isn’t about promoting myself or my fiction – there’s nothing to promote.  It’s about expressing myself and joining in the online community of other writers/bloggers.
  •  Blogging is a great writing warm-up exercise.  Through writing blog posts, I experiment with different writing styles and stretch my writing voice – which helps when I write short stories or work on my novel.  I enjoy writing with humor, but there are also times when I need to tell a serious, heart-breaking story.  This blog is a wonderful opportunity to get feedback so I know what works (and what doesn’t.)
  •  There are a lot of talented writers out there.  Community with other writers via blogging brings a social aspect to writing.  There are many talented writers that have yet to be published – sharing the ups and downs puts the publication goal in perspective.
  •  Blog readers are patient people.  After 172 posts (173, if you make it through this one), I’m still amazed that so many people keep coming back to read.  Everyone has busy lives and I thank all of you for devoting time to reading my words.

Even though this is my blog, I recognize that it’s not all about me.  Without the interaction with others, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun. 

Just as we often reflect on life at major milestones, like birthdays or a new year, I read my “About Me” page and realized that it didn’t fit anymore.  (Kind of like the dress I wore last spring that I can’t zip up now, but that’s another post entirely.)  The “About Me” page may be the one part of my blog that IS all about me, but I welcome comments or discussions.  A page all about me is definitely better with company 🙂

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46 thoughts on “It’s (Not) All About Me

  1. Pooja March 28, 2011 / 10:16 PM

    Janna, warm hugs on your first anniversary in the Blog-o-sphere. I wish this blog sees many more to come. 🙂

    Love,
    Pooja

  2. jannatwrites March 28, 2011 / 10:23 PM

    Thank you for your kindness throughout this past year, Pooja. I’m glad you still visit from time to time 🙂

  3. Jackie Paulson 1966 March 28, 2011 / 11:15 PM

    My blog isn’t a platform. My blog isn’t about promoting myself or my fiction – there’s nothing to promote. It’s about expressing myself and joining in the online community of other writers/bloggers.
    I agree!

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 8:56 PM

      Thanks, Jackie! Blogging is fun when there isn’t an agenda 🙂

  4. preobrazhenskii March 29, 2011 / 6:10 AM

    Wonderfully refreshing and I do agree, blogging inspires through the sharing and may inspiration continue to flow from the posts we write.

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:01 PM

      Thanks for visiting today, preobrazhenskii! The community is the most unexpected thing I found about blogging – it was unexpected because I didn’t know it was out there, and I didn’t know that I would fit into it anywhere. Here’s to inspiration 🙂

  5. Aligaeta March 29, 2011 / 6:26 AM

    Congratulations! I so enjoy your blog, the expansion you made in your writing in 2011, and your thoughtful comments and replies. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and being a part of your blogging community.

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:05 PM

      You are very kind, Aligaeta – thank you 🙂 May we have another year of interesting posts and comments!

  6. J. P. Cabit March 29, 2011 / 6:29 AM

    “Without the interaction with others, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun. ”

    You are SOO right! I am thankful for my readers, and not just my readers, but my responders. I try to be a good bloggy friend back to people, and to visit others’ blogs, even when I’m running short on time. It can be hard to keep up with everybody, but it’s manageable if you don’t let it daunt you. Wow, talk about a rabbit trail…what am I talking about? 😀

    The one point where I will disagree with you is that my blog is a platform…hopefully, I will become well-known, and agents/editors will look favorably on my blog. But I do agree with you in that it’s not all about me. As many of you have noticed, I don’t blog every day about how great a writer I am, and how my project is coming along. Although I do blog about Planty a lot…but he’s still an “other,” right? 🙂

    Well, this is a very long comment. But you’ve got a good blog going here. Don’t give up. May it live to see 2012!*

    *provided the world doesn’t end…he he…

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:19 PM

      Well, I’m not sure if the world will be here in 2012 or not, but if it is, I’ll still have something to ramble on about.

      I do think at some point in the publication process, a blog can become a platform, in addition to the social interaction place. I first started my blog with the intention of developing a platform (because agents say you need a platform, right?) Here’s the main problem I had: when I wrote with the mindset of it being a platform, I felt like I was writing TO people and not inviting dialogue WITH them. My writing was at arm’s length – I didn’t pour myself into it. Another problem I have with the platform idea is that it’s I’m not sure how one builds a platform for fiction – it makes more sense for non-fiction authors with a special niche interest.

      Regardless of how we look at our blogs, at least we can agree that comments are oh-so-fun 🙂

  7. nrhatch March 29, 2011 / 6:44 AM

    I enjoy your blog and your posts, Janna. It’s been a delight to commune with you over the past few months.

    Write on!

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:25 PM

      Nancy – I’m glad you kept coming back, instead of deciding it was a waste of time. (Although you could realize that at any moment…)

      🙂

  8. Bill Greeves March 29, 2011 / 6:47 AM

    I agree with everybody else – I enjoy reading the variety in your blog. I must admit I am envious too – I wish I could be as prolific with my own! Keep it coming! 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:26 PM

      Thanks, Bill! I’m glad you enjoy the posts. You may not post on your blog as frequently as you wish, but you do have that non-fiction book deal…that’s something!

  9. deehsarsiavo March 29, 2011 / 6:58 AM

    Happy blog-birthday! =) I may not have read all 172 posts, but I do thoroughly enjoy coming back to read about your experiences! Here’s to hoping for many more years ahead =)

    Cheers,
    -O.

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:29 PM

      Thanks, deehsarsiavo! I don’t feel a day over three months 😉

      I appeciate your kind words and I plan to keep writing. Fingers crossed that I don’t start boring people to tears…

  10. SuziCate March 29, 2011 / 7:06 AM

    It really is all about the journey, isn’t it? We start out as one person and grow as we go, by the time we reach our destination we are not the same as when we started. Wishing you many more posts of growth…am enjoying your journey with you.

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:32 PM

      I’m not sure exactly where the destination is, so the journey itself has to be sufficient. If we’re living right, then we should constantly evolve, right?

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughtful views on my posts. I’m glad you do, Suzicate!

  11. pattyabr March 29, 2011 / 9:04 AM

    What a great summary of blogging. I think if I didn’t blog my insecurities would be big as life. As Suzicate says it is about the journey.

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:37 PM

      A blog is a sort of safe place to get your thoughts out there. I’m glad our journeys intersected, Patty.

      Keep writing those insecurities away!

  12. Tori Nelson March 29, 2011 / 9:49 AM

    Happy 1st Birthday! Excited to see what your next year in blogging holds!

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:40 PM

      Thanks, Tori! The less confident part of me worries that I will run out of things to write about. Luckily the other part of me remains convinced that I’ll figure it out. We’ll see who wins…

  13. chlost March 29, 2011 / 12:43 PM

    What a wonderful milestone…Happy 1st Blog Birthday!

    Blogging is a very interesting adventure. So glad to have found yours. Keep up the great posts-about writing or whatever you enjoy.

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:42 PM

      Thanks, Chlost! I will keep writing about “whatever” comes to mind. I think being scattered may be my theme, but I’m not sure.
      I’m glad you stopped by today and made me smile 🙂

  14. Lavender Blue March 29, 2011 / 3:15 PM

    Hey! I love this post because I feel the same on so many fronts where blogging is concerned. There is more to writing than queries and the inevitable rejection and it was hard to get beyond that when I first started. Writing stings sometimes, but also it is so so so good. And also, I’m very grateful for the wonderful people I’ve come to know that I wouldn’t have encountered without the unity of writing. Thanks for this post….it’s wonderful! XOXO

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:50 PM

      Thank you so much, Lavender Blue! I think the query process can be toxic if we get too immersed in that process. The word “rejection” is so harsh and carries such an air of failure with it. “Decline” seems more humane to me 🙂

      I appreciate your comment. I’m glad I met you on this writing journey!

  15. Hilary Clark March 29, 2011 / 3:56 PM

    Happy 1st Blog Birthday!! Break out the cake!

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:51 PM

      Thanks, Hilary! I did one better: I had a couple of just-underbaked brownies. (Yummy and gooey…)

  16. T.S. Bazelli March 29, 2011 / 4:26 PM

    Happy Blog Birthday! It’s the other people that make the blogging worth it. This part especially resounded: ” Scary stuff builds character.” I know what you mean. When I post something and I feel that lump of fear in my throat, I know I’m doing something good. I think it works for you because it’s authentic, not pretense. I hope you keep writing from your heart.

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 9:57 PM

      Thanks for your supportive comment, Tessa. I’m glad I’m not the only one that struggles with the scary stuff. The sick feeling isn’t fun, but when we realize something about ourselves, it can be worth it. (The first thing I ask myself is, “why am I apprehensive about posting this?”)

      I will continue to write from my heart; even when it scares the wits out of me 🙂

  17. Artswebshow March 30, 2011 / 6:50 AM

    Happy bloggiday
    I think anyone who comes into blogging is surprised with how it turns out for them.
    The amount of people who become addicted is incredible.

    • jannatwrites March 30, 2011 / 8:26 PM

      Thanks, Artswebshow! I can see how blogging can be addictive – it is a fun learning experience, for sure 🙂

  18. Debbie March 30, 2011 / 10:28 AM

    I love that you admit your blog isn’t about “platform.” I know some of us probably began blogs with platform in mind, but somewhere along the line, we’ve found that “reaching out and touching someone” is more interesting and supportive, especially when they comment and touch back. Making that connection with people feels better than standing on a table somewhere and shouting, “Read me! Read me!”

    • jannatwrites March 30, 2011 / 8:34 PM

      I like how you put it, Debbie. A platform is like shouting from a table for people to read (instead of making connections.) I tried to explain it in an earlier comment response, but I like how you worded it better.

      It does feel nice to have such interaction. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts, Debbie 🙂

  19. Richard W Scott March 30, 2011 / 11:41 AM

    I think you should be proud of reaching a full year of blogging.
    Did you know that most blogs don’t make it past the second post? (No, really!)
    To keep it up as long a you have, and to continue to post quality stuff is worth some applause.
    Good work!

    • jannatwrites March 30, 2011 / 8:39 PM

      Second post? Really?

      Thanks for the compliments, Richard. I’m grateful for the support and encouragement from those who read and comment 🙂 We’ll see what year #2 brings!

  20. Ollin March 30, 2011 / 11:49 AM

    I know what you mean Janna. There actually are very few of us who want to go and talk about spirituality on our writing blogs. I think it scares us all because we’re always afraid of being rejected, or misunderstood, or worse, offending someone.

    But like you, it’s opened up this new channel of connection with my readers that wasn’t there before. I think the spiritual journey is a part of each one of us as humans, and I think to ignore it doesn’t do justice to our varied experience.

    As for me, I realized that spirituality is a part of me, and to hold back on it is not to do me justice. And like you said, that more important than a book contract.

    Happy Anniversary!

    • jannatwrites March 30, 2011 / 8:47 PM

      Your first sentences described my fears exactly, Ollin. (It’s like you crawled inside my head – scary place, huh??)

      I had avoided the spirituality aspect for several months (yes, I meant months). It continued to eat at me and was getting to the point that I couldn’t even come up with post ideas that were “neutral.” Once I allowed myself the day to “go there” the other posts got easier. I may add another spiritual day because I’m finding so much to write about on that part of my journey!

      I’ve seen how you’ve connected with others through your heart-felt posts – you’ve got a gift for relating to others. I’m glad to be part of your blogging community. Here’s to another year of writing 🙂

  21. Amanda Hoving March 30, 2011 / 11:50 AM

    Happy blogoversary, Janna. I’m not quite there, yet, but I agree that you learn A LOT as blogging time goes on. Congrats!

    • jannatwrites March 30, 2011 / 8:51 PM

      Thanks, Amanda!

      I’m surprised you haven’t been blogging longer. (Your blog/writing are great…better than mine!)

  22. Cities of the Mind March 30, 2011 / 2:17 PM

    That’s awesome, you’ve definitely come a long way!

    • jannatwrites March 30, 2011 / 8:54 PM

      Thanks, Cities! You’ve been visiting for quite a while now – I appreciate you reading my posts and your comments to let me know you were here 🙂

      If all goes well, I’ll show more improvement a year from now…

  23. 36x37 April 1, 2011 / 7:32 PM

    Congrats, congrats on your first year blogging! So glad you’ve built a community where you can share yourself as well as your progress with publication. I look forward to reading much more. 🙂

    • jannatwrites April 1, 2011 / 9:33 PM

      Thanks so much, 36×37. This blog ended up being not what I expected – it’s even better. I appreciate your visits and I’ve enjoyed keeping up with your ‘by 37’ list 🙂

  24. nrhatch August 18, 2011 / 9:42 AM

    I love this post! 😀

    Bravo! Encore!

    • jannatwrites August 18, 2011 / 8:38 PM

      Wow, you read all 7 linked posts. Well done, Nancy!

      Thanks for offering up the challenge – it was fun. (Except for the part of re-reading my posts!)

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