Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Very Bookanista Farewell...Sort Of

Okay, so I've spent the better part of the last year and a half talking about books I love each Thursday. I've rarely missed a post. The Bookanista group has been a great resource and friendship for me.

But today, it's time to say good-bye. Others have left the group, and many remain. Some come and go, participating sometimes and sometimes not. I wish I could be like them and stay in the group but not participate.

Unfortunately, my OCD/pitbull personality/whatever will not allow me to do things like this. When I chomp down on something, there is no letting go.

Until it's time to let go. And then I do. Fully and completely.

...

Until today. That's right -- this goes against the very fiber of my being. But I'm going to do it (change is good, right?).

I'm still going to be a Bookanista; it's just one of the things I'm scaling back on. I've also been a big part of the League of Extraordinary Writers this past year, and I'll be down to blogging over there only once a month from now on (did you see our new shiny members?! They're awesome).

Both of these scale-backs have freed up some breathing space in my life. I'm eternally grateful for the groups and my role in them, and I hope to be able to count those people as friends for a long time.

I still love to read, and I will still talk about books. Don't worry about that. I just won't be doing it as often, and my blog schedule will adjust to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with the occasional Bookanista post on Thursdays.

I have big goals for my newly found "free time." I have taken stock of my life the past several months and have made some discoveries.

One that startled me: Before I sold Possession (in Feb. 2010), I'd written 12 books. Since then (Feb. 2010), I've written 1. ONE.

That is not okay with me. In 2012, I have plans to write 3 books. THREE. In one year. That will be triple my production rate over the past two years. So what's that in a year? Sextuple? Something like that.

One that saddens me: Before Possession came out (June 2011), I read 50-100 blogs each day. I realize this is an insane number, but still. Since Possession came out (June 2011), I usually read 0. ZERO.

This is not okay with me. I miss being an active participant in the blogosphere. I'm going to start small--after all I have to write three books this year. My blog-reading goal for 2012 is to read 10 blogs each day, Monday - Friday. I think I can do it.

One that I've always known but ignored: My family needs me. They need me more than my manuscript and more than the blogosphere and more than my critique partners. I am tired of the saying, "My real life got in the way."

That is not okay with me. My real life is what's REAL. It is not a nuisance or something horrible that gets in the way of something wonderful (writing). At least it shouldn't be. So 2012 will find me cultivating the real life relationships that need cultivating.

So anyway. This turned into a goal post when really I just wanted to say what a wonderful time I've had--and hope to have again in the future--with the super-cali-fragilistic-expial-i-docious Bookanistas. *mwah*

But... do you have goals for this year?

62 comments:

Claire Dawn said...

Beautifully said! I've got a similar post up today about reading less.In a weird, fateful (is that a word? Oh, well, it is now!) twist, I mentioned POSSESSION as an example.

I understand exactly how you feel, and I don't mind you scaling back, because I'd love more books from you. :)

Also, writing is like Monsters Inc. Remember how the monsters used to harvest the power of screams, and then they discovered laughter blew everything off the charts? So many people think artists need to be sad, but a happy writer is an incredible creative force! (Monsters Inc and writers - weirdest comparison ever? At least top 10.)

Laura Pauling said...

I think everyone is feeling a bit like that, prioritizing, making room for more writing, saying no, cutting back. Yay for more books!

Matthew MacNish said...

I could never figure out how all of you guys read a book, every. Single. Week.

And we missed you, but I haven't really been reading blogs either. I really miss it, but I need to meet my goal this year - get an agent for this novel.

Leigh Ann said...

You know? Something's gotta give. Striving for sanity and *gasp* even calm is admirable and more necessary than people give it credit for. So, well done you.

Also, three books? Psssh. You're so going to own that. Probably you'll write four. I wouldn't be surprised at all.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like you have some great goals here. It's hard to cut back on the blogging and reading people's blogs, but writing and real life is just as important. I'm going to have to prioritize more too because I'm reading too many blogs.

Miranda Hardy said...

Your priorities are right on. I can't believe the amount of time you've placed in the various blogs. I hope you achieve your goals and three books would be awesome. I read a lot of blogs per day, reminds me of you once upon a time. I know I will not always have time to put into it as I do now, especially when the marketing gets involved. One of the reasons I'm nervous to publish.

I look forward to seeing your progression and updates.

Heather Sunseri said...

I basically told everyone the other day that the way I fit writing into the schedule of a full-time job and a full-time family was that I was able to function on 5-6 hours of sleep at times. As soon as I wrote the words I looked up and thought to myself, "Maybe that's why you have so many headaches." Funny how we'll make certain sacrifices and forget what really matters. I'm working on making sure I sleep eight hours a night during this tax season.

Sounds like you've got a well-planned out year. And I agree with Leigh Ann. You're all over those three books. It's in the bag. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's all about balance and knowing when to say no and step back. Blogging does take a lot of time and effort. (Would it scare you to know I visited a hundred and fifty blogs yesterday? But it was the IWSG post, so that's not normal.) I can't imagine writing that many books, though. Then again, this isn't a major career for me. I just need to write one more book and I'm good.
And I hope we are still good for March 1. Don't forget your mailing address so my publisher can send a book.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

This post made my day because I realized that you are not, in fact, traveling back through time with Hermione's necklace. Nice to know you are human not a human looking robot - hope you enjoy your human life more :)

Kenda Turner said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on all this--and for inspiring others. Life as a writer/author/blogger/reader is somewhat like the proverbial kid in the candy store--there's so much to choose from! Yet we do have to take stock from time to time. Especially the part about cultivating real relationships and being there for those closest to us. Thanks for the reminder! Best of luck to you in meeting your goals in the upcoming year :-)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

You are brave and awesome for seeking out what's most important to you and putting it first. Sometimes (I'm horribly guilty of this) it's easy to let the most important things slip and the most pressing things take front and center.

My post today is also about cutting back on blogging! (Hopefully going for quality over quantity and to write 3 books as well!!). It's important to stay connected, but you can only do it in a sustainable way. And that has to be okay.

Here's to a joyous, productive 2012 for both of us!

Misha Gericke said...

You've got some great and brave goals going. I hope you succeed in them.

I set myself a bunch of goals with the idea that if I achieve six of them, I'll be happy, but I'm really hoping to get them all done. My main goal is to finish my beast and get it out there for agents to read.

:-)

Angela Brown said...

Funny, or not, but my Insecure Writer's Group post on yesterday was about my own feelings about this whole writing-family-life balance business and how it sometimes frustrates me into thinking giving up would be best.

I'm glad to see that you've taken the stock you needed, learned what you need and want to change for the better and not completely walking away from things you love.

So many people commented on that post yesterday with words of encouragement, and though you've already reached the published point, words of encouragement should never stop. I wish you the best as you work towards finding your balance. You've spent a lot of time learning what you don't like, setting the boundaries that way. Now you can be the very best and happiest Elana you can be.

I think that rocks :-)

Slamdunk said...

Wow, your reading exploits are inspiring Elana. Yeah, 50-100 blogs is a time-eater.

Best wishes in 2012.

Rosalyn said...

One of the things I love about visiting your blog is that you're not afraid to be honest about the challenges of being a writer. Thanks for sharing this!

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Glad your scaling back but staying a part of the group blogs...nothing to feel guilty about there...I'm sure they still appreciate you being a part of their teams.

And best wishes with your new balance...we all could use some rebalancing, I'm sure.

Lydia Kang said...

Elana, please don't take this the wrong way, as it's going to be squishy...
((((hugs))))

You are such an inspiration to me. I can't tell you how I perked up when I saw you drop by my blog. I think your changes are brilliant, and more importantly, I think you are so brave for doing what you think is right for you as a write and a person.

K.T. Hanna said...

I think it's a great thing to make changes. Also, it's a great thing to challenge yourself to do more of what you love.

I'm working on my first submittable book at the moment (yes, that is now a word and I say it because the 5 preceding it sucked) and thanks to you and From the Query to the Call - I now have a good rough draft of my Query letter. So thank you for that too.

I have a heap of goals for this year. http://www.kthanna.com/2012/01/ushering-in-2012-with-changewritenow-writemotivation/ I'm determined to make them count!

Here's to a fantastic 2012!

Jennifer said...

I really love your honesty. This post was a great motivator for me so thanks for that. Good luck with all of the goals you have set and enjoy your "free time".

Katie Anderson said...

All good plans, my friend. But don't feel guilty or like a failure if you DONT write 3 books in a year. Very few people can do that - or would even attempt it. And the same goes for reading 10 blogs a day. Life gets busier the older your kids get - not to mention the fact that you have spent all that "non-writing" time EDITING!!!! And PROMOTING!!! You have not just been a lazy girl, I assure you.

So give yourself a hug. You deserve it.

I took a long break from writing, blogging, etc... and it was the best, most refreshing thing I ever did. I also started reading adult and non-fiction books - just whatever I felt like reading. And if I didn't feel like reading, I didn't. What a blessing that has been. And it's given my writing more depth as well.

You are right to note that your family is REAL and they are your first priority. And so are the people that you know in real life - friends, other teachers, groups you might have dropped over the years. Those are so nice to reconnect with and I found that rejoining the real world has blessed me tremendously - not to mention has put this whole writing thing in perspective. So anyway, I'm sure you weren't as singularly focused as I was, but pulling back from it all is a GOOD thing.

For what it's worth, I salute you! And am proud to call you my friend :) Whatever you choose is fine. There are no wrong roads here. And I can't WAIT to read your next book!

God bless you, girl

xxoo

Cherie Reich said...

Sometimes something has to give, whether we like it or not. I think you have great goals for this new year. Mine seemed to revolve around doing more of everything it seems (reading, writing, editing, etc.). I'm sure you'll get those books written too. Best wishes for your goals, Elana! :)

ilima said...

Good for you! For me this year, I want to read more. I started writing because I love reading, and with the shift in my free time focus, the reading became sporadic at best. I plan on a book a week this year. Good luck on writing three, wow!

PJ Hoover said...

yay for you! I've let blog reading go big time, and though I do miss it, I also have a lot more time to actually write.

ali cross said...

I love you E. And I love you for passing this wisdom on to me when we had dinner. I've been trying to do it, but with you setting the example for me .... I KNOW I can.

MWAH to YOU!!!

Lola Sharp said...

I think focusing on priorities and finding balance is a huge part of happiness. And 'finding' that elusive 'balance' is the most difficult challenge. It often means letting go of things and saying no to things (and people). It means carving out alone/me time without feeling guilty. It means being really good a a few things and not semi-crappy at a bunch of things. It means...a lot of things...different things to different people.

Anyway, I wish you balance and every joy in 2012, E!

And, also, THREE books in a year???? Dude. That'll never be my goal. That would be a lesson in failure. I want to gnaw my nails and the flesh around them just thinking abut your goal.
BUT, the tracking of your time and where/how it's best spent part is smart....and doesn't make me want to eat my hands. :)

Huggles and much love,
Lola

Robin Reul said...

I admire the brutal honesty about where you're at that you've shared with us all lately. You are absolutely right - your family needs you most of all, and it's definitely important to take stock of your life, your priorities, and feel like you're on track. You've already established a fan base and a loyal following of fellow writers who will support your work and read your words in any form, whether it be a novel or a blog. That won't go away. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Nothing changes here, except you feeling more in control of your life and your writing, and that's a blessing in my book. At the end of the day, the writing process should be for you because you love it and want to share it with the world. All that business stuff can get in the way and cloud that, but I admire your strength for reeling things in and keeping them in absolute perspective.

xoxo

Christina Lee said...

I', still stuck on the pit bull personality comment *snort*

Hey, you are doing things for YOU--most important of all--go you!

SHANNON O'DONNELL said...

Wow. Those are some powerful discoveries, Elana. I applaud you; first, for being aware of the changes and second, for being willing to do what it takes to address those issues. :-)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I never understood how you guys read a book every week. It blew my mind--still does. I love to read but it's strange - I can either write or read. I tend to get too caught up in books that I can't exit that world to continue my story and I'll not be able to put the book down until Ive finished it. So my reading has suffered while I've been so productive writing-wise the last few months. (Btw, I did finish the two novels before 2012 started!)

Good luck with your goals!

Sarah Allen said...

This sounds like a good change for you. I think you are wise and smart about what you need in your life. Good luck with the writing, I'm excited to see what you write next :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Krispy said...

The amount of stuff you do never ceases to amaze me. I never know how you do it, but obviously, there are sacrifices. I'm happy for you that you're taking the time you need to get back to what you feel is important. I love your goals and your priorities and applaud you for putting those first. Good luck with it all!

Ainsley Shay said...

I'm always in the background in the blogsphere, and rarely leaving comments on blogs...due to all of the things you're going back to...but you've been a huge part in our community - and I wanted to thank you for that. Balance is hard to find in life, but it seems like your on you're way. I wish you the best.

Christine Fonseca said...

I love this post so much! I have made balance my priority. Family and RL has always trumped everything else in my life, but yes - I miss my family when I am in my cave. And my day job - oh the day job - it is intense and insane. And it deserves my time too. So, while I am still heavily online, I am practice more balance. Making time to exercise and meditate, read for pleasure and play. And yes, I plan to write and edit 4 books this year - I have too!
HUGS!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Good for you! I'm glad you're giving yourself a little breathing room. Family always comes first, I always say. :) And I'll still look forward to your posts each week. Since you're made of awesome. And like bacon as much as I do. ;)

Patti said...

I especially like your last one and I've gotten to the point where I'll give myself a time limit on reading blogs and when that time expires, I'm done for the day.

Sometimes you just need to say no a little bit in order to give yourself some breathing room.

Marsha Sigman said...

Good for you! I'm so glad you decided to scale back instead of just disappearing!

You really are carrying an incredible load and I think this will be so good for you. I'm trying to do the same thing with my life/schedule right now too.

If I could somehow add 15 more hours to the week...

Theresa Milstein said...

I've noticed a trend with writers. When they begin blogging, they blog a lot. They're faithful commenters. If they're blogs get popular, they don't keep up the same (you were a rare exception), they get an agent and the pressure is on so they have to social network gets less, and then books deals that take even more time follow.

And finding time for family should be more of a priority for all of us.

I think it's great you're taking steps to be the writer and mom you need to be. Good luck.

Carolyn V said...

I think your goals are great Elana! And smart. Here's to prioritizing!

Donna K. Weaver said...

"My real life is what's REAL."

Exactly. It's sad that sometimes we need to be reminded of that.

Leigh Covington said...

You are one smart lady. I have realized that I need to cut down on things too. It's hard! I hate to do that, but I realize I will never accomplish any of my goals this year if I don't. *sigh* I had to stop one blog and now I'm keeping this one. It's all for the best though!

I wish you luck and time and success! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like you're making postive changes for you and your family. Good for you! :)

My mantra often is: real people before fake people!

Enjoy :)

Taffy said...

Good wake up and smell the laundry post, Elana. It's okay to scale back. It's okay to let less important 'stuff' take a back burner or fall away.
Good luck on THREE books! You rock!

Ghenet Myrthil said...

I totally support your scaling back. You have to do what's right for you! 3 books in one year? I'm impressed by your goal. Good luck!

Jenny Lundquist said...

I love your posts, I feel like they help me make sense of my writing life. I literally sneaked away from helping my kids with their homework to read this post, so that I could go straight to revising my ms with my blog reading for the day already finished. I really don't know how to balance everything, and I do less than half of what you do. No matter what cuts I end up making, reading your blog won't be one of them :0) And, yay for more books from you!

KarenG said...

These are some really fascinating statistics about your writing. We all know blogging can take away from writing but publishing? Awww, say it ain't so! Looking forward to seeing what exciting things you do in 2012, Elana.

Alice said...

Great goals. One of my goals this year is similar to yours in that I want to be more available for my kids. Writing is going to come second, but I still have writing goals, I'm just scaling back too like you. I wish you the best of luck with everything in 2012!

Angela Ackerman said...

Sounds like all your priorities are in the right place, Elana! Get 'er done, right? Hugs and happy 2012!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Kelly Hashway said...

Elana, it's good that you recognized something needed to go. You're a writer, and if you are spreading yourself so thin that you aren't writing, there's a problem. Don't feel bad about cutting back because in the end, your readers and fans will thank you. (Write the next book so we can read it!)

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm surprised at how many bloggers struggle with balance and yet we all tend to feel like we're the only ones...like the rest of the blogosphere has figured it out and just isn't letting us in on the secret.

I think you're priorities are in order. Family/work and blogging in the cracks.

Best wishes to you in 2012!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

definitely do what's right for you! Besides, nothing has to be a forever thing. You can certainly change your mind about blogging schedules, etc in the future. Find the best balance for you

Elle Strauss said...

Feeling overwhelmed seems to be a theme with writers these days. You're doing the right thing! Enjoy your real life.

Jenna Blake Morris said...

Good for you for knowing when to take a step back! And good luck with the new schedule and with your 2012 goals. (:

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like you're getting things prioritized; good luck with your goals for 2012!

Liesl Shurtliff said...

Wow. Three books. That is a lot. I'm lucky if I get one in, and that's usually a skimpy middle-grade.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Elana, we've all been in awe of you since we first "met." You put a phenomenal amount of time into helping other writers. I can't wait to see what you write over the next year.

Happy New Year!

Eric said...

This is a great post, Elana. Sometimes we have to do this kind of "taking stock", but it sounds like the choices you're making are the right ones. Of course we will miss seeing you all over the place, but we understand why and wouldn't want it any other way.

Leslie Rose said...

When your schedule bruises your creativity like yours was doing, it's a wise move to make broad stroke changes. Good for you. Treat yourself to some maple bacon for a making terrific decision.

Carrie Monroe said...

Glad you are taking time for the things you need to take time for. Can't wait to read more of your books. You give so much to the writing community, it is inspiring.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I <3 this! I was talking with a friend the other day and said that the hardest thing for authors to do amongst everything they have to do is to find time to write. She was floored! And really, it was a little weird to say it out loud.

Laura Barnes said...

You always have so many comments so I don't comment myself much. But I loved and identified with this post so much I just had to say so.

I haven't published a book as you have, but I have other things that have gotten in the way and I can relate. The one that really got me was the family. I finished a first draft this last week, and the last few days of the process, I was ignoring the kids, yelling at them, feeding them dinner from the snack cupboard. It's not like I have a deadline of some sort. Why do I get like this?

Anyway, like I said, I get it. And thanks for sharing.

Susanne Drazic said...

This is a great post. Thank you for being so open about what you are dealing with. You have to do what works for you and your family. You've set some wonderful goals and I wish you much success in reaching them.

Katie Ganshert said...

Okay - you and I are suffering from the same thing. The year before I got my contract, I wrote three books. Since signing my contract in January, I'm still working on the same book. ACK! What is this about???

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget