…or get off the pot!




The IWSG is the creation of Alex J. Cavanaugh and its purpose is to share and encourage. The first Wednesday of every month, writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Unfortunately, this will be my last contribution to this awesome event for a while.

It should be fairly evident that stagnation leads to insecurity, and that insecurity can eat away at you like a bleeding ulcer, leaving you weak and doubting everything you do.  Frankly, that's where I see myself right now and I can’t go on like this for much longer -- not knowing if I really belong.  I’m not one to just let things languish, and not the type of person to tackle projects without a plan of attack and timetable.  So, what does that mean?  It means I've developed a strategy…but it comes with a cost.

Side note: We’re all wired differently…by that I mean we go about things such as how we create, edit, revise, seek representation, in fact just about everything that determines our writing process in our own way.  Sure, there are similarities and certainly circumstances play an important part in shaping our path, but in the end we are all individuals with a unique vision and a distinctive style with which we bring it to life.  Most of the time here on my blog I talk about my vision -- my way of doing things -- and the unspoken words typed in small print on the warning label states…THIS MIGHT NOT BE RIGHT FOR YOU.       

Today I’m invoking that notice.

I have been chasing the publication dream for five years now.  For some people, that’s just a blink in time…for others, it feels like forever. I’m somewhere in the middle.  The opinion of some are that the development process for aspiring writers can’t be rushed, much like the fermentation of a fine wine, and we shouldn’t be worried even when the years reach double digits. Still others are of the belief that the amount of effort put forth determines the timing of ultimate success.  Once again, I fall somewhere in the middle.  No amount of sweat and determination can make up for the “touch” that only comes about through a slow maturation and experience.

I feel like I’ve reached that point in my journey, my evolution, where I can succeed.  I’ve written three full-length novels, multiple short stories, and I feel like I’ve developed a writing voice that could appeal to a wide audience.  Before personal issues threw a wrench into my drive-shaft this year, I was starting to make meaningful connections with agents.  Now that things are back on track I see myself standing at the crest of the last rise, but I’m hesitant.  I’ve got to stop vacillating.  It’s time to apply some of that sweat and determination to catapult me over the top and finally see if I have what it takes to realize the dream.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

To be blunt…it’s time to @*&%...or get off the pot!

Here's my plan.  For the rest of 2013 and all of next year I will devote myself to this dream.  I will take the last three months of this year to edit & revise my YA Horror novel and get it ready to shop around. Next year I will do a full-court press involving agent/publisher querying, pitches at writer’s conferences, and whatever else it takes to get my book noticed.  If by the end of the year I’m unsuccessful, then I’ll explore the self-publication option and make a decision.  If that means the dream remains just that…a dream…then so be it.  At least I’ll have an answer.

That’s the plan…so what’s the cost?  This blog.  I don’t have a lot of spare time to begin with and we all know how much effort it takes to maintain a substantial blog presence…and I’ve done it all these years because it establishes my writing platform and hopefully builds a network of future book buyers and promoters.  Also…it’s a TON of fun and the relationships I’ve formed via this blogosphere are deeply treasured! The hard fact is…what good does all that do if you can’t write a book that entices somebody like an agent or publisher to work with you?   

So, when WRiTE CLUB concludes this year, I will be going on extended hiatus.  Except for a couple of book launches that I'll be helping promote, Cruising Altitude 2.0 will be going dark.  Big whoop” you say…you don’t visit my blog now!  I know, and I’m sorry about that, but that’s exactly why I need to back away.  Blogging is all about the ying and yang, to earn readership you must read and comment on other blogs.  I haven't picked up a new follower since April.  If it was just about writing blog posts I could probably keep on doing what I’m doing, but it’s not…and I can’t.  The one thing I will keep active is the BLOG BLITZ.  This is one of my blog inventions that really does good, so I just can't watch it die away.

I've watched as some of my blogging buddies have taken this same approach, and for some it has paid off.  Others...not so much.  I’ve also closed down this blog once before, back in 2011, but for a different reason.  Back then I was frustrated because I didn’t feel like I was maturing as a writer and I needed the time to decide if I ever could.  It worked…I used that time wisely and came back stronger, more confident, and I've continued to grow.  This time my self-imposed banishment is different.  This time I feel like I am a writer, I just need the time to find out if someone in the publishing world agrees.  Maybe the strategy will work again.

I’m not going completely away.  I’ll be around from time to time…checking in on you…but for the most part my focus will be on my book and finding a home for it.  I will be back when I get the response I'm looking for.

Remember -- this is what’s right for me…but … THIS MIGHT NOT BE RIGHT FOR YOU!

41 comments

  1. Sorry to see you go DL, you have done some excellent work and made many people happy with your BLITZ. But as you have a dream you owe it to yourself to follow that dream and I am positive you will make it.
    Good luck and hope to see your book(s) in the future.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thank you for understanding Yvonne. It wasn't a decision made lightly, and I will be back just as soon as I have something significant to report!

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  2. Looks like you're doing what's right for you, and that has to be good. We all handle the blogging/writing life differently - I post randomly myself. Good luck with the writing, agents, publications and world-wide domination :-)

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  3. You know I'll throw my weight behind any decision you make to pursue publication, and this is one I wholeheartedly applaud. I agree that your books and your voice will appeal to a mass audience, and if you need to sacrifice anything in order to prove that, then social media should be the first thing to go!

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  5. As much as I love Cruising Altitude 2.0 and all the cool stuff you do here (much of it in support of OTHER writers ...) , when something that isn't a family or a health issues interferes with YOUR writing and the pursuit of publication, it needs to get out of the way. Meg Rosoff, author of How I Live Now, did a blog post over on Writer Unboxed a couple of days ago. It was so dang good, I went to her regular blog and found this:
    http://www.megrosoff.co.uk/2012/11/11/how-to-write/
    Items #2 and #3 are so true. A platform is part of the whole marketing thing, and when building the platform takes over and keeps the train from running on time (or running at all...) then all I can say is "got hiatus?" (The wonderful, fabulous Neil Gaiman has a lot to say about things standing in the way of writing.)

    And p.s. ... the term "insecure writer" is like saying "burly lumberjack" or "graceful dancer."

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  6. Being on hiatus myself (for different reasons, of course) I completely understand and support your decision. I'm very glad to hear that the Blitz will remain. All those comments meant so much to me when my wife died. Wishing you all the best during your hiatus.

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  7. I can relate to this. When I lost my blog domain in the summer, I was forced to rethink things. As much as I loved blogging about writing and publication, that was not what readers who aren't writers want to read about. So I had to make a decision, which was easy once I had to start blogging from scratch. Plus, with publication comes other time sucks and responsibilities. That means I don't have the time for blogging I once had. At one point I was spending 15 + hour s a week blogging. That was back when I got 30-60 comments per post, posted three times a week, and commented back on every comment. I can't afford to do that anymore.

    So I'm glad you're rethinking your priorities, Don. Beyond your wife and your full time job, writing your novel comes first.

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    1. There comes a point where you just need to know all your efforts aren't in vain...publishing-wise...and that's where I'm at. This is the only way forward I can see working...because my writing is a priority and I want to give it a decent shot at succeeding. :)

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  8. I too back and forth with this one, I want to spend all my time writing, but it's marketing is where I am and it really stalls the spirit. Blogging and social media is how it's done today. I began blogging in earnest just over a year ago - and it's why and how I found my publisher. A small press that was holding a query contest. Now, I'm trying to figure out how to reach more readers - not writers, but mystery readers. My suggestion, make learning your audience part of your writing goals - and how to reach them - so when you are ready to come back with a publication plan you'll have a big part of the marketing process figured out! Good luck, always!

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    1. I feel as if I have a good handle on who I want my audience to be...not that there isn't more to learn...but my priority right now must be the material and not the marketing. Thank you for your support! :)

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  9. DL, I'm so sorry to see you go, but I understand your decision. You're an inspiration to me and I wish you the very best of luck in all your endeavors. I have no doubt in my mind that I will be reading one of your books in the near future and will 'see' you again! Lily

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    1. My confidence...in part...feeds off of yours. Thank you for that!!

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  10. Don, I totally understand and - as always - I support your decision. You've been my cyber-writing buddy since before we even HAD blogs and were hanging out at the old WD forums. Now as then I remain convinced that you're a talented writer and are absutely destined for publishing success! As for a blogging hiatus? Pffft - My own blog has been on-again, off-again more than the light switch of a bathroom after a White Castle marathon. In fact I just retired my old blog and started a NEW one that features more than just writing since I've done so little of it lately.

    But the bottom line is that I believe in you, support you, and will be first in line to say, "See??? Told you so!" when you do get published.

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    1. Chris,

      I'll send you an email that will basically repeat this, but I wanted everyone else to hear this as well. We go way back...I mean WAY BACK as far as blogging years go...and you were one of my first collaborators that really believed in what I was doing. Back then I drew (and still do) and immeasurable amount of energy from your support and feedback. I would not be here right now without you in my corner and I hope you know that I'm here for you as well. This is a nut we will crack TOGETHER! :)

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  11. DL, you'll be missed but TOTALLY understand your need to step away from blogging. Best wishes with your writing and finding a home for your books/stories.

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    1. Thank you, Susanne! In the immortal words of James Cameron (as delivered via Arnold Schwarzenegger)..."I'll be back!" :)

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  12. Heh. I feel like our IWSG posts were a bit similar today.
    If taking a break from the blog is something that will help you, then go for it. I think blogging is on the decline, anyway.
    And i'm so excited you're taking such a big step about getting your work out there. It's worth it. Even the lows (and there will be lows) can be awesome because at least they mean we're moving forward, you know?

    Also, YA Horror, eh? Awesome. We need more of that. Hannah Kincaid writes YA Horror too, and she's revising too. Let me know if you need any agent suggestions. I know a few who are actively looking for YA Horror.

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  13. You'll be missed but you have to make the right decision for you. Any of us may make the same decision at some point. Hope to hear how your doing though. Take care DL and thanks for all you have done with Write Club and Blitz.

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  14. Good luck!! My offer still stands on the Beta reading. I know me some YA Horror! Just shoot me an email!

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  15. We'll miss you but we'll be here whenever you pop in to say hello. The blogosphere starts quieting down soon anyway like it does every year when the holidays come around.

    Try not to worry or dwell so much on how long you've been pursuing your goals and dreams. Remember this quote by Tom Clancy (who I just saw passed away today, so sad): "An overnight success is ten years in the making.” ~Tom Clancy

    And this is a great quote, too: "The bottom line is not how fast you make your dream come true, but how steadily you pursue it." ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

    Good luck and I wish you well, DL!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  16. Do what you need to do. We'll miss you while you're gone but we hope the best for you. Good luck!

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  17. Sounds like a well thought out decision. Best of luck to you buddy! You CAN do it! You will be missed, but I think you'll find that most of us totally get it.
    Tina @ Life is Good

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  18. I hope your blogging break helps you. Good luck on getting your novel finished and ready, and well done for going after your dream, even if it means temporarily giving up something you love. See you around :)

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  19. Your statement about not having a new follower since April is patently untrue. I didn't start following this blog until WRiTE CLUB and that was well after April of this year. I have enjoyed your personal post mingled in with the WRiTE CLUB postings and will miss you when you are gone. However, I don't expect one new follower to change your decision. I wish you the best, D.L.

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    1. Point taken about the followers...but then that means I've lost as many as I've gained because my total count is still the same. :)

      I just hope most of them are still around when I return.

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  20. I'm behind you 100%! Sometimes we need to focus on our dreams and that means other things fall behind. (I only blog sporadically, since I was feeling the same thing you were. I've often thought about shutting down my blog entirely and just having a website. It's still an idea I entertain sometimes).

    Blogging takes time, and that time could be better spent in trying to find an agent. (Not always, but sometimes, since it's only after you have an agent and a book deal that they really start looking at your presence. Yes it helps to start before, but if it's taking away all your time, then obviously you'll need to shuffle things around). Do what you need, and hopefully we'll see you around :)

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  21. That's why all things must be balanced. I couldn't do a break as it would kill all momentum (not to mention the IWSG and Challenge) but then I am in a different place - I have three books out there. Pulling back before that is smart, afterwards, not so much.
    Glad you will continue with the Blitz.
    And know that you are THAT close, DL!

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  22. I'm going to miss you, but I understand what you are trying to do and support you. Sometimes, we all need to step back and take care of ourselves (and our fledgling novels) the best we can. Sincerely wishing you good luck and much success. :-)

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  23. Although I'm sure you'll be missed by many (at least by me), you gotta do what ya gotta do. I admire your dedication to your dream. Never Quit!

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  24. DL, I look forward to your post that says, "Ok, I sold a book. I'll be returning full force to Cruising Altitude!"
    And hopefully it's sooner than later.
    I admire you for setting a plan out and committing to it... Especially considering your plan has the frightful option of awakening from the writing dream. Hopefully it doesn't come to that. But if it does, at least retain all you learned and the relationships you made over the journey.
    I wish you the best, sir.

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    1. David ~ Thanks! Either the delusion will vanish in the cold light of reality...or my self-doubt will...either way I'll know how to proceed. :)

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  25. I get ya Don. I'm there too. My Nov IWSG will be a hiatus announcement. I've struggled and worked too hard at writing for very little gratification. And, I'm not a "writing is my life" type writer. I haven't even decided what genre I want to write in. Which is probably why short stories appeal to me.

    So, what did you do with your AHL4 story? Are you shopping it out? Did you visit ME's Porfolio's blog?

    BTW: I will miss you while you - and I - are gone. I hope the plan works and you become published within a matter of months :)


    .........dhole

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  26. Best of luck . . . great parting words of wisdom . . . we all must forge our own path :-)

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    1. You don't think I should have gone with..."You have not seen the last of me!"? :)

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  27. DL, sorry it's come to this decision but I trully understand. I've even cut my blogging way back since the start of the year. Full steam ahead and you'll be back.

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    1. You just made me think of the Little Train that could! :) Thank you!

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  28. Good luck wherever your path might take you!

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  29. I'm so sorry it's come to that, but I do understand, Don, as I haven't been blogging much either. It's not writing the posts that takes up too much time; it's visiting all those other blogs. As much as I love doing it, it's a real time-suck. Good luck with your novel! And hope your wife is feeling better and stronger all the time.

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