Blather, Announcing My Next Book, and an Involuntary Experiment

Greetings, fellow Earthlings (and anyone else who might be reading ^_^). You know, it’s occurred to me recently that one of the reasons my blogging has dropped off is because of my general ambivalence about social media in recent years. I’m meant to be a blogger, not a Tweeter or an Instagrammer, not a TikTokker, etc. It’s just how I’m built. I like to write thoughtful paragraphs. It comes naturally and doesn’t stress me out. But I’m told blogs are dead. This raises so many questions. If something isn’t popular and doesn’t create as much frenzy as something else, does that mean it’s a waste of my time? If ignoring my Twitter notifications for a few weeks brings with it sense of peace and well-being, might that possibly mean Twitter isn’t good for me? If Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are having a cage match, is there any way we can arrange for both of them to lose? Etc., etc.

Anyway, in today’s changing social media landscape, I intend to sort out my approach, and I’m going to do it fairly soon, because: I have a new book coming out next May! I’m really proud of it. It’s a YA full of magic, and also doughnuts, owls and albatrosses, friendships, mysteries, and even a little romance, plus it happens to take place during election week 2020, during the Covid pandemic, in my own home of Watertown, Massachusetts. It’s called There Is a Door in This Darkness. At some point, I’ll be excited to share the cover and more details! But I wanted to let my faithful blog readers know that it’s on the way.

Also, I wanted to report on a recent involuntary experiment. Like many writers, I am prone to fall subject to the assumption that if a writing day is easy, that means my writing is probably pretty good that day; or maybe more to the point, if a writing day is terribly hard, that means my writing is probably crap that day. But I’ve also noticed, across the years, that this seems objectively not to be true. And it just so happens that I’m coming off of an extremely difficult week (everyone and everything is fine, please don’t be alarmed, but it was a week of intense distress and anxiety). For whatever reason, maybe denial, I decided not to allow myself any time off from writing during that awful week. I wrote every day. It was horrible. Every sentence was agony. I was extremely distracted and anxious, every page was a giant fight. And every day, I was convinced that I was writing crap.

But then the terrible week ended, and I looked back over what I’d written. And it was neither better nor worse than what I’d written during the happy weeks prior. It was pretty good, actually; it was just fine; it was just like all my writing.

Conclusion: I think that when it comes to the quality of your work, it doesn’t necessarily matter how you feel, or how you feel about it. What matters is that you’re doing it. You’re pushing through, or, on the good days, something is pulling you through. Either way, the point isn’t how you feel. It’s that you’re sitting in the chair, doing the work.

However, I also think that in life, it does absolutely matter how you feel. I could’ve given myself the week off, or at least not pushed myself so hard, and maybe that would’ve facilitated recovery from all the other stuff. Which means that I also support the opposite conclusion: Sometimes it’s OK to not do the work.

I hope I remember to be easier on myself next time. And I hope you’re all being easy on yourselves! Be well, everyone. More soon, when I have news or fun blather.