Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer Hiatus

I feel like I’m about to write a confession.

Dear Readers: It’s been two months since I posted a blog.

I hate making excuses. I believe in fulfilling commitments. When I started this blog, I made a commitment to myself that I would write a new post every two weeks, not every two months. Over the years, I’ve taken different tacks on what those posts have been.

At one time, I would post a book review once a month. That seemed useful, but it was also hard. To review a book means you have to read it, and my reading time has decreased as my writing time has increased. Then there was always the dilemma of what if I really didn’t like a book. I know the writers of many of the books I read, if not personally, at least in a casual, online way. I consider them colleagues, and some are friends. Writing a critical review can be hurtful, and that’s the last thing I want to be. Praising a book I don’t like is dishonest and not being helpful to readers. So I stopped reviewing books.

I’ve written about places I’ve visited, always interesting material. I haven’t had a vacation in a couple of years and haven’t gone any place special for a while. Even Nandi, the baby elephant, turned two this week, and it must be close to two years since I’ve been to the zoo to visit her.

I’ve written about writing, but there are so many other writers who know so much more about it than I do, I feel like a fraud trying to teach other writers about craft.

So I ran out of interesting things to say, and went back to what I do best: sitting quietly and observing.

This year has also been intense as far as writing goes. At the beginning of 2016, I set a goal of publishing the three African Violet Club mysteries for which I’d written first drafts, and writing at least one brand new novel to be published before the end of the year. “Royal Purple Murder,” the third in the series, is now finished and will be released on September 1st. I’ve done minimal planning on the fourth book. For one thing, I need a break. For another, some life events have intervened and I’ve used that break to focus on other priorities. But I’m really looking forward to getting started on the next book.

I’ve also become addicted to Facebook. Unlike a blog post, where it can take days for people to read it and few respond, Facebook posts get almost immediate feedback. It’s fun when it isn’t annoying, which in this election season, is more often than I care for. But it’s still more tempting in breaks from writing to jump on Facebook than to think about a new blog post.

Many authors have stopped blogging entirely for similar reasons. I haven’t decided to stop, but I am going to have to come up with a new focus for this blog if I’m continue writing it. The only point in continuing is if people read the words. Getting responses is also important. Otherwise, it’s like shouting down a well.

So I’m asking you what you would like to hear about? If you’ve read my blog in the past, what kinds of posts did you enjoy most? If you haven’t, what kinds of things interest you?

I’m truly interested in knowing.