Thursday, December 1, 2011

In Which I Have Lost My Way

I'll be honest. I did not spend the last month pondering my blog and the direction thereof. I did not spend it dreaming up new posts, thinking of fun features I could do. I did not spend it thinking about the blog much at all.

I spent it traveling, and with family. I spent it dealing with yet another personal loss. I spent it editing MIND GAMES and reading ENDLESSLY for what will probably be the last time to catch any last typos or words I want to change. I spent it losing myself in another imaginary world that may or may not ever be a book, and I don't care, because the point is the losing.

This blog has evolved over the years, and frankly I'm not sure what the next evolution should be. I always tried to leave off too many personal things, but lately it seems like everything I am thinking about or want to write about is too personal for an audience of thousands without the filter of a Main Character other than myself.

I used to talk about my struggles with infertility, but three-and-a-half years and four lost pregnancies later, I am too tired to even think about putting it out there in an effort to deal with it myself and maybe help other women deal. I remember the last time I did and someone emailed me actually questioning how I could claim to be infertile, implying I had no right. (I lost another pregnancy a week after that email. I have tried to forgive that person, remembering how much pain we all carry around with ourselves.)

I used to talk about what I was writing and working on, but I feel like I can't anymore. And not because I think people will steal my ideas (I could tell you my exact idea and you would write a completely different book--I know enough about writing now to know that). Because people get excited and attached to ideas, and then maybe that idea will never be published. Maybe I'll quit fifty pages in. Maybe it won't be right for publishing. Maybe it WILL be right for publishing, but I'll need to stay quiet about it because there are some parts of the process you don't talk about while they are happening.

I used to talk about writing in general. Advice, thoughts, that sort of thing. I've read enough on the internet to know that pretty much any topic I think to talk about has already been talked about--extensively--at great length--frequently more eloquent and thoughtful than I could ever manage. And I talked about those things because they were the questions I had, but I don't have those general questions anymore. Frankly, I know how publishing works. I understand the process and the ins-and-outs. I know how my own writing works. And I know now that the way my writing works is not the way your writing works nor should it be. The only questions I have now apply so specifically to myself and my own writing that there's no point in putting them here.

(I don't know who Frankly is, but I am addressing much of this post to him. I hope he doesn't mind.)

I worry about whining. I have so freaking much good fortune that I never, ever want to come across as ungrateful in any way, shape, or form. I worry about what other people take of my words and do with them. (I've had whole blog posts written about an "anonymous" author who was obviously me, that left me utterly shocked and bemused that someone could take my words and make me into a snide, sarcastic, unfeeling, evil monster. I am nothing if not feeling! The others, well.)

I worry about bragging. Again, please see "I have so freaking much good fortune." Sometimes I worry that I am bludgeoning the internets with all of the Good Things, because I choose to leave the Bad Things off.

I wonder at this strange, nebulous line between public and private. The more people pay attention to what I say and do, the more I want to retreat into myself and keep the private things even more private, and limit the public things even more. And it's not because people are mean. They aren't! People are awesome. It's because...I don't know how to put it. It's very, very weird to know that there are people out there who feel like they have a relationship with and know you, when you know nothing about them and never will. Obviously I have courted this to some extent, but it doesn't mean it doesn't bother me on a fundamental level. Not on my end--on the other person's. I'm sorry that I can't be for them the friend that they think I am/should be/could be.

I wish I could give more of myself to other people, but I feel the need to circle the wagons (and, apparently, I feel the need to use Old West metaphors). This blog has been a journey, and while I don't feel like I've reached a particular destination, I do feel like the course of the journey has been shifted and I no longer know exactly which gear to put the car in (we have moved on from Old West to manual car transmissions--which is a bad sign, because the only time I drove a stick I totaled it).

I've gone from hopeful aspiring writer, to frequently rejected and failed writer, to newbie author, to...now. I don't know what now is. And that's okay. I'm not giving up on the blog. I'm just not sure what it's going to evolve into. Nothing bothers me more than stagnation in my writing, and the blog is no exception. So, as always, thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. And thank you for your patience as I try to figure out just what the crap I am doing.

(It's been twenty-eight years so far. Still haven't figured it out. Let me know if you do.)

65 comments:

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

You're adorable even when you're serious. ((hug))

Tasha Seegmiller said...

This may seem strange, but I like it when authors who have "arrived" wherever that may be, write about still not being 100% sure about life. It reminds us that these amazing authors are still people, with lives and conflicts and complications. And while I'm not asking to be your BFF, this post definitely let me get to know you.

Thanks for that.

Natalie Whipple said...

I love you, and I'm right there with you trying to figure out what comes next. *awkward hug*

Kathleen Foucart said...

Nothing really to say but thank you for this post, Kiersten. I'm glad you're not giving up the blog, I enjoy reading your posts.

Sara B. Larson said...

You are such a sweetheart, and so brave to be so honest. (And yes Shannon is right -- still super cute and even funny while serious.) I'm sorry you've had so much heartache when it comes to having more children. I know no amount of success in publishing is going to make up for that. Losing my baby was devastating beyond words. I can't imagine losing four. That makes me cry for you. I know that pain intimately and it's horrible. *huge hugs* Your blog has (and continues to be) such a joy to read. No matter what you decide to do with it, I'm sure it will be as wonderful as you are. I try to remember that the Lord tries the ones He loves. He must love you an awful lot. <3 <3

Kirsten Hubbard said...

fantastic post, kiersten. ((hugs))
I think honest posts like this are important for writers at every stage. it's helpful to know we're not alone in an angst vacuum; that there are always lows & fumbles, no matter how high the peaks seem from outside. also I have words for that email you received but evie wouldn't approve of them.

(...an angst vacuum??)

Bee said...

So it just happens you're making me think a lot.

And if you need virtual hugs to help you figure your way, they are free from me :)

Josin L. McQuein said...

Posts like this make me think two things - 1, it's amazing how someone I've never been in the room with can say things that strike such a chord, and - 2, there are some strange people out there. I know the inclination is to strike out when someone feels hurt (like emails and anon blog posts), but this idea that just because someone else's pain isn't identical to what the other person feels, the one loses meaning.

Sharing your own pain and struggle isn't an attack or dig at anyone else, and I hate the idea that someone took it that way. From what I've read on your blog, you're honest and earnest, and it's a shame that someone can make you doubt the value of those things.

I don't know you well enough to offer a hug, but I'll offer an Internet pat on the back.

Marsha Sigman said...

I consider the people I have met online within the writing community my friends and I'm sure you do too so hopefully these peeps you are talking about who are imagining a relationship are not aspiring authors.

Maybe you could give advice or insight into the publishing world. I know it might seem repetitive but everyone's take is different.

Or you could just post cartoons.

Lori Folkman said...

Great post. I do think it's important for others to see that 1. no one has a perfect life and 2. that every author/public figure has feelings too. I think you should just forget the expectation that every author should have a blog, and just do what makes you happy. If it's a stress factor in your life, then just let it go. (But you must never, ever leave Twitter.) :)

Lydia Bloomfield said...

My personal advice on the matter is that you should do what makes you happy. Whether that's turning your blog into a place where you review youtube videos of cats, or giving up on your blog altogether. You should find a place where you surround yourself with things and people you love. And if there's room in there for Twitter and your Blog, then we'll be all the more happy for it.

Find a good place, and stay there. (:

S.P. Bowers said...

Thank you for the amazing post. I'm so sorry for your struggle with infertility. My hubby and I tried for 8 years to have kids before starting the adoption process. We now have two wonderful children, both of whom are adopted.

You can never please everyone, and as your blog changes so will your readership. Just remember your blog is a reflection of who you are. Let it be what you need it to be and the rest will sort itself out. Just know that where ever you are in life there are others who will understand and some who will not.

Just FYI One well published author's blog I have enjoyed is http://deannaraybourn.com/blog/
It finds a balance between open and friendly but not too intimate. And it's not all about writing.

Jodi Meadows said...

A thousand times yes.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Life is one big question mark. Embrace who you are, and don't worry about what anyone else thinks. We all have our battles to fight and crosses to bear. (Man, I love cliches!) You don't need to explain anything to anyone as long as you know you're being true to yourself. (((hugs)))

Amanda J. said...

*hugs* You. Are. Amazing.

Sarah Allen said...

I guess all I really want to say is that whatever you decide, we'll be here.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Mel Fowler said...

I think it's good to step back and look at everything, your goals your accomplishments and where you want to go. Don't rush, take you time, figure out what you want to do. We'll still be here!

Christine Tyler said...

This is beautiful, and I really enjoyed the journey into your thoughts.

Your reflections on change, success and failure feel inspiring.

Kathryn said...

*hugs* So sorry to hear about your lost pregnancies. I can't even imagine.

Rick Daley said...

Frankly is Surely's brother.

WORD VERIFICATION: tributr. One responsible for the accolades presented to others.

Giles Hash said...

I'm excited to see where this blog goes, even if it turns into a way for you to keep us posted on where your career is headed, kinda like Gail Carriger's blog. :D

kellye said...

Kiersten,

Thank you for this honest post! It's fascinating to me that you've done what so many aspiring writers set out to do--create a blog and build community--and because of your hard work and success, you're now finding yourself in this strange new place, which you described very well, without a hint of bragging or whining.

I agree with Lydia Bloomfield, who encouraged you to do what truly makes you happy, and Mel Fowler, who said to take your time. You've already shown that this blog can change with you and your life. I trust that you'll find a way to do what feels right for you here...or you'll leave this blog, and that will be okay, too.

I love the internet, and I appreciate you putting into words the public and private issues that go along with it.

Wishing you all the best--especially with your family and writing.

Elana Johnson said...

Oh my heck! I blogged about this EXACT THING about two weeks ago. I had a bunch of private emails and phone calls with other published authors. We all feel this way! We don't really know where to go or what to do with our blogs.

I so hear you!

And *hugs* on your losses.

stacy said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your losses, Kiersten. You're in my thoughts.

Kate Wilson said...

Good post. Useful for book authors, but interesting to all of us who blog.

Erin Bowman said...

Kiersten, I have to repeat what Shannon brought up and say that even in such an honest, serious post, you still made me giggle and laugh. Lovely post. ((hugs))

Stephanie Perkins said...

I'm glad you are forgiving, because I want to track down the person who sent you that email and stomp on their fingers with my heaviest platform boots.

If a friend can't do that for you, what are they good for? ;-)

I love you. The blogging thing will find a natural answer and solution. Do what makes you happy.

Bryan Russell said...

Write another 364 posts like that and you should be set.

Anne Riley said...

Hmmm. I have some thoughts about the person who sent you that email. Like someone else said, just because your loss isn't identical to theirs doesn't mean you feel it any less. Grr. Anyway, we love you and we hope you are here to stay.

Lexie said...

The more posts I read from you, the more incredible I think you are.

The fact is, you don't need to know us. You don't need to be friends with all of us. You're not superhuman, however incredible you might be. You can't connect to every person who reads your blog and thinks of you as a friend, or at least holds you in high esteem. And that's okay with us. We understand. We don't need you to be a friend, we just need you to be who you are: a quirky, thoughtful author that we all love.

Do whatever you feel is best. Don't worry about what the readers want, worry about what you want, and the rest will follow.

Liz Czukas said...

Kiersten,

Your honesty and humor never fail to awe me. Thanks for sharing this piece of your life. I know what you mean. I'm nowhere near as far as you on the writing journey, and I already feel like my blog is a piece of driftwood on an ocean of directionlessness.

On a totally separate note, if you ever DO want to talk about your experiences with your losses, I am the Guide for Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss at About.com, and I'd be happy to interview you or cross-post or whatever. Not soliciting, just offering.

Whatever direction your compass points to next will be the right one. Sail on.

- Liz

Kimberly Sabatini said...

I think you're absolutely wonderful and it's when you stop changing and growing that the real problems happen. We love you in any way, shape or form that you serve it up. The people who matter won't care and the people who care don't matter. (((hugs)))

Stacy said...

Having lost one pregnancy and carrying the devastation in my heart for a decade I cannot fathom how you feel.
I am supremely happy for your joys and send you sympathetic thoughts for your losses.
I will ALWAYS read whatever you write. When you do post a blog entry it's like a little present.
Do what is right for you and damn (or having spent some years in SLC) darn the rest!
In Great Support!
sats

Natalie Aguirre said...

You have a lot of blogger friends so I know you'll figure it out. I think a lot of people, published or not, sometimes struggle with or are tired of blogging.

heidikins said...

Hugs.

xox

melissa @ 1lbr said...

I love the honesty of this post. But what I thought the entire time was "she used to post about infertility?" *off to check the archives* :)

Steph Sinkhorn said...

Twenty-eight years here, too, and still nope. No idea. Beginning to think that this mythical "figuring it all out" thing is a lie.

I'm just going to say (hopefully without sounding weird) that your blog was one of the things that really inspired me to try to achieve my own writing dreams. You helped make the face of YA publishing friendly and open for me. So. There is that. I think you need to go whatever direction you have to go. We evolve every day, and that's as it should be. I still think you're great.

K. Marie Criddle said...

I would still read avidly if it were nothing but household notes and Hot Stuff drawings. Good luck, lovey! You've been such an inspiration for so long, don't feel bad taking time off to inspire yourself for a while.

rockinlibrarian said...

At least for me, you need not worry about what you blog about or how often you do it. I think if you just look at it as, "Here's something I want to say to the world at large," whatever it is will be interesting enough, and if it's not, nobody on this end is forced to READ it, either. But it's nice to know a bit of the real people behind books, and THAT'S why I read author blogs-- I certainly don't demand you tell me how to write all the time.

Here's an odd thing: you're younger than me, but because you've had FAR more success with writing and your children are older than mine, I often think of you as more of an authority figure, someone to look up to. I'm not sure what I'm getting to about this, but it's just one weird aspect of perception I guess.

Diana said...

I'd just like to say that I love your blog. It has such an adorable and humorous voice (like your books) and it always makes me laugh and smile. But I also know that sometimes life throw you curve balls, and the last thing you want to do is share it with other people and risk judgement, disappointment, etc. It's not easy to put yourself out there.

I love just hearing about your life: book tours, goldfish in hotel rooms, etc. But always do what's best for you We'll still love you :)

Whirlochre said...

Thanks for being a brilliant mortal.

No dilly dallying now, no shirking — get on with the 28-thang.

"Invest not in the ubertwaddle of a Zuckermanesque sharey carey paradise if your brain be full of magnificent monsters whose wrestlitude to ground residethetheth within all potential of your selfish ken."

Won't fit on a fortune cookie, but it's still true...

Jordanne said...

I know you('re) not/should not/cannot be a friend to most of the readers of your blog, me included. Kiersten (Mrs.White?), I look up to you. I look up to you and realize that even though you're an author, you've made it...and I know III want to make it...that even though you have personal issues and want/don't really want them out there (how much is really too much? It's different for each person I think.)...(I'm not really making sense either, sorry)...that you DO have personal issues. I know even if/when I make/I've made it as an author myself that I will too. But that, in a weird kind of way, comforts me. Please don't ever feel pressured. Some people just don't understand. My mom likes to tell me that for every person out there that hates you/bashes you/dislikes you, you could most likely find two that love you/admire you/look up to you. Or, as my Grandmother would say,in a VERY thick southern accent, "Hon...they're just jealous!"(NO JOKE). But who knows? You could be a villainous person for all I know. For all we readers know. But what we do know of you is that you write very, very good books. In one of Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries books, Mia is afraid that her romance novel (first book even!) won't make near as much the impact she wants to, compared to her boyfriend Michael especially (who created that cardio-robot-arm thing that's saving lives in the book). But Michael tells her...who knows? A nervous patient might just need that book while their waiting for surgery from the cardio-arm. THAT makes an impact. ANYWAYS....to put it simply...we all love you, no matter how much we know of you, because you SPEAK through your writing and we can relate in lots of ways. Please feel better, Kiersten. No pressure. <3
(and sorry this is so long!)

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I'm with Lydia, cat videos. ;)

primrose said...

I don't think Frankly will mind..:) I'll be doing a guest post in the blog http://soulunsung.blogspot.com
very soon featuring you in the YA Author's Appreciation because I think you really change my mind about YA fantasy and making it so adorable and fun again.

Kathryn Purdie said...

I think from all our comments how much we adore you. Your "ups" are inspiring, and your "downs" are even more. It's amazing to think someone with your talent and drive has severe struggles too. We relate to you even more. And we do love you and feel your love back, whether you know us personally or not. Your love for life and people resonates in everything you write, and we feel it. Enjoy your beautiful family. Breathe. Eat. Rest. Dream. Fill up your dry well. Take your time. We believe in you. God bless and thank you for lifting us up.

Myrna Foster said...

It's a good thing all these hugs are virtual. ;)

It is hard to write real posts (like this one) when you're hurting, and healing happens better in the real world than in the virtual one (at least, in my experience). My blog has suffered over the last year for similar reasons.

LinWash said...

As someone who also has struggled with infertility, my heart goes out to you. Peace be with you.

Rebecca T. said...

Everybody has pretty much said what I wanted to say: we love you and will greedily eat up anything you decide to write about, even if it's about your indecision over which laundry detergent to buy (because you would make it hilarious and somehow epic :)

My personal vote is for you to write more Vampire Diary recaps because the couple you've done have always left me on the floor laughing my face off :)

*more virtual hugs* *also cookies*

curlypow said...

I am not a writer, and I don't ever aspire to be one. I am a reader and I have a little blog where I tell people about books/authors that I love. When I read your blog it reminds me that authors are people too - we all put our pants on one leg at a time. It helps to bring you (collectively) back down to my level and takes away some of the hero worship. It astounds me that after writing all these amazing books you can still find the time to tell us about your life. As much as I enjoy reading your blog, if your life takes you in a different direction, that's ok. I'm still a grateful reader who has enjoyed your wit and honesty. As I tell my kids all the time - do what is best for you first, and the rest will follow. Thank you for allowing us into your life.

Nikki said...

Kiersten, I always enjoy hearing about your writing journey. It gives me hope, but also realistic expectations. I would hate to just see the fluff.

You'll find your way, of that I have no doubt.

... And if you don't, we'll make sure you can attend the next lunch and we'll make you laugh so much your stomach hurts!

Juliana L. Brandt said...

I think it's perfectly commendable that you have no idea what direction you're going in. Seldom, does anyone know that- even when we think we do ;)

Dianne Greenlay said...

Kiersten, this was such a beautiful, heartfelt entry!

I am one who does not blog often, mostly because a)I am new and unskilled in the area of social media/publishing/marketing and there are SO MANY other blogs out there with much better information than I could ever offer, and b) I have never been one to share diary-like thoughts ( just not brave enough to put it out there for others to comment on or criticize).

Obviously, from the number of comments here, you have touched the hearts and souls of many, many people. I can only offer the advice to write what you want, when you want, and take good care of your own needs. You seem like a wonderful person and I'm pleased to have come to know you a little bit through your writing here.

Megs said...

*hugs* *listening ear* *shoulder to lean on* ...and all of that...:)

Love you!

Mia said...

Its ok Keirsten! Everything works out eventually. But, in my 13 years of life so far, learned that there are very few solutions to certain problems.
There are times when i feel like giving up, on school, sports, people.... but then i look at myself in the mirror and....slap myself for being to stupid.
DUH, RAIN ALWAYS COMES BEFORE RAINBOWS!
YOUVE GOT TO TAKE THE TEST BEFORE YOU GET THE RESULTS...
YOUVE GOT TO WRITE THE BOOK BEFORE ITS A BEST SELLER!
cheer up :D ~hugs~

Larissa said...

Adding more virtual hugs. I have faith that you will find your way eventually. And it may be that blogging isn't part of that way anymore. We'll survive (somehow *heavy sigh*), and we'll still adore you--in an awkward we've-only-met-once kind of way. ;)

AmieSalmon said...

Such a beautifully truthful blog! <3
Feel so honoured to have read this, I hope you find the next thing to carry on with this and enjoy it. I appreciate your honesty, with the sad times and the other times when you talk about your amazing achievements.
Joining in with the hugs.

readerfreak22 said...

You are an AMAZING writer. I think that you should take all the time in the world! I cannot wait to see you make progress in this. I will never forget your writing. I hope you, figure, things out. Have a good rest of your day.

Anonymous said...

Kiersten, my heart goes out to you. Like many others here I've so much enjoyed reading your blog and I always take something bright and happy away from your posts. From this post here I remember that behind our screens there is a life being lived with sorrows and trials(you're not perfect, what?! :) and you deserve privacy as well as peace of mind when you take so much time to write these posts. Maybe take away the comments? Have fan mail go through your agent? The posts I like and remember most are the ones of your unique take on writing, the process, funny anecdotes and pictures you take on tours and at readings. Maybe you can share just that part of life here.. Even though writing topics are covered in other places I like to read ur take on it and I enjoy hearing your words of advice and what it has been like for you. Many of your readers are probably aspiring writers so that stuff never gets old for us :) thank you for all you do..hmm sorry for the novel. I hope everything works out for you soon!

Savvy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Savvy said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now and I can honestly say that anyone who thinks you brag, or mope, or whine about trivial things is missing the entire point of the blog. As an aspiring writer, you are an inspiration. Its so easy for me to think of authors as people who easily whip out books and write with no problems. You help to remind me that even published authors get problems and marvel at their fortune. When I started reading this post I thought 'shes going to say she's not going to blog anymore!' but after making it partly through I realized that as long as that was what you wanted, it was okay. I'm thankful that you aren't going to stop and I will always be a reader of this blog

Anonymous said...

I hope you're back to yourself soon, Kiersten ;)
But I haven't read all your posts without knowing you are a badass author.
And badass authors don't give up.

I do disagree with you somewhat, however. This blog is special to many people but everyone has lives to get on with, things to do. No one is going to want more of than you can give. Or at least, most won't.

Anyway, take care in the meantime xx

Dara said...

Understandable. :) Life evolves and it's hard to keep going sometimes when the changes seem to come at you from every angle.

Anyway, I have enjoyed reading your blog over the past few years. Whatever you decide, just know you've touched many, many people.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you choose to do is fine with me. It's your blog, your writing, and your life. :)

Glad to hear you've been busy and enjoying yourself outside the blogosphere! I think it's the losing ourselves in our own little made-up world(s) that really matters, when it comes to writing. I know I've been neglecting my little world of late.

-Christine from Arizona

Nicole said...

I wish I could just give you lots of hugs. Lots of hugs and a bunch of reassurance. You're doing great for someone that hasn't figured out where she's going.

Keep your chin up.

Amy said...

This is going to sound strange, but I enjoy reading author blogs. It's another place to read your voice, talking about something in a non-fiction sense.

I understand the struggle between public and private, professionalism and the danger of oversharing. My place of business has me networking on facebook, and there are so many problems with just that social network alone and boundaries (The year they changed security settings every three weeks, making all my content public), and the way culture seems to be moving towards the shallow oversharing of what we eat for breakfast, or do the dishes...

I look forward to seeing the next evolution of this blog. I hope inspiration comes to you.

I'd offer you a hug, but that would be creepy. So I'll hug Paranormalcy instead. That's less creepy, right?