Horse and buggy days
It was in 1997 (March to be precise) that I made my first manuscript sale to Keys for Kids. What an exciting day that was! I had begun my ICL course "Writing for Children and Teens" just a year before and had promised myself five years of trying before I'd give up on my childhood dream of becoming a writer. Now I had made my first sale just a little past one year in!
Those days my ICL Magazine Market Guide was my writer's bible and a laid-in stash of Canadian and U.S. postage stamps my calling card to request magazine samples and send out manuscripts.
I operated like that for a few years, until the internet came to our house. During our family's first days online we only had the family computer connected so I was still relatively free from the distractions of email and online life. But once I connected my computer to the web, how quickly everything changed for me and my writing business.
Writing goes digital
One by one publishers began accepting email queries and submissions. The speed of this was pushed ahead by 9-11 when publishers suddenly became wary of opening unsolicited packages (after a few mystery deliveries contained ominous white powder).
The internet had other attractions too. As search engines improved, a world of information became available at a mouse click. And I found places online where I could post my writing—places that had "Buy this Article" next to every piece I posted, implying that there were buyers out there who might be interested! My naive hopefulness changed to realism after a few months of offering pieces there without receiving a single offer. But there were other payments to vie for—comments, clicked stars, votes, possible inclusion in anthologies, altogether far too much excitement to ignore!
And then blogging came along. I first got on the blogging bandwagon with with my personal blog promptings in October of 2004. Of course I soon found out that if I wanted people to read and comment on my blog, I had to read and comment on theirs. I recall how nervous I felt the first time I left a comment on someone's blog with my signature a link back to my blog. I don't know what I thought would happen—the world would come flocking to my little place on the web to find out who violet was? I'll bet you can guess what did happen. That's right. Nothing!
All these changes brought with them not a little dis-ease too. I remember, even in the early days when the speed of online life was still half the pace it is now, thinking—What am I doing? I should be back in my old womb-room writing instead of indulging in all this online gadding about.
But I couldn't go back. It was as if I had shed too-small clothes, moulted,* if you like, and returning to the way things had been before was as unthinkable as a snake trying to fit himself back into the outgrown, shriveled skin of last week.
Changes have continued. I've begun many blogs, joined Facebook, become active on Twitter, set up my own web page, read and sifted through books and articles about blogging, self-publishing, marketing, publicity and selling, and earlier this year published a book...
At each new stage I get some of the same feelings I did when my writing life changed from solitary to web-based: I'd like to go back to the way things were before. But just like then, I can't. In some strange way I feel like I keep outgrowing the old.
Too much of a good thing
Changes are in the wind again. I've come to realize that I'm a little burned out with blogging and have decided to simplify my online life. A few weeks ago I shut down my writing blog (Line Upon Line) and have now begun blogging from my website. This will become my main blog. Though I will keep recycling my kids' devotions and writing my daily adult devotions, my dear old personal blog promptings will change to a photolog with mostly photos and less words. This will be my last post on the Inscribe Writers Online for a while as I'm taking a break from posting to group blogs as well.
Where is God in all this? I trust that He is in the restlessness to shed some of these commitments now, as I sensed His go-ahead to get into them years ago. But as in many things, it's faith, not sight.
Will I be back? In the comments for sure. But as a blogger—perhaps, perhaps not. You see, it all depends on what the next moult allows.
*"Molting, or Moulting, the shedding, or casting off, of feathers, hair, horns, shell, or a layer of skin by an animal. Molting is a periodic process of renewal, the cast-off parts being replaced by a new growth." (emphasis added) - Animal Planet
~ by Violet Nesdoly
Author Violet Nesdoly on Facebook