The Indie Graveyard

When I first started blogging I followed every indie author I could find; every writer, poet, and book reviewer. I was a sponge, reading every blog post and soaking in every bit of information on building an author platform, formatting e-books, and contacting reviewers. For a while I was sucked into this black hole of anti-productivity surrounded by a bunch of people who seemed to write about writing more than actually…well, writing. It’s that way for a lot of us in the beginning. We blog constantly about our dreams not realizing that what we’re doing is actually counterproductive to reaching our end goal–being an author. We make the excuse that we’re learning from our peers but really all we’re doing is spending hours scouring their blogs and secretly comparing ourselves to them. And comparison is more than counter-productive, it’s toxic. So I retreated, avoiding my feeder, Facebook, and twitter and I finished two novels.

Since then I’ve realized that social media must be kept at an arm’s length and that the only connections worth having online are real ones. While planning my upcoming revisions I started reaching out to critique partners I hadn’t spoken to in almost an entire year, some even longer, and found that many of them were at a standstill with their own projects…or that they had given up writing altogether during the past twelve months that we hadn’t spoken. I found the same thing as I started weeding through all of the blogs I used to follow in an effort to make my return to the blogging/writing community more manageable.Blog after blog had either been deleted or frozen in time and people whose journeys I used to admire had disappeared. After removing all of the inactive blogs I whittled my list down from almost 2,000 to just 200. The majority of the deleted blogs were former indie authors, people whose websites were a formal and defiant declaration of their dreams. And now they’re just gone.

The internet isn’t just a place for us writers to declare our dreams, it can also be a graveyard for them. If we let it. Blogs and social media can be dangerous if we use them for the wrong reasons, especially if blogging and maintaining an online presence become more important than our actual writing. But blogs can also be powerful tools for holding ourselves accountable. That’s what I’m looking for as I return to the blogging community. Not a place to compare word counts and sales numbers but a place to connect with other writers who are in this for the long haul.

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9 thoughts on “The Indie Graveyard

  1. “especially if blogging and maintaining an online presence become more important than our actual writing.” – very good point

    I like blogging because I like to share my thoughts and ideas, but I have to fight temptation on blogging more often. Not only do I have a book to finish, but I work full-time and have a lot on my plate. So I agree that as fun and adventurous as blogging can be, it must be kept at an arms length.

    • Honestly, it can be somewhat addictive. Not just blogging and looking at what other writers are doing but tracking the page views and the number of likes and re-tweets and all of the other superficial interactions that happen online. It definitely takes a conscious effort to not get swept up in it and just focus on our actual work. But the work is everything! We can’t forget that, especially for those of us who work full-time or also go to school. Our time is precious and we can’t waste it on distractions that can so quickly turn toxic.

  2. Aubrey Cann says:

    I have a similar feeling about blogs now. I started my blog right when I got serious about writing and used to write posts a few times a week. I also followed a ton of blogs then, reading all about other people’s writing journeys. Now I wind up posting like once a month, which I felt guilty about for a while. Then I realized–I’ve said almost everything I have to say ABOUT writing. Now I can just write, because I’ve already figured out my methods and what works best for me. I don’t need to investigate that on my blog anymore. Nor do I need to read tips and how-tos on other blogs. All that stuff often just takes time away from writing novels. I’ve whittled down the blogs I read regularly to just a few (your included!).

    • Aubrey Cann says:

      Oops, typo–*yours included

    • Oh thank you! And likewise! The only blogs I follow now are the ones that serve me in a positive way, either because they’re useful or just distinctly human and relatable. I like that you’ve pointed out how blogs and the bloggers behind them can and should evolve as we enter into new phases of our lives, which are each plagued by their own unique questions. In the beginning I really used blogging to investigate my own writing, like you mentioned, but now the questions I have are less urgent and I don’t feel like every profound thought I have or discovery I make has to be shared with the universe.

  3. Great post.

    Far too many writer’s use social media for advertisements or writing about writing. As a reader, there is nothing that bores me more than clicking on an author’s blog or Twitter and finding posts about the do’s and don’t’s of writing or a constant stream of ‘buy my book – it’s only 99p!’.

    I look for author personality. I look for their inspirations. I look for who they are as a writer. I’m not interested in newsletters and gimmicks.

    As an author, I see it more about the quality of the content over post count… pretty much the same as a book really. A blog that entertains or inspires is more interesting to me than something that just dumps information.

    • Yes, I often find that human element missing in a lot of blogs I come across. I think I even fell into some of those bad habits when I first started blogging. I thought I needed to establish myself as some kind of authority when really all I needed to do was be myself. I am not an authority on writing. I’m just a practitioner of the craft–emphasis on the practicing part.

  4. cwhawes says:

    Excellent post! Spot on! I’ve shared it for others to benefit.

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