Correction to ‘Should Writers Blog’

Okay, as my husband (who blogs much, much, much more than I do–he has over 5 blogs going right now) pointed out last night, all bloggers are writers.

What I should have said was, “Should those who want to write full-length novels, and who have extremely limited amounts of time, use that limited time to blog?”

Is that better?

Should Writers Blog?

Waste of Time

Should writers blog?

Back in 2005, when I first started up this blog, I had a relatively regular schedule for posts. However, as the Punkin got older and more demanding, and as I branched off into the world of quilting/sewing, my posts appeared less and less often. I’d look at the site guiltily every day, but be unable to sit down long enough to post on something interesting.

Added to my problem was this: To have a successful blog requires not only good content, but also good comments on other people’s blogs. I used to spend hours reading other blogs, then even more time commenting on what I read. You know, that whole interaction/traffic thing. So by the time I was done my nightly surfing, my eyes were crossing, my yawns were splitting my head, and all I could think of was bed (I get little enough sleep as it is–my doctor has actually ordered me to get more). Worst of all, my own writing was sitting there untouched.

I eventually took a sabbatical from all blogging, writing and reading, in order to focus on finishing my first novel. That finished, I tried to get back into blogging, and instead got side-swiped by NaNoWriMo. Then sewing projects one right after the other. Until recently, working my way back into the thick of the blogsphere has been near impossible.

I now have two blogs that I attempt to post to on a semi-regular schedule, without much success. This one gets new posts only when I’ve a book review to post. Hitting the Blocks gets new content only when I finish a project. And I’ve got the insane idea of adding a third to chronicle my attempts at homeschooling. I’d love to get my blogs up to the level they were that first year, but somehow I just don’t see that happening. But when to add all this content? The small amounts of time I do have for writing (usually from about 11pm to 1am), I now hoard for working on my books.

So I ask again–should writers blog? Yes, it can be a wonderful place to trade thoughts, receive criticism and support, and find new ideas. But it can also be a terrible time-suck. In the time it’s taken me to write this one post, I could have gotten two or three pages of my book(s) written (possibly more, since it’s still early and I’m relatively coherent).

That being said, I’m off to work on a skirt. And then to write. Hopefully.

Hoffman Challenge Quilt Finished!

What I’ve been up to the past month.

Book Review: Skid

Skid (Occupational Hazard Series #3)

Rene Gutteridge

Publisher’s Summary:
Blissfully unaware that Atlantica Flight 1945 from Atlanta to Amsterdam is about to make aviation history, First Officer Danny McSweeney focuses his energies on navigating the turbulent personalities of an eccentric female captain, a co-pilot with a talent for tactless comments and conspiracy theories, and a lead flight attendant with an outsized attitude that definitely exceeds the limits for carry-on baggage.

On the other side of the cockpit door, the unscheduled in-flight entertainment includes a potbellied pig, a jittery diamond courier, and the recently jilted Lucy Meredith, whose personal mantra of “What Would Oprah Do?” will be challenged by the sudden appearance of her ex and his new traveling partner. On her left sits Hank Hazard, whose unusually polite but constant requests–prompted by his covert role as a spy for the airline–test the limits of the crew’s customer service.

But as Lucy and the rest of the crew discover, Hank’s odd behavior is linked to a quiet faith that may play a key role in the fate of everyone on board. Especially when an unexpected traveler sets this already bumpy flight on a course toward the unfriendly skies.

Author Bio:
Rene Gutteridge is the author of twelve novels, including the Boo series, the Storm series, and the novelization for The Ultimate Gift, as well as Scoop and Snitch, the first two Occupational Hazard novels. She lives with her husband, Sean, and their two children in Oklahoma City.

Review:

Okay, so I really need to read these invitation e-mails a lot closer, because again I didn’t clue into the fact that Skid too was an Occupational Hazard novel (which I found a cute series title, but I’m a sucker for that kind of name), and plunked myself into the middle of a series. Anyhow, to clear up any possible misconceptions, SKID IS BOOK THREE IN THE OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD SERIES. There.

As for the book itself…I’m coming to the conclusion that I’m not a good judge of contemporary fiction, because while I found it a nice one-evening tubbie read, I certainly didn’t find it a “fun, wild ride with devious humor” nor did it have “me smiling all the way through.” Nor did I consider it worth 5 stars like most of the reviewers on Amazon. Perhaps I’ve grown cynical in my old age. More likely it’s because the more I try to write, the more critical I’ve become of other writers. So much so that it is very difficult for me to read for pleasure anymore.

The plot was okay, if far-fetched/forced. Again, it may be me–after a stint working for the FAA I dislike most things to do with planes. I did like Hank, though he came across as naive rather than innocent. The other characters… Well, I suppose they were relatively well-developed, had decent back-stories, and I identified with nary a one. They all felt like characters rather than real people.

Truth is as Strange as Fiction Tidbit: I was reading Uncle John’s Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader earlier this evening (I love books with random trivia) and stumbled across this interesting little article:

On October 17, 2000, two women and their (300 pound) hog boarded a US Airways flight from Philadelphia to Seattle. They presented a note from a doctor verifying that the animal “was a ‘theraputic companion pet,’ like a guide dog for the blind,” so the airline cleared it to fly.

The hog snoozed through most of the six-hour flight, but got spooked when the plane landed. It charged up and down the aisle, squealing loudly, at one point even trying to smash into the cockpit. Then it hid in the galley until its owners lured it out with food and pushed it off the plane…at which point it fouled the jetway.

US Airways immediately revised its companion animal policy specifically to exclude hogs. “We can confirm that the pig traveled,” a spokesperson told reporters,”and we can confirm it will never happen again. Let me stress that. It will never happen again.”

At least not until Atlantica Flight 1945 takes off.

Grades:

  • Characters: B
  • Plot: B
  • Flow of Story: B
  • Writing Style: B
  • Enjoyable: C+

Overall: B

Book Review: My Soul To Keep

My Soul to Keep (Dylan Foster Series #3)

Melanie Wells

Publisher Summary: As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits, and a staple gun…

It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year–graduation day. A day of pomp, circumstance, and celebration. And after all the mortar boards are thrown, Dylan and some of her best friends will gather around a strawberry cake to celebrate Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seem to lead exactly nowhere.

Police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces in a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.

HTB Review:

(Only two months late on this review. Sigh. See here for an explanation.)

So…I did like the book, despite not being a big fan of thrillers. It’s not one that I would re-read, or go buy for all my friends, but it was a good evening-in-the-tub read.

Good Points

1. Ms. Wells is a funny writer. Some of her descriptions are a real hoot and a holler.(yet again)
2. The author did a good job of filling in important background information without pulling an “As You Know, Bob.”
3. The action is a steady clip (up until the last few chapters when it suddenly hit breakneck speed and whammed in the ending out of nowhere).
4. The characters are sympathetic, and (for the most part) nicely round. I did like Dylan.

Not-So-Good Points

1. As usual, I did not realize this was book 3 in a series. Which meant I probably missed quite a bit. It also meant that I didn’t know this was a supernatural thriller, which I tend to avoid even more than regular thrillers.
2. Okay, if Dylan is supposed to be a Christian, she’s got quite a bit of growing to do, ‘cuz she certainly doesn’t think or act or speak like one.
3. And again, the ankh as a protective symbol just doesn’t work if this is supposed to be Christian-based.
4. The wrap-up comes far too quick, and almost out of nowhere.
5. As a mom, I really, really don’t like stories about child-snatching. Especially not ones with supernatural villains.

Grades (until I can come up with a better rating system)

* Characters: B
* Plot: C
* Flow of Story: C
* Writing Style: A
* Enjoyable: C+

Overall: C+