When Blogging Becomes A Struggle…

Confession time. I’ve been having trouble blogging for a while now. There are many reasons why, which I will go on to explain, not really in the hope of offering advice to anyone who may be experiencing the same struggles, but more to help myself make sense of them. As always in my life, I work things out better when I write them down! So…

In The Beginning…

When I first started this blog, I did so with great trepidation. I used it to post extracts from my works in progress, which at the time were my novels The Boy With The Thorn In His Side and The Mess Of Me.At that time, they were both unpublished and I had no social media pages or profiles set up. It was all very much the beginning!

I recall how nerve-wracking it was when I first published a post on this blog. I shared it on my personal Facebook page and couldn’t decide what would be worse; having no one read it at all, or having people read it and not like it! It was the start of me sharing my work and it had taken decades for me to gather the courage to do it.

Luckily, it went well. It was a positive experience, as a number of Facebook friends started to read the extracts and enjoyed them so much, they asked for more. And for a long time, that’s all this blog was used for. Extracts of work in progress, read by a very small amount of people who already knew me. Ahh, easy. Not much to worry about back in those days!

And then came the books…

But things progressed. Eventually, I self-published both of those books and decided to set up my Facebook author page, Twitter and Goodreads accounts. I was reluctantly embracing the realities of the indie life and the cross to bear that is self-promotion. By this point, the tone of the blog had changed a little too. Now that some of the books were available, I no longer shared extracts from my work. Instead, I started writing about everyday life. Thoughts and feelings and memories. Anything that sprang to mind. The reason for this was quite glorious. I had been bitten again by the writing bug, and the result of that was that the more I wrote, the more I wanted to write, and the more I had to say until I began to feel like I was bursting with it. This felt like a very good thing.

I didn’t have many followers, but those who did read those first honest essay style posts, left lovely, encouraging comments. I had no urge to blog regularly. I had not even designed the blog site or customised it in any way. It was all still rather basic, but I was actually having fun. Every now and then, I would feel the urge to share something, and I would spew it out onto the blog, refine it, redraft it a few times and then hit publish. Again, fun times. Now that I had the hang of ‘blogging’ I was really enjoying it.

blog all the things!

I began to feel like a real writer…

As time went on, I published more books, as well as articles for Author’s Publish and a local parenting magazine. I began to feel like a real writer and described myself as one. Tentatively, I began also blogging about writing. Writing tips, writing problems, that kind of thing. Nothing too heavy-handed, after all, I was hardly in a position to advise anyone, but I did feel I had enough knowledge under my belt to share a few things and I enjoyed doing it. My blog was growing and evolving. It was becoming more confident and so was I.


Around this time, a friend of mine also gave me some much-needed advice on how to make the blog more user-friendly. I customised it a bit, added the various share buttons and started using images and tags, and generally, became a tad more savvy about it all. I was still having fun. No pressure. I blogged when I wanted to. Sometimes once a month, sometimes more often if there was a lot to talk about.

I rebranded…

And then over a year ago, I rebranded the blog, again taking valuable advice from another friend. I thought about what one thing my books all had in common and realised that it was that all of my characters were outsiders. Proud ones. I renamed my blog The Glorious Outsiders, I thought more about who my audience was, what kind of people would like my books, and focused on drawing them in and talking to them. I decided to blog weekly from then on, having read lots of articles about how important it was to blog at least once a week.

It was easier than I thought to begin with. I found that the more I blogged, the more ideas for posts I got. I had undoubtedly put pressure on myself though. I decided to release posts on Wednesdays, which meant I really needed to have another idea decided on by Thursday, and a rough draft of it completed by Monday. I was now aiming to be a lot more smooth and professional about things, which meant I started putting much more effort into my posts, crafting them with more care, that sort of thing. Basically, they took longer to write and perfect. Or was I just getting picky?

Which brings us to now…

This routine has worked very well up until very recently, but now I have to admit I am struggling. I am struggling for a number of reasons. First, is time. Being an indie author means you do everything yourself. I go through phases of quite enjoying promotion, and phases of actually hating it and backing off from it entirely. I have so much I want to write, and like a lot of indies, I cling to that thin hope that the next thing I write will be snapped up by a big publisher, or will hit the big time, make me famous, bring me success and end my money worries. We all dream! But it’s not just a dream, it’s something you actively work at, day in, day out. Because I’m trying so hard to write better books, I’m getting fussier, and it’s taking longer each time to get them finished.This means, the many, many other books planned and plotted and waiting to be written, have to wait even longer. I just sometimes feel I do not have time to devote to weekly blogs if I am ever going to get these books written! And then other times, I know I have to blog and promote and be seen, in order to try and sell my others.

Decisions, decisions! Do I spend time on this or that? Crafting a blog takes time! It’s not just the wording and the structure and the focus, it’s the images and the tags! I am rubbish at finding images and making memes. Sometimes I will ditch a blog post just because I can’t be arsed to find images for it!


And because I am getting fussier about my books I am also getting fussier about my blog posts. I go over them again and again. Have I lost confidence? I don’t know. I can’t say what it is. But I must have about fifteen unpublished blog posts now. I keep writing them and not publishing them. They just don’t feel ready. They just don’t seem to have a focus. Am I running out of things to blog about? No. definitely not. I have a list and the list grows weekly, so maybe that is the problem? Another case of too much to write and not enough time to write it?

Maybe I am having a crisis of confidence? I’m pretty sure we all do from time to time. Being a writer is a delicate business and we all have fragile egos. I’m lucky that I have never had unpleasant feedback or criticism, not on my books or on my blog, but that could just be a reflection of the small number of people reading them. Still, I think blogging was easier when I didn’t think anyone at all was reading it!

Over the last few months, my weekly blog posts have diminished to fortnightly ones. I’m not going to be hard on myself for this. I would rather post nothing, than post something I am not happy with. My personal life is a bit fraught, and I can honestly say I have never known what emotional exhaustion is, until now. There is just only so much a brain can deal with, I guess.

So, you might ask, why bother blogging at all? Why not have a big break from it? Why put the pressure on myself at all? I don’t know. I suppose pressure is part and parcel of the indie life. I want to sell books because I wrote them to reach people. I know how much effort is needed to be seen, and I don’t want to go backwards or be forgotten. And also, I enjoy blogging. I love this little blog of mine and the journey it has been on. I’m quite proud of it really, and a bit like writing a diary when I was a kid, it gives me an outlet. A chance to express my views on just about anything. I’m not the best talker, but writing a blog post gives me the opportunity to argue back, to make a case, to ask questions, to reminisce or just be silly.

So, in conclusion…

I’m still here. And I have every intention of always being here. Thank you if you’ve been following me from the beginning and are still with me today. And thank you to anyone who is a new follower of this blog. I suppose my advice to anyone about blogging would be this. Yes, it is important and yes, it should be fun. Lots of fun. But if life gets in the way, and other issues suck up all your time and emotions, then don’t be hard on yourself. Your blog will still be there waiting when things calm down again.


New Name, New Blog? Well….

If you follow my blog, you may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent lately. Not that I was ever a rigidly regular poster (although that all may be about to change!) I was always more of a write when I have something to say kind of blogger…

So, questions?

Where have I been and what have I been doing?

Why have I changed the name of this blog? What does it all mean?

Stay with me, and all shall be explained.

Firstly, I’ll blame the absence on two things. One, writing books. Or more to the point, struggling with what feels like the millionth draft of one particular pain the arse book…yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m talking about The Tree Of Rebels. Long story short; it still needs more. It needs more detail, more meat, more clarification, and it also needs the sequel to be finished.  (More on this another day!)

The second thing to blame my absence on, is actually a person. The brilliantly quirky indie author Shalaena Medford. We connected recently on social media, and got talking about selling books and building an audience. Luckily for me, Shalaena is currently studying book marketing as part of her Writing and Publishing course, and she was happy to share some articles and some knowledge with me. She showed me how she was updating and revamping her blog, making it appeal to the type of readers who would enjoy her work. (Don’t worry, I have roped her in to write a guest post explaining how and why authors should build an author platform. She’ll be able to explain much better than me!) There are many strands to this, and lots of advice to take on board, but the one I’ve been concentrating on is re-branding the blog.

Now, I know that all sounds rather cold and corporate, but it’s actually very sensible and even quite fun! So, why have I re-branded my blog and what does that actually mean?

When I started this blog I hadn’t published any books. I simply wanted a way to share my works in progress with my Facebook friends. I called it Life In Words as a temporary name while I tried to think of something better. A few years later, with published books under my belt, I started to put more effort into the blog, listening to the advice of others, and adding pages and blogging more often.

Anyway, after chatting to Shalaena, I realised that another blog overhaul was badly needed. And this time it had to be serious. I needed to think about what my books had in common. Who were they about? Who were they aimed at? Who would like them and why? It slowly dawned on me that they all had a common theme, which was the main characters being outsiders. They are all, in one way or another, rebels and non-conformists, individuals who aren’t bothered about fitting in. I then had a further revelation. The kind of books I like reading are the same! A whole list sprang to mind, and I realised that it’s always the characters I am looking for, and it’s the quirky, the weird and the rebellious that draw me in. So my work and my reading list had a common theme! It was time to think up a new name for the blog and gear it towards that theme. Now this is not a rigid thing. Just an acknowledgement of a theme that runs through my work, and through the books I read, the politics I believe in, life experiences and so on. It was all already there. I just needed help to see it.

Untitled design (4)


So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. Revamping the blog. Re-branding it! Helping to streamline and focus it, with the intention of attracting the kind of people who will genuinely want to read my work and hear what I have to say. I’ve added some new pages! I now have a Recommended Reading page, where you can find my favourite books, old and new. I also have a brand new Character Bios page, where you can find out more about the characters in my books.

And I have goals and intentions!

I aim to blog once a week, every Friday in fact. I’ve been too lazy about this in the past, and of course, it goes without saying, that if you want people to engage with you, you’ve got to show up regularly and put the work in. Every Friday I will post something. It might be about my week, my writing, books I’ve read, thoughts I’ve had, who knows? But I will be here!

There will be guest posts! These will be mostly from writers, but also other people with something to say. There may be extracts from novels, works in progress, and opinions on writing, publishing and marketing.

And I am asking for submissions! I need you too! I need your input. Your book recommendations, your favourite authors, your own thoughts, your own stories. I am open to anything, so just contact me. As long as it is somewhat in keeping with the outsiders theme, OR is generally writing related, then I am interested!

My guest posts will run on Mondays from now on, starting with the wonderful Shalaena explaining how  and why she has been working on her own blog identity.

But for now, it’s over to you. Do you have a blog for your writing and if so, how did you choose the name? Does it have a theme that relates to your own writing or not? If you’re a reader who follows blogs, which ones attract you and why? Please feel free to comment below! See you next time!