Enough Is As Good As A Feast

I’ve decided to pack it in.

I’ve been blogging for four years (ish) now. I started because I wanted to have a place to link to the short stories I was beginning to publish in various web magazines and never expected that I would find such a welcoming community. Through this special kind of writing I’ve made friends, found work, been able to talk to my readers, hear what you think about my writing (Cheesy Peeps!) and I’ve been able, I hope, to let lots of people know about my writing who might not have heard about it otherwise.

While I’m NOT FROM MANCHESTER, the Manchester blogging and literary community in particular welcomed me with open arms, and long before A Kind of Intimacy was published I was attending reading nights, vomiting with fear, and testing out some of my earliest attempts at flash fiction and unreliable memoir. That wouldn’t have happened without blogging friends – there’s not a chance in cheese I would have plucked up the courage otherwise. There are too many of you to name, and this isn’t an Oscars speech – but you know who you are. Ta. (Not you.)

Despite my incurably sloppy spelling, tendency to post when tipsy even when I promised myself I wouldn’t, my ignorance of arcane blog etiquette and the occasional (pfft!) indiscretion, I have enjoyed blogging, and enjoyed reading other people’s blogs. A friend, Max, argued that blogging is an exhausted form and has been replaced by newer, briefer, more immediate forms of on-line communication. That newspapers have gobbled us all up. Maybe that’s not true for all of us bloggers, but I think it is for me and for Every Day I Lie A Little. The blog form might not be exhausted, but I am.

It’s always been a struggle for me, like all bloggers, to draw a line around my private and family life. I know you know my children aren’t really called Small Fry and McTiny, and my house isn’t really called Ashworth Towers. For those of you who are close to me in my real life as well as my online life, thank you, thank you so much, for indulging me and collaborating with me on keeping them apart from this world for all this time. For the persistent (two years, you weirdo) person who has been reaching this blog by trying to find out the real names of my children: I am not packing this in because of you.

I want to be more private, and the more private I am, the more insipid my blog posts become. I toyed with the idea of starting again  – anonymously, and saying what I really wanted to say. To write like I used to – without worrying about making a Career Limiting Move. But then I realised, I am saying what I really want to say. In the novel I am writing now, and in the writing projects I’m planning for the future, I am still communicating. My best writing is elsewhere. My blog writing was becoming something much less than second best. So in novels and stories and whatever else I get up to – that’s where you’ll find me from now on. Lying my head off, and letting more of the truth slip through than I’d probably like.

I’m also tired of the energy it can take to be a part of this community. To join in with the exuberant pissing contest that Manufacturing An Online Buzz about your work can be. No-one asked me to do it, and I’m sure many of you would rather that I didn’t. But I did, and now I’m finding that the energy needed to turn myself outwards, to sell and advertise and display, isn’t working well when I need to be quiet, and think, and type and delete and type some more.

And lets be honest, I can’t be the only one to notice that I’m fast running out of ways to make the writing life sound interesting. I get up, do a school run, type, do another school run, cook, eat, drink, type, read, sleep. Every Day. Sometimes it’s really hard, but you’re not allowed to say that because it’s not a proper job, and there’s lots of other people who could do it better than you, or would give their arms and legs to be in your shoes. And sometimes it’s brilliant. And you can’t say that either, because it sounds like bragging. So what is left? I type a lot. There it is.

Let’s not be melodramatic about this though.

I’m converting this part of my website to ‘News’ and will be updating, now and again, with details about events, readings, and gigs. If you want to carry on getting that sort of information, you can subscribe here. I’m hoping to move into book reviewing, and other kinds of online and print journalism. I’ll be reading and commenting on blogs, and writing posts for the Writing Smithy. If you’re wondering how you’ll get by without my ill-punctuated domestic ranting, refusal to be drawn on matters of national import, and puns about sandwiches, I’ll be on twitter and would love to carry on the conversation there.

But for Every Day I Lie A Little, it’s curtains.


16 responses to “Enough Is As Good As A Feast”

  1. Paul Lamb says:

    Don’t be hasty! I can understand the exhaustion you feel and your need to be free of the “obligation” of a blog, but don’t walk away altogether — at least not yet. Like several others, you may find that you’re not really done with blogging.

    Tom Vowler “ended” his blog How To Write A Novel some month ago, and then he came back several times to make new posts. I ended a blog of mine a year and a half ago (completely different subject unrelated to writing) and soon found that I missed the rhythm of posting. Now I am making surreptitious posts to it (backdated even) that satisfy me and attract the attention of a few lingering readers.

    Leave the blog online for a year. There’s a lot of good stuff in it for fresh eyes to read. And you may find yourself popping in to add something that interests you.

  2. Hi Paul

    I’m not going to be deleting the blog – it will stay where it is, but the posts I make from now on will be ‘news’ rather than the more personal, reflective type posts I’ve done so far.

    I’ve kept a diary since I was thirteen, so I’m going to put all that kind of writing in there, I think.

    And yes, a lady can always change her mind. But she also knows when to leave the party 🙂

    Thanks for reading, and for all your comments.

  3. Nik Perring says:

    Sorry to see you go from here, Jenn. It’s been a blast! X

  4. Megan says:

    Oh! but you’re fab!
    (but the next novel, looking forward to that enormously)
    fanx missus xx

  5. I’ve always really enjoyed reading your blog but I’m a bit of a lurker so I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the good reads!

  6. Carys says:

    I enjoy your blog, and I enjoy your books. If less blogging = more books, I will be happy 😉

  7. sarah says:

    uh oh
    I never know when to leave a party …
    actually, I’m not particularly good at knowing when to arrive either
    twitter twotter

  8. Jenn says:

    Sarah – if you’re having a good time, it’s too early to leave. That’s my rule of thumb, anyway. 🙂

    Carys, Claire, Megan – thanks so much for reading, and lurking. There will be more books, promise.

  9. I’ve loved reading your blog Jen!

    Funnily enough, I’ve come to the same decision over my own blogging efforts. It takes so much time and energy to keep up, I’ve been doing that rather than actually getting on with writing itself.

    I don’t have a readership anything like yours, but when there’s so much pressure for writers to have blogs, huge twitter followings and the like, it is really comforting to hear an established, respected novelist saying ‘enough is enough’. Thank you Jen xxx

  10. Jenn says:

    Thanks, Sam – I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed the blog.

    And yes, I think there is significant pressure on authors to have an ‘on-line presence’ – but whether than pressure is self imposed, or from agents and publishers, I don’t know.

    Having a blog didn’t bag me a book deal, and I think having a badly written or neglected blog is worse than having no blog at all.

    But when it’s done well, and with enthusiasm, and an understanding that blogging is a form of it’s own, and not just shrunken short stories / self published column writing – then it’s really, really brilliant.

    I do love blogs, just not going to write one any more.

    🙂 x

  11. jane says:

    Since you were my inspiration for starting a blog, and since I really enjoy reading your posts, Jenn, this is sad news. But completely understandable. I’m even more scared of Twitter than I was of blogging so I won’t be visiting you there, but I’ll keep up with your news here. All the very best with your writing projects, which after all, as you say, is what matter most.

  12. Pete says:

    But… but… but…

  13. kim mcgowan says:

    But it WAS a feast, Jenn, and we’re all very grateful. I know I’m not the only one who decided to have a tentative try at keeping a blog because you made it look so easy.
    Of course, it wasn’t easy at all (not to do it half-nicely) but it was great fun and it brought me into contacts with a smashing web of other witty, cynical, talented, and supportive writers.
    Thank you again – I don’t think you are properly aware of the brilliant influence you’ve had on so many of us.
    Good luck with the rest of your sparkly glittery career!
    kim x

  14. Susan says:

    I’ll miss your blog, but if it means you’re going to be spending more time writing your books then I’ll let you off – I suppose… Sob, San Dimas High School football rules! Sorry, I’m getting all Bill and Ted emotional.
    Sue x

  15. Elaine says:

    Not being a blog reader or writer until now, I wanted to connect with you today as “Cold Light” was our book-of-the-month and discussed in our reading group this morning. It was hard to stop the dozen or more of us all talking at once, it sparked off all kinds of illuminscent reactions!! Personally I was really impressed, but most couldn’t stomach certain aspects. Your manipulation of the storyline,around Lola and Chloe – both victims, both manipulators – was masterly and thought-provoking, as well as horrifying. I can’t accept that your gift is a ‘comic’ one, as one reviewer said, but then I haven’t read your first novel. Mostly, I enjoyed the fluency and originality of your writing and just had to keep turning the pages. Thank you. 3rd Age Reader.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *