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I wish good habits were as easy to form as bad habits. I’m really good at the latter, but terrible at the former. I didn’t write any Cat’s Cradle entries for a month, and I managed to miss the day that I was supposed to start writing them again (yesterday).
I am seriously wondering if I should even bother.
The Cat’s Cradle has been running for over nine years. June 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary. Since I like nice, round numbers, I want to keep writing entries at least until then. But I’ve been struggling for ideas and content. I feel like everything that can be said about writing, any topic I might try to tackle, has already been covered by people who are far more influential and articulate than myself. I don’t feel like I have anything new to add to the conversation. I avoid a lot of controversial topics in fiction because A) many I don’t have strong enough opinions on, B) I don’t have to knowledge to give an informed opinion, C) I don’t want to write about touchy subjects for clicks, and D) I just don’t want the hassle. And since I haven’t worked on my own novels in… well, longer than I care to think about, there isn’t anything to report on those fronts.
And does anyone really care anyway?
After nine years, this blog has little to no engagement on it. A few likes here and there, but almost no comments, shares, or anything else to show reader interest. I can’t tell if anyone is actually reading or getting anything out of it or if, like so many others, I’m just shouting into the void of the internet. The people who know me are understandably busy with their own lives and have little to no time to read these ramblings of mine. And the people who don’t know me have no real reason to care what I’m writing about.
The purpose of The Cat’s Cradle was to be a author platform, a home base to showcase my writing, my reliability, and to host things about my work once I got published. But the more I learn about the publishing process, the more daunting it becomes and the more discouraged I feel. Do I really want to go through the hassle of finding and convincing an agent to take me on and get my work published? If all I want is a physical book of my work, I could go to a private book printer or self publisher and get one made for me. The chances of making a living as a writer are slim to none, and I don’t know if I have the passion and drive to push through all of those obstacles. I don’t know if the stress is worth it with such fierce competition and in such a dismal economy.
And yet at the same time, I also see some real drivel on the shelves, which makes me think, “If this piece of puerile pap made it through traditional publishing, why can’t I do the same?”
But I’m not sure why I’m writing anymore. It isn’t regular enough to be a habit, I make no money from it, and there is a severe dearth of joy in it. I don’t know if that’s just a result of the near-constant low level of stress dogging my heels, or if depression is rearing its ugly head again… or if I’m just being lazy because it’s easier to dream about being a writer than actually writing. Or maybe it’s just the chronic stress piling up. (I may be an introvert, but the restrictions of the pandemic are getting to me too.)
I’m sorry if this sounds discouraging. Believe me, I feel pretty discouraged myself. I’ve been calling myself a writer for years and a writer writes, don’t they? This is a huge part of my sense of self, my identity if you will. And I don’t have much to show for it. Aside from blog entries, I haven’t done much of that in a while. Maybe I just need to force myself back into a habit and that will get everything working properly again. I want to create things… I just don’t know if I want to go through the publishing process. The end result may not be worth the stress.
The good thing about writing is that there isn’t a time limit. It’s not like sports or dancing where you have a narrow window of physical and mental prime and once that’s passed, you’re pretty much done. Writing (and publishing) can be done at any age; there isn’t some “point of no return” where if you haven’t published by this time, you’ never will be. But I need to sit down and ask myself some hard questions:
- Why am I writing?
- What is the end goal or purpose and how would I know if I reached it (or didn’t)?
- Should I keep pouring time and energy into a blog that no one reads?
- How much effort should I dedicate to the publishing part of things at this point?
- Do I even want to be published?
- Do I even want to write?
- Can I still be a writer if I barely write?
- Is this just a temporary funk or a genuine shift in priorities?
In the meantime, if you do read this blog, please let me know that you do in the comments, what types of topics you prefer to read about, anything to give me an idea if it’s worth continuing this venture. I will keep going until June 2021, but then I will need to decide if The Cat’s Cradle should continue… or be retired.
4 thoughts on “Should The Cat’s Cradle Continue?”
I still read it. 😄 I leave comments when I can. I like writing ideas, different genres of writing, character creations, story creations, world creations, etc…maybe, just a thought…showcase some of your own writing with entries. Like if you write about characters then give a brief character introduction as done in a story you’ve written. Not long but a sentence or short paragraph. Just a thought.
Thank you; that really means a lot. I know that commenting can be time-consuming, which is why Likes are also precious. (Although I notice that you do like the Twitter posts that advertise these entries, so thank you very much for that!)
I do enjoy discussion world-building and character creation… the trick is to avoid spoilers! I’m super-adverse to spoilers, which can make those kinds of posts difficult. But I will definitely keep the idea of posting small, topically relevant clips of writing in mind!
Thank you! *hug*
I read all your blog entries on here since we became Facebook friends! Honestly my brain is so fried these days I don’t have any specific topics that I’d prefer reading, but if it helps I still really like that short story “Breakers” you sent me last year. I really related to the narrator and it was an emotional read for me, despite being so short, which I found very impressive. Very, very few short stories do that to me. I think you should continue Cat’s Cradle! You’ve done it for so long and you really are an excellent writer, from a humble reader’s perspective. But I also believe you should do whatever you think will make you feel better in the long run. Whatever you decide, thank you for all the entries over the years! I hope one day to find a book in a bookstore with your name on it, and you know I’ll be buying it.
Thank you so much! I do see your Facebook likes and they always cheer me up. I’m glad that you enjoyed “Breakers” so much! Sometimes I wonder if I should post flash-fiction shorts on here, but then I’m torn because anything I post here I can’t submit later to online magazines. But maybe I can pick some that are “good” rather than “stellar” and post those here while saving the really good ones for submissions.
Thank you so much for your words of support and encouragement! Writing is a long game and often a lonely business, so it’s really nice to see outside confirmation that I’m not just spinning my wheels. The Cat’s Cradle will continue through June 2021 for sure; I’ll have made a decision by then. A lot can change in 10 months!