It has been an interesting week on the ol’ blogstead . . .
One of the main goals of my blogging has become trying to affirm the different but still good choices that different moms make. My audience is mostly other Catholic moms. We share the primary goal of getting ourselves and our children to Heaven (and the secondary goal of getting them to pick up after themselves).
It feels great when I find something that really works for me and my family. It feels great to share that information with others in the hopes of helping them. But just because something works for me doesn’t mean it’s the only good choice.
I think Nella from Is There McDonald’s in Heaven? says it best:
Each of these things are ideal. But they are not right. There is so little in the world, especially in the developed world, that is genuinely right or wrong. But I took these things and elevated them way beyond where they belong. It shouldn’t be so emotional to let these things go in light of my situation. Cognitively it all makes sense. It’s embarrassingly obvious that the right thing is to abandon homebirth, breastfeeding, and homeschooling (in part).
Head on over to her blog to see why it absolutely IS the right thing. FOR HER. (And say a quick prayer for her and her family).
And thank goodness there isn’t only one right way to do this!
So, what the heck am I actually talking about? Well, I seem to not have a particularly good sense of what’s going to bother people. I keep getting caught off guard. Last week, I wrote a very well received post about giving up vacuuming, and in the comments of that post some ladies asked me to write about how I deal with babies and sleeping.
So I did. Basically, it was a “here’s what works for us” post. So I was surprised when some folks were awfully disappointed in what works for us.
It was certainly an interesting discussion though, and almost everyone didn’t swear at me and have to be deleted.
Speaking of bloggy discussions, the Catholic All Year vs Carrots for Michaelmas Flannery O’Connor-a-thon is still going strong. New and improved, now with husbands. Well, her husband anyway. I don’t think I’m going to be able to get mine to weigh in. I’m pretty sure he thinks I should like Flannery O’Connor.
It’s been a great conversation, and the comments on the Bearman’s post over there are excellent (as is the post itself).
And to Cristina from All Things Reintjes, who said:
I think the comparison of Breaking Bad and O’Connor in the original post by Kendra (and please forgive me if I’m mistaken!) had less to do with the purpose or worthwhile-ness of the violence in both and more to do with the idea that both are things that all the cool Catholics are watching/reading that leave some of us feeling icky and like we would rather not watch/read them–and that that is a completely acceptable position for any (aspiring) cool Catholic to take.
You are not mistaken. You totally nailed it.
I think I finally have some closure on my months-long bewilderment over Percy Jackson.
Charlotte from Waltzing Matilda posted a review. So, as I keep doing every time I see a new Catholic mom review of it that doesn’t note the issues that I saw as morally problematic, I begged for someone to explain to me why I seem to be the only Catholic mom who has a concern about that book beyond the fact that it’s just not particularly well-written.
And for the first time, someone did explain it to me. And it helped.
So thank you to Charlotte for pointing out that what I perceived as Percy’s mom murdering her husband, would probably more rightly be interpreted as an eternal imprisonment (which I’m okay with, if he really is abusive and not just smelly) and to Cari from Clan Donaldson for her perspective on the mom (I probably AM being too hard her, but I just doanliker).
Speaking of being grateful for other bloggers, I am. I had a conversation on Facebook this week with some other Catholic Mom bloggers that touched upon: Flannery O’Connor, Crying It Out, How to React to Negative Commenters, Twilight, Age-Appropriate Reading, the Bronte Sisters, Setting One’s Clothing on Fire While Cooking Dinner (that one was me), the Taming of the Shrew, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey. It was really something.
And since we live all over the place, it couldn’t have happened anywhere but Facebook. I can’t believe I waited so long to join up.
Which was all bouncing around in my head when I read this, in a blog post called Do Writers Need an Internet Platform?:
I suspect that a lot of new writers put energy into their internet presence because it feels like a constructive thing to do and it is much easier than working on their book. Because writing books is hard. Writing books is so hard that it dredges up all of our anxieties and insecurities and it makes us feel small and scared and lonely.
And I think it’s totally true. I really only joined Facebook and started this blog to create an internet presence while I waited for my “real” fiction writing career to take off. But it hasn’t.
She’s right, writing books IS hard. Great, but really, really hard. Getting the right people to read them is even harder. I have a stack of picture book manuscripts and half a YA novel that are going nowhere fast. I like them. I really do. Other people like them. But I can’t seem to get past the initial interest phase from agents and publishers on the picture books. And writing a novel requires a level of focus and dedication that I don’t think I’m capable of in my current state of life.
I probably would have the time if I stopped blogging. But you know what? I really like blogging. I like the interactions and the reactions. I like the comments and the commenters and people sending me questions via email and links to things they think I’d get a kick out of on Facebook. I like that I get to decide to hit “Publish” and boom it’s done, rather than rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and sending it off into the abyss of the unsolicited submissions department of a literary agency.
Hard things are worthwhile and good for me. But I’m feeling more and more like the easier thing might also be the better thing for me. At least for the time being.
I recommend this round-up of 5 of the Fiercest One-Liners in History.
Happy weekend everyone!
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. You are such a tremendous writer–I have no doubt you WILL write and publish that novel one day.
I dreamed of writing one from the time I was about 11 and got my hands on a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird (and realized, really for the first time, the power of good fiction to move a reader); but I never did a thing about it when I was a stay-at-home mom raising my five sons (now ages 20 through 29). Personally, I couldn't imagine being able to do it during those hectic years and I was always in awe of people who were able to juggle lots of balls at once, and to do it so well. That wasn't me.
When I saw that you were going to start writing a YA novel this summer, I was so amazed. I only had five kids, not six (and counting!); I only homeschooled one (the youngest, from grades 4 through 8); yet I couldn't get myself to start writing my novel until my baby was about to enter the local Catholic high school. And even then, it took me five years to accomplish what had been a lifelong goal of mine.
So I'm sure a time will come when you feel you will have the level of focus and dedication required. In the meantime, I'm glad you blog. Your posts are so inspirational (and so often funny, too). Please keep doing it!
Oh, and I agree that one of the most wonderful aspects of blogging is being able to push "Publish," and voila, it's done! I started blogging after I'd been working on my book for about four years, and I just loved that about it!!
Thanks so much! Before I started writing it, someone in my writing group had mentioned that a first novel takes an average of ten years to finish. And I thought, that's ridiculous, I'm going to write one this summer. But I only managed half, and now things are so busy that I doubt I'll get to it soon. So now I'm comforted by the fact that I still have nine years and ten months on the clock.
I have to confess, reading your combox is a huge guilty pleasure of mine, second only to the (not guilty) pleasure of reading you're awesome posts! Anyway, does it disturb you too how often these sanctimonious combox Catholics not only seek out suffering, but also force feed us that message? "You're not doing it right if you're not suffering!" Everyone experiences suffering in their life, it's just a fact. But these people seem to be more masochist than Catholic.
Yeah, that's a great point. My most popular post ever is about me getting over that mindset about Lent, but I think it's a good thing to avoid about mothering as well.
The quotation about online writing being a way to delay one's real writing is a bit uncomfortable (yeah, I'm working on novels and short stories too).
Yet in defense of blogging (besides its delightful readiness to accept one's work without a single edit), it does help to develop a sense of what people want to read. It helps sharpen one's sensitivity to how people will respond to written ideas. Learning to write for an audience is a useful and helpful skill, and may ultimately prevent one's novel from languishing forever in a computer file. Plus, writing is always good practice for writing, isn't it?
So, let us aspiring authors blog on!
Anna, I agree with your statement that writing is always good practice for writing. And what is blogging if not writing?
When I started up my blog before my novel was finished, one of my sons asked me if blogging was keeping me from working on it. I told him that actually, blogging was making it even easier to work on the book. As you said, blogging helps you learn to write for an audience. It helps you find your writing "voice." I think blogging is great for writers.
Okay, you just made my day 🙂
And I want to chime in and say that I love your blog and I have lost an embarrassing amount of hours reading through your archives not least because you are always saying out loud all the things I'm secretly thinking!
You've been such a good sport with our O'Connor jabbering! And I loved that FB convo. Why can't we all drink coffee together in real life? Or better yet, cocktails. <3
If I ever find myself in Tallahassee you will know!
Have you considered self-publishing on Amazon? If you have a backlog, try one or two there, see what happens, and maybe it will give you credibility with a publisher–or maybe you'll decide you don't need one.
HOW did I never know about Nella's blog?? Thanks for the tip – except I just spent an hour that I should have been using to do things around the house, reading her blog!!
#7 is so fantabulously awesome. Thank you for sharing that. "If." Ha! Those silly Spartans!
On the bad side, I will say that my husband, who writes for a living, also firmly believes that blogging is bad for writers who hope to be published – sucks up those writing energies.
On the good side, my mother is also a writer, who was a stay-at-home mom to six children, and once dreamed of writing The Great American Novel, turned to writing poetry when she found that raising small children made it hard to have the intense focus to write a long novel. Poetry was more suitable to her bits and pieces of time. She became quite successful at it (though of course it doesn't make any money) and has had poems published quite regularly over the years. And when the youngest child went to high school, she did write a novel 🙂