baby come back, you can blame it all on me. i was wrong and i just can’t live without you.

thank you.  Last summer, I published my first-ever blog post. The blogging world was fast and exciting.  It was new to me.  And maybe even a little bit scary. (Publishing with the click of a button?  Downright terrifying.  And kind of awesome.)

At the onset, I posted regularly.  Not compulsively, but at least once a week.  (I didn’t want to be one of those inconsistent, unreliable bloggers.) School days came around again in August, and I managed to keep up that pace until November, when I focused my writing efforts on NaNoWriMo to get reacquainted with my fiction.  December became a three-way competition in those early morning hours:  grading papers against blog writing against novel writing.  In February, I added a new blog to the fight.  And the novel writing became my reward.  After the paper-grading.  After the first-blog-posting.  After the second-blog-posting.  “If I just get all of this finished, I can get to work . . . ”

The blog became another obligation.  A kind of burden.  Another thing that got in the way of me doing what I wanted to be doing.  Blogging kept me from writing.


Seven years ago last March, I finished writing my first novel.  (Yes, I know.  You’re supposed to write your first novel and then hide it under your bed forever.  You’re never supposed to actually attempt to publish your first novel.)  Less than a week later, my first child was born.  That summer, while she napped, I queried.  I received a personal letter from FSG (when they still accepted unsolicited manuscripts), requesting to see more of my work in the future, which I guess was a bigger deal that I thought it was at the time.  But I was a new mother.  I went back to work; the writing time dwindled and sometimes even disappeared.

Over these last seven years, we’ve evolved.  Together.   I’m middle-aged.  A mother of three.  The book has kept only the setting from its original form.  Its protagonist is still young and female, but nothing like its first young female protagonist.  After these word count.years of the on-again-off-again relationship, it’s time we got back together.  And while the blogs have spiced things up a bit as a source of instant gratification, I am ready for a long-term commitment.

Because what I’ve realized is that, for me, it’s about the work. I don’t write for publication or for notoriety. Perhaps I did at one time, but not now.  Now I write because I have to.  I don’t claim to think that mine is the Great American Novel or some kind of New York Times bestseller.  But I believe in it enough to think that it warrants being written. That’s the work, after all.  The life work.  I don’t think I’m too concerned with whether or not anyone wants to read it. (Except for my friend Karen. I’d like for Karen to read it.)


I’m not saying I want to turn my “online presence” into a Salinger-esque style of reclusivity (though I do think there is something to be said for going forty-five years without publishing and still writing every day), but I wouldn’t mind retreating a bit. Perhaps we (the blogs and I) just need to start seeing less of each other.  Perhaps we need some space.

It’s time for the novel to come first.


(i can’t get no) satisfaction

I am not a blogger. Not really. 

‘Cause I try and I try and I try.

I think that I started a blog as a way to pacify my need to write, a way to quit without quitting.

It’s not working.  I am not appeased.

Hey, hey, hey, that’s what I say. 

Truth be told, blogging is making me crazy(er).  Let me count the ways:

  • I am not a prolific writer, by any means (maybe I would be if I didn’t have a non-writing-but-too-demanding job and three small children — or at least that’s what I tell myself), and blogging only emphasizes that.  Aside from one week when I somehow managed to get two posts published, I have been posting only once a week.  Did you know that there are bloggers who post EVERY day?  And some that post MULTIPLE times in a SINGLE day?  (The caps are warranted, I think.) Clearly, I don’t have enough to say.
  • My day now involves checking my “stats.”  The only other time in my life when I refer to my own “stats” is in July when I calculate my students’ passing rate on the AP Lit Exam.  But now I refresh and refresh and refresh (though it’s really not refreshing).  And I check the “Reader” ( to see how many posts those multiple-posters have posted this hour) and the Freshly Pressed (and wonder why that blog was Freshly Pressed) . . . I could go on and on.  Let me.
  • My inner editor (who has always been a nit-picker) is quickly becoming a critic.  Really.  She’s forcing me to revise the sentences I construct in casual emails to friends.  Oh, and I just adore that QuickPress box: “Have you tried the quick post option?”  In my world, there is no such thing as a “quick post.”
  • I am suddenly reading things, all kinds of things, that I might not have read before.  Whether that’s good or bad is yet to be determined.  But when I read the posts that sort of resemble extended status updates, I have to wonder, who CARES what I have to say? Do I, even?
  • I am suddenly doing things I would never normally do, like take pictures of myself (ugh).   And that makes me feel so incredibly stupid that I grab my toddler to model with me (because he’s far more attractive than I am, anyway), which makes me feel only slightly less stupid.
  • And I wonder, am I pigeonholing myself?  (Can one, in fact, pigeonhole oneself?) If I write too many mommy posts, am I “mommy-blogger?”  If I write too many teacher posts, am I a “teacher-blogger?” Have I jumped the shark and pigeonholed myself as a “blogger?”
  • Oh, and then there are the things I really want to write about but I won’t because too many people who read this blog actually know me (Erin Lavelle, the person, not the Gravatar) and when I push that little blue “Publish” (ha!) button, I’m suddenly standing naked on stage in front of a bunch of people who will forever remember what I look like naked when I see them at the grocery store.  And all of my teeth have fallen out.  So I’m toothless and nude.  And everyone knows it.
  • Every event in my life has suddenly become a blog-worthy topic.  I’m going camping in September.  Oooooh, I could blog about it!  I really love to drink beer.  Oooooh, I could blog about it!  I’m awkward around my daughter’s classmates’ mothers.  Oooooh, I could blog about it!  (Okay, I might actually do that one.)

And then there’s Libby, who stares at me with those dark eyes and almost straight-across bangs.  She torments me.  She’s probably standing with her hands on her narrow hips, tapping her foot.  I annoy her the same way her mother does.  She hasn’t aged, from what I can tell.  But she’s growing tired of waiting. Because her story is there.  I know it; I made it.  But I haven’t written it.

Because I’ve been blogging.

In actuality, perhaps the blogosphere is a giant slushpile of submissions with no real rejection slips.  And I am just one of the unsolicited.