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Monday, December 16, 2013

Much Blogging About Nothing

I haven't blogged in long awhile. In large part because I didn't feel like I had anything interesting to say.

Well, maybe not in large part, but that's definitely part of it.

The other part of it is...

Kiersten White (who is a fabulous YA author & all around neat person, if you're not familiar) once said she keeps the best parts and the worst parts of her life private - the in between things is what she shares with friends and readers in the public forum.

And that made total sense to me. Everybody needs to decide for themselves how much they want to share with other people, be it in real life or online, whether ten people follow your blog or a million. And I've been trying to find that balance for myself.

But blogging has gotten in harder for me because I don't really know how much of myself I want to share, how much of my life I want to talk about. As of late, I've mostly tried to keep it my books or general pop culture. Stuff that I think people interests people the most.

But then some things happened this summer. In July, my life became busier with good things (one of which was my new puppy Isley, who I totally intended postings pics and a blog about because she was/is so cute, it's not even fair). Then August, life took a different turn, one that ended up being much darker, and really I didn't want to blog about any of it.

But then to blog about other things felt disingenuous. It still does feel that way to me. Being anything other than myself - whether that's happy or sad or excited or insane - feels fake to me. But sometimes, I think I'd rather not be seen. I'd rather keep myself to myself, and in the interim, I don't want to post happy blogs reminding you that my books are out and you totally buy them (even though they are out, and you totally should buy them).

It's been hard for me to be me lately, I guess. That sounds so pretentious and existential, but I don't know how else to define it.

Being me - much like being literally any person on the entire planet - has always had its ups and downs. But now it feels like I'm not entitled to downs. So many things in my life have worked out so well and I've been afforded more opportunities than most people that it feels unfair and unjust for me to complain or ever feel any unhappiness about anything ever again.

This past year has been very a difficult year for me personally. I've struggled with my own mortality and reevaluated my life, my career, and everything about myself, trying to figure who I am and who I want to be and what I want to accomplish before I die. It forced me to face some very hard truths and make some very big changes, which even when they're good are still terrifying. I have had some truly amazing joys this year, but also some incredible heartbreaks that I'm still dealing with. And then I've had bouts of anxiety and depression that happen without any just cause, as well as bouts of anxiety and depression that do have some just cause.

I've always tried to be candid. I may be many awful horrible things, but at least I'm honest. And I think I have been avoiding the blog because I couldn't be candid. There are things that I don't want to talk about it. Things that I can't talk about it.

I know I could blog about other things -like Isley - or how many times I watched Jaws this summer (27). And I did start writing blogs like that. Many times.

But then I just went, "Why am I writing this? Who gives a shit?" and I stopped.

I also had some struggles writing this summer - I think in large part to where my head and heart have been - and I thought about talking about that, but somehow it seemed unfair. It seemed like a complaint I shouldn't levy.

Because I feel like because people know how many books I've sold and how much money I've made that I'm just always supposed to be smiling and laughing, or people will think I'm ungrateful. And I'm not ungrateful. I'm so incredibly overwhelmed by it, it's suffocating. I can never do enough or give back enough or do anything enough, because I don't deserve anything that's happened to me, and other people deserve it more than me.

I think I have survivor's guilt, because so many people worked harder and wanted it just as much as I did, but I'm the one here with my life, and there's no reason why I should be here and other people aren't, but here I am. And I'm sorry that you're not here too.

I'm sorry that everyone isn't happy and healthy, and I'm sorry that I can't make everyone happy and healthy. And that probably sounds like I'm being glib, but I'm genuinely distressed by the fact that people and things are hurting and I can't fix it. It's some kind of weird God complex, where I feel like I should be able to fix the world, when that is totally insane, and yet I end up feeling that way all the time. Like it's my fault that bad things happen. Like everything in the whole world is my fault. That's an extreme form of narcissism, and I know it. But I can't change it.

Anyway. I'm just blogging to let you know that I haven't stopped blogging because I forgot about you or because I thought I was too good for you. I just didn't want to bore you or annoy you, and I didn't know how to say the things I wanted to say.

Writing is going better, now, and I would very much like to talk about that when things are more concrete. And also probably when I'm feeling a bit better.

The reality is that I'm at a place know where I've realized that I can't will things to just go away or to feel better, and  I can't just pretend that problems or feelings don't exist, and it's now to the point where I don't think I can't deal with them on my own, because in reality I haven't been dealing with a lot.

I haven't actually being dealing with anything in a very long time. I just cocooned myself inside a world of familiarity and pop culture, and now I've left the cocoon because I decided that I'd rather live my life than hide from it, and it's equal parts awesome, amazing, terrifying, and painful.

So things are good. And they're going to be good. And I'll try to blog more. But I'll still only blog when I feel like I have something to say that might interest you. That's the best I can do.

70 comments:

  1. I can understand how you feel - completely! While it may come across as selfish until people understand, we as individuals must care for ourselves FIRST and FOREMOST before we try to care for others... it doesn't do someone we are trying to help any good if we are in tatters dragging our problems into their world under the veil that we are trying to HELP them :/

    Good for you for recognizing you needed to step back and protect yourself, do what you can do and nothing more... never apologize for being not being able to do what you might not be capable of in a given moment.

    Have a great day! *huggies*

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  2. Great post! It's so hard to juggle everything, hard to know when to peel back on blogging and when to press forward. Hope things are going better now and that life and writing hit a smooth stretch.

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  3. Hey Amanda! Success can be a weird, weird lonely place. I'm not nearly as successful as you are, but I often feel that same pressure. "Hey, you write for a living, you shouldn't complain about anything." (I mean, right now, I actually am in a slumpy slumpermcslump, so I feel justified in complaining again, since I'm no longer making much money. Which is a strange way to think about it, now that I do...) Anyway, you are a kind soul, and you only want justice in an unjust world. No matter how much it seems that it's not fair that other people are working hard and not reaping benefits, that doesn't mean that YOU don't deserve your success, because you have worked hard, taken risks, and made it happen. Life may not be fair, but you are still awesome. Hang in there.

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  4. Sometimes we all need someone to talk to. I hope you have someone.

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  5. Hi!

    You should go on a real adventure. A change of scenery can alter your current mindset, or give you an inspiring muse. You shouldn't feel guilty about the world, it will keep on spinning regardless of your choices. Sometimes I think that Fate is never satisfied with just one tragedy. The whole mountain has to come down on you, all at one time. I had major surgery a couple of years ago, and was terrified thinking that I would die on the operating table. But I woke up. Then I realized that there were so many things that I had never done or that I had denied myself. A heap of regrets, littered with people who didn't deserve me and the right people whom I had neglected. Be kind to yourself and keep your chin up. You must seek your happiness. :)

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  6. I couldn't read and not comment, but I'm worthless as usual. I missed your "voice" I missed the cool person that is you--and I kind of want to find these people who made you think you couldn't FEEL, play FROM NOW ON WE'RE ENEMIES and glare at them until they feel uncomfortable.

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    Replies
    1. Hahahaha, I love this "FROM NOW ON WE'RE ENEMIES and glare at them until they feel uncomfortable." I'll glare with you.

      Fandoms. Don't make one mad.

      Delete
    2. I'm totally on board with this too. Let's make some jerks feel uncomfortable! : P

      Delete
  7. Stating the obvious: Everyone, no matter how successful--real or imagined in the eyes of others--is entitled to those really awful, no-good days. Whatever you've got, you earned it, and that doesn't equate always having to be "on" for the people trying to peer into your life.

    Hell, when I can't be on, I post pictures of my cat, or GIFs I found on reddit. People either like it or they don't... post when and if you want. It's your blog. We'll just keep checking back.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your heart. I know that is such a scary thing to do. Sometimes I feel like I am living to die, not dying to live. I have a simple, but awesome life, and I also feel guilty for the "unhappiness" I feel at times. Thanks again for sharing, we are not alone! Hugs!

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  9. Not sure I have anything intelligent or witty to say, so...

    *hug*

    You've got friends, and you'll make it through all right. Because you're you, and you're awesome :-)

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  10. You can't fix the world and make things great for everyone. And more than some top ranking author who found success publishing her stories, you are Amanda Hocking - human. Take care of you first. You are an inspiration to many that success is possible. Let that be enough, because it totally is. I hope that whatever darkness that's weighing your life down will dissipate soon and let the light back in. Love to you.

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  11. Amanda, just remember that you inspire people of all ages and that you are a posiitve force in this world.

    Regards,
    Joe

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  12. I know how you feel. I've been feeling very similarly about my own blogging. Just know that we think you're awesome and wonderful :)

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

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  13. Honestly, I'm just glad you're still alive. I read your blog for a long time and then you just stopped and that made me start trolling the news pages to make sure I didn't miss something crucial like that you had actually bitten the dust or something horrible like that.

    Success is measured in a huge variety of ways. It's ok to not be comfortable with making a lot of money (again, this is relative) and feeling weird about complaining, because that's what makes us all human and it's actually nice to hear that you're still you enough to put this out there. It's nice that you show that humanity, instead of just pretending and saying "Life is great, buy my stuff." I think how much you struggled to get where you are is part of what draws people to you and part of why we (your fans and other indie writers inspired by you) delight in your success as much as, if not more so than, you do. You give us hope.

    We all know why you are here and other people aren't. You kept going and never quit, no matter what. You had the guts to get out there and tout your wares until you were blue in the face and MADE people notice you, unlike so many others that aren't where you are because no one has heard of them. You are creative, ambitious and determined, and I'm willing to bet that you used those attributes to think outside of the box to further your career a lot more than these other people whom you say "deserve it more than you do". Life isn't about who deserves what, it's about who makes it happen. You've made it happen and I think that you have a lot to be proud of. I'm proud of you :-) Self publishing is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying and overwhelming and stressful and ridiculously intimidating, but it takes people like you, who have already done it, to make people like me, who are currently trying it out, realize that it is possible. Thank you for that.

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  14. Sorry you're going through a rough time. You're human, so that's bound to happen on occasion. No one can fault you for that. I have missed your posts, but I understand the need for a break. I hope things look up for you soon. Oh, and you are absolutely entitled to all of your success!!! You put in the time, the work, and the creativity. That was all you! If anyone has a problem with that, maybe they should be working harder instead of spending so much time griping. ♥

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  15. I'm glad you've blogged again but sad you have so much guilt going on. I think you've forgotten why you started blogging and what your voice is. I blog to share my feelings, writings, help others and keep in contact with the international writing/blogging community I love so much. Rediscover why you blog (not write) and maybe that might help. I'm glad writing is going well and wish you all the best.

    But I have a question. Do you have plans to self-publish again? I enjoy your books through publishers but your self-published work had more variety and I'd love to see more of that again.

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  16. I'm with you, I get it, and I hope you get all your feels sorted out soon. Or at least most of them, because life is no fun when all the feels are too neatly packed.

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  17. Sometimes things just are, Amanda. Events, circumstances, people come and plop down on your life, sometimes for a little while, other times for much longer. To quote the movie Girl Interrupted, "Don't drop anchor here." You'll get through this.

    OR, just think to yourself, what would Bruce Wayne do? Construct a secret identity to literally mask the pain and hire a butler. Done.

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  18. Just because you're successful doesn't mean you're not human anymore. If you're alive, then you are going to have hard times no matter how many good things come your way. It's just part of the human experience. I appreciate hearing you express these feelings because communication is key when you're in pain and when you fear the judgements of others.

    The best way to heal and find your way back to feeling good again is to keep talking....;)

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  19. At the end of the day I believe we should always do what we really want to do. If you try and do what is expected, sooner or later you will end up with a bad taste in your mouth. Personally, I regard my blog as a collective 'someone' I can talk to, not about the really bad stuff, just simply wonderful conversation...

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  20. I think the virtual world sometimes creates a false sense of intimacy, and we end up feeling more connected than we actually are, and sometimes the truth about our online relationships comes crashing into realization. I think we are still learning about and deciding how to structure our online lives; I know I am, at least. It makes me sad to think we've invented this thing that has become a ridiculously large part of our lives, and yet it doesn't afford true connection. I hope were really just learning how to be close to one another, and that the virtual world isn't just one big advertisement.

    At any rate, please know this: However you feel, you are not alone.

    Kind regards,

    C.E. Todd

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  21. It's good to see you write this post as it shows that you're just like anyone else. I think often that people think that we writers are special. No, we struggle and take out the trash just like everyone else. I hope you are at a good place and are taking the time to do what's best for you. I wish you the best and know that you're not alone.

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  22. That is the truth. Only post when you feel like, and when you feel like it post what you feel! Thanks for the books, may there be many more! Your fan, Carol

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  23. I don't think you should feel compelled to talk about the nitty gritty details of your personal life. I think people are fans and maybe want updates on the stories you are writing and the business side of publishing considering your story is like David conquers Goliath.
    I find most authors in their blogs write about their book tours, what they had for dinner, etc, pretty inane stuff. A lot of authors (Hugh Howey) keep up on trends in the industry and have opinions galore.
    But if you have nothing to day, you have nothing to day. As someone who has visited your blog many times with no updates, I think I would have appreciated an entry that said, "I'm still alive and writing and have nothing to say."

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  24. I think only posting when you feel you have something you want to say is a good idea, because it is being true to yourself and who you are. If you change your mind and post about different things- that is fine, too. You are just being you and we all continue to change.

    I appreciated your honesty in this post and they way you put yourself out there. Sometimes readers can be happy with a sentence or two from an author that lets them know the author is still blogging, but you should do what you need to do. :)

    Hope your holidays were happy and that 2014 is good to you.
    ~Jess

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  25. I don't know what you are going through in your personal life, and the challenges you faced and may still be facing, but part of the way you feel may be your age. Being 29 can be hard. You know that 30 is looming, and that is a big milestone. Something about turning 30 really solidifies that you are an adult and that you are getting older. Your 20s will be behind you, and that concrete marker of 30 and the passage of time can be overwhelming.

    When I was 29, I spent most of that year evaluating my life, where I was headed, where I wanted to be, all the things I had hoped to accomplish by then (and hadn't), what I wanted the rest of my life to be like, etc., and really beat myself up about it.

    That kind of life evaluation is a hard reality to face and move on from. If you have personal challenges and issues to face also, well, of course a person would want to curl up in pop culture and would have bouts of depression and anxiety.

    I have no words of wisdom other than you make it through one way or another. It will get better with time. Take care.

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  26. I have a really hard time reading this and not jumping to conclusions about what you've gone through, so let this advice be based on what I think has happened.
    It is not your fault.
    Never feel like you don't have the right to be human and suffer. It will make you more humane, it will allow you to see the world differently and will give you more ability to change it for the better (later, much later, after you are all suffered out).
    Hearing you say you feeling like you are not you hits so close to home it's eerie. But how you are coping is you. The fact that you have picked up your blog a hundred times and haven't written to avoid being disingenuous is you! The fact that you chose now, this day to blog again, that's you.
    You will never get that you back, as much as you try. But someday you will see this new you is much better, and at the same time you will realize they were always the same person.
    I went through a horribly traumatic experience this May (details on my blog www.carriemaylucas.com) and for me writing helped.
    Start a new book. One of honesty and truth where you don't hold back. Even if you are the only one who will ever read it. It will be the most difficult and more rewarding book you will ever write.

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  27. Hi Amanda,
    I want to be a writer when i grow up, like you. Can you give me some tips? it would help a lot.

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  28. Hey Amanda- I just thought I should let you know that you could blog about anything and you wouldn't bother me. I look forward to seeing whats going on with you- good or bad. Just because I love your books so very much. And when I finish them and there isn't anymore (yet :) ) I feel pretty empty! So reading your blog, even if it was about your favorite cheese or what you felt the 27 different times you watched Jaws, I would love it. I love hearing from you and I love reading your books! I love you Amanda (or your literature, I should say. I feel like a person's work says a lot about them, and if thats so, you are truly a wonderful person.) keep on blogging your heart out! I will always be an Amanda Hocking supporter. <3

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  29. Amanda-you worked hard for all that has happened and you deserve all the good things that you have received. Readers read and buyers buy-because they want to-if they like your product-then you have succeeded.

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  30. Hey Amanda, I'm a PhD candidate over in the UK currently writing up my thesis and I wanted to thank you for your books. They have provided me with a total escape during tired evenings of fieldwork, winding down after late nights of work and just wanting an injection of fantasy away from the real world. Sounds from this blog post that life for you is a bit of a roller coaster- I can definitely relate- as can probably most of your readership to some extent. I have had so many highs and lows over the last few years, and currently feel like I'm running an uphill marathon with this thesis. But what I hold on to are those amazing inspiring moments, when you are full to the brim with excited energy at solving something, coming up with a genius idea, clicking with a fantastic new person, and for me running my heart out in the cold crisp sunshine along a pretty river path (small things!). Keep writing! We love your work! and who knows what brilliant experiences 2014 holds! x

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  31. Hey Amanda, I have been following your story right from the 2009 and I am so impressed in the writer you've become. I don't think you need to post everyday, especially now that you are busy with your writing. Your readers will always be around to read your next book or blog post. Wish you the best.

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  32. Hey Amanda. This is the reason why I keep returning to your blog, you write very honestly. I appreciate that you will write only when you have something to say, when many other bloggers are trolling the Internet with the same old content repeated over and over again in new form.

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  33. Amanda-you worked hard for all that has happened and you deserve all the good things that you have received. Readers read and buyers buy-because they want to-if they like your product-then you have succeeded.

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  34. honestly Amanda I love you so, so so much! you've inspired me to start writing and to follow my dreams. I've been waiting for such a long time now, for you to blog something. I missed you! I really want you to feel better. Honestly I know how you feel. I've felt down alot too. I know you wrote alot in this post about how much you should keep to yourself but seeing a therapist might help you feel better. Or just talking to friends that you really trust. Or even just getting out and doing the things you love.
    I would love to see pictures and read posts about Isley and about all the things you've been up to lately.
    Keep strong and know that you are being supported and your number one fan (AKA Me) needs you to keep inspiring her (me). The more you succeed, the more I feel like my dreams will come true!!

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  35. You'll look back someday and say, thank goodness I reevaluated my life at that young age. I'm [cough cough] a tad older and am in the process of some hard reevaluation. A few regrets, secret dreams, wishing I'd taken the other side of the fork in the road. But here I am, and there you are. Good for you, taking stock and coming to terms with your life. Best wishes!

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  36. Every blogger struggles with how much to tell and when to hold back. Sharing the good things and the bad/extremely bad on one's blog is not only a personal choice, but also a professional one. Even when others will be sympathetic to your plight or share your joy, some things are just too private to put out there, even when it does relate to the general theme of your blog, much less when it doesn't. Be strong. Do what's right for you. Good luck.
    Beyond Acadia

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  37. Amanda, as long as you are still a card carrying member of the human race (I think your birth certificate can confirm this!) you are entitled to those random bouts of "human-ness", regardless of the success and the fame, always, always make the time to check in with YOU, you owe that to yourself and do not feel you need to explain it. You're amazing girl, I love your books. And I wish you peace!

    T L Thomas
    The Midlife Diva and a fan
    Author of "When Crazy's Coming, The Midlife Misadventures of a Midlife Diva"
    http://www.brainybpublishinghouse.com

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  38. New to this place, but that's never stopped me opening my cakehole before, so...

    I think anyone who expects your life to be a bowl of cherries and fluffy ponies now, just because you're a successful writer, is being pretty bloomin' insensitive. Of COURSE you're allowed to be depressed and miserable when life isn't going so well - and even for no particular reason at all. That's why you're a human being and not a solar-powered writer-bot (I understand they still have some functionality issues anyway; version 2.0 has apparently ironed out some of the bugs, but I wouldn't hold my breath...)

    I do understand how you feel. I had a mahoosive gap in my own blog while my father-in-law was losing his battle with cancer, and putting time into blogging about writing and stuff seemed wrong while he was suffering so much. Sometimes taking time out is just the thing you need to do, and you shouldn't feel guilty for that. The alternative tactic of trying to keep showing up and wearing the expected face... well that's when you morph into Justin Bieber. And I don't think anyone wants that for you ;)

    Be kind to yourself. All those virtual cyber-cuddles you're getting are being given for a reason :)

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  40. A problem is still a problem no matter how successful a person may be. Problems need to be fixed or if not fixed, than accepted, no matter how famous/good-looking/successful/loved someone is.

    It's a part of life. We all have to go through this stuff. Don't let anyone give you any shit about it.

    Very good post, btw.

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  41. Hey Amanda hope you feeling better since you wrote this entry. Remember that bad times occur to remind us of how we should appreciate the good times. Nothing lasts forever and that goes for the good times and the bad times. Please do not feel guilty because life is too short and guilt can sometimes be a luxury. I have been feeling the same way but hey we both need to give ourselves a slap and get back to the grindstone.

    Take Care,
    Nicole Theron

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