Coffessions of a Bad Blogger

It’s time for me to confess. I have been very very bad. Those of you who have subscribed to my blog are the sweetest, most wonderful readers that any writer could wish. And I have sorely neglected you for almost a year.

I do have an excuse. Do you want to hear it? It’s a good excuse, as excuses go.

Last fall I started the school year with an insane schedule, homeschooling kids, teaching 12 hours of classes, preparing classes, helping out one day a week at preschool, working on a video project, canning, bringing in the garden harvest, keeping up the urban homestead and all that. I had no time for anything, I was sure.

My preschool class learning about American Halloween and bobbing for apples, which I should have posted last November.

My preschool class learning about American Halloween and bobbing for apples, which I should have posted last November.

But the longing to write, really write, write something big had been building in me for years.

So, there was that one hour in the week when I had a bit of time, while I watched the kids at preschool during their nap time. I had my laptop with me but no internet connection, so I couldn’t do brainless, relaxing things like catch up with email and Facebook friends. I could have written blog entries like a good blogger… But instead I decided to start a novel.

I thought I would never get anywhere doing it one hour a week but that was all I had. And you start with what you have. This was a novel that had been festering inside of me for twenty years. For most of that time, I thought it was just a weird daydream, not a novel… well, as it turned out three novels. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, I started writing one hour a week. That lasted about a month and a half. It was grueling. I couldn’t remember what I had done from one week to the next and spent half my time rereading what I had already written. And the topic was pretty challenging.

Then, something shifted. The characters – particularly one of the minor characters who I didn’t even think was supposed to be a major part of the story – reached out of the computer, grabbed me by the front of my shirt and yanked me into the screen and into their world. I landed with a thud and when I looked up and got my bearings I was solidly in the alternative reality of my story.

I could kind of walk around in my real life and go through the motions of eating, sleeping, teaching classes, taking care of children and all that but I was pretty spacey. I was mostly in that other world. And the only way to get out of it was to write myself out. So, I started writing in earnest.

My family was patient, mostly. And my friends.

My family was patient, mostly. And my friends.

How did I find the time in between classes, children, housework and all my other responsibilities? There is this time called “night” when everyone else goes to sleep. I discovered that there is lots more time there than I thought. I also decided to try “unschooling” the bad way and let the kids mostly run wild. I cooked the same old dinners over and over again while thinking about my plot and my husband and children had to eat lots of lentils, borscht and lamb stew all winter long. I always had to pull myself out of my daze to teach and I did, but I eagerly dove back into writing as soon as I was done. I snatched every moment.

And three months later I had a series of three books. I won’t tell you all about them here because that isn’t the end of the story really. That was February. Why didn’t I write to you in February? Well, I was editing. Editing takes several months too. Then, I had to figure out how to publish the books and I discovered that the publishing industry is in turmoil due to the massive changes brought about by ebooks and traditional publishing of unknown authors is almost non-existent. I half-heartedly tried to find an agent but it was clear that it wasn’t going to happen, no matter how good my books are.

Today, self-publishing or indie publishing isn’t the pasty, pale desperate freak of the side show that it used to be, sitting right next to the slovenly oaf of the vanity press. Now self-publishing is mainstream and it is the way that new authors get a leg up, make a modest living and thus have time to write.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past three months. I’ve been learning how to build websites, format ebooks, build “social media platform”, design book covers, negotiate with photographers and models and other such essential and mostly frighteningly technical skills of indie publishing. I don’t think I”ve had to learn so much in such a short time since my early days as a war correspondent in Macedonia.

So, do you forgive me yet?

Many of my readers here have been incredibly generous with your time, telling other people about my blog posts and helping people who like to read emotionally real writing find my blog.

I have gotten a lot of comments about how you miss my blogging on parenting, adoption, inner healing and social inclusion. I will work on that. Essentially, my books are about social inclusion versus exclusion and the potential of healing for outsiders. I use a world of contemporary alternative reality and harrowing adventure to do it. Many readers may simply think it is a distopian thriller with a fantasy twist meant to entertain. And it is that too. My copy editors have all said it grabs you by the back of the soul, trusts you into the story with real people as the characters and doesn’t let you go entirely even when you’re done reading. So, it’s a gripping story and it takes a swing at issues you care about.

Anyway, that’s my excuse. I have been writing about the same things I did before, just in a different way.

Here is where I’m going to publish it in the next few weeks: http://www.ariefarnam.com/new

Here's the "author picture" that Ember and Tomas worked for hours to get, in order to help me look "cool" to lots of readers. Thanks a million, you two.

Here’s the “author picture” that Ember and Tomas worked for hours to get, in order to help me look “cool” to lots of readers. Thanks a million, you two.

I have also started a few blogs on that site for specific topics. There is one about writing and books at: http://www.ariefarnam.com/books

And there is one about practical herb lore, including a delicious recipe for a healthy summer drink that can replace pop and kids will still love it: http://www.ariefarnam.com/herbs

There will be more soon.

I have scaled back many of my other activities and I’m now devoting a lot more time to writing. (The kids aren’t really scalable, so it still isn’t exactly full time.) And I hope I will be writing A LOT more in the future.

There is one major factor in whether or not I’ll have time to write and that is how well I can do in indie publishing and the key to that is getting the word out, far and wide. Here are the ways you can help and thus insure that I don’t neglect you for so long again:

1. Go to my website at http://www.ariefarnam.com and SIGN UP for brief, monthly updates about my books by clicking on the big orange button. Then, tell all your friends, both online and off, to do the same. This is the single most important thing for independent writers. I won’t spam you or your friends. I will treat the email list with extreme care and I have it protected with powerful anti-spam programs. This is the only way to connect with people effectively in a world that is otherwise full of noise and plenty of things you don’t really want to read. This is how you find what you do love to read.

2. “Like” the Facebook page of my books: http://www.facebook.com/kyrennei

Thank you again for being wonderful and supportive readers.

Arie Farnam

Advertisements

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. altaira5hatton
    Jul 06, 2014 @ 21:14:48

    I am soooooooo excited!!! So thrilled you’re self publishing, eagerly awaiting your books, and your kids are even more adorable then I remember!

    Reply

  2. Zuzana
    Jul 31, 2014 @ 12:32:55

    My comment isn’t specific to this post, but to your whole blog, which I’ve only just discovered today (in an obviously extremely fruitful stream-of-consciousness surf). What a gem!

    I would LOVE to talk more about dark-skinned children in Czech schools. My Roma 3rd grader isn’t a big talker, so I have only limited information about what goes on at the playground among the kids — but he’s been coming home with stuff like “I’m black” (černý – said in a very negative way). There are lots of Vietnemese kids at his school — who apparantly are also considered “black” on the playground.

    The school actually tries to be quite inclusive, the teachers are always going off to “how to help foreigners” conferences, etc. But they seem more focussed on the lack of Czech language than ethnicity. When I try to poke at the ethnicity issue with his teachers & assistants, they don’t seem to see it (it’s not a problem in class – – it’s children bringing racist comments from home into their informal peer interactions on the playground).

    Anyway, I struggle with how best to respond to my son and how to help him work through his feelings about being different. (PS we live in Prague)

    Reply

  3. ariefarnam
    Jul 31, 2014 @ 12:48:35

    Hi Zuzana, we had a session of the “I’m black” issues awhile back. I have a lot of multicultural story books and we read those. We watch Romani videos that the kids too really like. Even though the crisis passed, I don’t know how effective my methods were. My kids still seem to get the impression that “black” is something strange or uncommon. Our issues centered around my daughter’s fears that she was somehow going to turn “black.” She isn’t very dark at all, so I think she interpreted the term applied to her as meaning that she was going to change color. That was frightening. It is such a ridiculous term for a person who is only half a shade darker than the pale Central European norm, in any case. She has seen truly dark-skinned people and reacts happily but the idea of changing her own color is a bit scary. I explained but she tends to believe peers much more than me on matters of great importance such as appearance and what makes a “real princess.”

    It is crucial to have a supportive school and teachers but you’ll never get away from the comments in society. My take is that we have to provide armor. The best armor is knowing a lot of dark-skinned, lovely, fun people, including kids. I wish we had more variety around. Books, videos and all that help too. Talking openly helps.

    Best wishes!

    Arie

    Reply

  4. Lansi
    Feb 05, 2015 @ 10:32:24

    Wow! You’ve done so well to take on all facets of self-publishing yourself! I have 2 boys of my own so my hat goes off to you for doing all that and homeschooling! Well done!

    Reply

    • ariefarnam
      Feb 05, 2015 @ 10:48:03

      Thanks, Lansi. My author blog and site is at http://www.ariefarnam.com. This is still my little-used personal blog. I had intentions of keeping it up better but with keeping up the author site, it is a bit of a stretch. 🙂

      Reply

      • Lansi
        Feb 05, 2015 @ 10:49:25

        Oh! I’m so going over to have a look! It is hard, and do you know what? Most of the time, readers like hearing about your personal life too, so combining them might not be so bad?

  5. ariefarnam
    Feb 05, 2015 @ 18:08:59

    🙂 Thanks.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: