Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Drop the Break…

Hello there my faithful followers and readers. I hope you’re all well and that you’re each having a pleasant Easter.

Have you ever had a head of steam? Have you ever been so enthusiastic about something that it becomes all you think about and all you wish to put any effort into? I have. That’s the sole reason I’ve been posting so much over the last few months. I’ve been enjoying writing so much that the ideas have been rolling out nonstop, en masse.

Then the steam dissipates. Now what you’re left with is a benchmark that you’ve set for yourself. You do alright at keeping up with the benchmark for a while. Then eventually it just becomes a bit too much. Your work gets sloppy as you struggle to meet the demand you’ve put on yourself. Nonetheless, you persist. You think that you can basically write your way out of the funk in the same way a swimmer swims through a stitch.

The problem is that you can’t. Once you lose that spark where writing is concerned then there’s no way of it returning to you unless you do one thing; that one thing you really don’t want to do. ALL AHEAD STOP! It’s tough to accept that what you need to do is drop it for a while when it’s the thing you yearn to do the most.

Ordinarily I’d have continued to fly against the wind and press on regardless in the hope that nobody notices I’m really struggling. I thought I was doing a decent job until Thursday last week (13th April) when two things happened.

The first was unrelated to my blog. However, it did hit home in an extremely personal way. I checked Amazon to see if I’d had any reviews on Dead End (available for £0.99 there; still free on smashwords.com). I saw that I had two. The second was a five star review with some lovely comments about how you really live the protagonist’s sensations and feelings. The first review was anything but positive. It was given one star and the comment essentially said that the story made no sense. In some ways the comment gave me a sense of solace because it didn’t say anything about my writing style being poor. What the comment read to me wasn’t “the story made no sense”, rather “I didn’t understand the story”. In which case I think that’s more to do with the reader as nobody who read it here on WordPress complained that it made no sense.

The problem is that that one star review will stick. People will see that somebody gave it one star and they’ll be put off as opposed to reading the comment and perhaps deducing “well maybe you’re just a bit stupid, Mr/Mrs Reviewer”. The star rating is there for people to make snap decisions on. If they see it’s a low rating then they won’t touch it. So that set my mood in the wrong direction straightaway.

The second thing was much more poignant. For the first time since I started blogging I received negative critique of my writing. Chapter Fifteen of Find Me a Find was the victim.

People have disagreed with points I’ve made in previous posts. That I fully expect. Nobody has ever said, though, that my writing itself pretty much sucked (those weren’t the words used, though the implication was all too clear).

The alarm bells were already ringing because of that one star review. The negative critique of my Find Me a Find chapter set off a full on air raid siren! It cut deep. However, it was a necessary cut. The kind of cut a surgeon needs to make to remove something nasty from within. They were right. Chapter Fifteen wasn’t a good one. It wasn’t well written. It wasn’t well edited. I saw the negative feedback as what it was — helpful.

It helped me finally realise what has been smacking me in the face the past few weeks. I’m giving myself too much to do. I’m putting myself under too much pressure. My writing is starting to suffer as a result. There’s only so much midnight oil one can burn before the lantern runs dry. Because of all the writing I’m not even getting to properly keep up with the blog posts of others. I feel so bad when people are consistent in reading my stuff and I’m not returning the favour.

With that in mind, it’s time to take a hiatus. I need to drop writing for my blog on its head for a while. I won’t stop writing. That would be akin to cutting my metaphorical jugular. I’d bleed out and die. I’ll keep my hand in albeit in a much more relaxed fashion and get my mojo back along the way. I’ve got some English grammar work to catch up on, Revenge on the Spanish Main needs editing, Find Me a Find is still some way off its conclusion so there are plenty of things to do. It’s just that I can do them at a more leisurely pace and without a posting deadline of every other day looming over me.

It also means I can sort out my employment situation which is causing me undue stress, catch up on reading some of the posts of others, and not spend half the day ignoring those around me while I work feverishly to meet the infernal deadlines I set myself.

If you hadn’t already picked up on the not so subtle undertones then this will be an extended leave of absence. I’m thinking around a month, perhaps more. I don’t want to put an exact date on when I‘ll return. Basically it’ll be when I’m ready. I’ve got a lot that needs doing and I don’t want to burden myself with a timeframe.

When I return (and I will, don’t you worry) I’ll revert to posting every three days like I used to, if that. It was much easier to manage that way. With any luck there’ll be a flood of new ideas to run with too.

I haven’t lost my love for writing. That would be impossible. I can guarantee that I love it more than most people reading this now. Trust me, I’ll fight you over it! Seriously though, this isn’t me losing my desire. I’ll use an analogy. You know when you love a person intensely and you want to spend every waking moment with them? Then somewhere down the line their constant presence becomes a bit overbearing and you need some space. You still love them like crazy; you just need to get away from them for a little while for some breathing space. That’s kind of it, except I’m not getting away from writing. I’m getting away from writing for my blog, or at least pressure-writing for my blog.

This will be necessary if I’m to get back to the level of quality I feel I should be achieving every time. I don’t do negative critique well. I stew over it and allow it to fill me with self-doubt. I lay awake on Thursday night wondering if I’m not just being really stupid in thinking I could ever get published; ruminating over whether I am actually any good or if people are simply being nice. It’s not a good place to be in.

I was going to take a break anyway, although I was waiting until I’d finished Find Me a Find before I did. All I’m doing is bringing it forward. I may still post the occasional Find Me a Find chapter during the hiatus as they’re prewritten and I edit them before posting; however, that will be at my discretion and likely totally unannounced.

I want to thank everybody who has supported me so far. It’s thanks to you mainly that I’ve been as prolific as I have. You’ve given me the confidence to push myself to (and beyond) my limits. It’s now time to drop back from that limit and get with the ideal ‘quality over quantity’. It’s something I’m a firm believer in and what I shall now be sticking stringently to. I won’t apologise for leaving you all for a while as you’ll all see why it was so necessary for me to do so when I return.

Hopefully I’ll be seeing you all on your own blog posts soon as I vie to catch up. I look forward to seeing what you’ve all got for me. They say you should part on a song so here it is…

11 thoughts on “Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Drop the Break…

  1. As one of your biggest blog fans and blog friends, and as someone who has been taking time off from blogging recently, I fully support your decision to take an extended break. That doesn’t mean I won’t be sad missing your regular posts, though! You better believe I’ll be messaging you to keep in touch over your break and check in on how you are doing. I do totally understand though — as you and I have discussed recently, taking care of oneself has to be the first priority. Sure, it’s crucial not just for charging the proverbial creative battery for one’s writing, but it’s also just necessary for life in general.

    Big hugs, and good luck on your break! x

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  2. I’m going to really miss your posts, but I do see the wisdom in taking a break. I truly hope you have a restful month, and that when you come back, your mind is overflowing with ideas that come through your fingertips with ease, no stress. Enjoy your break!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no doubt that will be the case. I’m never short of ideas. I was just working too hard. I intend to catch up on what I’ve missed of yours and finally get started on your ebook soon. Looking forward to that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was kinda wondering when I hadn’t seen a post in a few days… Sorry you are having a struggle period, but I can’t deny a break would probably do you some good given the reasons you’ve stated. Just don’t stay away too long… I found after just two weeks of scheduled reblogs it’s been difficult to come back and have the motivation to restart in full. I’m slowly gaining the motivation back… Also, I can’t deny some of your more recent FMaF posts have seemed a little forced, but Dead End certainly makes sense and one star givers suck! Especially when they can’t even give legitimate critiques (or they end up criticizing the company selling an item over the item/content itself.) Regardless that just sucks and 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not going to be stepping away from writing during my break. Just pressure writing for the blog. Though this last week I’ve done nothing aside from bits of English grammar work here and there. I’ll be back on it as of next week. The blog I’ll return to when I feel I’m ready.

      The critique they’ve given doesn’t bother me. They just come off as stupid quite frankly. It’s the one star that’ll put some people off that bothers me. Some people work solely off the star rating, don’t they? I left a comment asking what didn’t make sense and there has been no response. I’m suspicious that it’s a troll/saboteur, but who it could be I have no idea…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My personal opinion is that you just change your blog schedule. You are the one that has set this pressure upon yourself… I’ve always been a believer in post-when-I-have-something-to-post… stay away from arbitrary schedules. I fear as well that if you leave for too long there will be followers that will leave – I know some people, myself included, that clean out their following list periodically and get rid of people that haven’t posted in a long while… Others not as forgiving as myself (I’d give up to 6 months where others may only give a month….) Of course if I’m really attached to a blog I wait much longer in hopes I won’t miss if they ever do come back… Possibly by announcing a month’s break you’d get past that caveat… but go longer than you stated and maybe not… I dunno. If you still plan to write, and write things that may possibly go on your blog later… or post stories you’ve already written… then I say just fuck it and change your own schedule now. No need for a full leave of absence. Just say “Hey guys… I’ve put myself under too much pressure so I’m doing away with my posting schedule” or “I’ve decided to only post one or two times a week for the foreseeable future” or whatever. Again: it doesn’t take a month or more to reset your schedule or blog how you want to blog/fit blogging better into your everyday life

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t know. I do have one or two things already written that I might post in the meantime. I was going to post something to announce my comeback of sorts after my hiatus anyway that will detail more about when I post. Likely it’ll be a case of freestyling and post when I fancy as opposed to scheduled days. If I bleed followers then so be it. People were unfollowing while I was active so there’s no real difference. Besides, if they actually read my blog then they’ll have read this post and know what’s going on.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m afraid that I may have been one of the ones that left you a not so positive review on Find Me a Find. I am sorry if I have added to the blow. I do think that it is becoming apparent with FMaF that you’re trying to meet a deadline rather than write for the enjoyment of it. Your recent posts about life in general have been great.

    I’ll be here waiting to see what you come back with. Don’t be discouraged. If you’re writing and it brings you happiness keep on! I took a 5 year hiatus and I’m so glad that I’m back to it. I’m sad I abandoned it for so long. I do very much hope you get published. I would love to see Revenge on the High Seas at the local bookshop and know that I’ve been a fan before you were published.

    Sending love, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No apologies necessary. Chapter Fifteen sucked, Klutzy. Let’s not sugar-coat it. And Chapter Sixteen doesn’t look so hot on my preliminary proof read. The criticism was necessary. I’ve been trying to keep ahead in the story and that has become my primary focus rather than the story itself. That needs reigning in. I’m going to look at rewriting Fifteen and sort out all the other chapters after that too if needs be.

      I won’t be taking a hiatus even in the same galaxy as five years. Just a number of weeks to screw my head back on. I haven’t touched any writing (or reading) this last week aside from my English grammar work. Then I can hopefully hit it again and bounce right back. I would never give up. I love writing too much.

      I fully intend to catch up with your posts soon. Really intrigued to see what The Bounty Hunter’s Daughter holds in store.

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