The Double-Edged Blog

I began this blog because my daughter told me to. She was redesigning my website (some of you may remember the Medea site that came before the current one) and she said, “You need new content and a blog is a good way to get that.” I said, “I don’t know anything about blogs,” and she said, “You’ll learn.” Then I found out that blogs were a chance to say anything I wanted and I was hooked. For awhile, everything was lovely, and then I posted something a lot of people didn’t like. I can’t remember what it was now, but it was the first time somebody said to me, “You know, you should stop blogging, it’s going to hurt your career.” I said, “How is that possible?” and she said, “If they don’t like what you say on your blog, they’ll stop buying your books.” That was incomprehensible to me then, and it’s still puzzling to me now. P.G. Wodehouse did broadcasts for the Nazis, but I’m not giving up Bertie and Jeeves. Georgette Heyer made disparaging comments about her readers but they’ll get my copy of The Grand Sophy when they pry my cold, dead, chocolate-stained fingers from around it. Robert Frost was one of the biggest bastards who ever lived, but “Two Tramps at Mudtime” is still the most beautiful evocation of work and love that I’ve ever read. I don’t want to have lunch with these people, I just want their words. So I shrugged off my friend’s comment and went on blogging.

Then I tripped again, this time because I was thoughtless (this happens a lot). One of my friends got a ludicrous letter from a reader and I posted it with her first name on it. That was flat out wrong of me, and I did apologize and take the name off the blog but basically, I screwed up. First lesson: Never blog when you’re really angry but not admitting it to yourself. Practical application: Wait twenty-four hours before you post something you’ve written.

Then while I was being careful on Argh–well, careful for me–I lost my temper on somebody else’s blog and became The Author Who Is Pro-Plagiarism (because that was more fun for people to get upset about than The Author Who Thinks This Is Being Handled Badly and People Should Stop Author-Bashing Until They Know the Facts). This annoyed some people so much that they’re still mad at me; some of them cornered Bob at Thrillerfest to tell them just how awful I am, as if he didn’t know the black depths of my heart already. And of course, they’re never going to read me again. (Actually my fave comment about the whole mess was on another blog: a reader said she was never going to read me again and then followed it up by saying she’d never read me before either. I kept thinking of the old “Doctor, will I be able to play the piano after my broken arm heals?”/”Of course”/”Funny, I couldn’t play it before” joke, but that’s probably just more evidence of how depraved I am.) After that, I quit the romance blogosphere. There was no point in explaining that I had never said plagiarism was all right since nobody would listen anyway. My words were there if anybody wanted to go back and see what I really said. Life is short and mine is good and that whole mess was just toxic for everybody. Moving on . . .

Then somebody e-mailed me and said, “They’re after X now.” X is a friend of mine. She writes superb books and she had a terrific blog and beyond that, she’s just good people. So I went to see if she needed somebody to hold her coat, and it turned out that she hadn’t caused the kerfluffle, she’d commented on it with a joke and people created a new kerflufle because they were appalled that she’d joke about anything so serious and she must be a horrible person if she thought that was funny and they were, yes, never going to read her books again. So my pal quit blogging, not because she was intimidated by the threats–this is one tough lady–but because life was too short and she didn’t need to blog, it had just been her way of giving back to the writing community. Of course, after that some people said she was wimpy for not staying around so they could kick her again, evidently missing the point that sticking around to get insulted by a bunch of people with no sense of humor had no upside for her.

Which made me think: Who are these people and why are they so upset? I’m not talking about people who disagree with her; people did that without getting personal. In fact, it was the people who thoughtfully disagreed with me on that rabid-reader-criticism post that made me cool my jets and realized I’d gone over the line. I’m talking about the people who said she was malicious, the people who posted they were so disappointed in her, the people who were downright abusive in their reactions. The people who will never read her again, in fact. I’ve been thinking about this for quite awhile, and I think blogging may be at the bottom of all the rage. If you read a lot of an author’s books, you begin to feel that you know him or her (Jane Austen and I would be BFFs, I’m sure of it), but there’s still some distance there. But when an author starts to blog, the distance disappears. She’s putting her thoughts out there, she’s not acting as a character or an authorial voice, she’s saying, “Look, here’s the dog I just adopted” or “Here’s how I write my books,” so she becomes an internet pal, somebody her blog readers know. I think there’s a sense of comradeship there, especially if the author responds in the comments (or as Mollie always says, “WILL YOU STOP COMMENTING ON YOUR OWN BLOG PLEASE”). Which means when the blogger says something that conflicts with the blog reader’s idea of who that author is, there’s real disappointment. Hence all the “I’m so disappointed in you” flack I got from the people who decided I was pro-plagiarism and my pal got from all the people who thought that her joke wasn’t funny. They thought we were better than that.

I think most people just file the disappointment away under Things I Know About That Author without going after her as someone unclean who must be eradicated from publishing blogs or books. But there are some whose disappointment is so great, whose sense of betrayal is so strong, that they stoop to name-calling and vituperation and cornering innocent writing partners at conferences and telling him that he’s guilty by association. These people, I would argue, need to take a step back. I feel strongly that anybody who evaluates the rest of the people in the world by how closely their attitudes and statements agree with her worldview is in danger of structuring a life much like the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department. We don’t learn from the people who agree with us, we learn from the people who make us say, “Wait a minute,” and that learning goes both ways. I learn a lot from the critics who intelligently analyze my books and find them wanting; I’ve also learned a lot from the people who have thoughfully and calmly disagreed with me on this blog. Haven’t learned a thing from the shriekers and condemners, though. And the only thing my pal learned was that blogging was just too expensive a hobby in the balance of her life. I think a lot of people miss her blog; I doubt that she does.

So as my life shifts (and it’s shifting a lot right now), this blog is one of the things I’m looking at because I’m not sure how valuable it is anymore to me or to you, definitely not sure if it’s valuable enough to put up with the hassles. (This is not an attempt to get “No, you’re so PRETTY” comments, by the way. I know I’m darling. The ego is in fine shape here.) I like Bob’s plan of blogging every Tuesday, it gives some shape to the blog, but what if I don’t have anything to say on Tuesday? I like doing the “Twelve Days Of” focused writing series and the blog keeps me honest on those, but I don’t see how they’re valuable to other people. (The Twelve Days of Cleaning My Office, however, I’m very proud of, not only for the offices that got cleaned from inspiration, but for all the people who looked at their offices and felt immensely better.) I’ve thought about writing about the things I’m researching now–alternate fictional structures, amusement parks, the tarot, collaboration, romantic comedy–or reviewing movies and books or anything else that has purpose and possible value for a reader, but I always end up posting rambles about road trips or pictures of the dogs. I seem to have lost my blogging POV which means that Argh is sinking into the Not Really Very Interesting category. Which probably explains why nobody’s told me she’s disappointed in me lately which is another reason to stop blogging: If I’m not doing anything interesting enough for people to disagree with me, why should I waste the virtual ink?

Thus the double-edged sword: If your blogging pleases everybody, you’re probably not adding much to the world. If your blogging pisses people off, they rant about you to everybody who will listen, damaging your rep. It really comes down to how much time, energy, and ego you’re willing to put into something that takes away from your writing time and disrupts your peace of mind, to how much pleasure and usefulness you and the blog readers gain from the effort. Right now, I don’t see me adding much to the world with Argh. So I either need to revamp this blog so it has some shape and content, or retire it for awhile until I get some direction for it.

I’m thinking, I’m thinking.

132 thoughts on “The Double-Edged Blog

  1. Well I’m firmly in the “please don’t stop blogging, Jenny” camp. I enjoy your rambles and your humor. And when you do tackle something more serious, it gives me something to think about. Sometimes that much thinking makes my head hurt, but so does a trip to the dentist. Ultimately I’m better for it. Both your blog and the dentist. And no, I’m not comparing your blog to a trip to the dentist. I’m going to stop with that analogy right now and pull my foot out of my mouth.

    If you stop because the blog is time intensive and takes away from constructive writing time, I will still scream “NO!” but might be able to console myself that it may, perhaps, result in more books from you.

    But please don’t stop because of a few annoying people. Some people just like being righteously indignant. If the rest of us stop talking because of those few, then they win. That is to say, ignorance and intolerance win. It’s the downside of free speech that we have to put up with the hate mongerers, too. But there has to be some price to it, or it would have less worth.

    And if you aren’t dispensing thought-provoking pearls today, you might be next week. And isn’t it nice that you already have a forum?

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  2. For some time, I have wondered how you could keep up with your writing and Arghink at the same time. And I have found myself thinking that if it were a choice between another single author book by you (I enjoy your collaborations but have liked the books you have done by yourself much better. I don’t reread your collaborations like I do the solo projects for some reason), then I would go for another book. That being said ….

    I check arghink every day. Some few I haven’t followed much. I think your granddaughter is a very pretty baby but I don’t read the 20 or 30 awww comments. On the other hand some of your blogs have been amazing: both the original comments by you and some of the comments by your readers. I read everything on the French condom ad and I have to admit I loved your blog on the gatling gun and am going to go buy it the next time I am at Powell’s Books (I rarely buy things over the internet except antique silver from ebay and period wall sconces and esoterica like that). So if there is to much in your life going on for you to do a blog too, I will miss you.

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  3. What???? WHat???? WHAT????? No more Jenny blogs?

    I’ve always thought that your observations about everything are refreshing. I don’t always agree (and don’t feel the need to say that here as I like to think of myself as an adult who knows that not everyone agrees with her – unfortunately) but I always learn… and enjoy… even the stories about dogs (I’m a dog lover who has two rescue dogs) and home renovation.

    Having said that – I can tell that your life right now is also going through a renovation of sorts. Changes are happening. And time is not only tight but valuable. If you do continue the blog, perhaps you could write about the changes in your thinking about life and your career. It might help others to break out of the mold and move forward. What do you think? (Molly does realize that we ask you questions here, right?)

    Oh – and Bob getting cornered at Thrillerfest?? I’m certain he can take care of himself – and I’m also certain he doesn’t let anyone else do his thinking for him. I’d also be willing to bet that he stands by his friends.

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  4. Blogging is time consuming. It’s also a great place for people to start a flame war. It can also seem like you are just throwing words into a black hole.

    At the same time blogs are a place to be insightful, to laugh, and entertain. The last one is the most important ENTERTAIN. Both yourself and your readers. If you are no longer impressed with blogging, I’m sad to see you go.

    At the same time, I’ll admit, I’ selfish. There is only so many times I can read WTT before I can recite it like the plegde of allegiance (sp?). I like to find new blog post even if it’s a ramble of thoughts. Yeah, I don’t know you, know you, but this blog gives me the chance to see how Jenny’s doing.

    If nothing else really consider the idea of turning your blog into something YOU can enjoy writing. Trust me, most of us will follow your words to the ends of the Earth.

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  5. Regarding Internet kefuffles, I think xkcd said it best.

    I really enjoy your Twelve Days Of… posts and your writing posts and, well, all your posts in fact. Your blog and Maureen Johnson’s and Justine Larbalestier’s are the writing blogs I check every day. (Maureen Johnson is also a sporadic updater but none the worse for that.) So add me to the “Nooo! Don’t stop!” camp.

    But it’s your blog and you should do what you like. There. 😉

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  6. I have read your blog, as well as 4 or 5 other author blogs for the last few years. I enjoy the insight, the posts about things I never would have considered/thought of, and the variety of opinions a post can bring. Mainly, though, I read these blogs because I want to hear about new projects that my favorite writers are working on. Your blog is unique in that your readers get a chance to see into the process (12 Days blogs especially), and it makes me appreciate the book more when I finally have the chance to read it.

    That being said, I can understand why you might consider leaving the blog behind. As a educator, I spend a considerable amount of time explaining to my students that when you are reading text (email, text message, blog, facebook/myspace page), once the words are out, they can’t be taken back. In addition, people read things with their own slant, and read into it what their personal experience (or bad day) allow them to. There are misunderstandings, and often people allow themselves to be much more venomous because they can hide behind the anonymity of cyberspace. 95% of the venom wouldn’t see the light of day if it had to be said face-to-face. It’s the reason why I keep my blog/photos private for family and close friends, and spend considerable time crafting written responses in my professional life.

    I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with the dark side of the internets, and I hope that whatever you decide makes you happier in the long run. If it means blogs are more detached and topic oriented, that’s fine- I appreciate the opportunity to learn new things. If it stops altogether, I look forward to reading your next novel.

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  7. If your blog has become just one more thing you’ve got to do, it isn’t doing the job for you. Having gone through my 20s-40s without blogs, I think I can cope, understand and will still look for any/all your books coming out.

    But. I now have early morning coffee with you, Neil Gaiman and on Weds with Bob (I wait until Weds as Tuesday does consist of 24 hours and Bob isn’t rigidly tied to a specific time). So coffee would not be the same. In fact, Gaiman has also cut down on his journal writing too. I think I can survive.

    It’s not what you’ve written here, but how you write. I love your writing, I think you’re one of the best authors out there. So I ask shamelessly, please don’t give up on it (blog) altogether.

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  8. Please don’t stop – your insights into everything always give me something to think about. I shared your blog about cleaning your office with everyone I know and it keeps me thinking that maybe there is hope for me too.

    There will always be naysayers out there – some jerk who needs to vent. Hopefully, you will ignore the idiots and keep the rest of us laughing and loving your writing: whether it’s about the pups, your renovations, the state of your psyche or how adorable your grandbaby is. You are one in a million and I would be lost without arghink!

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  9. It is a difficult thing. I have had blog posts and comments turned around too, and it is not pleasant. However, know that there is value in what you have been doing. I have enjoyed reading your blog, and have learned a lot from it. I would mourn the loss, but would also support you if you feel you need to step away from it. You are one of the more “available” authors, and that is a great joy to readers. It also puts you into a more vulnerable place that the less accessable authors.

    Ultimately, you need to receive value for the blogging that you do. If it is only for us, that is not enough. Take the time to decide why you blog, and if what you get back is worth the time you are spending on it. I hope you continue, but that is my selfish view. And I love to see the dog and baby pics. But know that we your readers will still be here reading what you write even if it is not on the blogosphere.

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  10. I’m breaking out of my lurkdom because I feel like I have to share this with you.

    I’ve been following you for a few years now, religiously checking Argh and getting excited when a new post appears. I’ve loved the posts on Callie and your animal menagerie, the office clean, upcoming WIPs, D&G, Bob, random thoughts–all of it, but my favorite posts are the ones you’re currently in flux about.

    These posts are my favorites because they show me that an author can have opinions, can defend their friends, can stand up however forecefully they choose and tell the person throwing rotten tomatoes at them to knock it off. As odd and schmaltzy as this sounds, they give me the greatest hope that when I get published someday, I can keep my personality and sense of humor and downright bitchiness and not have to become somebody I’m not just to publish that next book. That by being the person I am, that next book is going to be even better.

    So please don’t stop. You’re going to be picked on one way or another, so why not blog on your own terms? For every wingnut that corners Bob, there’s at least 10 of us checking in here and giggling in glee. Please don’t let the wingnuts win.

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  11. But you are pretty!

    I compare blogging to public speaking. I heard Anne Lamott speak once and something she said really turned me off. Now, I won’t stop reading her books, and I wouldn’t vilify her or go after her. And in general, I think people on the Internet need to just calm down.

    But I won’t go see Anne speak again. Her books mean too much to me to be disrupted by the Anne in the flesh.

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  12. I have always liked best the blogs that don’t have much of a form. It always sounds good to be “about music” or “about reviews,” and I know that really works for some people, but personally what I love most about blogs are the randomness and the sort of speaking which I swear can only be done in blog form.

    A blog is a place set up by its author to Say Things. It has the feeling of a soapbox set up in the middle of a sandstorm; for me the best ones have no comments because I can really pretend these are just found words out there which I have stumbled upon. Sort of like a book. I like the insights into what that person thinks and cares about, and I like the strange stories blogs make, sometimes giving stories you know the author can’t have intended. Sometimes I skim them, sometimes I read and reread every word.

    They do take energy, though, and they also create their own. I think sometimes they give back, too, but if a blog is dragging down time that could be spent holding a baby or writing a novel or snuggling dogs, things which will never be the same over the internet, then I would wish even my favorite bloggers the best of happiness in their retirements.

    I actually like the least blogs which are there to further a career. It always seems to show.

    I’ve found authors and artists through their blogs and through the blogging of others. I can’t say I’ve quit reading someone because of their blog. Anyone making those sorts of decisions was never very stable anyway, I don’t think–not as a person (necessarily, though it could be true), but as a reader. It was just a matter of time before they fell away. I’m more likely to fall away from a blog than a series of books or a well-loved author, in the same way that I often leave conversations I no longer find interesting or to which I can no longer be useful.

    The hunting down Bob at Thrillerfest is an exception to this, but there does seem to be a greater ease in screaming on the internet in ways which no one would tolerate in real life. I just hope the screaming stays there and we aren’t all suddenly at each other’s throats, barking and hissing when we don’t like how conversations are going and making threats when we should, in fact, be quietly leaving. I would hate to see real life become as loud as the internet.

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  13. I remember when I realized that the great comedians were the ones who cleaned our glasses so that we could see what we had been overlooking or ignoring.

    You do the same.

    I am among those who wanted to cuddle up and get to know you. After inhaling your books, I knew that I had to get to be BFF with the mind who had created them. Luckily, I found my own life before it got sticky.

    Now I come to Argh Ink to get a little peep into your life and creative processes — and to see the dogs and cat (not enough pictures of them, btw). I would love the blog to continue, but as Melissa Blue said above, if giving up the blog means more creative energy for the writing, do give it up (or keep it just for posting pictures of messy-to-organized areas of the house, pets, and granddaughters).

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  14. I’ll just add, as if my comment wasn’t long enough already, that I’ve had the experience of discovering that the reality of an author whose books I enjoyed didn’t quite match up with the image in my head. I was, in fact, rather bothered for some months about things said. And then the next book came out and I remembered that she was a damned fine writer, for all her flaws, and I didn’t see why I should deny myself a good read. She wouldn’t have noticed the loss.

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  15. Well, you’re really not so pretty.
    Kidding!
    Yours was the first author blog I ever read. I read a few others now, but I’m choosy because I just don’t have time to keep on top of all the romance or writing blogs out there these days (I truly don’t know how anyone does). I’ve enjoyed your blog so much over the past year or so that I’ve been reading it. As an aspiring author, I’ve learned a lot from your blog regarding craft along with great ideas about character development – and I’ve dump a few that I didn’t feel worked for me. (I’ve got a playlist, but the collages still escape me.) I love your sense of humor and the fact that you sometimes think in the off kilter way that I do, but are also different enough to make me go Hmm. And occasionally “no freaking way, Crusie!” And then there’s the love for all things Joss and for Burn Notice and other funky things.

    I remember those two incidences you mentioned when the blogosphere happily tarred and feathered you and X (I lived in fear of quilting groups for a while there) and understand your aversion to being an Internet pin cushion or a lazy blogger. I don’t usually comment on the blogs I read because I have no desire to enter into the potential vitriol (plenty of that off line in my life) so I empathize. However, I really do hope you’ll continue the blog, for purely selfish reasons as I would miss hearing your voice but for your yearly publications. But first and foremost you must do what works for you.

    Hopefully, that will still include all of us.

    P.S. For the record (should it matter) I’m a long time book reader if only a short term blog reader, and you’ve never yet failed to exceed any and all of my expectations.

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  16. Jenny, I love your blog and I check in every day to see what you’ve written. You’ve brightened up some very dull mornings. Yes, you are putting a piece of yourself out there with every post, but those of us who are mature (emotionally and psychologically) can easily put whatever opinions you express in perspective. Those who can’t, need to grow up.

    There’s my two cents.

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  17. I think the function of how some people respond to blogs (attacking the blogger personally) just directly stems from their personal method of arguing, and they don’t know how to debate vs. attack. It’s the strawman fallacy–I’ll build up this problem into being a problem with the author, because then I can tear down the author, thus winning the argument, nanny nanny boo boo.

    The thing is, those people who will fly off the handle over something you said in a blog would have probably also decided to quit reading you for some other reason: you didn’t use the right syntax, you wrote curse words, you had your main character wear red, which means she’s a whore, she had sex before marriage, pick one, it doesn’t matter. The fans you want to keep are the ones who are fans of the writing, because they’ll stick. Everything else doesn’t matter, and if they wouldn’t stick because of something you said in a blog, they wouldn’t have stuck otherwise.

    I think you highly underestimate the benefit, though, that you’ve been to writers. Sometimes in your “daily life” sort of things, you’ve illuminated a truth that has helped me (and I know, others). I used several things you said (with credit to you) both in my blog over on Murderati (which got nominated for an Anthony, couldda blown us away), as well as on my panel at national (Matthew Shear was on there), called Sex and the Single Title. We had people coming up to us the rest of the event telling us how much they learned, and whether you realized it or not, you were teaching them, because you’d taught *me* — I think I must’ve read Welcome to Temptation a billion times. (well, at least six that I know of for sure), and I read everything you and Bob argued about.

    The point of the blog, though, isn’t to always have to say something important. The point should be, is it a place for you to have fun? Are you enjoying it? If you aren’t, maybe a group blog with friends will give you that same outlet, without as much pressure for a specific topic / frequency. If you’re not enjoying it, you’re right – life is too damned short. (I, too, have a brand new minted granddaughter — she’s 9 months old and the most gorgeous, brilliant creature on the planet.) (sorry) (grin)

    But I hope you stay, because I am selfish that way.

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  18. I enjoy your blog, immensly! But, I see that you need to do what is best for you. Whatever your decision, I will still buy your books! *G*

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  19. I’ve been on and off again about blogging too. I find it can sneak up and be a creativity theif. That said, I don’t ever want you to stop blogging unless you feel it’s stealing from book writing. I’d rather have less blogging than less books!

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  20. Mollie always says, “WILL YOU STOP COMMENTING ON YOUR OWN BLOG PLEASE”

    But authors who don’t respond to questions/comments made in response to their posts can come across as being unfriendly and snubbing the blog-readers. So I don’t think that’s necessarily going to help boost an author’s career either.

    “If they don’t like what you say on your blog, they’ll stop buying your books.” That was incomprehensible to me then, and it’s still puzzling to me now. P.G. Wodehouse did broadcasts for the Nazis, but I’m not giving up Bertie and Jeeves. Georgette Heyer made disparaging comments about her readers but […]

    I’ve got a few theories on this (though with no empirical evidence at all to back them up 😉 ).

    1.) As you say

    If you read a lot of an author’s books, you begin to feel that you know him or her […] but there’s still some distance there. But when an author starts to blog, the distance disappears. […] so she becomes an internet pal, somebody her blog readers know

    If someone falls out with an author “pal”, they may have strong negative thoughts every time they see the author’s name on the front cover of a book and not buying the book may be their way of giving the author the “cut direct.” Readers can sometimes feel that authors have very powerful, authoritative voices. So to express their upset they may choose to use the only leverage they think they have, i.e. voting with their wallets.

    A more subtle variation of this feeling might be explained by something you wrote on the He Said/She Said writing blog about how creating a community within a novel can attract readers who bond with the characters. If (a) your voice on your blog is relatively similar to that of many of your characters and (b) the reader had felt part of the community formed by your characters then if the reader feels like they’re no longer part of your blogging community, they may also not feel able to be part of your characters’ community when they read your books.

    2.) Boycotts are fairly standard nowadays in response to companies and states which are deemed to have acted unethically. People may choose to boycott a product they enjoy because they want to protest against the actions of the company that produces that product. If someone finds your views morally objectionable, they may decide to boycott you because they don’t want their money to support your career/your behaviour/your attitudes.

    3.) It might be that something your write on your blog brings a particular theme/issue to the attention of the reader and then they notice that theme/issue running through your fiction. That could utterly transform the person’s reading experience, or their retrospective feelings about your work. To take the example of Bertie and Jeeves (whom I haven’t read about, so this is entirely hypothetical), it might be that some people, having learned about Wodehouse’s support of the Nazis would suddenly spot racist comments/attitudes in the books themselves. That could really spoil the reading experience for them.

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  21. I hate to get in line and say NOOOO!! but I would like to let you know that I have taken away so much from this blog. Many of the books you have mentioned here I hadnt heard of and have been able to read because of your suggestions. There has also been invaluable advice on writing and so much else that I cant thank you enough for!

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  22. Okay I almost never read fiction. But I read your books because I like your “voice” and “tone.” So when I found out you blogged it was totally exciting! Hey! Non-fic! with the same voice/tone! Awesome!

    So, though I don’t have scientific proof, I think your blog could also GET you a lot of readers by you writing naturally.

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  23. I’d prioritise books over a blog. Though the occasional post about writing is very illuminating.

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  24. I hope that you won’t stop blogging, since I do enjoy your posts, rambling or not. However, in the end you must do what is best for you. If the blog makes you happy and you derive meaning from it, I’d say keep it up. If not, you should let it go.

    When I think of you, Jenny, I picture someone who enjoys life. I’d hate to think that you were only posting here because you felt you had to.

    Just know that many of your readers do feel closer to you because of this blog. Although I can’t speak for anyone else, I know that I feel happier when I read one of your posts. Like many here, I am an aspiring author, and knowing what your life is like helps me to believe that my dreams can come true too. Just picture yourself as a little Jenny-pixie, sprinkling fairy dust hope on us all.

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  25. books or blog? I’ll sacrifice the blog for the books

    but I agree with some of the other commenters- I have learned of books and other diversions from you’re blog that may not have become part of my world

    I have also seen some of the venom spewed on a variety of blogs and some of the “mean girls” that show up and have left the conversation for those whose stomach doesn’t get as queesy as easily as mine

    And the people who cornered Bob? Point the CBs in their direction, we have shovels and aren’t afraid to use them- That is something you and Bob have done- the community you created on the He Said/She Said blog took on a life of it’s own that has comforted and strengthened people in rough times, supported people in new endeavors, and helped destroy the feeling of isolation that can set in when life get grumpy and for that many of us thank you

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  26. I so juicy squishy hearts love you right now. I would be willing to do much for you, except that you already have it (kids, grandbabies and dogs), so I’ll offer cleaning your sink trap.

    Blogging sucks. I know. I want to kill mine all the time, and I totally understood why Other Writers throw up their arms and walk away. I remember all of those kerfluffles.

    As far as commenting. I hate it when bloggers don’t comment on their own blogs. It’s a conversation in a living room. You can’t invite people over, throw up your hands and say, “Talk amongst yourselves!”

    Sigh. If you give it up, I will understand, but I will totally miss the awesomeness with awesome sauce that is you.

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  27. Sometimes the internet’s energizing, sometimes it’s a bloodsucker. And sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug; either way you’re smudged or smushed.

    I think blogging may be at the bottom of all the rage. If you read a lot of an author’s books, you begin to feel that you know him or her (Jane Austen and I would be BFFs, I’m sure of it), but there’s still some distance there. But when an author starts to blog, the distance disappears.

    I think there’s some instant up-in-arms-ness even when author blogs aren’t involved. In some communities exclamation becomes the standard mode of discourse. (I saw a TWoPper call a forum “OMG! Central”. It’s so apt, for so many sites.) When you start with that underlying mood, then add an author blog and the whole fandom dynamic, well, see windshield and bug.

    Laura, If (a) your voice on your blog is relatively similar to that of many of your characters… reminds me of Susan O’Doherty’s story of readers thinking she’s her heroine and her brother’s a bad apple like the heroine’s brother.

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  28. I got started with blogging on the “He Wrote/She Wrote” blog that you and Bob started…that led to your books (and Bob’s books). Thouroughly enjoyed the books that both of you wrote…individually or together.

    Argh Inc. gives us readers a part of you that many do not see…a lovely insite to you and your life that is very interesting to us.

    And we like to commet and read your comments back to what is posted.

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  29. My personal philosophy has always been as follows: “F*ck ’em if they can’t take a joke.”

    The anonymity of the Internet allows individuals the luxury of what we call in my business “Drive-by Shoutings”. They steamroll past, say something nasty, and run off before you can have a dialogue. Unfortunately in many cases it wouldn’t matter anyhow, because there is no winning an argument with a fanatic. There is a segment of society who believes that if you do not hold the same exact opinion that they do, you are WRONG. And DAMNED. And probably a fugly sissy-pants rotten drunken puppy thief, ta’ boot.

    I have “met” a lot of people on Argh who I will probably never come face to face with, and I have enjoyed their snappy repartee’s, their blogs and have even gotten some valuable advice from them off camera, so to speak. I’ve also visited some of the internet sites you’ve pointed us to (Oh, and thanks sooo much for the Jigsaw puzzle one, like I didn’t have enough of my own time suckers to contend with…now I’ve got one of yours. There has got to be a 12 step program somewhere…) But no one holds a gun to my head and forces me to go there and read this or that.

    I can understand someone not wanting to jeopardize their career because of a tabloid-fodder comment. But if you enjoy the blogging, then keep doing it. Whatever makes you happy, lady. I may not like it if you quit but I’ll back you up. And I’ll keep reading even if you stick to “subjects that will not cause controversy” like flowers and rainbows. Of course I’ll have to get a lobotomy first…

    And, you know…if they can’t take a joke…

    I’m going to stop with that analogy right now and pull my foot out of my mouth.
    Oh, hey McB, sound like you need a podiatrist not a dentist. But if you have “Hoof in Mouth” go see a Vet.

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  30. RfP, Susan O’Doherty’s post reminded me of comments that so many romance authors (particularly erotic romance authors) have made about readers who assume that the authors must have done many of the things their characters have done. Admittedly there are a few authors who do blog rather openly about similarities between their fiction and their real lives, to the point of giving TMI, but I don’t think many authors would welcome that kind of speculation/intrusion into their private lives.

    And maybe for some people even knowing small details like “Look, here’s the dog I just adopted” (and Jenny’s mentioned that some of her dogs have appeared in fictionalised form in her novels) can lead them to assume there are many, many more similarities between the author and her characters?

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  31. I love your books – your sense of humor. That is why I check several times a day to see if you have updated your blog. (Almost like an addict looking for a fix.)

    My values are different from yours in many areas but you make me think about what I believe and why when I disagree with you. There are times when I regret knowing as much about you as I think I know, but it does not affect the enjoyment I get from reading your books over and over. And I still feel like you are (or would be) a friend.

    I love your writing and therefore I read your blog. I will miss it if you choose not to continue on a regular basis. If you do stop – maybe you could just keep something going for when you have something you want to say, and you can send all interested parties an e-mail to let us know you posted. Also, your comments in the comments are as interesting as the blog itself, so if you keep up the one, you need to keep up the other.

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  32. One last comment…

    For giggles, I googled “life span of a blog”. The following URL is just a bullet point list which seems to capture blogging rather well I think:

    http://www.tommcmahon.net/2008/01/a-blog-is-like.html

    The last bullet point applies here ” Even after they’re gone, the good ones are still remembered.” If you decide you need a break, you’ve done a great job. Thank You.

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  33. Well, I would survive if there were no Argh, Ink – but I love the blogs because it means that I get to enjoy more of your writing. When I have a really bad day, I go home and pick up one of your novels – but sometimes, reading the blog during the day stops the slide into “really bad”!

    The novels are definitely more lasting, and this is not an attempt to guilt you into continuing. I am more likely to buy an additional copy of a book to whose author I feel a connection – but I can’t imagine that this is the difference between formica and whatever your countertops ended up being.

    You should only keep doing it if you feel it pays YOU back – through our enjoyment (and we love it when you comment on your own blog. I’m sure Mollie knows why it’s a bad idea, but since we don’t, why should you stop?). If you’re doing it for us, you’ll grow to loathe it, if not us. We’re flourishing at the Bar and Grill, and I’m sure the various cherry groups will do fine, too, so it’s all about what you value. And if you do enjoy blogging, I hope that you can find a way to put us on a time diet or something, so that you can make it work for you.

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  34. Don’t think, just blog.

    I have to come clean here and say that I read ‘Anyone but you’ because it had a basset on the cover, and I have owned and love bassets. But that book turned out to be such a revelation and disappointment to me. I thought all romance novels, including all your others, would be this good, but for me, that wasn’t the case.

    But I just love your rambling thoughts and the turn of phrase on your blog. I feel like I have just made this great discovery (just came to your blog last week), and now you are threatening to leave me! Don’t go.

    The best t-shirt slogan I ever read had on the front ‘If you love someone let them go’. On the back it had ‘And if they don’t come back, shoot them’. Now you be careful.

    Wow, does that mean the blog police will come after me?

    When I fall in love with someone’s writing, I usually see if they have a blog. And that can be a real revelation. Often their blog is crap, and they rave about their dog and where they have been blah blah. And you think, this is so bad, did they get someone else to write their books for them. I wanted to curl up in their lap when the book finished and hear some more, and they only whispered crap to me.

    Yours is totally different. Sure, it is about banal stuff, but it is so engaging.

    The internet (including blogging) is an interesting thing. It was sold to us as a way of opening up our worlds. But sadly, it has been found that most people use it to reinforce their existing positions. So dickheads read yours after they have read your books thinking you will think just like them. Thank whoever that you don’t.

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  35. Ultimately, you have to make the decision to do what is best for you, Jenny.

    Saying the above is going against the selfish me who checks your blog every day and is currently screaming, “No! Please don’t go away!” However, Argh has allowed me to glimpse Jenny Crusie the person as well as Jenny Crusie the author. Your posts reveal you to be a warm, vibrant, intelligent, talented, fiesty, determined, dog-loving human being. (Did I mention funny as all hell, too?) Caring about you as a person prevents me from pleading with you to continue to do something that you may decide is not good for you. Damn, I’m downright self-sacrificing today. Must be something in the water.

    Anyway, with that said, I will continue to gobble up your work as soon as I see it, blog posts and/or books. If you continue to blog, yay!!! If you choose not to, I understand.

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  36. So what did Bob say to her, cause I wish someone caught that on camera.

    (BTW: I’m just skipping all the “but you’re so pretty comments” because duh and you must know how much I love your writing in whatever format, and how much I appreciate you giving- ok, may have hijacked it- a space for the CBs to become, and if you didn’t know now you do.)

    But it ultimately comes down to the energy you want to devote to it, and while you have a bunch of people who love it, if it doesn’t bring you happiness then what’s the point? Do you smile or feel anxious when you think about/write for the blog, and if it’s the latter than maybe it’s time, and if it’s the former than hell no, keep writing pretty please.

    And Bob has a posting schedule? The light shines through the darkness. 🙂

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  37. ‘If you love someone let them go’. On the back it had ‘And if they don’t come back, shoot them’.

    LMAO. What a great shirt.

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  38. Laura, I had the same thought about erotic romance. Is there also a sense of a shared secret? Are some readers thrilled to be able to read about alpha heroes and spankings, but disappointed to discover that an author doesn’t share those interests in real life? Similarly, do sci fi fans feel betrayed when they discover an author doesn’t believe in UFOs?

    I also wonder whether some of the expectations (and disappointments) come about because a book strikes a chord with a deeply-held but inarticulate feeling. There’s a wonderful “YES!” feeling when someone else articulates something in just the perfect way. In conversation, I think for that moment the other person seems sympatico… until reality sets in: the agreement is just a coincidence, and the other person arrived at that conclusion via totally different motivations. Perhaps those moments of recognition and identification are what Tumperkin calls reader/author chemistry.

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  39. Do you like blogging? If it feels like duty, with no joy, then maybe it isn’t the most effect marketing tool for you. That being said, I would PAY to read your blog! I love the insights into your life, your wit, and the thought-provoking essays. The blog keeps me going as I wait impatiently for the next book. Without your blog and its loyal followers, I would never have found I Can Haz Cheezburger or Dr. Horrible. It’s a daily addiction that I would miss.

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  40. I also wonder whether some of the expectations (and disappointments) come about because a book strikes a chord with a deeply-held but inarticulate feeling.

    You may be onto something. I recently read a blog post, of course, and the subject matter was whether or not an author believed in the HEAs they wrote about.

    The answers shocked me. Now am I not going to buy the authors who say they don’t believe in true love? No, but it may cross my mind when I’m reading their next book. Yet, at the same time if I buy into the story, then I’m just impressed that even though they don’t believe in HEA they can totally snow me.

    Some people don’t react that way.

    This just reminds me of all the t.v. episodes where the kid wants to meet Mary Lou Happy. They get on the t.v. show set and Mary Lou Happy is chain smoking and kicking puppies. The kid runs and cries and never watches the show again *or the show gets cancelled. Laura, I’d like your thoughts on that ‘justice’*

    Now instead of the adult running off to cry, the adult starts a flame war.

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  41. I truly enjoy all of your blogs, from the pointless to the profound (many times in the same blog). Your blogs make me laugh and smile, and long for trips where IHOPs abound. I hope that you keep blogging, though I don’t blame you if you don’t as I can’t be bothered to keep a blog myself. So, whatever you decide, thanks for all the pick-me-ups over the last couple of years- they always make my day 🙂 (and made me fall in love with Dachshunds)

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  42. I also wonder whether some of the expectations (and disappointments) come about because a book strikes a chord with a deeply-held but inarticulate feeling. […] Perhaps those moments of recognition and identification are what Tumperkin calls reader/author chemistry.

    Yes, and the language you and Tumperkin use points to the emotional intensity of the experience, as though one falls in love with a book. The problem as far as the reader/author relationship is concerned is that each reader brings her/his own background, preferences and interpretation to the book, so although a reader may assume that the author of the perfect and beloved book must have exactly the same tastes as the reader, she may well not. I wonder if it’s at all like hoping for the perfect mother-in-law, on the basis of thinking that one’s beloved is near-perfect, and then being disillusioned by the reality.

    I wonder too if the strength of the feelings that we can invest in books that can sometimes make disagreements about books feel so acrimonious. And given reader identification with some characters, and the crushes some readers have on other characters, it’s an emotional minefield. Insulting a reader’s favourite book begins to seem almost comparable to insulting their spouse/partner.

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  43. Laura, I’d like your thoughts on that ‘justice’*

    Melissa, was that comment addressed to me? I don’t know any “t.v. episodes where the kid wants to meet Mary Lou Happy.”

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  44. I love my blog. It gives me a place to talk about the craziness that is my life or to share a great book that I have found with other readers. It also has a tendency to be neglected when my life gets too busy–it’s the first casualty when I have to start cutting back on my “things to do” list!

    You write for a living. You have actual words that get printed onto the pages of a book that gets sold to hundreds of readers. When you blog you are giving those words away to whomever wants to read them. That is an amazing gift for those of us who would read your grocery list if you put it on your blog!

    I enjoy your ramblings. I enjoy the little snippets you share with us about your life, your pets, and the craziness in your own world that often matches the craziness in mine. I really don’t read too many blogs anymore because again, there’s that annoying time factor problem in that there aren’t enough hours in any given day to keep up with all of the stuff I am involved in, both on the net and off! So I have to pick and choose who and what I need to keep up with, and you are one of the ones I make sure I keep on my “to do” list…

    Because of you I met the Cherries. Because of the Cherries I got the courage to write again. Because I write again my mind is a much happier place to be and there are so many people in there just trampling each other to get out–well, let’s just say the attic is Pary Central! And when my mind is happy the rest of me has to follow, so my family is happier to.

    And it’s all because one person had a thought and wrote it and then others began to respond to that thought and so on and so on….

    If blogging feels like a chore then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. If you have to schedule it, it’s becoming a job and not a joy. Keep blogging, but don’t make promises, like “I will always blog on Sundays” because then Sunday rolls around and you have nothing to say and now you have disappointed a few hundred people and you feel terrible about yourself and then you are miserable and can’t write anything at all….. Just come here when you have something to say or want to share a really cute picture of the grand baby or the dogs or whatever. That’s what a blog is–it’s not a job, it’s an adventure!

    That said I have to go feed baby birds and figure out dinner for nine and do some laundry and fold clothes and clean the bathrooms and…. yeah, gotta go.

    So keep blogging, if that is the right thing for you to do at this time in your life. Randomly. As needed. We will still be here. We aren’t going anywhere…

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  45. Laura, I was using a generic name for those types of episodes. Now I must go do research. *le sigh* And, yes, it was directed at you, but not in a bad way. I love how you break things down. I’ll be back.

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  46. Wow! Look what happens when I choose to block out the world and write for six straight hours. Damn.

    I understand perfectly why you would at times think of quitting your blog. It is a lot of work. But don’t do anything rash. You’ve developed staunch supporters over the years, readers who love your books, writers who want some of your magic. You’ve always been generous to both. Don’t let anyone destroy this community you’ve built. People come here to offset a bad day and listen to you talk about your equally bad day, or week, or year. Or to share in your happiness. Don’t let your fan base fade away because of some blogger nastiness.

    You have a rare gift with words and your honesty always comes through loud and clear. That’s what we all love about you and why we keep coming back. Even when our opinions might differ. Your words are refreshing and always give us food for thought.

    There are so many who hide behind blogger anonymity because they are cowards. I learned from you to put my name to what I say. Even if what I say makes me look and sound like a first class dork, if they are my feelings I’m willing to own them. Those who aren’t brave enough to stand up and stand by what they say don’t count. Blow them off. You don’t need them, and neither does your writer pal who was subjected to one of those horrible blogger lynchings.

    Keep on being you and that means having strong opinions and expressing them. And the same goes for your friend. In fact, if I were her I’d get right back on that damn blogging horse without apology and write a fabulous blog and let them all think and say whatever they wanted.

    And Bob being cornered at Thrillerfest. Well, that’s just stupid. I hope he shot them down.

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  47. I don’t want to do a long story. But it has been nearly ten years that I discovered that some people like creating nastiness on the internet. Yes, it involved romance readers. I was tempted to avoid all the romance reader blogs. I just didn’t need the unnecessary nastiness and drama in my life.

    But I realized that I had control over what type of internet I wanted. Let’s face it; the internet is a world we create. It can a wonderful community in which you meet people with similar interests. It can be your excursion to a broader experience beyond your community. It is a great way to expand your knowledge. I have some internet friends that I have known only through the internet. Yet I have been talking to via the net for over ten years.

    I really love reading blogs. Lilith Saintcrow had a wonderful blog about writing fight scenes the other day. But I don’t necessarily read blogs for the knowledge. Sometimes, as reader, I love the chance to get to know a little more about an author that I love. (unabashed fan)

    It is also a way to get involved in discussions. But if you want to discuss a subject, don’t be surprised when you get a discussion. Otherwise, don’t allow comments. Just post a commentary.

    When you are involved in a discussion, you can expect to get varying viewpoints. Anyone who takes umbrage over differing viewpoints should avoid discussions. Am I shocked that there are some amazingly intolerant people on the internet who refuse to acknowledge other people’s right to disagree with them. Nope.

    Can a writer’s blog hurt her book sales? I am like you. If I love a writer’s book, I really don’t care what type of person the writer is. A few years ago, a fantastic writer wrote a long tirade on her site about all of her pet peeves about fans. The one that I remember most strongly was her outrage when fans wrote using her pen name. She wanted them to use her married name. (I still have no clue what her married name is. Frankly, if you use a pen name, don’t be surprised when readers use it.) After reading her post, I sincerely hoped that she just had a horrendous day. The post didn’t impress me with her character. Did I stop reading her? Hell, no. She is a great writer.

    There aren’t enough good books to satisfy my hunger for good books. (Just ignore that huge stack of books waiting to be read on my nightstand.) I am always on the look out for a new book or a new author. I have found a lot of new great books and author via the internet and blogs. I like blogs for a variety of reasons. I like finding funny videos on blogs. I like Gena Showalter’s hunk of the week. I like looking at pictures of Anne Stuart’s quilts.

    But I think whether or not you blog should have nothing to do with readers and book sales. Do you enjoy blogging? If not, life is short. Do something that you enjoy.

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  48. Thanks for explaining, Melissa. We didn’t have a TV when I was a child, so I’ve never seen any episodes like that, and I’m in the UK anyway, so maybe the shows were different here. I know that here in the UK at least one children’s TV presenter was sacked for doing something that wasn’t appropriate for someone who was seen as a role model for children.

    Anyway, as a generic example, it’s a reminder of what can happen when a public persona is suddenly contrasted with the reality of what an actor/author/other public figure is really like.

    I think authors do have a public persona. I remember, for example, that Jenny posted about preparing for the photo-shoot, and how she and Bob had to wear particular clothes, smile for the camera, stand in particular poses etc, and then there were the things they had to remember to say/not say during the book tour. That’s nowhere near as much of an act as the one “Mary Lou Happy” was putting on, but nonetheless it’s possible that readers might build up certain expectations. If those readers then discover that the author is different, then yes, it’s understandable that some readers would feel betrayed/disillusioned/tricked.

    Based solely on what I’ve read on blogs and elsewhere online, I get the impression that it must be a difficult balancing act for authors to perform because
    (1) most authors are writers (obviously!), not actors
    (2) it seems to be increasingly expected that authors will interact with the public via blogs, signings etc
    (3) many readers want to feel they’re getting to know the “real” author and
    (4) they may nonetheless want that “real” author to be the way they imagine the author is
    (5) and they may want the author to behave like a friend
    (6) the author, understandably, may want to retain some privacy
    (7) some readers can turn into rabid fans who can put off other potential readers and give the author a bad name
    (8) ex-rabid fans can be as extreme in their dislike as they previously were in their support.

    I suppose each author has to work out what level of intimacy and interaction is comfortable for her/him and will allow enough time for the her/him to write and live her “real life”, and what kind of public persona she/he can most easily project and sustain.

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  49. I can’t believe I have the guts to say this, but *gulp* Mollie was wrong – about commenting on your own blog – I’m sure she’s right about everything else. I like Eva’s analogy above about a conversation in the living room. If you don’t join in then you’re just eavesdropping from the kitchen.

    You know, blog is short for web log. A log is a diary. Write what you want to. Ramble if you want to. It’s your blog.

    SD- I should just keep a crow bar handy.

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  50. I was a newspaper reporter for 20 years, and believe me, I had all SORTS of wrong motives assigned to me and my writing. People talked about me on local radio and occasionally irate people called my home before 7 a.m. screaming they would sue me. They wrote letters to the editor trashing my work. Even though I left the profession and the town more than a year ago, my name is still invoked, flatteringly and not.
    My guiding philosophy was Slave Driver’s. F*ck’em if they can’t take a joke. But I had very good friends who were good reporters, good writes and perfectly nice people who faced the same kind of reactions from readers, and they would go home in tears or ulcers.
    So, yes, it’s hard.
    By all means, do what you need to do.
    But also know that you made a community.
    And it’s better not to leave us to own devices. Just saying.

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  51. I thoroughly enjoy your blog, from the insights on the writing process to the dachshund stories. I thought that the HWSW writing workshop was a tremendous contribution but dachshund photos and stories, particularly told by you, are my favorite way to start my day. This blog is why I bought The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes.

    That all being said, you probably do have better things to do than provide free entertainment. And I probably should actually do some work at work instead of read blogs. 🙂

    But thank you very much for all the entertainment that you have already provided!

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  52. There’s nothing that’d make me stop reading your books Jenny (well, maybe if you ever hurt Milton… but since that’s never going to happen, you’re safe).
    I’ve loved reading the blog; if you decide to stop, I’d just like to say thank-you for all of those sparkling posts.

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  53. My thoughts:

    1. I have a handful of blogs I read occasionally. Yours is the only one that’s on my MyYahoo page so that I am automatically updated if you post something new.

    2. But, even if there’s no new post, I still check it to read the comments ,’cuz some of the most interesting conversations take place here.

    3. And I, too, will disagree with Mollie…It’s more of a conversation when the blogger responds to comments-and it makes the whole experience of the blog better.

    4. Amen to whomever originally said “F*ck ’em if they can’t take a joke.” I work in retail-everyday I encounter people who are rude and reactionary just because they Can be. Don’t let the bastards get you down.

    5. On the other hand…if it takes away too much time from your writing and the rest of your life-you gotta do what you gotta do.

    6. So, I’d miss your blog.

    7. But I’d get over it. Eventually.

    8. And I can’t think of ANYTHING that would get me to stop buying your books.

    9. I have NO idea why I’m numbering my thoughts.

    10. But now I need a nice, even 10. Carry on.

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  54. I only read one blog, Jenny, and it’s yours. You make me laugh, and you make me think, and I really enjoy your world view. Not to guilt-trip you or anything, but what will I do if you stop blogging?

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  55. I thought Jane Austin was my best friend! Has she been seeing both of us at the same time? tart.

    I read your books before I even knew you had a blog and I’ll always pick them up because I like your voice. I like how you push out and try new things. I like that you can make me laugh. I think that is why I also like the blog. I don’t always agree- but that just makes me like you more. Plus I’m hooked on the dog and baby pictures. However, I’m learning that it’s not all about me. Who knew.

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  56. You know, one of the things I’ve always admired greatly about you is your arrogant go-to-hell-if-you-don’t-like-it confidence in your own judgement and intelligence. And before anyone yells at me for insulting you, I mean that as a compliment. So I’m surprised to find you over here giving weight to remarks made by people at a conference catering to a genre in which you don’t write, by people who don’t have the guts or integrity to talk to you directly if they have a problem with you, by people who are determined to foster resentment and perpetuate misunderstanding about something that happened so long ago most of us have forgotten what it was supposed to be about and quite frankly couldn’t even take seriously at the time, by people who apparently have very poor reasoning skills if they thought Bob would appreciate hearing disparaging remarks about a writing partner. WTF? I won’t say I’m disappointed in you (not even to make you feel better) but damn, woman, I certainly thought you were made of stronger stuff.

    Then again, I’ve been pretty badly beaten up in private for things I’ve said on blogs (on your blogs, in fact); not by you but by people who didn’t appreciate it when I disagreed with you or who decided I was “upsetting” you. Why they thought you needed help defending yourself is beyond me. So I certainly understand how a person could decide the blog world is just not worth the effing hassle. I hardly get any hate mail since I became a lurker. It’s very nice. But I’m not you. Really, Crusie, I just can’t picture you as a lurker.

    FWIW, I disagree with Bob’s opinion that blogs must have structure and purpose. If it works for him, hey, that’s great. He spent a lot of time in the military. Probably his sock drawer has structure. Like anything involved with writing, what works for one person will not work for everyone. MRTBlog.

    But if all this angsty indecision over blogging is truly a matter of you feeling you’re not “adding much to the world” with this blog — and once again, surprise, I strongly disagree with you about the value of this blog — then there’s not much anyone can say to make you want to continue. If your heart’s not in it or you have nothing to say [yeah right], then stop.

    I’d miss hearing your voice. Most days, it carries all the way over into the corner where I’ve been sitting. Going back there now.

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  57. I know that here in the UK at least one children’s TV presenter was sacked for doing something that wasn’t appropriate for someone who was seen as a role model for children.

    Exactly the point I was getting at. So, along with this part of your comment and that brillant list is why flame wars are so easily started on the blogsphere. At the bottom of every argument it’s the author took off their author persona and became a human being. I so often find “being human” at odds with being a professional. It’s one of the main things I struggle with. I’m sure so do authors who find themselves in the middle of a kerfluffle.(sp?)

    It definitely is up to the writer with the kind of relationship they will have with their readers. *well, except for the crazy ones* Once you’ve overstepped that boundary it’s hard to reel it back in.

    At the same time there will always be that one bad apple.

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  58. As nearly everyone seems to agree, I will miss your blog if you decide to set it aside. I check it nearly every day and have enjoyed not only your comments, but many of the healthy debates they inspire. Having said that, I would beg you to stop this instant if I thought it was something you did out of obligation. And as much as I love Arghink I certainly wouldn’t trade it for a new Crusie book of any description. So yes, you are pretty and valued. But I suspect that those of us who have come to know you though your blog would like to you to spend your time doing things that make you feel happy, fulfilled and brilliant, If the blog doesn’t do that, I say move on.

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  59. Jenny, don’t stop blogging. I check it every day and when you don’t blog for a few days or week or two weeks I start going through withdraw. This is the only blog I read regularly. I don’t post comments or anything, but I do read it and I’d miss it if you stop because you are awesome and I want to be just like you one day (only I’ll have cats instead of dogs).

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  60. I was going to comment on the ‘natural lifespan of a blog’, but I see that’s already been done.

    Still, I figure there just aren’t enough comments here already, so here are two more:

    1 – Blog if you get something out of it. We’ll read your books regardless.
    2 – Maybe blogging is like one of those Hallmark cards, the “if you love it, set it free… if it doesn’t come back, hunt it down and –” no, sorry, I was thinking about another card.

    In short, blog if you have something to say. Otherwise, go french Milton again. We’ll understand.

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  61. Jenny, don’t stop blogging because you think you’re not saying anything. We read you (even lurkers like me) because we enjoy your writing, and between books, we want to hear your storytelling voice discuss Callie, dogs, and repairmen. And Bob and the coffeemaker.

    Only stop if the effort is draining you. We’ll missing sitting at your fireplace sharing the gossip, but we want your books most of all. And we don’t want you miserable because you maintain Argh just because you think you should. But then, you shouldn’t close it down just because you think you shouldn’t blog.

    Back to lurking, and thank you for all the stories.

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  62. Well, this has been really illuminating.
    I wouldn’t stop blogging because of the criticism because there’s always going to be somebody somewhere criticizing me.
    It was really more of a what-good-is-this-blog-doing-anybody question, followed up by the assumption that if it wasn’t doing anybody any good–and let’s face it, I haven’t written anything deep or thought-provoking here in weeks or even anything funny, which is my fallback position–why was I wasting people’s time. If the blog was spiraling down into inanity, as I really think it’s starting to, then much better to pull the plug before people started saying, “You know, she used to be funny . . .”

    I think I just have to wrap my head around how to make this space valuable again. Pictures of Milton will only carry it so far. There are things I want to blog about, so maybe I’ll just stick to those and stop[ worrying if there isn’t a post every week.

    But mostly, I’m intrigued by the discussion in the comnents here which is probably the tipping point. Even if I’m completely inane, somebody will pick up the ball and run with it (and thank you, Laura, for analyzing the whole betrayal thing for us). I should have thought of that before. That blank post of Bob’s on HWSW was one of the best things on the blog once the commenters got started.

    And I do want to do a Twelve Days of Wild Ride once Bob finishes Jefferson and we start up again. Those Twelve Days things keep me honest because I have to report in here. (The hell with you guys, lets talk about what’s valuable to MEMEME.)

    So maybe if I just wait until I actually have something to say . . .

    Actually, that’s probably a good guideline for the rest of my life, too.

    Mostly, I thank you all very much for your support. It means a lot

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  63. More Cruisie books vs. more Crusie blogs: No contest. Your books are gems, and the time required for such artistry is this reader’s priority.

    Jeepers, writing a regular column is its own full-time job. You’ve been pulling double duty. Or maybe triple, with the collaborations.

    Between books, when I’m dying to hear Crusie’s writing voice, the blog has provided refreshment, and taken me on delightful, far-flung side trips.

    Beyond that, it is a delight to get inside the mind of an author I respect. This blog & HWSW & the mailing list have been a garden of delights, earthly and, with Doherty, otherworldly. Love that Bob! … I know he exists because of those original posts on the crusiefans mailing list . … Which I found out about from the acknowledgements in Faking It.

    Still, if I have to choose between Crusie the essayist/journal writer or Crusie the novelist? I choose the novelist. No contest.

    … And maybe you could blog once in a while when you have something you want to get off your mind. [Keep commenting!]

    … And maybe Arg Ink could have a Friday Happy Hour where we could all stop in, bring drinks and companions, and enjoy the camaraderie.

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  64. I’m a lurker, so not really a part of the community here, but I’ve been reading your blog(s) since you started. I would miss it if you stopped, but it really has to be about you, not us. If it’s a chore or not helpful to you anymore, let it go.

    I can see no longer reading an author because of their blog. When authors becomes public figures, moving beyond doing readings and professional activities into blogging about their personal life or writing political op-eds, I think they open up that door to readers. Now I wouldn’t stop reading someone because I disagreed with one post, but if an author revealed themselves to be a big jerk (if you were kicking puppies, which we know you would never do!) I would no longer want to give them my money. Not rewarding the world’s jerks is my own small contribution to making the world a more decent place. I don’t think I would bother to write and tell an author that, however, and certainly not with vitriol.

    In fact, there’s an author I’ve recently given up on, because s/he has been acting as a pundit on touchy subjects without any expertise. I think it was less of a sacrifice than it might have been since this latest author’s books haven’t impressed me, and I recently noticed his/her first collaboration – not a you-and-Bob type of collaboration, but a BIG NAME and little name (actually written by little name) collaboration. My feeling is that the author has traded literary credibility for cheap celebrity.

    But I don’t think you’re in any danger of going down that road. And if you didn’t alienate a few wingnuts, you probably wouldn’t be saying much worth reading.

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  65. I’m just a woman in Minnesota who likes your books. I don’t know anything about the drama that you are talking about in author-world. I wouldn’t even know there was an author-world except that I read your blog. Everyday.

    I think your blog is interesting and entertaining. I really like the way you write, hence the hardback collection on my shelf. But I don’t presume to know you any more than you could possibly know me.

    I would miss your blog. I would still buy your books. I like them.

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  66. Hi Jenny, I used to blog on the hwsw but have gone back to lurking. I just wanted to say you have given me [and my daughter in NZ] many many laugh out louds when we needed them. So thank you very much; and make the decision that suits you.
    P.S. you and Bob are the only blogs I read so I never paid any attention to the kerfluffles as they didn’t relate to my perception of you.

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  67. Blogger ate a most profound post. (Right!)

    To sum it up:
    We won’t tell Mollie you commented.
    You are a Strong and Opinionated Woman and you inspire us. Your voice can make us spit Coke out our nose laughing (the vultures- geez) or really make us look at the world differently ( the condom ads). And many more things in between.

    Your words are not only free through here; they are freeing.

    Each blog is a gift…some Cruise thoughts between books.

    IF you do decide to cut down, you’ll have to post that you aren’t going to post, because left alone too long……..

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  68. Jenny, blog if you want to, and you enjoy it. Stop, if you don’t.

    Your wit, your humour, your views on life and people and animals would be very much missed, but where’s the fun if you’ve lost the mojo for it.

    But please, I beg of you, if you do decide to stop, could you let the dogs keep blogging? Maybe they should each have one… The world according to Milton… How to look everything yet do nothing, by Veronica… etc. No?

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  69. After the first CherryCon, someone wrote to me: “Jenny isn’t nice but she is GOOD.”

    I’ve met you myself now and I know what they mean. Which isn’t to say you aren’t polite and all that. I think people come here for the combination of goodness (as distinct from saintliness) and intelligence, and it would be a shame for the blogosphere to lose that.

    Rebrand, refocus, relaunch, whatever it takes. Keep writing truths as well as the just plain funny. If you’re being a bitch we’ll say. If anyone has an unnecessary go at you I won’t just be holding your coat, I’ll be standing in front of you.

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  70. Jenny I love your books and enjoy reading your blog, so I think it would be a shame to see it go. However you need to decide what’s best for you. Your readers will still be there regardless of the blog and those who like to disagree with you may move on elsewhere.

    Have you thought about having an anonymous blog so you can still make the comments you want without fearing backlash from your novel readers? If you’re going to quit blogging, you at least have to move to a monthly newsletter!

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  71. Jenny, your blog is never inane. Occasionally mundane, but you make the mundane interesting.

    That’s the strength of your writing, you know – that the wallpaper in WTT has more character than protagonists in other people’s novels.

    So, you don’t have to wait until you have Something to Say with a capital-S. It’s enough for us when you just have something to say.

    And even when you don’t – your writing is an inspiration and a joy regardless of content.

    Our grandchildren will be writing PhDs based on your blogs, yet.

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  72. My room mate believes that God created the Universe, got it set up just right, and then left. Even if you just leave now, quit blogging, there will still be (won’t there?) Cherry Forums and the spin offs like the Wiffer Forums, so you won’t have blogged in vain. Sometimes the mother ship just has to go back to the Home Planet for refueling. It will be OK. You have been in transition mode for a solid year now, and it’s OK. Whatever changes you make, you will still be insightful and funny and on our shelves.

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  73. Jenny, I say if blogging feels more like something you *have* to do rather than something you enjoy, then don’t do it. Do what makes you happy – life is too short to blog if you really don’t feel like it!

    However! If topics are your concern, let me say that I think you underestimate your blog appeal. I check for your blog updates every day – makes no difference if you blog about “deep” topics that make me think outside my box, or a cute picture of the dogs that make me smile, or (Loved this!) pictures of your office cleanup that made me not feel so bad and inspired at the same time – I read your blog because I know I will be interested and entertained by whatever you have to say. That’s why I read your books and they’re on my keeper shelves – I know I’ll have a good time with you.

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  74. — waving arms —
    Jenny, I’ve come out of lurkdom to stand up and be counted. I check your blog every morning. As usual, other people have said everything I would say more elegantly. But today, I want to make the point that even tho I don’t “comment” — I’m HERE. Laughing, rolling my eyes, muttering “whatever” — your blogs make me laugh, make me think, give me new ideas. YOU come through in the blogs, and that’s the part I like. Just continue to be you.

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  75. Whew! Glad you will continue to blog. I thought I would have to have a memorial service. Cause I/we would be losing something very special. I check your blog almost everyday. Just the thought of trying to find another like yours…uh, no way. You’re pretty and funny and smart and I could keep gushing on and on.
    Oh, and your mean too.(g) Thanks Jenny for your books and blog.

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  76. I enjoy reading your blog and I suspect I’m part of a silent majority; lurking a lot but really glad to read the posts. Trolls are everywhere in life, but the web allows them a voice that gives them more weight than they merit. Trollish comments stand out because they’re mean and often hate-mongering. Of course that gets noticed. But they are not the majority.

    My own opinion is that stopping blogging (or twittering or what have you) because of trolls deprives the majority who read and enjoy your blog. The trolls will continue their trollish behavior elsewhere because, alas, they cannot or will not help themselves.

    But, it’s your blog, your writing, your life. I hope you continue.

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  77. As all others have said so much more eloquently, your bloggings bring laughter,joy,sanity in a crazy world,
    knowledge of things we would have never found,
    discussion for new viewpoints and understanding of the ideas of others.

    Admittedly, a bit selfish for us to want so much of you but we do. You are an inspiration because you are willing to say what you believe and why. And that gives courage to many of us.

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  78. Jenny, I can’t believe this post–My sis-in-law Sharon and I were talking about your blog just the other day! We’re back on the Isle of Palms, three houses down from the LRWA beach house (and did I tell you there is now a HUGE beach in front of the condos-on-the-edge-of-the-sea in which you stayed? The erosion stopped, plus they dredged some sand up.

    Anyway, Sharon and I were both saying the same thing, that you give of yourself in your blog in a way that is much more intense and personal than many other bloggers, and we worried that 1) it would eventually takes its toll on you because strangers will think they actually KNOW you and be rude about it if you don’t conform to their perception of you, and 2)it’s a damned huge commitment to blog, and we wondered if you ever grew weary about it–I mean, it’s this never-ending thing!

    My opinion–and I offer this respectfully as someone who doesn’t purport to truly know you at all–is that all good things must come to an end, and better to leave with a bang than a whimper. Go now while the getting is good. Bow out and leave us with great memories. I call that the Seinfeld strategy???

    So I just want to thank you. Thank you for your brilliant writing in this blog. It’s the best blog I’ve ever read. Thank you for your sense of welcome to all. Thank you for the fun, for the inspiration, for the thought-provoking words.

    And please feel no guilt as you move on to the next phase of your life.

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  79. Of course I’ve got something to say to this, too. I just started my own blog (in German) and yours was the role model for it. It’s one of the few websites I check regularly, and even if I prefer some posts to others (I’m not a dog person, so there), it mostly contains something interesting or thought-provoking.

    But you’re in a process of change, so you’ve got to think about this. Maybe there are other things more important. You’ve spoilt us with your frequent blogging. Marian Keyes (another author I like to read but who, for some reasons I can’t understand, is not very much appreciated in these parts) only writes a monthly diary, for instance.

    Whatever it will be, you’re the one who must be happy with the outcome. “Better to frustrate others than yourself” – that’s one of the most valuable lessons I learned, besides “whatever you do, chances are nobody’s going to die because of it” (does not refer to drunken driving, mind. But I digress.)

    But the basic idea is that I’m going to miss your blog if you stop it.

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  80. I did not go through every post above (something like 82 now, yikes) however I feel very safe in adding my DITTO to the “will miss you desperately” sentiments if you decide to step away.

    On the other hand, if you are stepping away to concentrate on writing and grandmothering and general life stuff – more power to you.

    It sucks that the bad eggs out there stink up the joint like a Jr High boys’ locker room after 6th period PE but sometimes you just need to get out and get some fresh air.

    We’ll leave the light on and a can of Oust for you.

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  81. Insulting a reader’s favourite book begins to seem almost comparable to insulting their spouse/partner.

    Or the reader’s ideals. I think a HEA sometimes satisfies because it fits the characters, and sometimes because it fits the reader. When one reader criticizes an ending (doesn’t fit, mawkish, unlikely to last), the reader with the “that’s for me!” response probably feels stomped on.

    if I buy into the story, then I’m just impressed that even though they don’t believe in HEA they can totally snow me.

    Yes, that takes both imagination *and* convincing storytelling. I might be more perturbed to discover that an author believes every word she writes–conspiracy theory, superhero powers, fangs, and all. Is it fiction or a manifesto?

    My own opinion is that stopping blogging… deprives the majority who read and enjoy your blog.

    True, but it’s not her responsibility to save the internet from itself 🙂 Blogging with individualism is brave and engaging, but if it creates stress then ditch it.

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  82. Right now, I don’t see me adding much to the world with Argh.

    Selfishly speaking, I’d miss this blog if you stopped blogging. Everytime you blog, no matter what the topic, you add excellent writing to the world. That means that Argh does, indeed, have great value.

    Also, since you cannot release a new book every day, or every week, or month, or whenever, the Argh blog is Fresh Crusie for your readers.

    That said, if you’ve come to resent the process because it takes away from your book writing or your free time, or places more demands on a brain that is already overworked on other projects, then you should permit yourself to stop. As a fan, and another writer, I can only be supportive of you putting your needs and your career first.

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  83. Jenny, as an older professional educator, and newbie writer of commercial fiction, you are an inspiration. Like others have mentioned, yours is the first blog I check each morning. You have shared the human side of a writer’s life and generously shared of the craft. You’ve let us know perfection is not needed, but humanity with open eyes and mind are essential ingredients. The He Wrote/She Wrote blog got me through the first and second drafts of my first completed book. Thanks to you, I’m well on my way through a second. Never for one minute think you aren’t influencing people through your blog. Thanks for sharing, and as others have also said, I’m selfishly hoping you continue. Love it, love it, love it.
    One last word. I also believe Bob can take care of himself and knows where to hide the bodies. I wouldn’t worry about some wingnut complaining to him. Keep going with your writing and your collaboration. Your contributions to the craft and the writer’s life are incredibly valuable. Thanks again.

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  84. Jenny, I hate disagreeing with Mollie but knowing you’ll show up in the comments does make it more like a conversation. But then I think you’ve built a community here. Look at these responses. “Whatever’s best for you.” “I don’t want to be selfish” “As long as you’re happy.” That’s a lot of nice people thinking of you first.

    I am selfish. I want both books and blogs. You’re the only one I read regularly. I love the wisdom and I love the mundane. I can’t say I won’t buy the books – I buy you in hardcover, but I like it differently. I like the pictures of the dogs and I loved knowing you kept the baby secret. (That’s one cute baby by the way.) I love the random Sundays.

    Sigh. But I guess I have to be nice. So, whatever makes you happy, baby. (blogs & books, blogs & books!!!)

    Melissa – I know what you mean by the Mary Jo Happy shows – and while I can’t name a particular episode either, I feel like it was always a little bit of a send up for the adults as well. (Well, Beaver, why can’t you be like that nice girl on tv -oops, she’s only acting!) Laura, the grown up version would be Death to Smoochie with Robin Williams.

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  85. You’re thinking about quitting your blog? I’m very disappointed in you. If you quit writing your blog, I will never read your blog again! (Kidding!) (Obviously.) (I hope.)

    Seriously, you need to do what is best for you. If that’s taking a break from blogging, then we’ll all have to cope some how. I know you think it’s been a little content free lately, but it’s still entertaining. I have way too much content in my life right now, and I value the opportunity for entertainment and distraction. A new entry, even if they only come once in a while, always brightens my day.

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  86. I have enjoyed reading your blogs and books for many years. I sincerely hope that you keep blogging with any subject that interest you. I also hope you keep experssing your honest opinions on these subjects. After all, last time I check this country does give you freedom to express your opinion and this is your blog. You are correct, you do learn from opinions that differ from yours. The people who have hounded the authors you mention have done worse than forget common courtesy, they are part of an on-going phenomenon of on-line bullying. Don’t let them bully you. Your are terrific and do bring joy into a lot of people’s lives.

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  87. Haven’t read all the posts, but I’m sure this is gonna be an echo of many of them:

    Blogging is fun, but it’s a serious time and energy sink. Real life and writing (as in, books) come first. So do what feels right for you and fuggedaboutit.

    However, value is in the eye of the beholder. I read your blogs for the same reason I read (and adore) your books — because you CAN write about your trips and your remodels and your dogs and whatever else pops into that pretty head of yours (heh) and it will be far more entertaining than 95 percent of all that stuff out there that’s SUPPOSED to be entertaining. And entertainment — making a cranky woman laugh, for instance (she said, rolling her eyes and whistling) — has value. You have a way of looking at the ordinary and seeing farther beyond it than most people can even think. (Still chuckling over your comment in the last post about praying for the poor people who have to live with the “Hell is real” whack job.)

    So, yeah, like everybody else, I’d miss your blogs if they stopped, especially since I don’t read more than a handful of the suckers, anyway. But I also completely understand why you’re reconsidering it. When blogs were all glittery and new, everybody felt they had to have one. But I’m sensing a lot of authors seeing more pitfalls than benefits to regularly expending so much energy on something that doesn’t end up between the covers of a book.

    ‘Twould be the end of an (admittedly pretty short, in the scheme of things) era, if you stopped. But I daresay we’d all soldier on just fine. 😉

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  88. Jenny – I think you just asked us if we found Argh Ink whorthwhile and what we value about it.

    I also read very few blogs – but always yours. And the comments of your regular commentors. This community that you have encouraged and inspired is valued by me.

    I like the humor. I love your rants on feminism, gatling guns, the writing world and your own writing.

    The personnal stuff I like as well, but would understand if you chose not to be as open.

    As far as not listening to people who make mistakes, I wouldn’t even be talking with myself anymore!

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  89. So, to add to the din…. I’ll come out of lurkdom and say that I read your blog every day (and Bob weekly). I actually printed all of the HWSW and use it as my manual for a someday to be published work of fiction. Your voice – even when talking aobut the mundane – inspires. So – if it is no longer where you want to spend your creative time, I too vote for another book any day over another blog. BUT – if you want to stop just because you don’t think people are getting anything – you’re wrong and I’d miss you too.

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  90. I’m coming to this late and wish I had time to read the 90 responses ahead of me because your readers are bound to have something intelligent to say–which makes my point. Your blog creates a community of readers, readers with intelligence and humor and generally broad minds, readers I enjoy. I would miss this community if you dissolved it. That said, I understand totally about the blogosphere, often question its value, but believe the zealots have moved on to angrier pastures before they cause much harm. An occasional drop in when you have something to say ought to cover our deprivation between books. Your humor is simply too delicious to be hidden from the world. But I’d rather have your books than the blog, if that becomes your choice!

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  91. Jenny, I just wanted to add a few words, too. Maybe can wait for when you start blogging about your next book, and then maybe when you talk about the Wild Ride, you and Bob are doing.
    Like the others have said, you have to comfortable with doing the blog, and if you aren’t, pull back from it. It sounds like your life has been in an uproar for quite some time, with moving, redoing your home, plus your writing. It probably is time to take a breather, and get some quiet back. Whatever you decide, it sounds like most of us are with you.
    Just want to add a very large THANKYOU, for you novels and the blog.

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  92. I rarely comment, but I read your blog with great and serious dedication. The world will be a dimmer place without it. I especially like getting an inside view of your process whether it leads somewhere or not (thinking of the fabulous pulp fiction covers you created–I loved those but don’t know that they will ever be part of an actual book.)

    But, you don’t know me, so my enjoyment must be a fairly abstract thing to you and not enough of a reason to keep blogging and I’m not commenting now to try to sway you. I just wanted to add my voice to the tidal wave of people saying they appreciate you and would miss your blog.

    Whatever you decide to do, please keep us informed.

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  93. 999 in favor of Jenny continuing to blog.

    All those opposed? (*and the air is filled with the sound of chirping crickets*) Sorry, crickets don’t get to vote.

    Really, Jenny, we’re just being nice. We’re saying all the nice stuff because we were brought up right. Don’t go getting the idea that we actually mean it when we say that we’ll understand if you bow out. We won’t. We’ll pout. And you know, the last time you left us without supervision or beautiful baby pictures to distract us, we raised up pitchforks and stormed the castle. Okay, we would have stormed the castle if we could have found the right outfit. The thought was there. Do you really want to leave us alone, knowing what trouble we are capable of getting into?

    Meaningful posts? This is the group that thrived on your grocery list.

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  94. I have not yet read the other comments.
    What I get from your blog is your joy of life even when you’re frustrated with things. I just simply love your writing and want as much of it as I can get. I also happen to love your somewhat wacko perspective on things because it is very similar to my perspective so when we disagree it really makes me think. (Mostly, I think you’re wrong, but still, I’m thinking.)

    I love how visual you are – I seem to have lost that, if I ever had it. After you blogged multiple times about your story collages, I used that idea to make a design collage with ideas for my condo. Even if I never did any of those things, I love the piece of art I created by doing it. Although it turns out that it was useful when my friend accused me of impulse buying a tiki totem for my patio, that since I had tikis in the design collage, it was clearly premeditated insanity.

    I blog myself because I moved across the country away from my friends of 15 years and I like to talk a lot and am opinionated. The blog is a way for me to keep up with my friends. It’s also a way for me to file away thoughts that seem important to me at the time to they stop recirculating in my head, gathering a momentum beyond their value. And I want everyone to know that if you wear mostly bright colors, sort the yellow in with green and brown, not orange and red when doing laundry. It’s also a way to record things that make me feel good. My blog still accomplishes these things *for me*.

    Think about why you blog and what you get from it. If you can use it for those reasons, and make it work for you, I will keep reading it until the end of time, even if you irk the bejesus out of me. But if it doesn’t work for you, and you don’t feel it provides something useful *for you*, discontinue it and me sad. Perhaps you can use it to collect your random thoughts, then every couple of years look back through it and turn those into a book of essays that you get paid for, if it helps you keep the blog alive.

    You are not only a fun author, but from our closepersonalonlinefriendship I know you are also a fun person because you rblog is fun. 🙂 And really, in these dark times of people taking their cues from the politicos who not only bash you in public for doing something they don’t like but kill your career and personal life and essentially disappear you, I can use more fun people.

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  95. I enjoy your books and your blogs. I’m happy that the blogs are more frequent than the books so we can share in your voice between times.

    Please don’t stop the blogs. Play with the frequency until it feels right. We’ll stick with you no matter how many days we must wait between entries.

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  96. Jenny, I come here to read your viewpoint on things. They may not be the same as mine, but I’m always open to alternatives. It looks like I will be the 101st entry here, which should tell you there are many readers who would like you to stay blogging.

    I haven’t been around for several weeks, only because I’ve been busy with my own blog: writing non-fiction posts about history, nature, and travel logs; and working on my own manuscripts.

    Myself, Jenny, I like hearing about your housing renovations, your dogs, your plotting of Wild Ride with Bob, your trips to New York, and the list goes on. I even like this rant of yours. To me, it says: this is Jenny Crusie. Don’t worry about people not buying your books. All 101 of us here will buy your books.

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  97. I’m another lurker standing up to be counted. I have followed your blog right from the start but have never posted.

    Please don’t underestimate the quality of your ‘rambles’. I lead an insanely busy life but make the time to check your blog every day, not just for your writing but also for the comments. There are some seriously cool people hanging out here.

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  98. I am with jeepgirl. What everyone (except Bob) said. 🙂
    I have gotten some interesting writing insights even from posts that don’t seem to be about writing.

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  99. First time commenter long time reader. Hi Jenny. I’ve been a fan of yours since reading Fast Women on a whim 7 years ago. I was so thrilled to find this new fabulous voice that I devoured all the rest of your backlist. I eagerly await each of your new endeavors and I’m delighted each time. I visit your blog daily and I get so excited when I see a new post. You make me laugh, and think, and honestly you can just brighten my day. I can understand the effort that you put into your posts and would even understand if you wanted to cut back, but please don’t end them. I can’t tell you how much more exciting it is to pick up and read a book that you have been following for months on your blog. You already have a bond with the story and characters. It also helps make the wait between your novels tolerable. So, while I’ll kind of understand if you decide to retire blogging, you’ll have one more Ohioan bummed out.

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  100. “Who are these people?”

    That’s a good question. Ten years ago blogging was just being defined! It didn’t even exist, except in a very crude format mostly only for people with few social skills, kindly referred to as “geeks”. No one read blogs, and few people had them. (Most people were still getting the hang of email!)

    Before that we had diaries, and memoirs. The pleasure of reading an author’s diary usually only came after they were dead and some enterprising family member decided to publish them for lucrative reasons. The general public’s comments were limited to reviews and footnotes. Once in a while you got to read a living author’s diary, but of course it was carefully edited to prevent lawsuits. If you wanted to make a comment you had to write the publisher, shooting your verbal missive into the sky hoping the author would hear your words. My how times have changed.

    This blogging thing though gives us real-time interaction with live authors What heady stuff!

    It’s a sort of democratic way of anonymously being on the same footing with people who actually DO stuff, as opposed to being people who just READ stuff. My spin is that a sort of “Walter Mitty” effect takes over. Suddenly writing a “comment” particularly a bad one, makes you a “star”, a sort of clever gadfly who is the only one to “see through” the intent of the author and therefor be best suited to comment. Depending on the crudeness of your commentary, you appeal to other celeb wannabe’s, and develop a following. These people obviously have NO life.

    As for what it’s all worth? You’ve been through teenagers. Sometimes the “Yeah-but’s” of the world need to feel they still exist on their map of the universe. But my read is that they don’t reallly want to engage in conversation or debate. There is no idea exchange. The purpose of these assaults is more in the nature of verbal virtual papparazzi.

    Don’t be blinded by the flash.

    Speaking for myself, I’m amazed that I’m writing to a complete stranger and sharing such a personal point of view! I lurk on several very good blogs, and I tend to read all the comments. Sometimes I even return to read MORE comments. I enjoy the back and forth of the virtual community when it’s at it’s best.

    I have a blog but it’s closed to just my family and friends. I decided a few years ago I only wanted comments and criticism from people I could hunt down and kill if I needed to. I have gone through a few phases with my blog, and currently am going through a dry spell wherein my family and friends must send me emails telling me “you need to update the blog!!” or “H-e-l-l-o?? are you still there???” and these people KNOW me! I will get back to my updating. I still have a lot of things to say. But it’s my blog and I’ll do it on my terms. So should you.

    I’ll keep buying your books and until you otherwise completely stop writing your blog, I’ll keep checking regularly to see what you have to say. [There’s a great wealth of humor in your archives when I miss your current voice…]

    Thanks for sharing your insights and your humor.

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  101. As much as it pains me to say this (because your blog is fabulous no matter what you’re writing about), I’d far rather you write a book for me than a blog that makes me laugh.

    How much time in the day is there? Pick your battles carefully.

    Nancy

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  102. BCB said: FWIW, I disagree with Bob’s opinion that blogs must have structure and purpose. If it works for him, hey, that’s great. He spent a lot of time in the military. Probably his sock drawer has structure.

    I snorted my tea on that one BCB, thanks a lot!

    But that really says what I wanted to say better than I would have said it. Jenny, you don’t need structure and purpose, and you do need to show up in your comments. We come here to have a nice chat with a good writer and fascinating person — well people, because all the folks who show up to comment are fascinating to me too! It’s more than enough for me, and I’ve picked up many amazing gems here and at HWSW. Thank you for that!

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  103. Sheesh — go camping with the girl scouts and look what happens!

    OK I’ll try to be brief:

    1 – Thank you Melissa for being the voice of reason — I want blogs and books too.

    2 – Why does Molly say you should not comment on your own blog? That seems counter-intuitive to me. I agree with not respoding to every visitor, but answering questions to clarify, or just to continue a conversation is really nice. In fact, it’s related to my next thought.

    3 – Your blog allow readers who have a snow-flakes chance in hell of getting to a signing a chance to “meet” you. They can do it at midnight when their child’s up with the flu. They can do it on Wednesday, when that is their day off, and you were in town Monday. They can check in every day, or every week.

    4 – Your blog brought me to you as a reader. Not the pretty web-site, which I visit regularly now. But the actual you writing on the page. Call me slow, because I’d seen your praises sung around many places, and visted you site, but it was a Argh Ink where I thought, “huh, she’s pretty smart and funny. I’ll check out ‘Bet Me’ and that book she edited.

    5 – This is my opinion, but if I had to do something on a specific day I’d HATE it really fast. Just sayin’. 🙂

    6 – I learn a lot of neat things, not only from your writing posts, but about design and art, and places that I won’t get to go to.

    Thanks for “listening.”

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  104. But you’re so PRETTY!!!

    I read very few blogs but always enjoy your perspective and appreciate that you’ve taken the time to blog. I also respect that you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. (every Tuesday at dusk or dawn?)

    Everything is open to misinterpretation and the walls do seem to come down online. I got burned with a couple of online book group experiences.

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  105. Well, Jenny, looks like your blog is far more valuable than you realized! Your mention of possibly ending it even brought out the lurkers.

    Whatever you decide, we’ve got your back (and Cherrybombs carry shovels).

    And you might mention to Mollie that those authors on RunningwithQuills respond to comments on their blog all the time. Just sayin’…

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  106. Fwiw, my two cents is that the author blogs keep me on the hook between publications. I love hearing about the creative process and all the angst that goes with. I love the glimpses into the life of my favorite author and her new granddaughter (isn’t it the best?) and all the pets! It keeps me happy until the next book comes out basically. In fairness, I would buy crusie books regardless of blogs and such, no doubt. But since I’ve become part of the cherry family I enjoy the books in a different way, as part of the community.

    That being said, take care of you and your liveliehood, by all means. If that means no more blogging or taking a break then please, break away! But don’t think you aren’t adding anything. I like the mundane posts as much as the sassier ones.

    In any case, we all support you and want you to do whats best for you and by extension, our crusie addictions.

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  107. Dear Jenny,

    I too am popping out of Lurkdom to comment on this issue. I love the variety of topics upon which you write about. I no longer read the various romance websites, because I just want to be able to enjoy a fine book without the baggage.

    However, your blog is so much more than that. The 12 days of…, the dogs, the house renovating…one of my all time favorites – how to determine an action chart, of which I printed several copies and which I cannot find now, so must go look up again. (Is it fun? No? DON’T DO IT!) I’ve called friends up to say – “Go look at how she did her collages for writing a story!” or “Check out her office! Doesn’t it look like ours?”

    I love checking in to your blog, not because I’m trying to learn anything about writing (I’m not a writer, I’m an artist), but because I get the same sense of boundless curiosity, creativity, thoughtfulness, and constant exploration, that I see in your characters, as they log different experiences in their stories. I love your books. They are fun and interesting and lively to read.

    I really love your blog though. I think it’s my favorite, simply because there isn’t any rhyme or reason to it. It’s the best part of discovery. “Look what I found! Isn’t it cool?” And you know… it is!

    It isn’t a bunch of pontificating.
    It isn’t a “Look at Me, it’s the Jenny Show, Live!”
    It’s not purposeful.

    It is like the random kinds of conversations I have with my best friend when we mention something that caught our interest, or made us laugh, over a cup of coffee.

    I understand that it can be draining, and a time/energy/emotion sucking vacuum. I am sorry that it should be so for you, especially when the boundaries become so ethereal and response is real time from a bunch of strangers. So I’d like to add the positive side for you when you weigh the balance in your decision to blog or not to blog. I’ve never met you. I probably won’t ever meet you, as I live in California, and can’t see myself running into you for a convention or something.

    However, I love seeing into the window of your life of the things that you are inclined to share. The great dress, the super shoes, the funny things that happen to you while you travel to promote a book, the kinds of folks you do meet. I get intrigued and sometimes inspired. I’m often amused, and often appreciative. You write about universal things, and I thank you for putting into words things that I might not have taken a second look at.

    Sincerely,

    Sheila
    Concord Cherry

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  108. I love your blog, Jenny. It’s the only one I read regularly. I always enjoy your writing, but after that what I appreciate and treasure about Aargh Ink is your generosity, your willingness to share all aspects of yourself openly and honestly with us, the people in the community you’ve created.
    That includes your strongly held opinions even when you’re angry about something controversial. Anyone can be nice. It’s drummed into us when we’re kids. I hate it when people are nice to your face and then whisper poison in the corners. It takes generosity and courage to share the hard-edged emotions and then stay for the fall-out and take responsibility for it. That’s what we get from you and I love you for it and I love your blog.
    And tell Mollie that you have to post in the comments because we need supervision. There were pitchforks mentioned last time you left us alone too long.
    Also I think you should be proud of this community you’ve created. There are some great people here and I always try and read at least some of the comments.
    So thank you for a great blog. I hope it continues. I’d also like to say that it doesn’t always have to be significant. I loved the blue hair blog. I found it when I was having a tough day and struggling with the flu.
    I’m looking forward to The 12 Days of Wild Ride.
    Take care, Jenny and thanks for the blog however long it goes.

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  109. To thine own self be true…..and screw anyone who doesn’t like it. You’ve said things that I thought were objectionable, but Honey, I’ll buy your books as long as they sell them. Believe me, there are 100,000 readers like me to every one of the bigoted, self-important, hipocrits(sp) that state “I won’t buy any more of her books”. Don’t let the twits get you down. We love you, warts and all.

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  110. Home from vacation and jumping in…after reading all the comments, because here I can count on them being worthwhile.

    In G&T’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” vein, I read on your blog about a Bob-and-Jenny workshop and decided to go. What a kick-start for my brain! Then you blogged that you’d teach at only a couple more seminars, including this LRWA thing I’d never heard of — and thanks to serendipitous connections, there I was at the Beach House, trying to control fan-girl shallow breathing and having one of the best weeks of my life. Just this week I’m reading chapters from one of the writers I met there.

    As the throngs above have noted, your Argh posts add to the world, even when they don’t set off the cyberspace shriekers. The communities you’ve created are equally valuable. Even your less-frequent posting schedule has given me a gift: when I realized how disappointed I was at not finding new entries, I knew it was time to concentrate more on life offline.

    And if that’s what you need to do, Jenny, go for it.

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  111. First, those who take such umbrage at your comments might consider the country they are living in. It’s free. They should watch the near-to-the-ending speech about that in the movie, “American President,” about what freedom of speech means in this country. Really great speech!!

    Second, anyone with brains recognizes that nobody is perfect, not even one’s favorite writer. And if that writer is, indeed, a favorite, then maybe that abusive person should cut her or him some slack. Yeesh! No two people are going to agree on everything, about everything; the expectation that they would is unrealistic. And if that’s how they would treat a favorite, then…

    Third: And they might want to question why what you said has them so emotional, and why they would misinterpret what you say and insist on believing what they want to believe, despite anything to the contrary. Two excellent questions. There are some other issues they might want to take up with themselves, before they embarrass themselves by exposing their own outrageous behavior and the reasons for it, to scrutiny.

    Fourth: I don’t think this minority of readers is really worth focusing on.

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  112. “You’re so pretty.” Actually, I think the blog is great because the dogs are cute, its interesting to see someone creating and we can’t read Jane Austin’s blog and I KNOWWWWW she would have had one.

    There are people who love to make negative remarks for whatever reason. The internet gives people a chance to comment before they think. That has to be the case because I refuse to believe that some people are really as stupid as their comments on some blogs make them sound.
    I don’t think you will lose fans because they change their impression of you based on what they read. Its like saying, “I’m never going to such and such store again.” Sooner or later you are back at that store.

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  113. Dear Jennifer Crusie,

    Please don’t stop blogging. Sometimes people are stupid and make stupid comments, but you shouldn’t read them. Just keep writing.

    P.S. The only reason I’d advocate for you to stop blogging is if it would give you more time to write with Bob, because those two books you’ve done so far are the most hilarious books I’ve ever read in my life, and the world would be a better place with more Lucies and Agneses.

    P.S. 2 Bob doesn’t think you should stop either. His opinion should probably count more than mine since I am merely a reader and he is actually a partner in crime.

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  114. “It was really more of a what-good-is-this-blog-doing-anybody question, followed up by the assumption that if it wasn’t doing anybody any good”

    Does it have to do ‘good’ ? Can it just be a place/community where 99% of the time readers come to see what Crusie is up to and chat amoung themselves, be entertained, learn something.

    “There are things I want to blog about, so maybe I’ll just stick to those and stop[ worrying if there isn’t a post every week.”

    Sounds like a plan . Argh , Inc is a beautiful part of the Orchard. If you can keep it going without being blog-stressed-out I know there are several hundred people who would cheer wildly 🙂 <- I put that icon in there because I know how much you love them.

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  115. Just chiming in to let you know that I too enjoy reading your blog. It is like being able to sit down and have a conversation with you. Something that I value a lot because I am often without much adult conversation. Your blog and the comments that people make create an atmosphere of community. I will understand if you need to cut it from your routine, but know that it will be missed by a farming wife with six children.
    Thanks for writing and for listening.

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  116. First of all, let me disagree with Mollie. I LOVE that you comment on your blog. It’s one reason your blog is the first one I check when I surf the net. I don’t think you are my new BFF, in fact, I realize I don’t even know you, but I do enjoy your conversation, and I would miss it if you stopped.

    Second, you are good at sharing yourself in a way a lot of writers are not. You show us your inspirations (collages), bits of drafts and revisions, tell us about the triumphs and tribulations of a book tour (pizza chin, anyone?) and do it all with a lovely sense of humor.

    I’m as happy to hear about wallpaper and puppies as I am to discuss the glittery hoo-ha, because it’s all in your great voice. I became a reader because of your blogs, so maybe it balances out.

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  117. Blogging is an excellent way simply to clear your own head ( I think) and shouldn’t really be based on anyone’s opinion at all. maybe be careful that what you put isnt too personal because of all the crazies out there, but otherwise I think if you feel the need to write it, you should let it all out.

    i was working for a politician a couple of years ago and he had me create a blog for him. Instead of using it properly as a way to let people know him better though, he saw it as some kind of infrequent pr marketing tool, sort of like press releases as blog entries, and it was awful.

    write what you want. people will always have something to complain about, so you may as well be happy with your own stuff.

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  118. You’re wrong! You’re evil and thoughtless. You should be hornswoggled…er…wait…horsewhipped!!! That’s it! Horsewhipped!

    I have never read you before and always will!

    Heh. See, the world needs you just to keep the crazies (moi?) focused.

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  119. Yet another lurker giving voice. I finally got my computer back from the hospital to discover my blog reading world might be cut in half. The world is full of unhappy and/or people without a life. Their lives revolve around making everyone as unhappy as they are both in the real world as well as the blog world. It gives them a sense of self rightness and power. As to having some mundane musings, I would like to point out that it gives the brain a little down time to recharge. As much as I love profound and insightful discussions I don’t necessarily want it every single time, I can’t meet that standard myself and don’t expect it of you either. Your blog adds sunshine to gray days. Books YES, blogs Yes.

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  120. This was a great post, Jenny, very thoughtful and interesting. While it’s true that there is no necessary connection between the artist and his/her work, I see the same qualities here that I like in your fiction, and that’s gratifying.

    My only quibble here is that people seem to think that the problems Jenny is talking about are limited to blogs, and even started with them.

    I’ve been online since 1986 or so, and computer BBSs have been around longer than that. When people behaved badly on a local dialup BBS, it would only be seen by a relative few. Then came Usenet. Then came the Web. (I’m telescoping the history of course.) Now if someone behaves badly it can be seen all over the world in a second. As Jenny says, that’s a good reason to take a little time before one clicks on “Submit comment.”

    On a telnet BBS I used to frequent, I was struck by how often adults — not just kids, I mean adults of both sexes in their 30s and above — would complain that you shouldn’t judge them by what they posted yesterday, people change over time, and besides, they didn’t see why they should be held responsible for their own words. Even better, they’d claim that what they posted on a public BBS was “private.” Another thing I noticed, comparable to “I’m never going to buy another book of yours again!”, was people who’d write in a forum, “You guys are awful and hateful! I’m never going to read this forum again!” — and then they’d post again within an hour. Newspaper editors say that the same holds for “Cancel my subscription!” letters — most people quietly restart their subscription very soon. After all, if they didn’t, how could they have the pleasure of writing another “Cancel my subscription” letter?

    Even before the invention of computers, writers and newspapers and magazines got stupid, abusive letters. One big difference was that most people would never see them; the self-publication that computers have facilitated, and interactive comments invite, changed that so that everyone can make a fool of him or herself in public. There was also the telephone as a medium for anonymous abuse, and before that, graffiti. So this kind of behavior is not new, it’s just that technology has facilitated it and made it more visible. I often find it dispiriting, I admit, to have my nose rubbed in the fact of massive and unashamed human stupidity, but I guess I’d rather know than not know about it.

    If you look at comments on other sites, you’ll see that for many people the comments feature seems to signify an excuse to type something like “your gay” and run off giggling. One reason I don’t enable comments on my own blog is that I’ve been through too many idiotic pseudo-debates over the past couple of decades and don’t have the energy to constrain myself to argue reasonably with people who aren’t interested in reasonable debate. I still have minor qualms about that decision, if only because I post comments on other people’s blogs. But everyone has to decide where to draw the line for themselves.

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  121. Duncan – Did you peg it! Computers don’t cause errors, they just allow people to make bigger mistakes faster. I think the same is true of the internet as well. We are still human, both good and bad.

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  122. Love the piano bit in relation to never reading you. You really are so funny. I love reading this blog for fun and I learn so much. Its fabulous. You’re amazing. Even when you feel you’ve made a mistake with naming the name or whatever, i feel like I learn from the way you handle these situations. You are an inspiration. I’ve read all these comments and my mind is fuzzy, so I may not say anything new or earthshattering here, actually that’s the case usually…but just know I really appreciate you, blog, books and all!

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  123. Hi. I’m new here. And this is a terribly late entry to this thread, but what the heck. I really enjoy the blogs and comments tremendously, and I’ve found things here I haven’t been able to find in all the conferences and classes I have attended — primarily, real experiences and expressions of the internal thought processes, struggles and joys while Jenny and folks are in the process of the work (plus stuff about tarot cards and home remodelling…).

    I find myself intensely curious about what other writers are going through because I don’t come from a writing or atistic family at all, and don’t really have a writing community at this time (I’m a former newspaper reporter and current PR professional — very different crowds, believe me). It’s hard for me to know if I’m ‘normal’ as I strive to do this, or should give up and be happy with my press releases.

    You all are wonderful at helping me feel sort of normal, and I thank you. But I would sincerely hope this is not a drain/strain on Jenny in any way. That would make me terribly sad. Just my 2 cents worth.

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