Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Picking up the Torch...?

Furious Seasons, Soulful Sepulcher, Depression Introspection, and BPD in OKC have all written recently about the number of mental health blogs that have either shut down entirely or are taking a break. I was sad to read last week that Gianna of Psychiatric Withdrawal and Recovery (one of my first friends here in the blogosphere) is among those who are taking a break, although, being new to the blogosphere, I can still enjoy reading her archives.

But I can understand, even after only a month or so of doing this, why people need to take a break. Coming up with something somewhat meaningful and relevant to say every day or every few days is hard enough, without trying to do it while battling mental illness. Or withdrawal from psychiatric medication.

I know I haven't been around very long, but I've already noticed that some of my readers have been directed here by search engines, a number of them looking for information about trazodone, the drug I am currently withdrawing from...and that right there is reason enough for me to think that maybe I can be one of the ones who tentatively reaches out to pick up the torch with the intention of carrying it for a little while. Maybe a long while.

I'm currently mom-at-home, trying to carve out a little time and energy for my own literary and artistic ambitions. So far, it's going about as well as I expected. Which is, hardly at all. A few poems published. No best-selling novels. No novels at all; they are all moldering in the bottom drawer of my file cabinet, with their respective rejection slips.

I have come to the conclusion lately that the reason I can't get anything published isn't because it isn't any good, but because the whole business is market driven, and quality storytelling isn't necessarily the point. The point is how much money they think they can make. And because of this, I am becoming less enamored with the idea of publishing.

But even if the big publishing houses don't think they can make enough megabucks off of my stuff to give me a chance, blogging is a way to use my writing to reach people and maybe help them. If I can reach out to one person out there, show them that they are not alone, show them that maybe some of the things they have experienced aren't so crazy, that someone else has felt the same stuff, that maybe being diagnosed with bipolar isn't necessarily a life sentence or the end of the world...then honestly, that will do more for my soul and my sense of self-worth than having a published novel.

Sudden insight: Boy, have I changed since college...


BPD in OKC said...

Thank you for the plug to my blog. I personally feel that writing my blog is much more rewarding than it would be to publish a book. When I post an entry I can instantly help someone going through bad times. I've had a lot of people get directed to my blog lately when they search in google for ways to leave abusive partners. I recently wrote an entry about how I left my husband when he was abusive. I hope that by opening up about my own life, I'm helping other abused women get out of their abusive situations.

Jazz said...

...I personally feel that writing my blog is much more rewarding than it would be to publish a book...

Yes. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way...because sometimes I look at those sentiments and tell myself that I'm only saying that to make myself feel better about not having managed to get published.

Marissa Miller said...


Do you subscribe to either The Writer or Writer's Digest? You've gone farther than I have. I completed a novel in November and am working on editing the crap out of it. I'm not sure if it's any good or not but at least you've gone the extra step and gotten those rejection slips. Rejection slips are OK. It's better than hearing nothing at all.

I'm hoping that one day, maybe I can take all the informative posts on my blog and pull ideas from them to write a book. I love writing as well and am hoping I can become a freelance writer. Whether I'm disciplined enough to do it or not is another story.

K. End rant.

Jazz said...

Hi, Marissa!
I did subscribe to Writers' Digest for a number of years, and I've read an issue of The Writer here and there...but what I eventually figured out was that, for me, the best way to learn to write a novel was to just sit down and do it. And that approach did actually work for me--I learned more by doing it than I ever did by reaading about it. I managed to draft a five-book sci-fi series (that might be partly why I can't seem to drum up any interest...who wants to take a chance on five big books by an unknown writer?). Only the first one is polished enough to send out. The others...I don't know if I've got the ability to do them justice anymore. Maybe once I get off the trazodone.