Why I got cool with breaking the rules…

Melissa Tagg On Writing 24 Comments

It’s been a little quiet around this blog in the past few months. My website silence started out of necessity in the form of a deadline. Back in June, I did a pretty massive rewrite of my next book. Like, I tore it apart. It was a LOT of work in a short amount of time.

It also included a lot of gushing about and staring at the cover. Specifically, the faces on the cover. More specifically, one face on the cover.

LNB with heart

Yes, my attachment to that cover model and especially the character he portrays (Logan Walker *insert every heart emoji ever*) is a bit, um, concerning…and over-the-top. BUT it’s also inspiration for an upcoming project I can’t wait to tell you about. Stay tuned!

Anyway, yeah, my break from this blog started because of a deadline, but I had every intention of returning here in July. And then early August.

But I ended up traveling a ton. Visiting friends. Going to a concert. (And subsequently falling even more in love with Needtobreathe.) And making a sudden decision to move. And then packing and packing and packing…and moving…and unpacking and unpacking and unpacking.

And then last week hit. I was mostly unpacked. Mostly settled.

Mostly free.

And I had all these goals. I really did. Here’s proof—my to-do list!

IMG_5735

But I didn’t do any of it. Okay, I did a couple things. But mostly I ignored the prettily-written list. And instead…

I read. And read. And read. (Five books in six nights. GLORIOUS!)

I curled up on my couch and watched a classic movie.

I made soup!

I took bubble baths.

I drove an hour and fifteen minutes both ways just to watch my niece try out a swing my Dad hung in the front yard.

I sat in bed in the morning and watched a sunrise and didn’t even Instagram it!

And I made a decision: I am cool with breaking the blogging rules.

And by that I mean, the rules that tell you how often to blog in order to hang on to readers. How short your posts should be. What kind of graphic needs to accompany each post. Etc, etc, etc (said in my best Yul Brynner voice).

The truth is, I love blogging. I love the freedom to write fully in my voice rather than a character’s. I love getting to share my thoughts—silly or serious or otherwise—in a post longer than 140-characters or a Facebook status update. I love connecting with people who take the time to read these posts. I love the kind of community that can form around written words on a computer screen.

But I don’t love being tied to a set of guidelines that say I have to blog this often on these days in this many words. I just don’t.

Maybe I’m rebellious. Or maybe I’m flighty. Or maybe…

Maybe I’ve entered a refreshing new season. A season in which I stop striving to do this author thing like everyone else. A season in which I’m rediscovering the joy of writing—and blogging, too—just for the fun of it rather than being worried about book sales or building readership or being the best little author marketer out there. (Or blogging the right way.)

Maybe God is doing something new.

And maybe it’s going to be awesome. :)

So what’s that mean for this blog? I’m still going to hang out here when I can. I hope to blog once a week, probably on Mondays but maybe on other days. And some weeks I’ll blog more than once! I’ve got some fun ideas for a blog series with friends and accompanying giveaways!

But sometimes I won’t at blog all. Sometimes I’ll post my thoughts on Facebook instead. Or let an Instagram pic take the place of words. Sometimes I’ll save my thoughts for an e-newsletter or the cool group blog I’m a part of, The Grove.

But I’ve decided my only blogging rule from here on out is this: No rules.

I hope that’s okay. I hope you’ll still drop by from time to time.

And I hope even more than that, that you’ll discover your own season of refreshment and renewal. That you’ll rediscover joy in things that might’ve slipped into mundane territory. And that you’ll find space for fresh air and little delights and big hopes.

♥ ♥ ♥

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    Comments 24

    1. Mary Sekula

      Of course it’s okay! We all need a break now and then from regimentation. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I’m glad you took time off to rejuvenate. Your books will be all the better.

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    2. Renee Wielenga

      I totally get the need to take time off from writing! Though I’m not writing amazing books like you are, I’ve found when I make the time to read and refresh I have a better view point on writing for the paper. Your post has reminded me that it’s been a while since I’ve done that and I have some bubblebath mix in the cupboard. I think I know what I’m doing tonight.

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        Melissa Tagg

        YAY for a bubble bath tonight. I hope it happens and you find it incredibly relaxing.

        So, my next book includes a newspaper. I had sooo many Sioux Center News memories while writing it. And if you end up reading it, you’ll probably see all the similarities to the News office. In fact, I think I even called the fictional newspaper The News!

    3. Beth K. Vogt

      Melissa:
      Love you, friend–and I will show up at your blog any time you do!
      You are one of my favorite people, one of my favorite writers. And you inspire me. Really. You do.

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    4. Kari Trumbo

      Melissa, that sounds wonderfully freeing. God will bless what He has led you to do. I find blogging on a schedule difficult, too. When I get the blogging buzz I often get a few ideas at a time. While I’m in the mood, I’ll write all of them then schedule them for later. It gives me the appearance of being on top of it. Good luck to you, your blog is fun! ~Kari

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        Melissa Tagg

        Thanks so much, Kari. And that’s so smart…to write when you’re in the mood and schedule ahead of time. I’ve tried being organized and writing my posts in advance but for some reason, I can’t often get my brain to hit blogging mode when I want it to. But what you’re saying is smart…when the mood hits, churn out several posts at once. I should try that!

    5. Rissi

      Melissa, whenever you blog, I suspect readers will be excited to read what news-y, fun or insightful comments you have. I’ve missed your blogging, but completely understand time getting away and spending ones time elsewhere – whether it’s on time-consuming projects (yay for that new book – edging closer to meeting LOGAN!) or enjoying other things. Looking forward to seeing you return to this world when you can. Wonderful post – and great advice for every blogger. :)

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        Melissa Tagg

        Thanks, Rissi! I’ve definitely missed blogging. I think my fear in jumping back in was that if I couldn’t jump back in “the right way,” then I shouldn’t at all…like, if I couldn’t commit to posting two or three times a week, then I’d better not start back in. But that was so silly! Once I finally decided that, hey, it’s okay to just blog once a week–or even less if I need to–and it’s okay if my blog doesn’t have a solid theme or my posts get too long, well, it just changed my whole attitude about jumping back in! So I’m happy to be back !

        I’ve missed stopping by your blog regularly, too. Hopefully that’s something else I can dive back into.

        And LOGAN!!! Yay, I love him so much… :)

    6. Alexis

      Sounds like you’re taking care of yourself first and that is very important! :)

      So don’t worry about not blogging as much as you’re used to. I’m sure your loyal blog readers will keep visiting you here and your Author page on Facebook along with The Grove Story.

      I love the grove, by the way! What a wonderful website! :)

      God bless you, Melissa! :) *Jeremiah 29:11*

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        Melissa Tagg

        Thanks for that assurance, Alexis. I really appreciate it! I do love blogging…but I don’t like feeling like I HAVE to blog. Know what I mean?

        I’m so glad you like The Grove, too! The women on that blog have become just the hugest blessing to me. Love them!!

        Looking forward to meeting you in person at ACFW!

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        Melissa Tagg

        I AM loving my new home!! It’s just so pretty. Today I spent my lunchtime sitting outside, looking at my pretty view and reading…soooo peaceful. I’m someone who needs change now and then, so this move came at a perfect time for me!

        And yay for reading binges. It’s been a long time since I had a proper binge…and as I’m now on book six in a week, I think this one can definitely classify as a binge. :)

    7. Winnie Thomas

      I don’t write blogs, but I would hate to have to write one at a scheduled time. I think they are much more interesting when they are spontaneous. I mostly just skim over those that are written “just because it’s Friday.” A lot of times they feel forced and don’t catch my attention. I think you’re wise to take time for yourself and rejuvenate. So, you have my permission (not that it counts for much) to take time for yourself and just blog when you want to or when you have something profound to share with us! :) Thanks for being such an awesome and fun author!

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        Melissa Tagg

        Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Winnie! And yes, writing blogs at scheduled times has become more and more difficult for me…which is probably why I just gave up halfway through the summer. LOL! But I find they end up being much more fun–for both me and (hopefully) the reader–when they just happen versus being forced. So I’m glad to finally give myself the permission I needed to break free from a hard core blogging schedule. And thank you for the permission too! :)

    8. Patricia Bradley

      Yay for you!! I hate rules. And have been known to break a few. :-) Yeah, I know we need rules and laws or we have anarchy, but I don’t think skipping a blog or two will cause the world to stop spinning. When you have a blog, I’ll make it over here…sometimes a little late. lol

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        Melissa Tagg

        Haha, yay, Pat! I’m glad I’m not the only rule-breaker. You’re so right, though…the world carries on just fine when I don’t blog. I started feeling super guilty a couple weeks ago when I realized it’d been almost two months since I last blogged. Then I thought, “But wait, Melissa. Nobody has died because you didn’t blog! Nothing horrible has happened. Your career hasn’t tanked. Your publisher hasn’t disowned you. It’s all okay!” :) I am glad to be getting back into it, but I’m even more glad to be doing so without feeling the pressure to do it “the right way.”

    9. Rachael K

      Since everyone else has stated, quite eloquently, all words of assurance I had meant to write, I will just go off topic and say I love The King and I. The “Shall We Dance” scene is one of the swooniest in musical history. And even knowing that it will never work out, that I will always sob every time I watch the film, I love it anyway.

      Sometimes I’m such a sap. But I’m looking forward to Like Never Before! And I must say, the 5 o’clock shadow looks well on your Logan. And the happy, crinkly eyes. I’m glad you got such a winning cover!

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        Melissa Tagg

        YAY you caught the reference! I wasn’t sure anyone would…it was a bit left-field. :) I love that film, too, but confession: a lot of times I stop watching before the end. Unless I need a good therapeutic cry…in which case, I go ahead and watch all the way to the end and cry my eyes out.

        The crinkly eyes!! That’s totally what does it for me on the cover. I love his five o’clock shadow and his hair and his smile and everything…but it’s totally the crinkly eyes that steal my heart every. single. time. I look at the cover. :)

    10. Mrs. White

      I loved seeing the list you made and the things you did instead! I think that is all part of the process of writing. We need times of refreshment in order to accomplish anything meaningful.

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        Melissa Tagg

        You’re exactly right! And the wonderful thing about refreshment is that I think it eventually leads to a desire to dive back in. I’m finding this week that I’m getting excited about brainstorming and jumping in to a new story…but I needed that time away to refill the creative well.

    11. Jeanne

      Taking a break, breaking the rules, enjoying life….all the things you did sound just wonderful! I.Can.Not.Wait. for your next book to come out! Really looking forward to it!

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        Melissa Tagg

        Thanks, Jeanne! I’m excited for the next one to come out, too! Although, I’ll be more excited once it’s edited…lol! I went so crazy with it during rewrites that it still feels a little messy in my head. It’ll be nice eventually to feel like it’s truly done. :)

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