Why I haven’t been blogging

A number of people have emailed me, wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately. And it’s true that, except for my usual bi-weekly posts over on Murderati, I haven’t been posting much online. Partly, it’s because I’ve been trying to finish the first draft of my new Jane and Maura book, while keeping up with travel and speaking engagements.

But mostly, it’s because I’ve developed a fear of blogging.

Columnist Michael Kinsley, who writes frequently about online journalism, recently wrote: “The more concerned you are to avoid saying anything wrong or offensive, the less likely you are to say anything inspiring or true.” I’ve been thinking about that statement a lot lately. And remembering how some of my past blog posts were received.

Over the past year or so, other bloggers have called me a “fucktard,” a “fuckwit”, a “drama queen,” and a “whiny attention whore” because of things I’ve written here. As a result, I found myself editing and re-editing my posts until I was sure they couldn’t possibly offend anyone. I’ve pared away anything even remotely controversial, shied away from any blogs having to do with book reviews, authorial angst, or publishing anxiety because those topics are just so, well, whiny and offensive.

The result? There’s hardly anything left to blog about that isn’t bland, touristy, or blatantly promotional. In other words, this blog has turned into just another marketing tool, which wasn’t how it started. Its original purpose was to reflect upon the business, good and bad, and about the writer’s life, with its ups and downs.

Some people don’t want to know how sausage is made. Others are offended by what writers think. I’m coming around to thinking that both should be kept strictly out of sight.

25 replies
  1. Lorra Laven
    Lorra Laven says:

    Any blogger who would refer to a legitimate, bestselling author as a fucktard, fuckwit, drama queen or attention whore should be beneath your contempt, under your radar. My advice (easy for me to say since I’m not the one they’re attacking): The next time you hear someone has posted a diatribe directed at you, the only word that should come to your mind is: LOSER. Then move on and keep blogging.

    I discovered your books as a result of linking to your blog from another literary blog. Yes, of course your blog is a marketing tool and we all understand the necessity to market in the competitive world of publishing. But your blog also contains useful information for aspiring writers. So I say skip the recipes, keep blogging about the business of writing don’t forget to mutter, “Loser; loser; loser” whenever the trolls start getting you down.

  2. GerritsenFever10
    GerritsenFever10 says:

    Hey Dr. G, in lieu of those ridiculous antics chosen by some to use I could see why you took a break from blogging. But whoever reads your blog should just take it as your opinion and move on if they’re offended. Although I regard your opinion higher than some would because you’re a doctor. Idiots don’t become doctors. Neither do “f*tards, f*wits, etc” So you most definitely should feel above those who attacked you online because insofar as I can assume it hasn’t affected your fan-base.

    Hasn’t affected MY loyalty, anyway. Hopefully those who follow your blog will feel the same. I canNOT wait for the new book! Did your publisher accept the title?

    🙂

  3. KSpringer
    KSpringer says:

    Mon Dieu! My stomach turned reading your latest post, Tess! I LOVE your blog and I have been reading it religiously since you started. Please do not allow the ignorant internet hoi polloi to dissuade you from enlightening us with whatever comes to mind-whether it’s insightful, incendiary, or simply inane. (Read: Eff the haters, always.)
    P.S. Thought The Keepsake was great! 🙂

  4. PackingPadre
    PackingPadre says:

    Tess,

    As you know from our exchanges we disagree on some issues, guns _ I like them, they scare you – evil – I believe in Satan, as well as miswired brains – you don’t believe in the devil, and I could give several more examples.

    But disagreement is part of what makes keeping in touch with you fun, and it certainly hasn’t affected my love for your books, always a good read and a pleasant escape from reality.

    I agree with Lorra Lavin, the people who call you an idiot or criticise you with foul language are losers.

    Most of your readers want to know your thoughts on the publishing industry, the craft of writing and even about your personal life to the extent you feel comfortable revealing it.

    By personal life, I don’t mean familial relationships necessarily, but coping with Maine winters, the technology or lack thereof in your home town _ I suspect it’s pretty good _ and your opinions on health insurance reform.

    Daniel

  5. cheryl_leanne
    cheryl_leanne says:

    What is wrong with people? Are they for real? I only started reading your books early this year and can’t believe how hooked I am. I have never really been a big reader and can honestly say I would never read more than one book a year and many books I have started were never finished. Then I found the Surgeon, a book I brought from the airport whilst on a trip to New York, obviously I was so busy I never got chance to read it so it just got threw in the drawer with my collection of other unfinished books. Eventually I dug it out to take with me to my daughters swimming lesson and after that I could not put it down, I finished the book in 2 days which for a mom of 2 with a part time job is pretty quick. I then had a thirst for more, I was desperate to see what happened next and ordered The Apprentice straight away. I have read the Jane and Maura series in order and have just finished Vanished, I am now waiting by the door for my postman to see what shocking dangers the two fabulous characters come across this time. I never want this series of books to end.
    I would like to thank you for converting me from the sad book virgin that I was in to the thriving little book worm I have become. You are a true genius and I think the people who speak of you in such a bad manner should just go and f**k themselves!

  6. Thierry Snipes
    Thierry Snipes says:

    Tess (Terry),

    Your name means “ruler of the people,” and I’m sure you’re not ruling like you’re supposed to by hiding from “losers.” Your words are from the heart. Your opinion is neither dumb nor stupid. You have a wonderful job that offers you money for what you love. You have fans and people’s careers riding on your hard work… (or on your back unknowingly) Hell, I’d be a tad bit nervous or whinny my damn self!

    Understand the beauty of your position… You were blessed by God to be able to spread any message or story your mind can conceive… So I’ll end with a question: Do you think the same individuals who are criticizing you would care less if you didn’t like their comments? You already know the answer… they don’t!

    Keep your head up, get through this project, and make your fans happy with your work… and your PERSONAL feelings within your blog. You are doing something (w)right, obviously… I love you and your work. God’s got your back, T. 🙂

    Light, Life, Love.:: ThierryS.

  7. helenwriter
    helenwriter says:

    Tess,

    Don’t let the losers get you down. I’ve been reading you since you wrote suspense for Harlequin, and have loved your books, especially the Jane and Maura series. And, as an aspiring author, I find your thoughts on the business to be provocative, insightful and very helpful. Please don’t stop! And don’t edit yourself!

  8. moe.kay
    moe.kay says:

    Hi Tess:

    Those nasty bloggers are obviously so jealous of you and your many successes that they can’t contain themselves! So they resort to elementary school name-calling in a desperate attempt to discredit you.

    Just give them the old, “sticks and stones” rhyme and continue to blog about whatever you darn well please!! I’m sure a lot more people are reading your books and blog than theirs.

    Happy blogging,

    Moe.Kay

  9. dustinhood
    dustinhood says:

    Tess,

    It’s been a while since we’ve talked?

    I couldn’t disagree more. I think you should write about whatever. As a young writer who hopes to one day be a novelist like you, I enjoy reading the blogs about the bad things so I know what to expect and know that being a writing isn’t purely a life of bliss. “Fuckwit” is a new one to be, kind of funny sounding isn’t it?

    I think it’s okay to step on some toes every now and then. One can’t go through life and please everybody. You’re going to piss some people off no matter what you write. I must say, look at the comments on this blog, and others like it where you say you’re going to give up blogging because of the negative remarks. See how many strong supporters you have? See how many people are against you doing this? The people who have made those vile remarks probably don’t even read your blogs anymore. If so you have publicly apologized for the comments that were misinterpreted and that’s all you can do. People are going to bitch no matter what. Why let them bring you down? Why give them what they want?

    Tess, write. Write about the good and the bad things. And share your opinion about whatever. People have died for that right. And for you to not take advantage of that is a slap in the face to them. Speak your mind, and the truth. You’re fans will be behind you 100%.

    Drop me a line some time. Best of luck on the novel and Happy Writing.

    I’m going to leave you with I quote I am using as my Senior quote this year. “Let is dare to live, think, speak, and write.” -John Adams.

    Hope to hear from you soon,
    Dustin

  10. Pilot M
    Pilot M says:

    Tess, Like the above blogger, I was never a big reader until your books came along. I especially love Maura and Jane. I cannot wait until the next book. I have hooked a co-worker on to your books too. Thanks for writing such great books!
    Pilot M

  11. ec
    ec says:

    Unlike most of the folks who’ve commented, I’m not going to urge you to keep blogging despite your reservations. From a selfish standpoint, I enjoy reading your observations and hope you decide to continue. I also see the blog as an effective marketing tool; I started reading your books after I became acquainted with your work through your blog, and I doubt I’m alone. But as a working writer, I understand completely. It’s difficult enough putting yourself out there with fiction. When the personal observations in your online journal are twisted to suit an agenda or bolster an ego, when people who’ve never met you pass judgement on your motives and character, when you’re publically catagorized in ways that feel not only intrusive, but potentially damaging, then the notion of internet “transparancy” loses much of its charm.

    Obviously, there are pros and cons to blogging. I think each person has to weigh the costs and benefits–not only the professional issues, but also the amount of wear and tear the process puts on one’s psyche. Either it’s worth doing or it isn’t. No one can decide that for you.

    Wishing you the best, either way.

  12. Dru
    Dru says:

    Tess,

    I’m a book fan and I enjoy reading about the trials and tribulation and confidences of authors and what they have to say.

    No one can keep you silent, but know that your fans are here.

  13. Kent Lester
    Kent Lester says:

    Please, please, don’t give into the complainers, insulters, and dimwits who seem to get their sense of self worth by downgrading others. When you let their diatribes affect your behavior, you empower them.

    It’s best to realize that you’ll never make everyone happy, so make us REAL fans happy by being your normal, informative self! 🙂

  14. BernardL
    BernardL says:

    When considering what sock puppets write I always strive to follow Margaret Thatcher’s quote on personal attacks:

    ‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.’

    Margaret Thatcher

  15. tuttle
    tuttle says:

    I find it interesting that you feel so free to write what you please in your novels and yet you seem to “over-worry” about the blog

    As you said above, “Its original purpose was to reflect upon the business, good and bad, and about the writer’s life, with its ups and downs.”

    Jealous people who write in and call you names are a part of the “downs” portion of a writer’s life. But that shouldn’t take over the writer’s life.
    Hang in there

  16. GerritsenNewFan
    GerritsenNewFan says:

    Dear Dr. Gerritsen,
    I’m a new fan of yours, as you can tell by my username. I read your comments regarding the reason you haven’t been blogging recently and I immediately became incensed. It seems today everyone is worried about being politically correct for fear of offending someone. Well, as we all know, there is NO way to keep everyone happy all the time. If someone is offended by comments you write in your blog, they can simply stop reading your blog, correct? I think America has lost its back bone because we are so afraid to offend anyone. The time has come to stand up, ‘strap on a pair’ (yes, this euphemism comes from a woman, and doubtless will offend some people, but I simply don’t care.) You are a talented, accomplished writer and I am interested about what you have to say regarding medicine, writing, publishing, or anything you wish to share with your readers. Please keep on blogging, and as other fans of your have said, don’t pay attention to the ‘losers’. You have a huge, loyal fan base. Let the masses speak for you, not the occasional left-field lunatics. BTW – I just discovered your books about 6 weeks ago when a sales person at Books A Million recommended you as an author. I was browsing for a new Robin Cook title, but everything they had on the shelf I already read. I’m so glad I picked up your book. Six weeks later, there are only 3 books of yours I have left to read. I’m going to be so sad when I’m finished reading all of them, but I plan to pass them to a good friend of mine so both she and her daughter can read and enjoy them. Dr. Gerritsen, thank you so much for entering my life with a list of awesome books. I especially like the team of Maura Isles and Jane Rizzoli. Please keep writing about them – you’ve done a terrific job developing their characters.

  17. feliboo2
    feliboo2 says:

    I don’t get to check your blog as much as I would like but was saddened to see that the stupidity of some people has caused you to not do something that you’re good at doing.
    If these nay-sayers don’t like what you are blogging then they should go to another web site. For those of us who are truely fans of yours, we find what you have to blog about interesting and think that you should continue with what you are doing. We love hearing about your thoughts and insights and travels and it seems to be something that makes you happy so don’t let those idiots get you down and cause you to doubt what you are writing about. After all, you are the award winning author and they will always be just idiots.

  18. bailie
    bailie says:

    Dear Dr. G
    I think it’s a shame that you have to feel that you are unable to do what you do best(express yourself)your blog is for YOU & us (your fans) who love what you do. this is our time w/ you and your time w/ us. we as fans need to let you know how much we appreciate & love your novels, and I’m sure you need to hear how much all of us enjoy them. everyone needs and loves to hear that their doing a great job, (no matter what the job). so please don’t let some closed minded wankers steal your joy. and as for worring about offending someone, well that will never change. unfortunately it will only get worse. there will always be someone somewhere who has nothing better to do & is so miserable w/ their own life that they have to look for reasons to bring others down to make themselves feel good. and all you can do about those people are to feel pity for them. So please for us and yourself!!! keep blogging. Life is to short to let someone snatch it away from you before it’s time.
    I can’t wait for your next novel to hit the shelves.
    We Love ya Dr. G 🙂
    God Bless

  19. INTERNETSHERIF
    INTERNETSHERIF says:

    have a great trip. WHEN IS YOUR NEXT NOVEL COMING OUT> YOU ARE IN MY TOP TEN OF AUTHORS IN TOUR TOPICS AND WRITING

  20. l.c.mccabe
    l.c.mccabe says:

    Tess,

    I have learned so much from your blog about the business of publishing and the reality of a full time writer’s life. Your blog is one of my favorites and when I set aside time to catch up with my blog reading, my eyes search out in my overstuffed Google Reader list of subscriptions to see if your blog has been updated.

    Frequency of blog updates is not important to me. It is all about the content and yours is worthy of reading and praise.

    In regard to self-censoring yourself due to past criticisms from other bloggers, I would like to share with you a quote from one of my heroes Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

    She wrote this back in 1890:

    “The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life flow no longer into our souls. Every truth we see is ours to give the world, not to keep for ourselves alone, for in so doing we cheat humanity out of their rights and check our own development.”

    Do your best to allow your writing to serve your own needs be it in your fiction or on your blog.

    Those who “get you” will be waiting to read your next installment.

    Be well,

    Linda

  21. hawthornemd@yahoo.com
    hawthornemd@yahoo.com says:

    The people who wrote those terrible things to you are probably low lifes and are jealous of all your accomplishments. You are more successful then most people could be in 2 lifetimes. You are a successful doctor and writer. Two things most people could never do.
    Don’t let them control you!! Write whatever you want. You will never please everyone and if you start writing to please the world you may question everything you think, say and do. They don’t have to read what you write if they don’t want.
    Keep up the excellent work.

  22. TomYoung
    TomYoung says:

    I find that most people resort to that kind of language when they know they’re wrong and have no place else to turn but to insults. Love you books and impatiently waiting for the next one.

    peace

  23. md
    md says:

    Screw’em! Keep on blogging. The only good blogs are the ones that stir emotions and controversy and are honest. We love your ideas and your writing.

  24. Trevor
    Trevor says:

    Hi Tess. I am 31 male from Rhode Island. I hate reading very much, but you books catch my attention quickly and the words you use don’t make my brain hurt. I myself am passionate about writing and have wanted to write novels. Especially about murder mysteries. I do have ideas but finding the time and quiet space to work is hard. I’m easily distracted and impatient. I’m creative and dedicated but have a hard time because I lack in the vocabulary. I know research is critical…… any ideas about how I can be a successful writer? I would appreciate any direction you can give me. Also, blogging is great. It helps you to see what people think, anywhere you go there will be someone whom disagrees with your views. Do NOT walk on eggshells for anyone. People like to make others feel bad and will argue everything you say. Be true to yourself. Unless you are attacking others you’re fine. I’m currently reading The Bone Garden and will be purchasing The Keepsake when that is done. I LOVE your books. Please keep writing. I feel like Jane and Maura are real people. I love these characters. Thank you so much for your writings.

    Trevor (Rhode Island)

  25. Barb Sedensky
    Barb Sedensky says:

    I’m new to your Blog but I wanted to strongly respond to your reason for not blogging more by telling you to disregard those naysayers and criticizers of your comments – sour grapes! BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. There are many more of us who respond positively. I’ve only read your BONE GARDEN, but was blown away when I googled you today and found all the others. You can believe my mission will be to read them all. Keep up the good work. PS: I visited Turkey, too, and feel the same way about that country that you do!

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