Hey, Hon, What Should I Write About On Murderati?

by Rob

“I don’t know,” she said.

Believe it or not, I almost stopped posting right there.

Here’s the thing.  I am very fortunate to be working my ass off these days.  I recently completed two books, have now started on a new one, due March 1st, and also have another due April 15th.

Because of this, I’m very seriously considering leaving Murderati.  I haven’t decided yet.  Haven’t even TALKED to anyone about it other than Leila—who thinks I should keep going—but the thought is definitely there.

While I’ve enjoyed my time here, and am constantly amazed by the great posts my fellow Murderati contributors put up here every day, I find myself pretty much stymied when it comes time to post.  

Which is probably pretty evident, lately.

I don’t tell you this because I want everyone to say, “No, Rob!  Don’t go!”  Because the truth is, if I were to leave, Murderati would thrive without me, just as it did before I came along.

You’d think that coming up with a new blog topic every other week wouldn’t be that difficult, but I honestly really struggle to find something halfway interesting to say, and only succeed half the time.

So I’ve been thinking about the pros and cons of leaving.


1.  No looming deadline every other week.

2.  No pressure to come up with an interesting post.

3.  No disruptions of the paying work.

4.  Murderati gets fresh blood.


1.  No longer having a blog.

2.  Missing my colleagues and the many great people who comment.

3.  No longer being part of the “in” crowd.

4.  I vanish into obscurity.

So, if I make the decision to leave, is it a mistake?  I’d love to hear from you guys.  And AGAIN, I’m not looking for any ego-boosting “No, Rob, don’t go!” comments.  Just some solid reasons why I should, or shouldn’t, pull the plug.

Today’s Trivia:  The phrase Merry Christmas comes from Dickens and only became popular after the publication of A Christmas Carol.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that stuff.

P.S.  One of my family traditions is to watch THE REF as well, Alafair.  We absolutely love that movie.

37 thoughts on “Hey, Hon, What Should I Write About On Murderati?

  1. Gerald So

    I don't know if this is true for you, but I often use my blog for topics that don't make it into my fiction or poetry, topics that distract me from creative writing (for better or worse). You might consider doing the same on Murderati. Give up your regular schedule, but leave the door open for surprise guest posts. This might suit your needs and keep us reading Murderati on the chance you'll pop up.

  2. PK the Bookeemonster

    Don't know if it matters what posters think because the decision is yours to make based on your priorities but it is probably something of more import to the other Murderatis and therefore to be discussed with them. Congrats on getting so much accomplished and while looming deadlines are sometimes scary, it is also good to be in a position to have them.

  3. Grace

    Perhaps its time for the blog site to have a communal hat filled with topics for everyone to draw on, or something like that. This site is awesome, hate to see one less sharing but certainly understand your dilemma.

  4. Rob Gregory Browne

    PK, yes, this is certainly something that needs to be discussed with my fellow Murderatis, but I think it's good to get input from everyone.

    Susanne, I don't know if once a month would make a difference and it probably wouldn't be fair to the other posters.

    Grace, a communal hat might be good, but then there's also the problem of finding a topic that I can actually write about with any enthusiasm.

    Colette, this is a very good pointโ€”one my wife would definitely agree with. But the same could be said for Facebook and Twitter, which reach a lot of people and take much less time.

  5. Lorena

    You found a way to make Facebook and Twitter take less time? Sounds like a topic to me!

    Just kidding. Looming deadlines are the worst, and you have those no matter what you do–nature of the writing beast. But here's a thought for you: why do you blog, spend ANY time on FB or Twitter, etc? Marketing? To be one of the cool kids? To give you something to do when you want to get out of that dinner party with the guy down the street ('yeah, you know, I'd love to join you for that Washington Journal marathon this weekend, but, you know, blog post to write….')

    Are you reaching the audience you want to here? Are you reaching the audience you want to in other channels (i.e. FB and Twitter) — FB is a captive audience, pretty much–you're mostly talking to people who already know what you have to say and hoping their friends notice you too. Here, or guest blogging, or (to some extent, depending on how you say what you say, Twitter) you're reaching people who don't already know you. That's assuming you're using these platforms partly or largely for marketing.

    If you're doing it for fun, well, go for whatever is the most fun.

    That probably didn't help, did it?

  6. JJ

    Rob, sounds like you're just reaching deadline overload and pressure burnout. Don't quit the blog. Colette's right. This is how part of your audience knows you. Wait until after your deadlines are past then decide.

  7. TerriMolina

    You may not think you have anything interesting to blog about but I find your blogs entertaining even when they're senseless rambling (as mine so often are). ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I read the Murderati blogs not only because–aside from learning so much from you all–it makes me feel a part of this writer family. It shows me that my struggles and insecurities with trying to develope a writing career aren't 'just me'. You all empathize and sympathize and motivate me to keep going especially when I'm in an "I suck" funk….which has been a year long struggle this time. :-\

    Anyway, I hope you don't leave, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!!

  8. Debbie

    "No Rob, don't go!" Seriously, I enjoy reading the writer's perspective whether it's to inform or to purge. I also enjoy reading what interests each of the Rati, even if totally unrelated to writing…like I got a peek at a letter to a friend.
    The tone of today's post suggests that your mind is, in fact, made up.
    I like the pool of ideas to draw upon when stuck, and the idea to post less frequently as well. As for pressure on other Rati, how about fresh blood to compliment and even rehash old posts about writing from a new perspective? Perhaps someone about to be published who's going through it all for the first time )mayby someone who's books due out in May?-of course I'm now pressuring someone who might be thinking, why the hell would she volunteer me?). It's fun celebrating your progress with you.
    Rob, one final suggestion…there are people who have blogged and left, to turn to as a resource for perspective as well. Is there a chance you will fill the void in some other writing capacity? I'd love for you to stay, but only if you want to be here and don't feel resentful or on edge as deadline approaches. Your original motivation may have changed. You've given to the community, got your name out there, amused us, informed, gave us a glimpse inside your life and mind. I appreciate all and hope that you'll stay…in some capacity. That said, I'm sure those reading will respect and understand your decision if you change your focus and we'll all miss you greatly.

  9. Gar Haywood


    I feel your pain. When I first started my own blog, I was cranking out a new post once, sometimes twice a month, no problem. But then I discovered something: There's only so much we can say about what we do that hasn't been said already by someone else, and often more profoundly than we could say it ourselves. So inevitably, I hit the wall and there was a three-month gap between posts. It was either that, or post about the family cat.

    Having to come up with something every two weeks would be hard for anyone. Not impossible, but hard. Especially if you're determined to stay on topic, which some Murderati are more than others. Can't say I've ever read a post of yours that had me thinking, "Wow, Rob really mailed that one in." (Except for today's, of course, ha-ha.)

    Further complicating the task of posting on a regular basis, I would imagine, is one's natural reluctance to go negative. I've noticed that a lot of the Murderati faithful drop in to read something positive, to give them new hope for the writer's lot in life. Which is all good, except the happy-happy stuff is not always what a writer/blogger wants (needs?) to share with others most. Quite frankly, I've used my own blog, in part, to vent, to voice my frustrations about all things related to writing, and I've gotta tell you, it feels good to have a place to go to get that stuff out of my system. So for me, blogging is more therapeutic than promotional. Maybe that's ass-backwards, I don't know.

    Bottom line? I think Lorena's got it nailed: If you aren't having fun anymore, what's the point?

  10. Natasha Fondren

    If you continue, you get to squeak the brain into writing something other than fiction. Yes, a bit distracting and uncomfortable, but it's important for the brain to keep doing things outside the normal. Plus, when you go back to the fiction, you've got a fresh perspective. (It's scientifically proven that interruptions cause greater creativity. Even though it's unscientifically proven that interruptions make us crazy and stall our momentum…)

    Also, all the greatest writers in the past couple centuries were BIG letter writers and essayists. I figure the modern version of that is blogging. Also good for our brain to organize our thoughts like that… especially in this age of 140-character communication. Even Stephen King writes reviews and political articles and whatnot now and then.

    Of course, though… I'm always wishing I could have a week or two or three of uninterrupted writing, doing nothing but the WIP. That should be easy, as I don't have kids yet and I'm writing full-time, but… probably never going to happen. The feeling that it'll solve my problems increases at certain points in the WIP, lol.

  11. pari noskin taichert

    Rob, I'd hate to see you go; I think we have a really good mix here.

    I don't see us as being part of the "in" crowd or anything like that — just 14 people expressing our dance with career, writing, creativity — and sharing that dance with a fabulous community that shares back brilliantly.

    I guess I wonder at the idea of having to come up with something "interesting." We all want to write fine, thought-provoking posts. But all of us are realists too. A writer can't shine all the time . . . and that's an honest part of the dance. Some of us write posts that amuse . . . ask tough questions, bring up ideas that none of us have considered in that way, teach, express frustration or anger . . . .

    But if the blog is a tremendous burden to you, if it's become that, then it's not doing its job FOR you. And that you do seriously need to consider.

  12. anonymous

    I think you pretty much let us know how you feel. You don't like having to write blog posts. You are bored and pressured and uninspired. So don't do it anymore. No one wants to read something forced. An inspired blog is really something to behold. I have read many many good ones. The reader can feel the spirit and excitement in the post and catch the fever, the humor, the frustration, the whatever. Otherwise it is just blah, blah, blah and more blah. Skim it and move on over to read something someone enjoyed writing. Gar is right. What's the point?
    I have always felt that Murderati is more about a sharing community than a marketing tool. If you stop posting here you will not "vanish into obscurity". Not to be too blunt (like your post was today) but you might think about getting over yourself.
    Sorry. You asked for reaction. You asked for a solid reason. This is one.
    You complained about this same subject approx. a year ago. That you didn't have anything to say and that you didn't receive very many comments to your posts. You were thinking of quitting then. So stop flogging the blogging beast. Go.

  13. Rob Gregory Browne

    Lorena, the nice thing about facebook and twitter is that a) you can post when you like; and b) the posts can be very short. That said, it's ALSO a time suck.

    JJ, you may be right about waiting until after the deadlines, but I don't see this letting up anytime soon. I have a regular pen name gig that requires me to write two or three books a year, plus a couple of ghosting gigs as well as my own books. So it may be a while before the deadlines let up.

    Debbie, thanks. If I do leave, I like to think I'd be active in the comments, but would probably just pop in once in a while to see what's going on.

    Gar, I think you're right about being able to vent on a blog, but I tend to do that anonymously on forums. There was a time that I could do it under my own name, but have gotten blowback because of it. But I appreciate the negative as well as the positive on any blog. Which is way you sometimes find me in a surly mood here on Murderati.

  14. Rob Gregory Browne

    Natasha, I never thought of that, but you're absolutely right. Doing writing OTHER than fiction can be a break sometimes. It's possible that I'm just overwhelmed right now.

    Pari, yes, and as you can see, I'm very conflicted about the whole thing.

    Anonymous (whoever you are) — Over myself? Over myself? When was I ever, uh, under myself? (obscure Friends reference for anyone paying attention). ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your blunt assessment and your words of encouragement.

  15. Rob Gregory Browne

    Thanks, JT.

    And Gerald, I didn't meant to leave you out. Yes, you're right about using Murderati for topics that aren't about writing, but we generally try to stick to that theme here. Maybe not so much lately. But since it's a writing blog, I at least try to find topics that relate in some way.

    Of course, I guess you could argue that EVERY topic relates to writing in some way.

  16. Allison Davis

    Rob, this is kind of like the gym — it exercises a part of your brain and your writing life that the books don't and you are irritated that it breaks into your book writing time and concentration, but on the other hand, like all humans, you crave the community. For you, I think this is a great exercise to keep that portion of your brain — the analysis of writing, the reaching out — well oiled, and to feed to that part of your self that still needs a community around him, even when he's shut in his room writing books.

    If you get stuck, introduce a new writer to the group and give them the opportunity to guest blog to fill in for you every once in a while. That way, you stay in the group, we learn about a new writer, and it's all good. Besides, I think Leila is right most of the time.

  17. Karen in Ohio

    Like Collette, I had also never heard of you before following Toni here.

    Also, of my 285 Facebook "friends", some 20-25 of them are authors. Thumbing through my "suggested friends" there, more than 70% of those are also authors, many of whom I've heard of (or else I wouldn't know they were writers), but don't necessarily want to be "friends" with.

    In other words, here you are a big frog in a small pond. On Facebook, you are a small frog in a vast pond.

  18. Sylvia

    Well, I'd miss you Rob but certainly wouldn't hold it against you for not writing on a regular schedule.

    Sometimes blogging can feel forced. I believe part of the issue is the thought that a blog post must be a certain length. I'd rather read and react to one inspired paragraph asking the reader to think than 10 paragraphs of roundabout-fill-the-damn-page any day of the week.

    But that's just me.

  19. Sylvia

    Add to that… or you can email me every other week and I'll give you a topic to write about – ha!

    Here are two:
    Food quirks of our characters (thinking Nutella as the snack of you-know-who) and what that says / adds to a story and asking readers to list food quirks they know of.

    James Patterson TV commercials. All I can say there is WTF?

  20. Robin

    I'm with collette. I would have never known who you are or read one of your books if not for Murderati. Didn't you know it's my goal in life to read every one of ya'lls books. You'll mess up my rhythm if you leave. I'm being selfish. You must do what's best for you. Enjoy your wit and your stories and you have to hold up the male side of the fence. It'll will start falling down without you.

    Merry Christmas from a die hard rati fan.

  21. Reine

    Hi Rob, I only know you from here, and as a dedicated blogger, tweeter and FB'er I'd just like to add that they aren't the same at all as reading posts and comments on Murderati. But I know it isn't for everybody.

  22. KDJames

    Oh noes! Rob doesn't love us anymore. :sob:

    What? Oh, you wanted serious feedback?

    Okay, I can empathize. I've been writing blog posts for more than four years and sometimes… well, I wonder if there's anything left to say, let alone anyone who still wants to read it. But the thought of never writing a blog post ever again? Nope. Couldn't do that. So maybe if you decide not to post over here on a regular schedule, you'll find yourself writing an occasional post on a blog of your own. Or not. I agree with the people who have said that if you don't enjoy it, don't do it. There are so many unavoidable deadlines, is it sensible to voluntarily obligate yourself to one that makes you miserable? Life is too damn short as it is, stress will kill you if you give it half a chance.

    But I'd really miss your voice and input over here. Pari is right, you're an important part of a really great mix. And I wonder how badly you'd miss the camaraderie over here. Writing is a lonely thing. Yes, I know, you have family and friends– well, I'm pretty sure you have friends. But there really is something uniquely appealing and affirming about being part of a group like this. It's almost an embarrassment of riches over here, if you're a writer. Or a reader. I'd be heartbroken if someone told me I could never comment over here again. [Hey, that was not a suggestion. Let's not go getting any ideas.] I don't know how well you'd make the change from post writing to merely commenting. Not easily, I suspect. I'd hate to see you wind up ostracizing yourself from the group, condemned to eternal lurkerdom. :more sobbing:

    The tough part is, the decision is all yours. And so are the consequences, good and bad. Let us know what you decide? I figure it'll be a chance to drink heavily, either way.

  23. Sandy

    That anonymous person unfortunately comes across as one angry dude.
    My feeling is that you need to circle the wagons and speak with the other 13 'Rati, who may have many and creative suggestions. You know, that work space idea a few months ago brought a new angle and unity to this blog that I think every writer and reader enjoyed.
    Your ambiguity may hit the mother lode that eventually aids all of you.
    And I do understand, Rob. I created new and sometimes slightly new lesson plans for many and various high school English classes each semester for 32 years.

  24. Rob Gregory Browne

    Thanks, guys, for all the great comments. After reading all these, I can certainly see the benefits of sticking around and thank you all for your support.

    If I do decide to leave, the my fellow Murderatis will know well ahead of time so they can get someone in here to take my place.

    Just so you know, I'm leaning toward staying at the moment, but who the hell knows how I'll be feeling tomorrow.

    Again, thank you for your wonderful support.

  25. Alafair Burke

    It's precisely because you love THE REF that you cannot leave. See, it's all about me. (Slipper socks — medium!) Seriously, as long as you feel free to share whatever you need to share in a given moment, it shouldn't be too much of a hardship. But do what's right for you.

  26. Rob Gregory Browne

    The Ref rules. I think it and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels are my two favorite comedies of all time. My wife will tell you I'm not much of a laugher when I watch movies (even when I think they're funny), but those two always have me in stitches.

  27. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Ah, ha ha!
    Just kidding, Rob.
    Would hate to see you go.
    But I do know what you're feeling. I get it.
    It would be very hard for me to make the decision.
    If you went, who would be the Laurel to Brett's Hardy?

  28. Dao

    Oh no, please don't go! How would I know what's coming up next in your quarter and miniature cow murder mystery saga? I enjoyed that post very deeply and I think you are a funny person in Murderati. I would miss your update very much.

    Let me lend you a blogging tip, ok? When you don't have many things to say, post a picture. Or a couple of them. You'll be amazed how many feedbacks you get from posting pictures. Like they said, "A picture says a thousand words" and you don't have a write a single one of them. Ok, maybe a few, but you get my message, right?

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