Back, a little bit

back-from-hiatusThanks to everyone who was supportive of me and my work at a difficult time … your friendship is appreciated.  I’ve had some time to think, and I’ve decided that the potential pleasure I have in blogging outweighs the drawbacks, at least for now.  Besides, the other writing I’ve been working on hasn’t been going well, and I need something to do 😉

I didn’t stop reading and I certainly didn’t stop thinking about books during the time I was away from this blog.  I’ve also been reconsidering what it is that I’m doing with blogging and how I’m doing it — and how I should be doing it to make myself happier with the process and the product.

And so, in the spirit of Bill Maher announcing his “New Rules” at the end of each of his programs, here’s my new rules:

  • My blog is where I do this work. Although I understood from experts that the way to support this work is by talking about it in other channels, that was giving me problems; in future I won’t be talking about this work on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or anything else you can think of.  I have no taste for self-promotion.
  • I will no longer accept free review copies from publishers, not that I had been doing a whole lot of that anyway.  Thank you for your generosity, Chad Arment at Coachwhip, but I need to be distanced from publishers.  Whatever I discuss will be at arm’s-length.
  • Comments — I’m still conflicted.  Apparently I can’t shut them off, and that’s probably wise; this shouldn’t be an ivory tower. I recognize that there are some very nice people out there who want to send me supportive thoughts, and I thank you.  Just warning you in advance that my current instinct is to read comments but only publish them for a specific reason. If I knew what that reason was, I’d tell you; I expect it will have something to do with making a contribution to the topic at hand.
  • No more Mr. Nice Blogger.  And you do NOT want to find out what I mean by that.  If you give me and my work the same respect I give you and your work, we’ll be fine.
  • Finally and most importantly, I’ve realized that in order to bring the right spirit to this work, I have to do it without caring how many people read it.  One of my major mistakes (other than assuming that all my fellow bloggers were truly friendly, which proved not to be the case) was steering myself into writing about topics that would increase my readership. Superficially that seemed reasonable but it was making me very unhappy. I’ve decided that I’m not going to look at my readership figures any more and I’m only going to work on topics that interest me in the way that they interest me.  I certainly hope to please you, but I will insist upon pleasing myself first.

During my hiatus, I’ve also started to get a handle on something that’s been nagging at me for a long, long time. I’m not yet ready to publish about it, but it’s at the macro level of “What are mysteries for?  Why do mysteries exist?”  I’ll share with you a quotation that sparked my thinking, from a modern writer named Denise Mina, and I’ll hope it sparks your thinking too.


Again, thank you all for your kind words during my absence.  I won’t be as prolific as once I was, but I hope to enjoy it more.  Nice to be back.



4 thoughts on “Back, a little bit

  1. Hello Noah. I’m glad the hiatus is over. You and I read the same sort of books, about which you are a trustworthy commentator. That series of posts: 200 Authors I Would Recommend. More please! Those posts have had great practical value to me, and have led to happy discoveries and re-discoveries. Thank you. Tom Sharpley.

  2. Noah Stewart says:

    I think it’s likely I’ll focus on those 200 authors more individually and at greater length from now on, but thanks for your kind words. One of the reasons I hadn’t continued that series is because I felt I should focus on Golden Age mysteries and I no longer feel that’s useful, so — perhaps I’ll get back to that.

  3. All sounds very sensible Noah and very good to have you back – if you really want to though, turning off the comments is doable, you know, but I hope you don’t. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s