I once saw a post on a Facebook blogging group by a women who was wondering whether anyone understood the way she felt – that she wanted to give up blogging, but felt obligated to continue. She lamented her lack of inspiration, her lack of time, the frustration of having to respond to comments and visit other blogs. She expressed upset at the sheer difficulty of sitting down in front of the computer and trying to create something engaging.
Many responded with sympathy; there was a spate of “I know exactly how you feel”s and “Ohmigosh, I feel the same way”s. Then there was a slew of back-and-forth about a blog/life balance. And then there was me, with usual snark and lack of empathy “Nope, I love it. I can’t forsee ever wanting to give it up.”
Funnily enough, my input went largely ignored amongst the self-validating hysteria that ensued.
But this blogger’s plight popped into my mind just now, and seemed rather more pertinent than I’d once given it credit for.
These last few weeks, I’ve been struggling to get to my own hop on time. I’ve found it hard to write, to engage. I’ve been distracted. My process for today’s post has not gone well, and I’ve been a) racking my brains trying to think of anything to write which isn’t completely lame and b) totally not in any kind of ‘zone’.
Open blank blog post *click* check Facebook *click* stare at blank post template *click* remember to create the HTML for the hop and send it out *click* read a blog *click* get food *click* chat to someone on messenger *click* stare at blank post *click* find new music on Youtube*click* take a Buzzfeed quiz *click* try to upload a photo I took earlier *click* read another six blogs *click* check Twitter *click* check Facebook again *click* wonder where the hell everyone is *click* stare at blank post *click*…*click*…*click*
I began blogging with such good (if naieve) intentions. I was going to learn how to write for an audience – how to engage, and I feel like I’ve done that really well. I rapidly discovered that what little audience I had weren’t really interested in the things I thought, but in the Truths about me, about discovering more of the person behind the screen. And to be honest, so was I; in writing about myself I’ve been able to achieve levels of self-analysis and gain understanding in areas I never had before. It’s also helped having such wonderful feedback and the luxury of other people’s perspectives to take me out of my own viewpoint and allow me another way of seeing things, of framing them, of trying to make them make sense.
And where sense has been impossible and hurt has been all there was left, I’ve drawn great comfort from the knowledge that around me, I’ve co-created a community of friends – people who, in spite of their lack of physical presence, are genuinely for one another, and who care deeply about those online bods who’ve become part of their world. It’s been wonderful in ways I never thought were possible.
But tonight I feel empty.
I feel like this is written for the sake of it, rather than the love of it.
And it’s not to do with obligation, because I know I can think of Ten Things, easy-peasy. It’s about the writing, and not showing up here with just a list and nowt else (though I know if I want to, I can totally do that – it’s my freakin’ hop, after all).
It’s about the sharing, because for me, that’s the thing I love to read – what people have to give of themselves – the part they’re happy to siphon off onto the page and leave there to be seen. And lately I feel like I’ve hit a dry spell. Which has probably contributed to my whining earlier this week. I feel disenchanted with myself and as though, if I were you, I’d probably want my money back after investing the time to read what I’ve been putting out there lately.
The tank’s run empty and all I’m siphoning off is the crud in the bottom.
So what do I do with that?
I can take a hiatus, forsure. Post more infrequently. Save up what good there is left to splurge in decadent, indulgent pieces once in a blue moon. I’ve seen others do it, and it works for them – people treat their writing like they’ve struck diamond oil, because of the scarcity. Whereas I’m here most days, and beginning to churn out the mediocre.
The last thing I want to turn into is a ‘fast food’ blogger – someone who writes prolifically and with no nutritional value. I want to write gourmet. I want sumptious. I want my writings to be the eat-all-you-can buffet to the starving person; the sunset to the painter; the moon to the poet; the water sloshing over the side of the bath as you get in and the theory of displacement suddenly crashing into your brain and making complete and utter sense, so that you leap out and run down the street screaming “EUREKA!”
I want you to come away from them feeling sated, and still licking your lips, remembering the best bits.
So I’ll weigh up my options and in the meantime, there are those Ten Things*
Breakfast – the first and most wonderfully AWESOME thing already began happening last weekend – in a conversation over my Sunday TToT post, I made a delightful new friend, like, properly. And the most marvellous thing happened – my new friend Jny, who is an illustrator, donchaknow (alongside having a bunch of other strings to her bow) drew me a For Real Drawing. And she posted it on her blog later, and absolutely BLEW MY MIND because I’d thought we were having a fun little chat, but no; she was taking notes and fuelling the most beautiful whirlwind of a creative process, which ended up looking like this. And she’s going to send it to me to keep forever.
Second Breakfast – It was sunny this week, for two, whole, beautiful days. And on one of those days, I ran nine miles (changing my neural pathways, folks – this is a GOOD THING)
Brunch – I got to ‘pop in’ on Niece and Neff and get huggled to pieces, Darth Maul’ed and schnoogled.
Elevenses – I found (yet another) doctor’s clinic with a charity bookshelf. I limited myself to ONE (willpower or WHAT?) new book. ‘When I fell from the sky” – Juliane Kopcke. So far so incredible. And I began Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, because I heard it was totally worthwhile, but I’m struggling to get into it. I’ll keep slogging.
Lunch – Mum’s allotment is growing Green Things, and I got to try a mouthful of leek which had been growing in the ground not an hour earlier. It. Was. Delicious. And one day soon, when the South of England stops trying to emulate the Okefenoke Swamp, I’ll get my butt (and my shiny new spade and fork) out to the allotment and dig up all the grass on my section and start planting Green Things of my own.
Afternoon Snack – Tomorrow we focus on my garden patch, and I hope against hope that the rain will hold off, and the sun will be out and that I get to dig a couple of Big Holes for my trees. They need earth. They’ve been in pots for too many years. I have an Amelanchier Lemarkii, which has white blossoms in spring, and edible berries and fiery foliage in autumn, and a beautiful yellow Peace rose (one of the desires of my heart, and one of my favourite things in my childhood garden – great, butter-yellow bowls of perfectly furled rose petals, with a deep, silky hint of pink, glowing around the edges like sunset, and a smell which, when you buried your face in the bloom, would fill you up from your toes to the tips of your hair).
High Tea – Digging. I know a certain Clark who has a penchant for digging holes, and although I find great satisfaction in doing so, what I really like best (don’t ask questions nor wonder nor judge) is Being Muddy. I adore it beyond all reason for someone who doesn’t like rain, but smudge me with earth, get me mussed up and looking like I’ve done some Worthwhile Toil In Nature, and I’m happy as a bee.
Dinner – and that totally, definitely reminded me of a really nice childhood memory, of creating a mud hole in the vegetable patch as a kid, and sitting in it, feet and hands (up to knees and elbows, in over the edge) and shunning some girlie girls who’d come to play princesses (or whatever) with my sister, and just…squelching. Painting myself with it. Watching it dry and flake off in little cracks of dust and pale dirt. Finding worms and bugs and scooping them out so they didn’t drown. Scraping patterns in the thick mud over my skin, and seeing images appear so bright against the dull, treacly background. And just *being* a teeny-tiny little mudder.
Supper – It rainbowed over the city again tonight as I was leaving work, but I was out from under the rain, and managed to get a pic. Which then got totally washed out upon transfer to the laptop, so I finally plucked up the courage to go and play with Picmonkey, and you know what? It was kinda fun.
Midnight Feast – Dyanne made me laugh SO MUCH earlier. Her phone truncated part of my post from yesterday as she read it, and turned one sentence into rather more of an over-share than I promise I would EVER give you…
Soooooooooooo what are your Ten for this week?
*Numbered this time after each meal a Hobbit manages to get himself outside on any given day.