Ten Things of Thankful #36

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.”

CLANGG!

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.

Ten Things of Thankful
Ten Things of Thankful
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150 thoughts on “Ten Things of Thankful #36

  1. A perfect Elevensie for my brain. I too struggle with why I write. Do I have a voice, Am I simply slogging or benefiting. Still working out those details for myself, but as for the beautiful mental snack, I feel warm and yummy inside.

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  2. But that's exactly what you do! You write into people's hearts and minds alike. Honestly. Just look around you at all those comments! 🙂

    In any event I can't wait to see what solution you come up with, because I already know it'll be original and unique and you.

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  3. Thanks Mary, that's really kind of you to say 😀 I'm gonna try harder though, so that I feel satisfied by what I write. It's been lovely to hear how many people enjoy my writing though, that's been lovely to hear.

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  4. Hi, I thank you have accomplished your goal of not being a fastfood writer. You are sumptious. I read and reread some weeks just to get more indepth messages from your writing. Thanks for sharing and striving to encourage and inspire.

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  5. Late to the party as usual, but…I'm in and looking forward to reading everyone's tomorrow while in my jammies and recovering from an LA dance convention with Ase.

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  6. What's wrong with pulling back for a while, until you get another creative rush and hum in your voice? I don't think that is unusual for any artist, and I certainly think you need to honor your craft. It's NOT giving up- it's pulling back, taking deep breaths, reflecting, reading, praying and living….

    Filling your tank back up.

    Yeah. That.

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  7. I've certainly got the self-awareness down, but I think the struggle or anxiety about the writing and WHY I'm doing it, has become more prevalent. I'm not changing the world. I'm not stretching myself creatively. I'm just…writing about me. Well I think that changes (it might just have changed a bit) and I'm planning on rising to the challenge.

    But thank you for thinking that this post wasn't junky. I do still try to keep the Truths out there and the rubbish de minimus.

    But yes. The staying with people. Having an effect. THAT is what I want. I want stickability. Or that magical thing that you have, which I can only emulate, of somehow writing your way into people's souls…

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  8. Not to trivialize what you're saying, but there was nothing fast food about this particular post. This sentence, quoted by one of the other commenters made me think of my own writing and reexamine it: “weren't really interested in the things I thought, but in the Truths about me”. Your post was deep and honest and original and you. That being said, I totally get the feeling you so aptly describe of wanting to produce something that stays with people. To me your writing does. I think you have indeed reached a great level of self awareness through your writing, which I'm sure will bring about either a great epiphany or a small “huh!” moment when you'll know exactly what the next step should be for you and your writing. xo

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  9. Ahhhh the flower of shame (I stole that image).

    I might post less, but no hiatus yet. We'll see. I don't think I could do without the interaction, to be perfectly honest. I just need to challenge myself to write BETTER.

    I got sunshine – thank you 😀

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  10. So sorry to hear that you are in a blogging fix, Lizzi, and we hope you get sunshine for your gardening. It's good to take a hiatus and come back refreshed, but know that you will be sorely missed. 🙂 ❤ BTW, love the pic of the flower. The petals look as though they have a rainbow on then as well.

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  11. Ohhh my dear, that is preciousvaluable information…especially to someone who loves pranks as much as I do…and you just gave it away free

    Oh I like you a lot Jny – we are going to have some FUN, you and I 😀

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  12. I ended up being taken to lunch with mum, Niece and Neff, so all's well ends well. Another time though, forsure 🙂

    Glad you managed to get your post out. I shall go and read it shortly 🙂 I hate HATE that feeling though, that the writing you've just made is BORING! Blech!

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  13. Oddly enough I had similar feelings about this weekend’s post. i wrote a large chunk in a hotel room last night and then didn’t like it at all – it just felt so-o dull! So I had decided I’d not bother, especially when our plane got back late and I had earache – but then a few things happened after we got home and I got a post. And I'm glad you got yours out and working in the end too!
    That picture your new friend did is gorgeous and so is the rainbow.
    Was sorry not to manage to meet up, but it was just as well in the end because I had earache and was not feeling great today – a right grumpy-guts this morning!

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  14. Omgawddd–you think he did thiis to see what the fuck I would do??? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA. HUNT HIM DOWN IS WHAT i'LL DO. agagagagagagagggggggg i Told you guys I was naive, I thought he had a fever and was delirious! OOh man! going over there now!

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  15. I KNOWWW! but I'm beginning to get flak from Husby for having an ever-increasing pile of unread books…

    (I saw. And I know that Clark let you know how. Because I saw that, too. I see everything)

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  16. Alas, my dear, I'm far more of the *point and laugh* variety.

    I suspect he may (on the odd occasion) attribute things to people when they haven't specifically earned said attribution, just to see what happens 😉

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  17. this is so awkward I need some else with a kind and gentle heart to do this. could someone–like you please tell clark that I never told him how to do italics in his comments??? oh gawddddd

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  18. Yes, with the blogging slump and the lack of words and all of it. It happens. And I don't know what exactly i do when it does but it also always passes. I do try to just relax and realize it's a cycle and once I do that, the ideas start flowing again.
    Also, I love rainbows 🙂

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  19. *grins* If you had, you would've been in a minority of people to say express that out loud, rather than just roll their eyes in disgust, click the big red X and leave without commenting 😉

    Thanks. I often don't feel very tough-as-nails, but then I guess none of us do…

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  20. What I was going to write was, “Oh for Pete's Sake stop whining and get over it! CLANGG! I'm sooo kidding, Lizzi) But, I didn't. How I truly “see” you as I've been reading you for a while now is that you have a tough as nails constitution within. That I truly mean 🙂

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  21. Oh go ONNNN share here. What were you going to write? 😀

    I rarely intend to alienate, though it happens with stunning regularity. And I suffer from daily Food In Mouth disease, but it keeps me alive :p (see, am I alienating you yet?)

    Chattiness is to be commended. Especially in the comment box. And storytelling on blogs is HUGELY worthwhile. And totally where I'm at.

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  22. It's an AWESOME linkup – I strongly recommend you try it soon – you'll not regret it 😀

    Kim is lovely, and a good friend of mine, so I'm pleased to hear you found me via her site 😀

    I don't want to step back, per se, I want to stop churning out things which I feel are less than good. But it seems my opinion is in the minority, so I then have to decide what to listen to! But useful to know that you found it to be quite damaging in terms of levels of engagement – thank you, that's worth bearing in mind.

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  23. I was going to write something in jest to CLANGG on your post IN JEST but I thought it might get misunderstood and I never intend to alienate. I suffer from Food In Mouth Disease daily. My clumsy feet are as totally out of sync with my clumsy mouth. Why is it you make me so chatty? I want to be one of those Commenters who can write an elite sentence or two, click Submit, and walk away with my chest puffed out saying, “Ha, that was a good one, Mike.” Alas, that is not me. I like what you said here, “The last thing I want to turn into is a 'fast food' blogger – someone who writes prolifically and with no nutritional value.” That is me to a 'T', Lizzy. I'm a storyteller…some folks will like it, other's won't. But, as long as I'm having fun I'm all in. Good post 🙂

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  24. Good luck with the blogging slump. I went through one in December and took a step back which was sorely needed. I lost a few viewers in the process and it's been hard getting readership back but I won't write just for the sake of writing.

    This is a great linkup! Visiting from Kim Ulmanis' blog and hopefully I can link up soon. New follower on social media.

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  25. Well now, I *assume* it was Tolkein. 'Elevenses' has been part of my family culture for EVER, but I don't know its heritage.

    No paddies! No thank you! The garden is surprisingly alright. I did lots and made a new flower bed and we planted things 🙂

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  26. I love your numbering system. Tolkien was brilliant to come up with “Elevenses.” The photo of the rainbow is gorgeous! If your garden plot doesn't dry out soon, maybe you should just plant rice. 🙂

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  27. I'm glad you think so. In all honesty, I think what would happen is that I'd just have fewer people around me here, and I'd be sad. Certainly there'd be a mimimising effect on interaction, just for lack of stuff to interact over. I'd have to actually *think* of things to talk to my friends about…

    I ALWAYS feel the urge to write. I just don't always manage to write anything good. I think I need to improve.

    I was SO happy with how the rainbow pic turned out. I'm now officially sold on Picmonkey.

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