The Dog Days of Blogging
The Green Study is on hiatus until September.
As the smell of tar drifts in through open windows and the cicadas drone on, I wrestle with decisions and consequences. Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time, knows this is a constant state for me – the wrangling of life out loud, never settled, never quite comfortable.
I started writing for this blog in January of 2012. The intent was to get in the practice of writing out loud. I went quietly about my business, writing about things that were of interest to me in the moment. I gained a small readership and began to enjoy the interactive facet of blogging.
In August and November, I went through the Freshly Pressed brouhaha. Fantastic and brutal, complimentary and misleading all at once. There were numerous missteps on the part of my ego and the numbers started to matter. The writing veered off course, I started to repeat myself and subjects. I wrote a lot of posts about blogging. To change things up a bit, I ran a couple of contests in December 2012 and February of this year. Fun, but a great deal of work.
This blog has never had a real focus. On occasion, I’ll get fired up about a subject and try to really cover it, but even I get bored with it after a few posts. My series seem to drop off. I haven’t yet gotten my fiction site up and running. I’ve written many more drafts than posts – there were a lot of nonstarters.
In November 2012, I participated in the National Novel Writing Month, which I learned about only through reading other people’s blogs. This led to quite a few posts about writing a novel and the consequences that followed. One of the consequences was an eye condition that has put some speed bumps in my blogging path.
A small fear has been planted that my vision may permanently be affected. I am a reader and writer and impaired vision (beyond my lifelong nearsightedness), at the age of 45, scares me. My body has begun to feel the wear and tear of intense workouts and Taekwondo. My brain is starting to drift mid-sentence and I am constantly struggling to focus.
It is not just the dog days of blogging – it’s the dog days of my life. I am restless and edgy. The clear vision I had for myself less than a year ago, has, like my sight, eroded. This is not a dramatic moment or a major epiphany – merely a need for course correction.
I’ve tried to take breaks along the way, to get my mojo back or put some spring back into my step. I will forever be a writer and I hope to blog for the long haul, but I’m at a turning point. I hear “blah, blah, blah” in my head every time I write. The navel-gazing has put a crick in my neck and a circle in my thought process.
Writing. I’m taking the month of August off from online blogging to give my eyes a chance to heal. The next step for me is surgery and I need to do everything I can to avoid that. Until then, I will continue to write off line in the hopes of developing stronger material. I must acquaint myself with some old school utensils, as well as remembering why writing left-handed with gel ink is a bad idea (smears galore!).
Traveling. I am also getting out and about – visiting Niagara Falls, the Chicago Jazz Festival, a trip traveling to wildlife sanctuaries, conservation centers and botanical gardens. The trip has the hallmarks of getting perspective, clearing up my vision, giving my brain a rest.
Reading. I am midway through The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and overwhelmed by the beauty and strength and intensity of his storytelling. It makes me hungry to push myself as a writer. I’ve been too timid, too afraid. I have fierce opinions, but in writing I feel compelled to be reasonable. I don’t think reasonable is going to get me where I want to go. And I won’t know where I want to go until I write without a leash.
Resting. I’m off for a few weeks from Taekwondo and am focusing on some haphazard yoga, long walks and plenty of sleep. It has gotten more complicated with this eye condition, sleeping with bandage contacts, ointments, eye mask and humidifier. I’ve got a serious case of The Princess and the Pea going on, having to have so many things just right to get some rest.
Family. We’ve all been taken over by work or lessons or extended family obligations. I realized the other day, with a shock, that my daughter has grown nearly as high as my shoulder. I want to capture some of the time before there are Cat’s in the Cradle -like regrets. That’s my mantra these days: Do it now, no regrets later.
Gratitude. But here’s what I’d like to say most: Thank you. You’re one of the reasons I keep coming back. Thank you for reading and/or commenting. Our conversations have been encouraging and thought-provoking and I value the connections I’ve made here.