The upcoming new year also coincides with the two year mark for this blog. For the last few months, I’ve felt fairly disconnected from the blogging world. Online friendships have ebbed and waned. The writing has a joyless edge to it. I’ve started feeling envy for those bloggers who have so immersed themselves in this world that their tendrils of communication are seen everywhere. Like offline friendships, I am slow to warm, tentative to trust, unable to fight my own nature of needing to observe before engaging. It’s too slow a pace for the internet.
As a developing writer, blogging has served the purpose of habit. One would think that repetition would also carry some improvement, but if anything, the cuddly soft world of WordPress blogging has made me complacent. I write about subjects that strike me in the moment, focusing on my own perspectives, experiences and feelings. It is not a bottomless well and perhaps this is important. The reservoir feels like a puddle.
Since my time on WordPress, I’ve been Freshly Pressed 3 times. Unfortunately, this served to make me a little too self-satisfied. I have avoided writing about controversial or risqué topics, because I’m too thin-skinned and don’t have enough energy to be thoughtful for every nut job comment. I know this about myself, but I also know I’m getting hungry for a challenge. Perhaps the challenge for blogging is like running – hanging in long enough to get that second or third wind.
I’ve spent the last year taking a stand against drains on my time and personal energy. What gives me pleasure and energizes me? And if something doesn’t, do I let it go or do I work harder to make it matter? I’ve watched as blogs I follow go through permutations – some have turned into blogging rock stars and are everywhere. Others are consistent apologies for not writing more as they begin to fade away. Still others have become marketing tools for books or products or have begun to ask for money.
And then there are the brand new shiny happy blogs, which remind me of my first tentative step into what was essentially an echo chamber. It was rife with possibility. A blog is what we make it and often, with little intent, it becomes a reflection of our lives. My blog says that I’m slow to change, too civil to be controversial, too polite to sell products or ask for money and just arrogant enough to think anyone actually wants to read what I’ve written. I don’t know if I or this blog will ever be much more than that in the online world. The question is, in absence of all that, what do I want it to be?
The one thing I do know is that for me, the writing is the thing. Structure, grammar, rhetoric – these are areas where I can challenge myself. I am not a niche writer, choosing instead to write indiscriminately. As such, it’s time for me to up my writing game. The joy is in the challenge of writing – the lyrics and the flow and the stretch beyond my comfortable, cozy borders.
This blog is practice, a rehearsal and a workshop for finding my way as a writer. As much as I enjoy “meeting” and interacting with other bloggers, I know it is sometimes an easy distraction from doing quality work. Many times, I found myself posting halfheartedly because I missed the interaction. To live, to write, to blog with intention is, I think, the way back to joy and to being engaged.
Thank you to the kind readers and subscribers who have taken time to read, like or comment on posts. It is my intention to work hard in 2014 to be a better writer and blogger and to be more engaged. I don’t see any point in continuing, if it’s going to be half-assed. I’d prefer to be a complete ass.
& I’ll be back in 2014!
Until then, here are some of my 2013 favorite posts to write: