The Ghosts of Blogging: Past, Present and the Future
The Green Study will be returning on September 1, 2014.
I’ve had a mental block against blog writing for the last few weeks. I’ve been frustrated and uncertain of what the problem is, but it finally occurred to me that it’s simultaneously too much restraint and a reckless use of energy. It is my desire as a human being to be moderate, thoughtful and courteous. However, what works well on a blog or committees or around small children does not work well with creative writing. And I’m spreading my energy thinly about, as if I have unlimited resources.
This blog has become a stale patch of writing ground for me. I’ve been fighting to maintain it, lingering with a whole lot of shoulds about having a social media presence as a writer. At some point though, I became a pretender. I am writing less and less offline, easily distracted and worn out by the bumbling hive of social media. That was not my intent and it is now a constant dark shadow following me.
I read a lot of well-written and issue-oriented blogs, which means that after a session of blog reading, I’m just randomly pissed off at the world. I don’t do anything, but I’m angry. It’s my least favorite use of anger – the holding pattern. The energy-burning, scowl-inducing waste of emotional energy. I’m angry about so many issues that it is like having an overwhelming to do list. I don’t know where to start, so I simmer in a paralytic state until Netflix releases another season of a favorite show.
I’ve read an excessive amount of books lately (as if reading could ever be in excess!). The contrast between online and longer form reading shows me a potential abnegation of critical thinking processes. Online reading makes me feel like I’m constantly in a hurry. My thought loops are shorter and faster and weigh less – becoming more like fumes than substance. Like most people, how I choose to spend my time is how I spend my life. At this point, seeing how far off the path of my personal intention that I’ve strayed, I’m not spending my time wisely.
I recently ran across a couple of writers whose work I’ve enjoyed reading. Their blogs bear testament to all the hard work they’ve had to do to get recognition and readership. I felt a great deal of envy – not for the accolades they receive, but for the drive and time they were willing to invest in their “presence”. I don’t have that and sometimes I wish I did. But they have street cred. They’re published authors. They did all the foundational work before becoming bloggers. First, they were writers. Not that one necessarily precludes the other, but human time is finite. It’s time for me to earn cred as a writer beyond this blog.
I have a friend who recently started her blogging journey. It reminded me of the cyclical nature of blogging. I’m sure that she will enjoy it, maybe get excited by the likes and the comments, maybe hit the Freshly Pressed lottery. It’s exciting as a writer to get immediate feedback and it can prevent the journey to authorship from seeming like such a lonely one. It got me moving, writing regularly and “meeting” so many lovely people. It made me say “yes” to writing when it seemed like a someday dream. I hope that she enjoys herself.
I’m taking the summer off from blogging and forcing myself through novel edits, as well as doing some short story writing. My intent is to hire an editor I’m not related to or have had drinks with, as well as submitting some shorter work to publications. My hope is to return in the fall with stronger skills, a sense of purpose and a little more joie de vivre than I’ve been feeling lately. No pressure or anything, right?
I have regularly taken burnout breaks from blogging over the last couple of years, but things have evolved in a way that I need to take a break for writing. That seems like progress somehow.