The Ghosts of Blogging: Past, Present and the Future

The Green Study will be returning on September 1, 2014.canstockphoto3712376

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.

I wish you a wonderful summer!

MichelleSig copy

31 Comments on “The Ghosts of Blogging: Past, Present and the Future

  1. Awesome path and best of writing to you, Michelle! I can relate on ALL levels and feel your need to step out and step in. Love your blog, you will be missed over the summer with much anticipation for your revitalized return in the Fall. What news, dear WP family member lol, what news?

    Like

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment – it is quite apparent to me that I have not had the time to read all the great blogs out there and just popped over to yours. Wow – some great writing there! I followed so that I can catch up to you in the fall. Thanks again and have a great summer!

      Like

  2. Enjoy your time off and your summer. And good luck with the short stories and the novel.

    Like

  3. Thanks for listening to your life. Have a guilt-free summer. John

    Like

  4. Enjoy the break. Yes, it is a cyclical journey and I relate to much of what you write about. Taking a break is a good way to clear away the clutter in the mind and the frustrations that build up. Let the summer breeze blow it all away then come back to the keyboard with a fresh vibe & new tales to inspire your readers. Light & love to you Michelle.

    Like

    • Thank you, Lisa. I’m trying to think of it as a working break, but one that is satisfying. Some good gardening sessions, outdoor music and as ever, lots of good reading for inspiration! I hope you have a fulfilling summer as well!

      Like

  5. A blogging break for writing is a nice twist. All the best in the journey. Hmm there’s no other blogger that quite replaces you.

    Like

    • Thanks, Lyle. I think it will, in the long run, allow me to continue blogging. I have yet to find that balance between online and offline work, which will be my goal for the fall. Have a good summer and I look forward to reading your blog and seeing what fabulous shots you’ve captured.

      Like

  6. I think this has been nattering at you for a while. Refocusing and recommitting to priorities takes a deep breath and action. I’ll be thinking about you in your writerly-ness and listening to Polar Vortex. Maybe we can meet for that cup of Joe later in the summer.

    Like

    • It definitely has – it has been a huge year of transition for me in terms of deciding to commit more time to writing. I just haven’t managed to do it well and I’m hoping a little time to focus will solidify my commitment and habits for offline writing. Stay in touch, Sandy and we might manage that cup of coffee yet this summer!

      Like

  7. You need to do what you need to do for creativity, Michelle. My best to you, have a wonderful summer, and I hope you come back (for us haha).

    Like

    • Thanks, Luanne. I like to think of the next couple of months as a self-guided writing retreat. I’ll be back – I have had too much fun blogging over the last couple of years. Enjoy your summer as well!

      Like

  8. I’ve been coming back to this line ever since I read your post yesterday:

    “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…”

    I want to thank you for that insight, because it expresses succinctly what I feel, but could not articulate.

    Fly away, be free. But write. Please, just write. If not on a blog, and if it’s public let us know,. I love your work. You have amazing talent and we, your readers… yes, I think I can speak for more than myself… are grateful.

    Thank you.

    Like

    • Thanks Maggie, for your kind words. It’s easy to become adept at being constantly outraged, but we have to pick our battles and one can feel so defeated reading of all the things going wrong in the world. Sometimes it’s important to take a break from a steady stream of information to let things settle, deepen, take a shape that is more meaningful than a sound byte. Much the reason that I need to focus on writing and retreat from all those things that eat up so much time and energy.
      I’ll be back in the fall, hopefully with stronger writing chops, callused gardening hands and a sense of purpose. Take care and have a lovely summer.

      Like

  9. All the best Michelle for your summer plans. I hope everything you want to accomplish comes to fruition!

    Like

  10. Good luck – it certainly sounds like progress to me! I’ve just recently started blogging as a way to get back into the writing habit, and it’s good to know there’s a stage beyond that. Will enjoy browsing your old posts over summer, and hope to see you again in the fall…:)

    Like

    • I think it’s always a question of balance and I’ve just not managed it between the on and offline writing. I hope to get better at that, as I do enjoy blogging. I look forward to returning in the fall. Thanks for reading and commenting – have a great summer and fun blogging!

      Like

  11. Kudos to you for doing something so difficult, but definitely will be rewarding. After reading your post I think I have been doing the same thing. I fancy myself an author, I have written 4 unpublished books, but since I have been blogging I have been doing almost no writing except during November (National Novel Writing Month). I see now I need to focus more on the longer pieces even if they don’t come with x amount of likes and views. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to your return.

    Like

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. I have a draft post written called “Lies I Tell Myself”. One of them is that blogging is the same as furthering a writing career – this precipitated the decision to take a break. While some of the same skills are used, blogging is such an ephemeral experience – it feels like one is working as a writer, but without actually furthering a writing career in terms of concrete work. I really do enjoy writing in short bursts and interacting with other bloggers, but I think I’ll be better on both fronts if I develop better habits and intent offline. I look forward to returning in the fall with a little more spring in my step. Have a great summer!

      Like

  12. Wise choice, Michelle. You said it so well here. I look to you for intelligent inspiration, and as I’m faced with an enforced blogging/tech break shortly, I think I will spend some time in contemplation of all the thoughtful ideas you’ve posed here, and I thank you for that. In return, I wish you all sorts of good from your own blog-cation!
    Cheers,
    Kathryn

    Like

    • Thanks, Kathryn. I really have to say I’m feeling a little joyous declaring a break. I’ve been reading one book after another and feeling the impetus grow to finish fine-tuning my own book. This morning, instead of toiling away on a new blog post, I was lucky enough to look up from my book out of the study window and not 10 feet away stood a full grown red fox. We’ve never seen them in our yard before. It felt like a good omen for things to come. Enjoy your techno-break and the summer ahead!

      Like

      • I can’t imagine a more fabulous herald of great things to come! May the days and weeks ahead live up to Fantastic Mr. Fox’s glorious appearance!

        Like

  13. A very thoughtful and honest blog. Also you have many feelings I read expressed lately in other blogs and reflected in my own writing and ideas. It could be the flood of media from blogging, June Just Got Out of School Laziness, or what…? Rest well.

    Like

    • Thanks, Rebecca. I’m sure it’s all of those reasons and more. When they start piling up, it’s likely time for me to listen. And wow, did I ever feel glad when school was finally out! I am looking forward to digging in and really honing my writing/editing skills. It’s a lifelong process, but sometimes it takes some focus to get that ball rolling. Enjoy your summer!

      Like

  14. Best of luck and looking forward to reading more of your writing in blog/book form or otherwise! I wonder what the world looks like outside the social media hive…

    Like

%d bloggers like this: