Intentional Blogging: Committing to Ephemera

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Everything is fleeting, including the summer during which I took a break from blogging at The Green Study. So here I am again. I browsed blogs this summer, but kept my “presence” to a minimum. I wrote casually at another blog TGS Zen Garden to focus on some health and lifestyle changes I’ve made.

Someone read my novel this summer. That was scary. I paced a lot, sometimes peeking in to see if I could tell anything from the expression on my first beta reader’s face. I thought criticism would wound. I thought I’d be more defensive. Instead, I was surprised that it was an easy pill to swallow. I’m unstuck now on what edits to work on and excited again about the story I’m telling.

I changed my diet from being a full-on dairy-addicted omnivore to eating a plant-based diet. I gave up nearly all caffeine, a withdrawal which made me sick for an entire week. I wore a cast boot for three weeks after getting a stress fracture from running. Things are finally starting to balance out and heal. Extra weight is coming off and I’m sleeping better.

My reading list was mostly nonfiction, littered with psychology, nutritional advice and time management practices. My brain is like a huge self-help conference, awash in aphorisms and optimism. Ideas are alighting and then flitting away, their essence filtering into my daily living.

And I made the deliberate decision to continue blogging. One of my priorities this summer and going forward is to live intentionally – to stop doing so many things with so little thought.

It’s noisy out there. There really isn’t a lot of justification for me to add my voice to the crowd. Everything I could say has been said, is being said or will be said. My attendance is not required.

Writing for a blog and interacting with the blogging community (answering comments, reading others’ work and commenting) takes a lot of time and effort if one wants to do it well and consistently. And what would be the point of doing it otherwise, if not to do it well?

Sometimes I can work for hours on a piece only to see little or no response. Other times, I write something off the cuff and it gets Freshly Pressed. Extrinsic reward cannot be the only motivator for this activity, but it sure helps.

I used to bullshit about why I blogged, but in living intentionally, one must be willing to be honest about one’s intentions. I am a writer, but blogging brings an immediate, interactive component that is heady. Yes, I feel that Sally Field rush (you like me!). I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t gratifying.

What has tripped me up is that while I find blogging enjoyable, it is a hobby. It’s unpaid. While a few superstar bloggers have turned it into a paying career, that is not my intent, nor the path I will be taking towards publication. It can’t take the place of writing offline, even though it feels like I’m doing something.

It really comes down to the fact that I like you. I like interacting with other humans. I like reading about experiences that are not my own. I like trying to contribute to the conversation. As a writer, I can become quite enamored of my own words, but when I write them out loud, when I realize that there will be an audience, they are tested. Are they genuine? Does it read well? What is my point?

canstockphoto6135038Thank you to Ruth, Belladonna, Sandy, kirizar and 3kids2cats1divorce – just a few of the friends (on and offline) who took the time to read and comment on my other blog this summer. I will continue to focus on health and lifestyle issues at TGS Zen Garden, posting once a week as I return to more regular blogging at The Green Study.

Thank you to returning readers. I know that there is more than enough to read online, so I greatly appreciate that you take the time to read, like or comment on posts at The Green Study.

It’s good to be here.

25 Comments on “Intentional Blogging: Committing to Ephemera

  1. Welcome back. I have always enjoyed your blog so I am happy to hear you’ve decided to continue. Glad your new regime is working and you’re feeling better as well. It’s a lot of time and effort, but clearly well worth it.

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  2. Oh yay! Welcome back. Your blog is one of my favorites, and I’m excited that you are making good progress on the novel. Can’t wait to read it. You are a wonderful writer!
    I ask myself the same questions about blogging – it takes so much time, and there’s little to show for it, if anything. And I wonder sometimes if it doesn’t drain my energy and creativity from my other writing. You don’t find that?
    I continue for the same reason that you state – I like *you* and other readers/bloggers. I feel as if I’m communicating about things that matter with people that I choose to spend (virtual) time with. For now, it’s a good pursuit for me, and I’m glad it is for you, too.
    Peace –
    Melanie

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    • Thank you for such kind words, Melanie. You have pointed out the exact problem I’ve been wrangling with in terms of offline work.

      I’m trying very hard to view it, much like a movie made from a book – it’s a different medium. On the plus side, it’s much less isolating as a writer. But it does take a great deal of time and energy. I’m trying to space out posts, plan a few ahead and have it work around blocks of time committed to fiction writing.

      Awareness is key, as is balance. I have a feeling I’m going to have to adjust and adapt to make this work for me. But a break clarified that I do want to blog, so I will have to cut out some extraneous things to continue. Fewer Netflix marathons and no more following links all over the internet until my eyes burn…

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  3. Welcome back! It sounds like you had a fruitful and enriching summer. Such a lot of rich thought in this post. I love your honesty about why you blog. I’ve tried to write that piece for a year or so now. Perhaps it’s time. I am committed to the same level of honesty as you brought to it.
    The “It’s noisy out there” paragraph also caught my attention. “My attendance is not required” brings a kind of truthful release and relief. And this applies both in real life and the blogging world. All I need to do is my own little thing: that which I’m inspired to do. Nothing else is required.
    I like you too 🙂
    Alison

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    • Thanks, Alison. It has been a really good summer to get “centered”. I have miles to go, but as I take on new challenges and survive/thrive, it give me confidence to try more.
      I’ve revisited the blogging question so many times over the course of the last couple of years. I think I find a different truth each time and maybe that’s what it is – knowing what your reason for doing something is at the moment you are doing it. And the reasons change over time and it’s okay that they do.
      Honesty requires me to realize that the work I was doing blogging made it easier for me to put off working on my novel. Now that I’ve moved it back front and center to my writing time, I can enjoy blogging for what it is.

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  4. I’m glad you’re back! I’ve been blogging for so long, I don’t remember why I started my New Beginnings blog. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I enjoy writing. And my Gratitude Journal Blog came out of keeping myself accountable for keeping a Gratitude Journal. And my Sable Wings blog came out of feeling comfortable enough to get my fiction writing ‘out there’ to an audience instead of just me. Of course I enjoy the likes and the comments. But I honestly don’t think that’s my primary reason for blogging, otherwise I would have given up after the first few posts. 😀

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    • You’re much braver on the fiction front than I. It was entirely nerve wracking to have a critical reader (critical as in well-informed, analytical and thoughtful) hold my book in her hands.
      I believe I started out blogging to practice writing in a public forum and survived on the likes and comments of relatives and friends for many months. Then the Freshly Pressed thing hit and encouraged/misled me. I’ve been through several mutations as a blogger, but I have to admit that the interaction is why I come back. I just have to be careful not to lose focus on what my writing priorities are. I’d like this novel to find its way to print eventually!

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  5. Welcome back, Michelle. I love the idea of doing things intentionally. As far as blogging being unpaid–so I’ve learned, for the most part, is writing in general, especially poetry, art, acting, etc. All of our devalued arts. And we all keep doing them. Intentionally, I might add.

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    • Thanks, Luanne. You’re right about most art being unpaid, but as my intention is to make money from my writing eventually (again, learning to be honest with my intentions), I have to be mindful of how I spend my time. And I have to laugh at that intention, since the only reason I want to make money from writing is so that I have the latitude to be a writer without going back into a cubicle. Also, it helps with those awkward “what do you do?” conversations with people who have real jobs.

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      • Yeah, I get that. I saw my mother-in-law the artist struggle with this issue, I’ve struggled with it, and now my daughter the actor struggles with it. Sigh.

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  6. This is great- your honesty about your reasons for blogging is refreshing. You’re good at it, and that must count for something 🙂

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    • I’ve gone round and round about blogging, since I tend to want to commit fully to something or not at all. In the end, though, it’s a different writing experience to enjoy. Thanks for your kind words, Miriam.

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  7. Welcome back to the trenches, comrade. Run the flag up the mast and see if she’ll fly. But don’t count your chickens until they come home to roost. (From my soon-to-be-published work: Metaphors: Mangled and Maimed.)

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  8. Great to see you back here Michelle! Also happy to hear that your first novel is written (and now “only” editing work remains) and you have made the healthy changes you wanted to make. Looking forward to more!

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    • Thanks, Helen! Unfortunately the first novel has been written for about two years. I was completely stuck on the editing. I am happy to say that I have a clearer sense of what I want to do with it and am moving forward. I’m looking forward to being re-engaged with writing and blogging. It’s also pretty exciting to actually follow through on health changes – I’m starting to feel so much better. It’s a middle age resurgence!

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  9. It’s amazing what a little vacation can do. I’m finding that right now, too. Sometimes we need a little distance to sort our priorities and get real with ourselves.

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  10. I wish I had written this. You gave voice to so many of my thoughts, worries, wishes…. But I’m just as glad that *you* wrote it, because it gives me a much clearer perspective, and I think you got it spot-on in your meditation. So thanks, and I’m delighted you opted to come back into the conversation. Cheers to you.
    Kathryn

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