I’ve had a lot to think about these past few weeks, not least of all where I want to go with this blog. I didn’t consciously decide to take any time away from the writing, but sometimes when life gets in the way of something it’s a good idea to use it as an opportunity to step back and really look at what you’re doing. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but what it really does is put things in perspective.
Just to be clear, I haven’t stopped writing – far from it, in fact, because progress on my novel (quality-wise, not so much quantity) has been better than ever. I’ve solved several plot-holes, laid the foundation for more solid story lines, and uncovered several key truths about my characters. The work has been slow but rewarding, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. My writing isn’t in question: the blog is.
The last non-repost/scheduled content I published on this blog had me grappling with where I wanted to take things. Settle for casual blogging and lose the expectations, or dig in and make it work for me. Fight my writer’s ego and accept that this is just a hobby, or struggle with the stress and the anxiety that comes with the pressures of blogging out of necessity.
My little trip down memory lane had an unexpected consequence: I was drifting away from the blog long before I actually stepped away. The lack of fresh material on my part made it a lot easier for me to disengage, and by the time real life got busy I was all too eager to use “no time” as my excuse for the lapse in blogging. The truth is I’d lost interest, lost sight of my initial intentions for this blog: no intentions at all.
Back when I first started there were really no expectations – no outside expectations, at least. No one was reading anything I wrote, and I didn’t give a damn. It felt good just to put it out there, to get it off my chest. Sharing my work was a bonus: what I really wanted was to share my feelings. The blog showcased all the things I couldn’t say anywhere else, couldn’t tell anyone else. It was a venting platform, pure and simple.
It was only as I began to get traction, to get regular readers and meet people whose own blogs I read in turn, that complications arose. Soon I was tracking followers and likes, engaging with the community on a whole new level. I was far from obsessive, mind you, and it wasn’t like it was a problem. But I lost touch with that initial honesty, that quiet self-care. If I’d upped and gone in those early days, no one would have noticed. There’s something kind of beautiful about that kind of anonymity, about that level of casual detachment.
It’s only now that I realise just how much I miss it. I’m not ignorant to the benefits of being involved: the feedback, the support, the friendship. This blog has been instrumental in my growth and development not only as a writer, but as a person. It will always be among my most important stepping stones in life, but I can’t make it my platform. There are far more steps to take, and for all its charms this one is far too small for what I have planned.
I’m going to take this blog back to its roots: a casual place where I can express my thoughts and feelings without engaging any ulterior motives. This doesn’t mean I’ll intentionally step away: it just means I’ll only do as much as I feel motivated to do. If I’m not feeling particularly keen on checking in for a while, I won’t. If I don’t feel inspired to write, I won’t. If I feel like sharing more fiction, I will. If I feel like keeping you up-to-date on my novel, I will. The main thing is that I don’t feel required to do anything. I refuse to be motivated by stress or my own fears of perceived outer expectations. From here on out, I’ll only be checking in when and if I feel like I have something to share (or if I’m in the mood for some of my friends’ work).
Maybe I’m still uncomfortable with being tied down. Maybe the modern leper in me is still itching for an amputation, and squirms at the thought of settling. Maybe it’s his voice in my ear, weaving tales of romantic detachment. It’s entirely possible this is nothing more than fears of inadequacy, doubts on whether or not I could handle taking things to new levels. But if that’s the case then I need that casual safe-space all the more for it. This is going to be the battleground on which I tackle my insecurities and anxieties, and I can’t be adding fuel to the very fire I’m trying to fight.