Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lessons from an Absent Blogger

I started my blog in August of 2011 after years of thinking about it and making up lame excuses like,“oh well I should really learn HTML before I can start this.” One night I decided I was going to do it and I did. I was on anti-depressants then so I think it was easier for me to focus on things.Then when I finally started, I couldn't stop.  I took a few writing courses and realized that although at heart I always felt like a writer who just hadn't gotten around to writing. I had some successes and I was even published on Forbes Magazine! Well the online version, but still that was quite a feat for someone who had only been writing a few months.

Then my old demons reared their ugly head.  You see I am incredibly inconsistent with things. Once I have gotten into the habit of something it takes about a day of not doing it for me to just abandon the habit all together. While this means I am not a particularly good addict, it also means I am a horrible blogger.

Then my life got a little murky and confusing and rather than have to explain to all of my readers (I mean all 5 of you) what was going on with my life it was easier for me to retreat into a sea of excuses.  Some of these ranged from the delusional, “Well I will never be as witty as Mindy Kaling so what is the point?” to the more rational such as, “well you need to engage readers often so you probably already lost them.”

Alas I have spent the last few months pitching a few stories every so often to websites that refuse to publish me. (You know who you are!)  Okay I only did that twice but you get my point. I have a bunch of unfinished, garbled products living in my computer and in my brain.

However, it is getting really crowded in my head so here I am today.  Last time I wrote and published on my blog it was August of 2012. Here’s what I have learned since:

1)    I Write to Stay Sane Not for Other People
Writing for me was more of a therapeutic activity, because “like OMG, I have SO MANY feelings”.  Also there was finally a way to channel all the personal information I am constantly putting out there, I’m sure my friends were relieved that they no longer had to read my lengthy texts because alas I had moved on to a bigger audience. When I stopped blogging it was like an accumulation of thought and ideas started to block rational thinking. Everything was overanalyzed in my head, in actual time and eventually I would sit and write something and feel better but then I felt unproductive because I hadn't published it.

2)  Perfect is the Enemy of the Good
I have written about this before but please indulge me. Writing is an art form so you are never really done with a piece; it’s more like you publish a draft. I consistently tell myself pieces need to be perfect to be published.  In the meantime, I stopped writing all together because I stress myself out over the process.  You just have to keep doing it and not get discouraged

3) Writing is Essential When You Are Going Through Major Life Transitions
Last year I was I afraid to write about a major life transition and the feelings that led me to it so instead I would write about clothes, or Cinco De Mayo. The whole time I was avoiding the issue even with my therapist, and I kept thinking about my writing instructor who said we should write about whatever scares us the most.  Then somehow through that whole mess I got incredibly lucky and fell in love. To make a very long and complicated story short, we moved in together, now I am pregnant. Then I really knew I was way behind on my blogging and so then it became harder to start writing again.  I really wish I wouldn't have stopped.

As you can imagine that was all grand and I was too busy living these things to tell you about it, but now I feel like I missed so many opportunities to capture the very raw emotions that came with all of these transitions.  Don’t worry I captured some of them but mostly for my personal reflection.  Now I want to blog all about it but I keep thinking that too much has happened and that people will have absolutely no idea what I am talking about.  I hope I just caught you up!

4)   Once you stop you Realize that Maybe you did Touch a Few People
Once I stopped blogging I hoped that no one would notice.  My friends commented on it but they are my safety zone so I wasn't particularly ashamed. Then I ran into a work acquaintance and she said, “I really hope you continue to write, because you do it so beautifully.” I was shocked by the response and then a few weeks later I received an email from someone who read a piece I had written months before asking me for advice. What?!  It was the first time I realized people who aren't in my inner circle actually read what I write.

5) It’s Never Too Late to Do What You Want

You know what? I decided that today was the day I was going to start again. Is there something you have been avoiding? What is holding you back, is it your own neurosis?  Mine, holds me back all the time. But the beauty of life is that every day is a new opportunity to work towards the life you want. This is day 1 for me!

Betsy Aimee 

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