Sunday, August 19, 2007

Writer? Blogger?

Earlier today, the womanchild asked what I'd written about lately. I had to reply, "Nothing much." Let's see, there's been my diet and some basically random bullshit. I miss the way I used to write. I'm guessing that part of me has been submerged in a life that just seems to get more and more complicated. Like many other people, I'm wondering why I'm still blogging and if I should continue. I've been doing this almost daily for nearly four years now. The new wore off some time ago, and I have achieved my original blogging goal of getting back into the habit of writing regularly after dropping this vital part of my life for too many years.

Somewhere along the line, this quit being a writer's journal and became just another blog. I had my fun playing with templates and HTML. I like my drop caps and having a defined look to my blog. I like cluttering up and then rearranging my side bar. This is just an excellent time wasting diversion, but I'm neither a designer nor a visually oriented person. I just don't like not being able to do something, so I had to prove to myself that I could make my blog have some visual as well as content appeal.

I think I've lost some of the writing though. I've never been good at proofreading my own material, but lately the typos, grammatical errors, deleted words and misspellings have mounted. To make it worse, I haven't wanted to go back and correct them, even after I saw the mistakes. The quality of the content has gone downhill as well. That points to the deeper, more serious problem. The quality of my thought is not what it used to be. I'm very focused on several things right now: continuing my weight loss and making other healthy changes in my life, changing jobs to regain some stability while I determine my longer range goals and how to achieve them, being a good mother who's providing a strong foundation on which the womanchild can stand in the future, and coming to closure on this marriage. Those are Big Things. They're taking a lot of time, energy and commitment, and quite frankly, though I am making progress in all areas, none of them seem to be coming along the way I want them to.

They are coming with the cost of having lost some of my creative and spiritual life. That is a huge price to pay, and underneath all the mental clutter of schedules, to do lists, the follow up lists, the menu planning, the fretting over how to present my changing self to the world, I feel that loss. I feel like I've shut down a vital part of myself. Without that part of me, I feel like I'm not really able to move securely into the future I'm working so hard to acquire. If I am not working creatively, I'm less than whole. If I'm not actively, spiritually connected to God, the universe and everything, I'm just dragging a shell of a person into a life that will still have the void I'm seeking to eliminate.

So that means one thing. I have to reconnect and integrate all these parts of my life. What does that mean for me as a blogger and a writer? I don't know. I can't give up the Big Things I'm working on now, but I have to find a way to bring my creative life back into focus. That might mean giving up blogging with the immediate feedback that's so gratifying. I'm almost afraid to do that because this has become my writing habit, and if giving up blogging means giving up writing, well, I'm screwed again. I also wonder if blogging is keeping me from better writing. By that, I don't necessarily mean writing for which I'm paid, but better writing in general. Blogging takes away some of the loneliness of writing, and even a quasi-hermit like myself can feel that isolation. It's a serious commitment to sit down at either the page or keyboard and try to write deeply and honestly, even if your subject matter is light and fun. If I continue blogging, this needs to be less of a diversion and a habit and more thoughtful again.

What to do as a blogger is a little conundrum. What to do as a person who must write to be whole is big. I look at how different my life is now from when I first started blogging, and I know that making writing a priority in my life is one of the reasons I'm healthier, more peaceful about who and what I am, and more confused about what I will do. Words hold tremendous power. They are tools of change, and I want to use them wisely.



Blogger Theresa Williams said... you have been thinking about this, too...

August 19, 2007 3:07 AM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

I believe that all things are in a type of cycle and that includes our dedication to the blogs. Didn't we call them journals at one time? At sometime we switched from thinking of ourselves as journalists to bloggers. I liked the journal thing better...I am rambling. Anyway, four years is a long time and we have seen a lot of changes in the blogoshpere. Your writing has always been insightful and thought provoking. You give so much of yourself amount the pages.

August 19, 2007 6:19 AM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

I am hoping that it says something about our writing and how we care about it that as our lives change we see a need to address how and what we write as well.

August 19, 2007 6:34 AM  
Blogger Charlene said...

My first thought was, did you do more 'serious' writing while you were without your computer a few weeks ago and not able to blog so freely?

August 19, 2007 3:09 PM  
Blogger more cows than people said...

all i have to say- not profound, but true- is that i value your voice- very much.

and pray you find the best ways possible to use it in the coming weeks and months.

peace to you, cyn.

August 19, 2007 3:51 PM  
Blogger Judith HeartSong said...

"Words hold tremendous power. They are tools of change, and I want to use them wisely."

So very true. When I first started journaling I was home every day and I had the freedom to read blogs and interact with people. I fell into first one job and then an even better one sort of by accident... and it has drawn me away from so much that really matters to me... especially my art, which is like your writing to you.

Finally I made a commitment to myself to keep writing every day as a part of my practice, in part as a record of my days for my children... and in part to create a record of an artistic life, and all the silly and serious ins and outs - just a window into one soul, my soul.

I still greatly enjoy your writing and your viewpoints, when I can find the time to come by, but you have to decide whether journaling still fits, and if so, how it fits into this life that is so challenging for you right now.

Whether you write or not you have friends and loved ones who will care iunceasingly... and who will be there for you no matter what. I am one of those people.

Do what is right for you, and be happy, you deserve it.

With a big hug,


August 19, 2007 4:29 PM  
Anonymous laura said...

Cyn -

I want to echo Charlene and ask, "Did you do more serious writing during your media blackout this summer?" ... and if you didn't, what kept you from it? Rhetorical question, maybe, but food for thought.

The other thing is, that, as a mostly-single-mom working with all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful surprises that have come your way, I would hate to see you give up the support network that encourages and gives you succor.

That being said, I know that blogging took me away from a lot of time I could have been studying this summer... could have been writing, could have been reading. BUT those could have beens turned into some really fantastic realities on my blog, and I am so glad for them. You and I have both seen some national recognition this summer - and that is something we, as writers, crave. Not bad for West Tennesseeans stuck in a rut, eh?

I don't know what to say except that in a very, very selfish way I don't want you to do this. I look to your blog every day as part of my routine... you are part of my touchstone, part of what grounds me, part of my life and part of who I am. I would feel bereft without you here.

I hope that isn't too much pressure, but it *is* the truth.

::chuckle:: There. My secret is out. You inspire me. You are talented, lovely and oh, so generous with your time, effort and energy even when I know it zaps you. I know your self-esteem is low right now, but I want you to know I think the world of you.

:::big ol' smooches::

August 19, 2007 6:37 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I know everyone has to do what they think is best. But what is it with everyone thinking that blogs are time-wasters and tools of the devil or whatever?

I don't have ANY time to write. None. But I do it anyway, because I have my on-line journal. It has ended up being a tremendous gift, because this is a time I know I would have STOPPED writing altogether if I didn't have this place, this community of people so much like me. I don't have anybody like that in my REAL life.

It will be the saddest moment of my journaling life if you go away. Please don't go.

August 19, 2007 8:03 PM  
Blogger gigi said...

As you say, you're focused on many things, Big things, and it is simply impossible to have so much going on in your life and still maintain the rigorous self-discipline that you clearly expect from yourself and your writing.

The reality is that maintaining the blog is time and energy-consuming, and whether or not it is indeed detracting from your more dedicated writing efforts only you can know. I miss the way I used to write for myself, too. But it's a fair question; did you write more during the time when you couldn't blog? Better? More fully, with deeper meaning and understanding? It's an interesting thought.

PS ~ You know I'd understand. But I'd miss you if you decided to it up. :)

August 24, 2007 5:32 PM  

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