Have you ever felt like you were wandering without purpose?
That’s kind of where I am right now. I’ve been hanging on for dear life to the blogging habit with the Daily Haiku; the problem is, I realized how much of what I was doing with haiku was wrong, and I started tuning up my method, and then I just burned out.
That’s not good for a writer.
I’ve been writing steadily on this blog for about a year now, and the list of worries I either gnaw at or kick to the curb with some clever sort of dodge seems to center around a few items:
- time to write,
- appropriateness of content,
- the deceptive nature of the blog’s name,
- faddish topics and periodicals that fall by the wayside, and
- getting followers, likes, views, and shares.
Oh yeah, and:
Now — in a flash it seems — the blogging habit has vaporized after about a year. That seems to be the life expectancy of any hobby I pick up; but I don’t really want to let go. I don’t want to stop posting.
I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on, because (my dear readers) I want this. I want it so bad.
On the other hand, I have a job interview tomorrow; will this give me more time to blog at long last? Stay tuned to find out. Wish me luck!
Have you ever experienced sudden doubt after a fairly strong year of blogging? Dips in creativity? General lack of motivation? Let’s have that conversation in the comments.
As always you can find me on Twitter @robssurfreport and on Facebook and Pinterest, where I’ve been pinning a ton of stuff lately.
Three pieces of advice from someone with little experience in blogging but lots of experience in life.
1) Of the 6 areas that keep gnawing at you, I suggest that you focus on ‘time to write’ and ‘bloggers block’. The rest will fade away. Make ‘time to write’ your top priority after eating and hydrating. For bloggers block every morning, write three pages stream of consciousness before you do any other writing. No judgements. Save it. You may use it some day. Even if you don’t it will free your mind.
2) You totally have purpose. Sometimes in life, you just have to wander without a clue until you stumble upon it. I have ‘wandered in the desert’ during many periods of my life, but purpose always finds me in the end. Don’t sweat it, just keep writing.
3) Read the book I recommended to you on Twitter. I think it will help.
Lots of love from Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia. Paradise with limited internet connectivity.
Thank you, Lisa; whenever my reply finds you I hope that it will find you in good spirits and good company. 🙂
And in fact I went back and found that title again, I’ll get a copy this week and see what kind of damage I can do as soon as I finish the book I’ve been on. 🙂
This is a good idea. I’ve actually put up some stuff from 20 years ago that I hoarded away somehow and I’m getting great responses on it lately.
I don’t think I did so much 3-page “stream of consciousness” exercises in the morning, but now and then I’d scribble thoughts down on napkins when I was eating out or whatever, and that also fueled some blog posts for a while.
You know when I hit my year I felt the same way. I did wonder too if I would give up, because like you, 12 months is usually the life span of my fads. But I didn’t want to either.
Right now for me, writing ideas are the biggest problem on TIE, says a lot when I can write easier for a fictional character than I can myself.
I have a lot of personal stuff buzzing around in my head, but again like you, I question it for appropriateness of content. Which leads me back to my comment a while ago about wishing I had kept the blog anonymous from real life family and friends.
Ultimately it’s up to us what we write, it’s our space, but even though deep down we know that, we still care about how we will be perceived, so in effect we build up our own defenses.
I love your Haiku’s, you know that, but I love the little bit of writing along with them more. Each paragraph is a little window to your soul and you write so well, what’s not to love!
I hope to blog beside you for a long time to come. 🙂
Thank you Juls; I know it will happen, I just have to plug on!
The time restraint has been my biggest problem and I think sometimes even when I finish and publish something I should have spent a bit more time on it.
Just like everything else there are going to be ups and downs. A few posts you are really proud of and a few you might look back at and say what was I thinking (I know I have done that on a few).
I think you have the right idea. Just keep on keepin on. There are several of us here who want to be hanging out right there beside you. Maybe it’s time to try something different, like Juls with her fictional character. Just don’t give up. We need Rob’s Surf Report to grace our screens every so often and wouldn’t be the same without it.
Thank you JED. I know if I can get back to that frenzy of a while back, I can swing a couple of what ifs (I know because I’ve got the questions written down, now I just need the time!) I’m going to slog it out the best I can!
Rob — I agree wholeheartedly with Lisa(?) – first comment.
Blogging should be something you enjoy — whatever you’re deciding to write about – and yeah, as time changes so do our blogs morph – especially if they are more personal general content themed. There’s nothing wrong with that.
When blogging becomes a chore – then you’re in huge trouble. Give yourself some breathing room and space.
Stop worrying about stats and followers etc. If you have true Rob advocates, they will remain and wait patiently for when you do have something to post.
And finally – the second to last piece of advice a really great writer friend gave to me years ag:
“Writing is about dipping into the well of life – the experiences and observations and general stuff you have accumulated or searched out etc. From these waters you create and fashion. A cup always dipping into the well. The balance is finding time to keep adding to the well – which doesn’t always work out. So … when you keep dipping and emptying the well one cup at a time, eventually it will run dry. And try as hard as you might – nothing more will come. Which can lead to complete despair. And this is precisely when you need to stop – be gentle with yourself – and wander about and start collecting the flotsam and jetsam that begins to fill the well. Writers have to be curious and observant – and we often get lost in the realities of life. So remember to take a few moments each day to add something to the well. It’s your source.”
(I’ve added the quotes because this is a paraphrase of mine.)
And finally —- great great good luck and excellent positive energy being sent to you and your family that you have a wonderful interview. May YOUR force be with you Rob.
Thanks, Pat! I’ll take that piece of advice about the well to heart; it makes perfect sense. I just have to lay back (typical me, it took me a couple years of gung-ho diet and exercise to realize I had to chill the flip out — why should blogging be any different?)
Blogging isn’t any different – it’s part of the process of who you are – and changes as they happen, are all good – we’ll still love ya for the great guy you are 🙂
Oh … and because we must have been replying at the same time – but Eejit hit “post” first — I agree with her too. Just take some time, step back, breathe and write what you want to write about.
And the 3 pages of stream of consciousness business in the a.m. — even if it’s the scrap pages – just let it go — all the thoughts, worries blah blah blah about life ….. it clears the mind of all the crap – and even if you’re heading out the door and not sitting down to write – it really helps clear the mind and relieves huge amounts of stress and frustrations. Besides, no one is ever going to see that stuff – except you — so whine, complain, be silly, as your “spirit source” for what you’d like help with – whatever – just get it done. It truly does help.
Duly noted. 🙂
I’m there right now, Rob. It’s hard to know what to do with my blog now that I’ve launched a book and taken a long walk. So, I hear you, and I’m not sure what to do about it.
The guys on Writing Excuses always said that when you finish a book, you start another one; sounds like you’re already doing that — so far, what you’ve posted since scaling back the blogging habit has been great stuff as usual, so I’d say as long as you’re around I’m happy. 🙂
It feels like I’m floundering, though. When I knew I had to write a post every day, I was always looking for ideas. Now that I don’t, I’m kinda flabby, and I struggle more with those ideas. I have a short-term solution coming next week. It’s vicious, isn’t it?
It is. And I was doing good with the writing prompts from the Daily Post until they started recycling them — now I have tons of ideas written down and zippo for free time to actually develop them. All I can do is hope that the worms will still be wiggling when I open the can!
Do you find that the can explodes if you let it sit too long? That sometimes happens to me, and I have to sit and write it out no matter what else I’ve got to do. (I am NOT wishing that on you.)
It doesn’t do that for me; I’m likely to lose anything I shelve, that’s part of why I hate doing it in the first place. Over time the concept becomes fuzzy.
I don’t know if I told you, Rob, but the Daily Post prompts were like what I remember as “QotD” (Question of the Day) at VOX, and what was “Writer’s Block” at LiveJournal (for a short time). Actually, I didn’t even have that when I first started out at LiveJournal.
10 years… I still look back and think, “How has it been that long?” But oh, I had hot and cold spells for sure. The others here have great ideas– keep going with that. Consider maybe writing a few thoughts on posts; like Kenneth’s (The Culture Monk). Consider alternate media– photos, artwork, maybe short podcasts (I never did anything long like Kenneth and Kylie are doing, but I did a few), something to change it up… it doesn’t ALWAYS need to be writing, right?
You’re right, of course. I do have some hurdles to jump when it comes to recording a podcast, in terms of knowledge and equipment, and then there’s this whole thing where I still have to generate content — but it’s actually a neat idea I have to put through the ol’ meatgrinder and see what I can come up with.