So anyone who has been with me for awhile has noticed that I blog a lot less than I used to. My kids are just as awesome as ever, full of funny quips and heart-string-tugging insights (remind me to tell you about the ‘peas in a pod’ incident). My life didn’t suddenly become dull; if anything it’s more interesting than ever: the kids are growing and changing all the time, and so am I. As an inveterate diarist, I have a lot to write about.
But I’ve hit this wall of resistance that stops me from writing. I’ve posted about it some, but it’s worth saying a little more about it. I sit down to write and it’s almost like it’s physical painful to put words to the page. Like I’m pushing through a tangible wall of don’t-wannas. It’s a wall that’s made up of several factors. Partly it’s just burnout. I wrote something like 20+ blog posts a week for a couple of years and eventually I ran out of things to say about the topics I write about most.
Partly it’s a divided sense of audience. Who am I writing this for? Myself? My extended family who want to know how the kids are doing? My friends? An imagined Reader who wants to laugh and cry and think about my words? My kids’ Future Selves, seeking to revisit their childhoods?
This blog is fine art and scrapbook and a letter home all at once. I get gummed up worrying that I’ll offend the kids’ grandmothers if I tell the whole story about how I’m feeling as a mom, or let down my Readers if I share the mundane tidbits of everyday milestones. It’s a tough balance to strike.
A third part is that my blogging community changed. People got more interested in product placements and SEO and traffic generation than in writing. I went through a bunch of ways of relating to this, trying my hand at doing some book reviews and using SEO tools and then becoming so resistant to all the commercialization that I stopped even posting photos on my blog. Childwild has become the lazy refuge of my first thoughts, not a professional project at all anymore.
And I’ve felt sort of guilty about all this, grappled with some shame about letting myself and my career and my readers down by getting so quiet and stuck. My therapist is probably bored to tears with hearing about my writer’s block. It’s been a rough 8 months.
In addition to having trouble writing, I started having trouble reading blogs. I gradually abandoned my RSS reader. I stopped following links on social media (except the ones my friend Rowan posts, which are so consistently good I can’t resist them).
Lately I’ve been missing blogging, both reading and writing. I’m starting to post more for Strollerderby again. I have a bigger writing project in the works that I’m finding really energizing. And a few days ago I converted my RSS feeds into feedly, a cool magazine-style reader for both RSS and social media streams. It’s pretty great, and has got me reading again.
In setting it up though, I found myself wandering through a graveyard of blogs that have gone dark over the past year. Several of my favorite bloggers have left the scene. Dozens of small blogs I was reading have vanished, or linger with their most recent post more than six months old. What happened to them all? The same thing that happened to me? Did a huge swath of my blogging cohort come down with terminal writer’s block all at once?
Reading half a dozen or so good-bye letters on various blogs, it sure looks that way.
Well. I’m not signing off, though I’ve considered it several times this winter and spring. This might not be an active enough blog to really rate anyone’s professional cred anymore, but it’s still my digital home and the best record my kids will ever have of their childhoods. I’m not a scrapbooker. If they want to know when they learned to walk or lost their first tooth, they’re going to have to wade through all my introspective, funny, emo, boring, magical writing to find that trivia. That’s just how it is around here: they get my journal entries, so I’d better keep writing ‘em.
I’d like to keep reading too. What am I missing, in the blogosphere? I’m hesitant to say what topics I’m looking for, because what I really want is to be reading great writing on just about any topic. But let’s say I’m more interested in parenting, spirituality, lifehacking, news, feminism, sexuality and humor than I am in cars, tech gossip, music, or home improvements. If you know what I mean.