Thursday, January 12, 2012

On failing to blog daily in December

This was not an easy post to write. It feels very vulnerable and very honest and very whiny. Feel free to skip it. Let me add that I was inspired by the Bloggess' honesty to write this. She is one brave lady.

Some of you may recall I had some pretty big aspirations for December; I was going to publish regularly in not one, not two but three blogs. To no ones' surprise I didn't manage to do this. I did get some good stuff out, but I failed in my larger goal.

I've been thinking about why, both why I set up such a large goal and why I failed. Which leads me to some thinking about blogging in general and where I may go with it. Stay with me here, I promise it's not all navel gazing.

I've written before about the tension between written and spoken language (though this post is no longer an accurate reflection of this tension for me). I identify as both a storyteller and a writer. Both art forms help me understand the world, my place in it, what I believe and help me say something to the world, though they do it in very different ways. These two identities are inextricably linked, but I find myself fighting more resistance when writing than I do when telling.

Oddly enough, standing up in front of people is less frightening that sitting down in front of the screen. There are lots of reasons for this, but one crucial piece of it is interaction. When I tell a story I can see the impact immediately. When I write that happens rarely, if ever. That's why blogging appeals to me; there is a chance that someone will feel or think something in response to my writing and they just might let me know.

As I look at this, my inner demons are telling me this may be one of the most self-centered, whiny things I've ever written for public consumption. Talk about a cry for attention! But aren't we all motivated by a desire for interaction? For conversation? For touch, for a smile, for the knowledge that what we do has an impact upon an individual or the world? Blogging makes that possible and I'm sure I'm not the only blogger who uses this form because it allows for conversation with the reader. Of course I write for my own edification, but I am not enough of an introvert that I'm content with shouting down a well. I want to know that what I say is heard.

So I think I set such a lofty goal for myself in the hopes that it would help me find an audience, that I would be able to converse with you and find out if what I say is meaningful, useful or entertaining. I also wanted to use this as a springboard to better writing habits, to understand my own thought process more, to begin work on a book; I hoped knowing I was writing for someone to read immediately would help.

So what happened? A couple of things.
  1. At least in the U.S. December is a crappy month to try to set aside significant time for a new creative endeavor. The whole world conspires against you.
  2. I got tired of listening to myself. I didn't rally the necessary support to write  regularly. Instead of hoping for reader responses (which isn't fair, how many blogs do I comment on? Right.) I should have simply found friends to bounce these ideas around with. The posts would have been stronger and I would have enjoyed the process more.
  3. Self-sabotage, fear, intermittent depression, inner demons (who ask me why would anyone want to read this anyway, you know those voices, I'm sure) on and on and on.
  4. And when these factors converged (December, poor planning, not organizing support, demons) I froze. I had nothing to say. I let other things get in the way. Doing the dishes and checking cnn became far more urgent than writing. Hello resistance, my old friend.
What have I learned?

I love this format, it's a great marriage of the immediacy of storytelling and the contemplative work of writing. I need to remember that blogging, like any other creative undertaking, can't be done in a vacuum so I need to rally support, friends who will help me be a better writer and more regular blogger. And I need to remember that resistance, in all its forms, is a damnable beast, but a coward. By doing the thing that frightens me, in this case writing this very post and feeling afraid that either no one will read it or you will all disdain me afterwards, I move forward.

And that is why this post isn't entirely navel gazing. We all get afraid sometimes. When we face our fears we often discover they aren't as overwhelming or as dire as we thought. And if they are, we can find allies to help us defeat them.

I'll keep writing. I hope you keep reading. And if you're so inclined, say "hi" from time to time. I'd love to hear from you.

(c)2012 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. Well said, Laura! I don't think it occurred to me until I read this that I am more likely to write (and enjoy the process) if I can distinctly imagine a responding audience.

    I think I hear my dormant blog calling to me.


    Thank you!

  2. Totally get this! I totally fell off the wagon when it comes to blogging this year. I think we all yearn for that feedback, something - anything verifying someone related to what we wrote. Is it selfish? - Not at all. We grow through interacting and communication with one other. Feedback strengthens our writing, whether we write on an emotion level or a professional level. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. I totally get it. I struggled with blogging, suspecting I might be doing it for the wrong reasons, etc. More than with my other creative projects, I seemed to feel the need to justify the pursuit of blogging daily in a way that I didn't for, say, writing a script. Finally I decided that agonising/procrastinating over it wasn't getting me anything and in a moment of pique vowed not to attempt to blog again until August 1st, 2012. Every time I have thought about that decision since, I have been very happy about it. And the enforced pause has allowed me to achieve some perspective and clarity as to what I need to achieve with it to have a chance at making an impact. It's not so much that I need blog comments; it's that I want to be able to detect that I have a chance of making a difference in the world. When I am certain that I am as squarely aimed at doing that as possible, I don't need any comments.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Thank you all for your kind comments. Laroquod, I think you nailed it on the head, "It's not so much that I need blog comments, it's that I want to be able to detect that I have a chance of making a difference in the world."

    Good to know I'm not alone in this!

  5. Hi Laura, you really hit home on this entry. Actually it is the second one by you that I have read and I relate completely. I am a storyteller and "a-person-who-writes". You can guess which comes to and from me most easily! So I learned from you that maybe I will write more if I have support and if I am clear about why I am doing it. So, I didn't feel this post was navel-gazing at all. You have helped at least two people by writing this (I read the first comment, too!). Yay, you! Thanks very much!


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