Posted in On Writing

All Tools Need Recalibration, Sometimes

We are a quarter of the way through the year; this is my fourth post, of a goal of 25, meaning I’m at least 4 posts off-schedule. And I’ll tell you, there’s something that’s been really circling in my brain.

Why am I writing this? Why am I so reluctant to give it up?

It’s not like I haven’t been writing – I have. I’ve got a couple different projects in the works that are insistent about the little time I have, and my attention no matter where I am. Soon, they’ll demand even more: a social media presence, marketing, and hopefully, in-person and virtual events. That’s a lot to squeeze in to an already full schedule of mothering, working full time, and general adulting. 

Many other projects sit unfinished; short stories, an essay collection, a Patreon under a pen name that I once had dreams of funding other projects. The simple truth of the matter is I will never have enough time to write all the things I want to, even if it were my full-time occupation that also paid the bills. Because once I start pulling those out of my head and onto paper and out into the world, they are replaced exponentially with new ideas. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the ideas, the never-ending spiral of creativity. But the actualization of those ideas, the transcribing and editing and whatever comes next, takes the most finite of resources: time, money, and energy. Something’s gotta give. 

If you know me, or have been reading for a while, you’ll know I need a clear and framed approach. So here goes. 

Of the multiple potential routes from here, I see three solutions I’m willing to consider. 

  1. End the blog: or at least, the desire/promise to post every 2 weeks. This has already sort of happened naturally, except the need is still there, knocking.
  2. Change the blog: lower the drawbridge between what I write here, and what I write elsewhere.
  3. Change the goal: adjust downward from the goal of 25 posts this year to a number that feels more reasonable, and is in within reach, as long as effort is put in.

Ending the blog would remove the self-induced pressure and internet accountability (which, mind you, has been incredibly loving and gentle when it does come) of posting on the bi-weekly schedule. With my daughter getting older, there is now more to do with her – events at the library, birthday parties, sports and activities. This often comes on weekend mornings, historically my most productive writing time. 

Winter sapped my energy. Now that we have turned the corner into spring, albeit a chilly one, I had hopes of the switch flipping, and the tap of words just flowing. That hasn’t been the case. I am still tired, I am still struggling to wake up in the mornings with enough eyes-open time for myself before the day starts.

Perhaps the biggest reason to continue the blog on a schedule is simply the fact that I enjoy it. I’ve learned, with time and therapy, that reason is valid AF. 

So that knocks off choice #1. I’m left with changing the blog, or changing the goal. 

I’ll start with the latter, since it’s less anxiety provoking. Changing the goal is not really an issue for me. I work in managing change, for crap’s sake; you can’t do quality improvement without rocking the boat. And I support those changes, and the people making them. I know it’s not easy, it’s not comfortable at first. And sometimes, the goals we set need to be adjusted because of factors outside of our control. Even if it’s because of things that are within our control, they can need to change: maybe the original goal was too ambitious or aggressive, or it just does not fit anymore. Right now, 25 posts seems like a lot to catch up on, if all other things remain the same. 

Changing the blog? That’s a little scarier.

For over two years I’ve used this blog to explore grief, to maintain hold of some sort of thread of consistency after Hawthorne’s death; I’ve used it to complain and work through why things are so goddamned hard sometimes. I have hoped that by voicing my struggles, others who might stumble their way here might not feel so alone. Delusion of grandeur? I don’t think so, but it’s possible. All I know is that when Oscar died, there was one (1) blog about a queer family and stillbirth; an excellent one, to be sure, but only one I could find. 

More recently I’ve been writing about writing – not to steal the title from one of my favorite bloggers at Writing About Writing, which you should also check out. I’ve also written a couple fiction pieces, and a couple reworks of writing prompts I’ve had from other spaces. For the most part, the divisions between the different types of writing that I do have been secure and unbreached. What would it mean to do so?

I write under two different pseudonyms, for the sake of distinguishing and protecting the content and myself. I’ve got family who read this (thank you, love you all) whom I would not be comfortable reading my more, uh, explicit content. And I’ve chosen a name to publish my book(s) under which I’m not releasing here. If my wildest dreams come true, I want a little bit of separation for my daughter and my family. Maybe should have thought about that before I started this, but hey, I hadn’t even thought about writing a novel, let alone publishing it. Those goals definitely changed, so I guess now we will see how long I can successfully keep those separate. 

Also, I write these quickly. My novel has been in the works for nearly two years. But for me, blog posts aren’t painstaking works; sometimes, like today, they come out all at once. Sometimes there are weeks in between the start and the finish, but the actual writing/editing/tweaking time isn’t more than 3 hours. I’ve got friends who have been working on a single piece that will go on their blog – they’ve been refining and perfecting, moving with it as it morphs and changes – and it’s amazing (still, can’t wait to see that piece online, hmm?) That’s just not what my blog is for me.

Which brings me back to the changing the blog to work better for me, to have it meet my evolving needs. Over the years – and it feels astounding to know that it’s been a plural number of years now – I have used this space for exploration of my grief, of life after loss, of family and writing and myself. Sometimes I wonder if it’s too “journal-y,” but based on what my actual journals look like, the answer is definitely no. 

Natalie Goldberg says that we need to dive through and compost our thoughts in order for something halfway decent to come from it. In Writing Down the Bones, she says that “Our senses by themselves are dumb. They take in an experience, but they need the richness of sifting for a while through our consciousness and through our whole bodies.” This would still be a space for exploration, it’s just a matter of what I’m exploring.

At the end of the day, I realize that this is my blog and I can do literally whatever I want with it. I answer to no one for this. No higher power, no internet-at-large. You read it for whatever reasons you have – you support me, you like to ramble along the twists and turns of my brain, you’re bored and this shows up in your inbox. For whatever reason you show up, thank you, I appreciate you. 

And I’m going to keep showing up. Clearly the answer is not to stop writing, not when I’ve punched out over a thousand words of this on a solo Saturday morning. I could move the goalpost, and aim for 20 rather than 25, doing 2/month from here on plus a couple extra. But I don’t think I’m going to do that. I’m going to stick to the original goal of 25, knowing that I’ll be re-evaluating again come the end of June. 

Which means that the content is going to change somewhat, and this time, I’m not putting restrictions on it (don’t worry, fam, the sexy stuff will still be elsewhere). I’m just going to say, don’t be surprised if you read something that seems a bit different than my usual. And one day if you pick up a queer novel with a strange name you’ve never heard before and pieces of the story seem familiar? Maybe you’ll remember a blogger who had trouble with self-imposed deadlines. Or maybe you’ll just enjoy the vague familiarity, and you’ll let yourself sink into the story as if it were the couch of an old friend. 

However it goes, I hope you enjoy it, and I hope to see you along the way.