Monday, June 02, 2008

When Blogging Leads to Writer's Block (and what that problem really might be about...)


Lately, my blogging's been off. Way off.

And as I've been struggling with what might be called "Blogger's Block" I asked my life coach about it. "You're totally out of oxygen," she said, "There's nothing nourishing you. No wonder you're not able to create anything."

Yep, I can't even say I'm on half-steam. I kind of feel like I'm on no-steam. Although there's obviously *some* energy there. Some of the lights are on, and somebody's home, but a few of the circuits feel a bit blown...and the rooms are dark and there ain't much furnishing them these days.

How did this happen? Well, over the past two years a few big things have happened, and caused life to go out of balance. I figured if I wanted to make this consulting thing work, I'd have to put my head down and barrel forward. Obsessively.

Then, the company that many of my friends' husbands worked for closed. And they moved. There went the group of friends that had become my stability.

And since my nose has been to the work grindstone, I haven't thought much about how I was going to make new local connections.

Sure, I have "friends" all over the place, lots of business related contacts who I think are some super-fab people. I'm amazed how I built up a nice, tidy network of over 100 connections from (literally)zero connections. I've also worked on some great, cutting-edge projects in both journalism and marketing. Amazingly generous people have listened to me, and have included me in so many important things. I feel very privileged in this respect...

But, man! It's been exhausting! And it's taken a toll on my social life--which never got replenished after mostly everyone left.

Now, I don't know about you, but when I'm obsessively working, I tend to get rather myopic and somewhat miserable. I tend to talk about one thing, and in some respects kind of forget about all the other things that make me into Me. There have been a few times during the year when I've taken off for NYC or somewhere else to get a break. Those trips have been important. They've actually stimulated a lot of healing from a number of very serious past hurts that made workaholism a great escape.

Still, though, on the home front, there's little rooting me here to W. Mass. I'm not native to this place, and sometimes get homesick. I didn't throw the "housewarming" I should have when I moved, didn't join in on the Art Walks when I was initially invited, didn't do anything, in the beginning, to root myself. I felt I could live online and in my work....

Being not married, and not having children, there's no one depending on me for anything either. I didn't really plan it this way--it just kind of evolved this way. I stayed in a particular relationship longer than I should have, and that, too, perpetuates my singleton status.

Much to my chagrin.

So I think a lot about how I can balance life on-line and life off-line. How do I do this life thing without getting obsessive and fixate on fixing one part of my life at the expense of other parts of it. When I look back on my life, this is not a new struggle. I've always been this way. Balance, for me, is a hard thing to achieve.

What, though, does this have to do with my blogging? Well, I'm not one of those prodigies of blogging that can just write about tech or marketing or journalism at the expense of writing about the rest of my life. Some would say this is unprofessional, while others would say I'm an integrated "whole" human being who shouldn't every separate my Self into Professional and Personal realms (after I've worked to integrate them.)

What, then, might be the next step here...

I've had a couple of topics rolling in my head over the past couple of days connected to my desires to date again, and my experience with one of those big, highly advertised online dating thingies. I've been thinking about how if I talk about my religious beliefs, I'm pigeon-holed as a "holy roller" when my faith is really kind of, well, quiet...so quiet most people don't even know I've got it (talk about a light under a bushel!) And after my last visit to NJ last friday, I realized that my ever-sharp memory can be a detriment to moving forward with my life....

These aren't topics I'd blog about here, but will on my personal blog These are things that I think I can share with business associates that won't breach the "T.M.I." boundary. And, really--let's face it: I'm not a ball of cheer all the time. I have my ups and downs, my sturm und drang, although a bit less strurmy and drangy than a couple of years ago. My sense is that this is a good time to bridge the personal and the professional, and I'm going to link to my personal blog from this blog again in an attempt to begin to bridge the personal and professional within this space. I will also be doing more things off-line in order to try to pull together more of a "real" life. Which may cut back on blogging in general. Who knows?

Let's just see what happens....

(while writing this, I've been thinking of Liza Sabater, who I had a conversation with a couple of years ago on how blogging broke our writer's block...curious how if there's no balance in life, the blocks come back no matter what the writing medium.)

5 comments:

Webomatica said...

Hey - I'm sure many of us bloggers can relate. Ultimately the best blogs I read are the ones where the participants are very passionate about their subject, and when that falters, it may manifest in the writing and that doesn't do anybody any good. I think you can give yourself the freedom to have a little blog vacation as I did earlier this month, and get that passion back! Better to take some time off in the short term rather than burn out and give up on blogging completely.

Tish Grier said...

thanks for that very sound advice, Jason! I was on the phone earlier with a friend in Seattle, who said "you've *got* to come out here!"

So, in July, I'll be going out there.

Considering this week is shot due to a conference, and then there's another conference at the end of the month, I think I may be able to hold out until July's vacation. At least I think I can.

Meanwhile, I have to try to find some other like minded folks out here....let's see what happens

Wendell said...

I blogged for about a year, ran out off things to say, took about a month off, got another 6-8 months in... but now I taking longer between posts.

The reason, I guess, is that by now I've already said what I think about the things that interest me and - not being one for small talk - I'm repeating myself. These days I'm more interested in working back through my posts and writing bigger research / reflection pieces.

Yet, I still feel an obligation to blog. Why?

I don't get paid to blog or anything like that. Well, except for that whole ego thing - I do get That kind of payment.

Anyway, enough about me: I read your blog exactly to hear about the conversation between older news media forms and web-whatever stuff. I don't know enough (facts, people...) to sift for the significant events,so I use your brain instead. You're like a weekly columnist. Sometimes you write something, and I read it, and it ends there. Sometimes I follow the links you provide and get a bigger picture. But you're my starting point for that stuff. Don't ask why - chance or accident or mybloglog...

Here's a thought - just a thought - suppose when we take our blog vacations, you and me and the other fella, we put up a post with a link to another site/blog to fill in. (Yikes! Would I ever get my 6 readers back?) Well, anyway, I might do that. Interesting (to me) to think about who I'd refer to.

Best wishes!

agahran said...

Personally, I think the oft-repeated mantra that if you blog, you should blog every day, is vastly overrated and counterproductive. Speak up when you have something to say. Don't worry about it when you don't. If your goal isn't about building massive amounts of traffic, you'll be fine.

Personally, I go through phases (like right now) when I tend to comment more on other people's blogs or in forum threads than post to my own blog. That's fine, and eventually it sparks me to write more on my own blog.

If that works for you, it helps to use a tool like co.mments.com to track the conversations you're joining around the web. Then you can syndicate the feed from your account there back to your own blog, and make those conversations part of your content as well.

Just a thought....

- Amy Gahran

Tish Grier said...

Thanks, Wendell for telling me why you read me! I write a lot about what interests me, and I was hoping that I'd reach at least *some* people in the way you mention.

I'm still considering the vacation thing...but also looking more at the strange corners here in the blogosphere that make their own little bubbles. really strange...

And Amy I thought of compulsively commenting for awhile...think I'm finally going to try that app you're suggeting.