Blog Malaise: A Remedy?

batbeau

I’ve got my thinking cat on.

Fig and Thistle has been a bit quiet — as expected — due to moving and getting everyone settled. I feel writing pulling me back and I expect things to be pretty busy over here for a bit. My journaling is going well and that is usally a sign that the blog juices are going to flow. At least that is how I feel right now. There is also this worry at the back of my mind that this space is a waste of time. I like blogging — most of the time — but sometimes I feel really out of the loop.  I’m not really a book blogger even though I talk about books a great deal. I’m not a mommy blogger because although I blog about my kids it lacks the depth of “mommy advice”. I don’t do enough cooking or crafts to have a DIY blog and I would certainly need something other than my Android phone to take pictures if wanted to “level up” in that area. What am I? What is Fig and Thistle? I’ve grown in followers from 200 to over 1,000, but it isn’t exciting when most of those followers have names like “super discount carpet emporium”. I had a slew of comments back in March, but I’m very conflicted about that. I seem to only garner loads of comments when I write about being fat or being raped. Trust me, I don’t intend for those to be regular themes. What am I doing here and how do I justify the time and thought I pump into this wee space?

I’m not alone in feeling like this. Two of my closest blog buddies, Andi and Heather, are feeling the same way. I’ve  read that other non-book blogs are shutting down. And some favorite blogs from several years ago are silent now. I’ve thought a lot about blogging the past few weeks and I’m thinking a change is in order. Not necessarily a change to this blog, but a mindset change.

My thought pattern is kinda in two parts:

1) I think this is a time to put on my academia strategic planning hat. Any time we do anything in the library we think about our purpose and mission statement, our audience, and what we hope to achieve. I have an about me page, but I think I also want to write a “mission statement” for my blog. What is my purpose, who do I want to reach, and what do I hope to achieve? If I blog something it needs to serve a purpose, reach my audience, and have the end result I want. For me this looks like it will be along the lines of: forming inspiring friendships (purpose) with people who are kindred spirits (audience) and who want to share their lives in creative and inspiring ways (goal). Churning out book reviews or writing about dieting or gender issues are NOT my purpose although those things may be useful in reaching my goal. Looking at things like this it changes how I want to write. For someone else it may be more bookish or business-oriented, but that isn’t Fig and Thistle.

My hope is that by defining my purpose, audience, and goal I will assuage some of my doubts and that will lead to less floundering when I try to draft posts. There is no correct answer or way to blog, but I can imagine that some of the blogs I enjoy may be different. For example, if your purpose is to review newly published books, your audience would be readers, authors, and publishers and your goal may be to obtain ARCs. That just isn’t me.

2) I’ve learned that life changes throw my bloggingand reading off completely. I know that moving, changing jobs, having a baby, etc…. halts everything. Partly this is because I create better when I have a schedule or ritual or habits. I make blogging (or really any writing) a priority and I hold a sacred time apart from others to fulfill this need to write.  This blog is not intended to make money, or push a product, or create the next viral something…. My goal is to keep this space as a creative outlet  for my writing and to form connections with kindred spirits.

But…. I am a woman and a Southern woman at that. I feel pressure to treat this as a hobby; some sort of scribbling woman afterthought when the dishes are done and the babies are in bed and work is chugging along smoothly. I’m prone to think that I need some sort of external reward to justify this time spent here. Money? ARCS? Folks wanting product reviews? Comments and hits?

ENOUGH…

I NEED TO TREAT MY BLOG AS LEGIT WRITING. What I do here is valid and important even if it is just for me. I should treat this time and space as important and this applies to other things I do for myself: crocheting, reading, exercising. It is important because even though my life is filled with beautiful souls I care for deeply, at the end of the day, at the end of my life, I’ve spent the most time with ME. When everything external is scraped away I’m left with myself, my thoughts, my words. I don’t want to coast. I don’t want to put my children to bed and spend every evening staring at a wall or watching Spongebob (although some Spongebob is totally fine). I want to do something, even though that something may be small like this blog, or unseen like my journal, or temporary and delicious like my scones.

How in Hades do I fire up the energy, thought, and creativity to blog and reap satisfaction from the experience? Finding my purpose, audience, and setting attainable goals is half the battle. The other half is honoring my need to write as valid and worthy. This means compartmentalizing my mama worries and my stress at work and making time to write because what I have to say is valid and I have a purpose. To help me carve out time I thought it would be inspiring to read a book about writers and artists who have a crazy range of different rituals and habits that help them create their works. I’ve decided to read Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey  to assist in thinking creatively about managing my, well, creative time. I’ll probably start this book in October and, yes, there will be a book review.

I think I have at least an inspiring to-do list: write up my mission, audience, and objective and make time for this blog by looking at my time creatively, shaking off the need to have external rewards, and finding inspiration in other creators.

Let me know in the comments, do you suffer from blog malaise? Did you give it up? Will you stick with it? How do you find the inspiration, the time?

Advertisements

19 comments

  1. Ohhh I`m right here with you, and needing to shake off the desire for external rewards is exactly it! I look forward to your book review.

    In my case, I`m going to take a break in October. Definitely a social media break, maybe a blogging break.

  2. My blogging is always so sporadic. I’ll be really creative and have a string of decent posts I was inspired to write and then almost a month of silence. I used to try and fight it or think of things to post about to avoid dry spells, but the forced posts always read as such when I look back at them.

    I do at least try and write a quick update on what we’ve been doing as a family every now and then because blogging is such a journal for me, something I love to look back on as my life grows and changes. But on the whole, I try to enjoy the inspired weeks and write as often as I can, and then I just deal with a little malaise until a muse comes back.

    Not sure if that’s wise, but it’s the pattern I’ve developed. If I had sponsors and whatnot, I’d force it out. In ways, I am glad I don’t have a huge readership and $$ coming in. No pressure.

  3. Well, I’ve only been blogging for a year, so no malaise yet. I write mainly for myself, so there’s no pressure (though it’s always nice to get some comments). While I don’t often comment, I always enjoy reading your posts and I hope you keep doing what you’re doing. But in the end, you have to do what gives you the most satisfaction.

  4. Yep, totally suffering blog malaise, haven’t posted in months, likely to stop entirely. My reason for blogging in the first place was to help myself remember what I’ve read – I tend to read quickly and forget what I read almost as quickly… So the idea was that if I took the time to write about the books I read then I’d be more likely to remember what they were about. But then taking the time to blog became, well, not what I wanted to spend time on.

    I also realized that I could achieve the same purpose by just slightly adapating something I’ve been doing already, for years. I keep a spreadsheet where I note the title I read, the author, and when I read it, and I just added a column for really brief notes about the book, written just for myself (so I don’t spend time carefully constructing sentences like I do when I blog). I think this is going to be more effective and more sustainable for me than writing blog posts.

    So, I think your idea to think about your purpose, mission, and goal is a really good one! Good luck with it.

  5. THIS right here: “What I do here is valid and important even if it is just for me. I should treat this time and space as important and this applies to other things I do for myself . . .” YES. That is what I try to remember when I feel slumpy. Such a great point.

  6. It sounds like you have some really good plans for your blog. I understand how you feel. I was a book blog exclusively for 4 years, but about a year ago I got more into personal and lifestyle blogs and found that those posts are even more enjoyable for me to write. Now, I write about everything, including books, pregnancy, marriage, weight loss, life in general. Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong anywhere in blog land anymore, but for the most part I’m happy because I write what I want when I want. 🙂 Write what you feel inspired to write and people will read!

  7. Yes, yes, and yes to all of this! I’m two years into my book blog and while my love of reading has not abated I wonder about the relevancy of what I’m doing. Who cares? Who needs another blog about books? It is all tied into the passages in our life and I’m in a whole new phase. I’d like to write about it…but I’m stymied.

    It does help to know that others struggle with the creativity and commitment.

  8. I was impressed with (and envious of) the blogging schedule with the different topics that you posted a couple of months ago. Did you find that worked for you? I started blogging because I wanted to talk about books. I spend so much of my time with people who can go on for hours about TV shows but think reading so much is a little weird. That’s still my main connection – a place to talk & think about what I’m reading, and what other people are – but I enjoy the variety of blogs & bloggers as well, and getting to know people through their blogs.

  9. I’ve blogged almost every day since January. I took this weekend off as “sick leave” since I was tired and actually sick.

    Good point about having to treat this like legit writing. I am here for the camaraderie and outreach, this hobby of mine, but why can’t I be a little better focused on it?

    Let me know what that book is like and if it inspires you.

    J

  10. Mostly I use my WordPress account to read instead of write. I just haven’t felt passionate about writing anything for others to see.

    That being said, I love reading other peoples blogs. For example- I love when you post pictures of your journals. I’ve had an odd relationship with my journals but I like how you do it almost in a list form and write about everything from what book you are reading, to what’s going on with the kiddos. You’ve really helped me see that a journal is not just one thing.

    Plus the “thinking cat” caption on the top photo made me laugh a lot. And out loud.

    Rock on.

    – Breanne

  11. I love the fact that you are not a single topic blog, but cover and write about all of your interests – your family, your work, your hobbies. I’ve been out of town for a while and came back to read of several bloggers hitting a slump. I wonder if it’s just the season and the general busyness of life? At any rate, I applaud you for making it your own and writing what you want to write. Thanks for letting us share it with you!

  12. I am a beginning blogger, but not a beginning writer. I have worried that what I have to say my not be world shattering or even slightly interesting to anyone besides my parents. Thank you for “what I have to say is valid and I have purpose.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s