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?
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?