“One of the unfortunate side effects of reading and blogging like rockstars seems to be a tendency toward burnout. How do you keep things fresh on your blog and in your reading?”
Several years ago after a bad break-up I quit blogging for several months. I will say there was some alcohol and poor decision making that led to the demise of my first blog, The Blog Jar. My frustration was two-sided, on one hand I’d lost my reading mojo and had a backlog of book reviews that I didn’t really want to write. On the other hand, I felt my blog was too personal to be a “real” book blog and there were pictures and posts with my ex-boyfriend in them. I didn’t feel close enough to anyone in the book blog community to splay my life open and say, “hey the dude I’ve been dating for six years just cheated on me for the fifth time and I finally had the ovaries to kick him to the curb and I’m not reading right now because I feel stupid, hurt, and slightly scared of being the only adult in the house.”
So I deleted the entire damn thing.
When I went back to blogging I made several decisions. One, I cannot be a straight-up, books-only blogger. Feeling like I had to do a review on everything I read or berating myself for not reading faster and finishing more killed my creativity. Not a single soul in the blogosphere ever put that kind of pressure on me. I did it to myself because I’m a crazed perfectionist with a mean competitive streak. No more. I would blog books but on my terms.
The second decision is I decided to grow-up and own my truth. I can self-edit my life to a certain degree. My readers don’t see all of my marriage, my work-life, and I’ve found myself keeping things my teenager tells me private. Some stories are mine, but not mine to tell. When I wrote about telling my daughter about my depression for The Mighty I talked to Hope about it first. I even told Sam I would be alluding to “the sex life we used to have before the little kids came along” in a post concerning a cake recipe. But if I want to write something and it doesn’t cross a boundary then I am going to write it. In other words, I’ve developed better boundaries. I wibble and wobble with how much to share on occasion, but for the most part I’m sure in myself and the purpose of Fig and Thistle.
Purpose. I’ve wrestled with the point of this blog before:
“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.”
And that is how I avoid burnout. I blog for me. Not for hits, shares, publishers, or stats. I write about my life and all I love about it and all the ups and downs because if satisfies that insatiable need I have to find and appreciate meaning in my life.