Why the blog hiatus?

I haven’t blogged in a long time. About a month.

There are a few reasons for this. I started working full-time again and have found it pretty tiring. Even before that there was stuff that went down that was pretty full on and not fun. You don’t need the details but things got pretty awful for a while. Then the little dude’s sleep starting getting all out of whack. Not sleeping enough during the daytime and then waking up multiple times during the night.

And in the last few weeks each of our little family unit has taken turns being sick. I had just finished congratulating my immune system on what an exemplary job it was doing, what with all the toddler snot I was coming into contact with on an hourly basis, when, of course, I got sick too. Impeccable comic timing, Universe (as always).

So those are some reasons I haven’t written anything (other than day-job stuff) for weeks.

But actually, those are just the environmental issues. The real problem has been me. I just plain didn’t want to do it any more. I was fed up with it. I’ve been blogging at Stuff for over seven years. SEVEN YEARS. That’s approximately 6 and a half years longer than most blogs last.

And it’s not exaggerating to say that I’ve blogged EVERYTHING in that time. People sometimes suggest blog topics to me and 9 times out of 10 I have to say “yup, did that one three years ago”. So I felt like I’d run out of things to say.

And also, sometimes commenters can be dicks (present company excepted, I’m assuming).

But the main problem was I lost the joy in writing. I lost the buzz of being creative. It just became this chore, of an ever growing list, that needed to be ticked off so I could have a rest and put my feet up and watch and episode of Game of Thrones.

I had to write for the readers. I had to write so I would get paid. I had to write regularly to keep up interest, to <insert something wanky about my personal brand>. When really the only reason to write. The only, good reason anyway, is because you really, really want to. You have a story you want to share with the world, something inside of you that needs to see the light of day and yes, the glaring judgement of readers. It’s the excited, urgent “hey, hey, listen to me. I have a thing to tell you”.

And as soon as I realised that. As soon as I let myself have permission to bloody enjoy myself in it… I started to want to write things again.

But I didn’t come to this realisation on my own. I had help…from Amy Poehler.

Because of course the person who’s going to pull me out of my doldrums will be Leslie waffles-waffles-waffles Knope.

Taking a sick day gave me the opportunity to finish reading Amy’s book (I feel like we’d be besties if we met so surely it’s okay to refer to her by her first name) “Yes please”. That book was sitting on my bedside table for 6 months. In it she encourages us to treat our career like a bad boyfriend. Don’t go chasing after it and acting all desperate. This will only make it more elusive. Instead be ambivalent about it.

But here is the idea in her own, wise, wise, words.

You have to care about your work but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.

She goes on to add that this is not so easy to do but that you should try.

Reading that yesterday made a lightbulb flick on in my head. I didn’t want to write because I was all caught up in the result, the page views and the comments, and not the actual thing itself.

And then today I got a really nice email from a reader which is below.

Hi there,
I’ve been checking your blog more and more frequently in the hope that you’d post something but, sigh, nothing is there.  I found a link to your webpage (which looks cool) and I see from the sidebar that you’ve been tweeting so (phew!) guess you’re alive at least.  Apologies, I’m not on twitter and I was anxious when I finally worked out your last post was like 7 MAY!!!! man, that’s over a month without a Moata Blog Idle post – how have I survived?
Anyway, just to let you know that you are loved and missed.  Don’t stress about posting.  I just hope things are ok with you and Silver Fox and baby.

Sometimes you get exactly the thing that you need to hear, exactly when you need to hear it. So I think I might be close to getting my groove back, as it were. So thanks, Amy. And thanks for that email, Louise.

Now all I need is a bit more sleep…

32 comments Add yours
  1. Phew! That person said exactly what I have been thinking. Although I have seen Tweets, so that’s good. Hope you are back in the writing groove soon, not the same without you. Cheers!

    1. Thanks! I kind of felt like nobody had noticed I was gone, which sort of fed into my general ennui about the whole thing. But then I was thinking about it completely the wrong way (thanks again, Amy).

      1. Hi lovely Moata!

        If you ever feel like we don’t notice when you don’t post for a while, then just have a look at the Stuff stats on your most recent post, I’m sure you will see thousands of people checking in every few days to see if something is up, just like I do!
        Will go read Amy Poehler’s book and wait patiently for future musings 🙂


        1. Holy shit, where have I been. I haven’t even checked the comments on my own website. Sorry about that.
          I don’t actually have any access on Stuff regarding site stats so it’s hard to tell when people are reading or not, but thanks for the supportive comment. Definitely give “Yes please” a go. It’s very readable and perked me up no end.

  2. Wow 7 years?!?!?! I have been reading your blog for 7 years?! I remember when you first started blogging on Stuff. And your blog was my very first blog, as a reader. Oh how green I was! I haven’t commented much over the years, but I have read every single blog entry you have ever written. When we were travelling Europe/Caribbean, the kiwi tone of your blog, and your dry sarcastic sense of humour totally quelled a good chunk of my homesickness.

    Anyway, I was waiting patiently for your next entry on Stuff, then saw the link to your website and thought I would have a nosy. Glad I did. I saw this entry and wanted to say thank you for 7 years worth of wit and sarcasm. I will be be here following your blog if/whenever it comes back 🙂

    1. It will be 8 years in October, give or take a 6 month break for baby stuff. That is actually a reasonable chunk of my life (and yours, it turns out).
      I have a couple of ideas I’m mulling over so I don’t think a new post is too far away.

  3. YOU WERE MISSED A LOT! I’d been obsessively checking more and more often to see if you’d posted something. I don’t actively Twitter, but have seen tweets so knew you were still alive,

    I’m very glad Louise sent you a message. It’s what I felt like doing but … just because I feel like I know you, because I’ve read your blog for 7 fabulous, witty, insightful years … doesn’t mean you want to hear from some random you don’t know from soap. It felt a bit rude. So YAY for Louise having the guts to do it.

    Whether you decide to blog again or not, a very big thank you for letting us into your mind and your world, I have enjoyed it immensely.

    1. Firstly, it is a bit odd knowing that somebody worries whether you’re alive or not because you haven’t written a thing for a website. That is simultaneously lovely, amusing, and well, as I said, odd.

      Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate it!

  4. Hey!! I saw you today but didn’t want to be that weirdo asking where your bloggs had gone!! I’m glad all is good in your world other than the normal family blaaaaa. Even if it takes you a while to be ready. …..your fans will be waiting xxxooo

    1. I actually appreciate your not a being a “weirdo” because before now because if anyone had asked me about blogging it probably would have made me furrow my brow and feel like a loser for not being able to write a damn thing.

      It’s good to have the space to figure things out on your own sometimes.

      ps Always fine to just say “hi” though.

  5. Hi Moata, I check in regularly to see if you have updated on Stuff, but have been a rare commenter, because of the privacy policies and the like. However, I have had so much enjoyment from your blogs (and am dead keen to hear what you think about the replacement of JC with GW) that I thought I would drop you a note to let you know how much I have appreciated your blogs over the last (gulp) 7 years, and how much I secretly hope that one day we could be besties, and you could give me a pseudonym like Consuela!

    1. Ha! Well let’s imagine that that is in fact the case. I shall call you “Ovejita” after my third favourite Sesame Street muppet (SS is a thing we watch a lot now).

  6. Another gigantic fan but infrequent commenter here. I used to have writing aspirations myself before I realised that sarky emails to my staff would have to be enough to fulfil my ambition in that area. Anyhoo, I really admire your talent and enjoy your writing no matter what the topic. Having done the simultaneous working (for pay) and motherhood thing myself I’m incredibly impressed you even manage to form more than a couple of coherent sentences in your ‘spare’ time.
    I am relieved that you are ok. I’m sure there are tons more like me who have been quietly concerned about you and will be thrilled to see you back.

    1. Thank you! The concern is weird but nice!

      Oh dear, all this sudden appreciation is making my “write for me and not my readers” resolution a bit wobbly.

      1. I’m afraid ‘weird’ probably constitutes a fair proportion of your fan base – not that I’m saying you invite it…..hmmm, well maybe. And the two are not mutually exclusive – write for yourself and we benefit so win win really…..

  7. You have definitely been missed Moata! You have a very individual, quirky and funny writing style and your blog is the only one I have always followed on Stuff. Your posts always make me smile and I love that when a topic is important to you that you aren’t afraid to raise it and get a discussion going. I’ve been through something very similar with my career of choice recently and realised I was so worried about progressing up the ladder and ‘making something of myself’ it was totally robbing me of any enjoyment in my work. I have now taken a step back and decided what will be will be when the time is right. I feel much better for it! I’m glad to hear you are doing what is best for you at the moment and I hope you can find writing exciting again one day.. Just know you definitely have fans and we support you whatever you decide.

  8. Long time reader, first time commenter. Huge fan of your writing, Moata. I can relate to the writing blahs. Have admired your personal panache, gorgeous geekdoms, and wonderful way with words from way back when I was a fellow blogger on Stuff (pre-quakes!) – never as good as yours, sadly. Often got a case of the Oscar Wildes reading yours – “wish I’d written that” – at the same time as enjoying it immensely. Difficult-difficult-lemon-difficult to focus on family, work and writing all at once. Even more so to write as wonderfully warmly, wisely and prettily wittily as you do. So just when the muse strikes … Or the amuse, in your case. Aroha nui, Margaret.

  9. Well, everyone seems to have already said it, but as another frequent reader but infrequent commenter I am glad to see you back. I was a bit afraid some of the bitchy remarks to your last blog had totally put you off the whole thing (and I wouldn’t have blamed you). I have always enjoyed your take on the world and it’s idiosyncrasies and hope to enjoy them in the future, but I really get the blogging for you not us approach. It is no fun to feel that you “have” to do something rather than “want” to do it and I am sure all your blog followers want you to have fun with your blog cos then we have fun reading it!! Personally, I will look forward to you blogging as much or as little as you want and will try really hard not to miss you too much in between posts!!

  10. I follow your blog through FB so, while overseas for 6 weeks, I kept looking for an alert from my FB feed that you had posted. When it didn’t happen, I initially blamed stoopid FB feed for not sending me your alerts! Turns out, it wasn’t FB and its complicated algorhythm-whatever- thingys.. this ONE time anyway. So yeah, I was in Europe wondering if you were ok, and then recalled that you had said you were going back to work and concluded that it might have all been a bit much, and so you were getting “hope you are ok” vibes from the other side of the world, lol. I don’t always agree with what you write, but you certainly make me laugh, and give me cause to ponder the world from a different perspective, and not just the material you have written about. Sometimes, I find myself pondering and noticing the very small, weird details of life that happens around me, and think “that’s the kind of things that Moata blogs about”. I keep intending to write those observations down for myself because they seem much more important and noticeable now which I put down to you blogging about the minutiae of your life. So thanks heaps. Even if you never blog again, you have left a legacy!

    1. What a lovely comment, Ripeka. I certainly don’t expect people to agree with me but I love that I’ve got you considering the oddities in daily life. That’s awesome.

  11. Amy Poehler’s book is properly good. She (and Leslie Knope) have much to answer for in terms of being sources of inspiration.

    I keep going back and thinking about the skit she had to apologies for and how it took her so long do it and… well, I thought her honesty was refreshing and it made me realise that even amazing people do crummy stuff sometimes (so my own crummy stuff didn’t seem quite so bad).

    I think I’ve been reading your blog from the start (which coincided with my entry into the professional workforce and not incidentally my reading of infotainment websites). I’ve always really enjoyed your ability to tell a story, your way with words, and the honesty you put into your posts. I sobbed at my desk when I read about the Silver Fox giving you the whistle. People have given me the side eye when I laughed out loud at something you wrote. I definitely think that you have something to say and a unique way of saying it and I really hope that as long as you have the urge to write, you keep sharing it with us!

    Anyway, I’m so glad to hear that your blogging mojo seems to be coming back (because feeling so excited about something that you just have to write about it is a pretty great feeling).

    1. Amy Poehler is sooo great and you’re right, everyone has things that they’ve done that they feel stink about but it’s brave to be able to admit it and try to fix it.

      I feel bad that I made you cry! Nobody was supposed to cry about that. Bloody feelings and whatnot. Thanks for telling me that though. It’s sometimes easy to forget how you can affect people when it’s just words floating about on the internet…

  12. I concur with the above posters – we’ve missed you and are glad you’re ok. I selfishly want you to get your writing mojo back because I love your blog, but even if you never wrote another word, I’d be content with all you’ve shared so far. As a Wellingtonian, I was fascinated and helpless when I read your blogs about the Earthquakes; you made it real to me in a way the news coverage didn’t. I could gush on, but won’t as you’ll be inundated with oddness if I do that. Non-awkward hugs (or at least a friendly handshake) to you.

    1. Oh, but I kind of like the oddness, I think.
      Thank you for the comment. I feel really rather OVER appreciated, if there is such a thing. So many lovely comments being all lovely.

  13. Missed you, love your work. Being over appreciated is a good antidote to the under appreciation we mostly get! I love what Amy said, and yet blogging, or any public writing is about the response and the interacting, the relationships I suppose, or why would we do it. A challenge to manage reactions to the sh$&@#t being flung I imagine.
    I’m always impressed by anyone who is: a) inspired and b) actually writes it somewhere.
    Like most things I expect losing your writing mojo helps you appreciate it when it returns. May the force be with you!
    Ps Sorry for my weird sentence construction but in my defence I’m an excellent speller!

  14. For every person that comments, I bet there are another hundred (like me) don’t comment but who really look forward to and enjoy all your blog posts. I agree with pretty much everything you write.

  15. YAY! I found you! (in a totally non-stalkerish way). I so noticed you were gone from the other place (can I mention that name here?), thanks to lillyjean for the link to this blog.

    I’ve been an avid reader (but not commenter) since you won blog-idol all those years ago. You’ve keep this Kiwi-in-all-but-location in touch with a slice of NZ – reading your posts feels like coming home. Your posts about that horrific event in Christchurch really touched me.

    I hope your mojo behaves like a boomerang and comes back 🙂

  16. I missed you too! Though I like talking to you on Twitter anyway so I didn’t feel like you were gone/gone. I can really relate to what you’re saying. I’ve tried to resist the urge to blog when I don’t have anything to say but I often feel a weird pressure to blog – like I have to do something or people will stop reading. And then I wonder why I even care if people read it or not! Anyway, love you work – I’ve been reading since the beginning but I’m amazed it has been so long! So glad you’re still going. To be honest I’d never be able to handle the turd Stuff comments. I think you’re great! XO

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