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.BIG FAN,(huge)
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…