The sheet is blank. There are no words. Well, now there are. Thirteen, to be exact. And now nineteen. And just like that, the sheet isn’t blank anymore.
Something was said, by me actually. From my brain to my fingers, from my fingers to my keyboard, from my keyboard via Bluetooth to my iPad, from my iPad to the web browser, and eventually, from my web browser, copy and pasted, to the dashboard of my blog. From there it just needs to get to your eyes. How we use language and these tools to communicate is amazing and I can’t help but love it.
I love writing. I’ve been doing it since, like, forever. I am pretty sure I used to dictate made-up poems to my parents when I was no older than Gavin is now. It is interesting being a parent now and realizing that this isn’t something all children do. It is what I did, and what I still do. I just have different tools (thank you Mom and Dad for your service). Writing is part of my core.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll blog forever. I think the answer is that I will, in some form or another. I have been blogging for the entirety of my adult life. I have been blogging for longer than I’ve known my husband, of which I have no trouble reminding him during those few occasions when he has suggested I stop. And I have stopped before, but I have always come back, maybe in a new form or a new place, but I have come back.
Lately I have noticed a large disconnect between my writing and my blogging, which makes very little sense. I started blogging because it was an avenue for me to write. Now, for me, blogging has evolved into being about connecting, promoting, sharing, searching, linking, imagery, and – oh yes – writing. All in all, those things are not bad. They are the components that make me love blogging, help me get my words read, and sometimes even be reimbursed for the work. The connections made to other humans is what makes blogging so personal. I take pride in being able to take beautiful photos to illustrate my words. I love these parts of blogging and that they help my words be read, but when taken as a whole, it can take the joy out of the whole process.
Last month I attended a local one-day blog conference called #BlogJam2015. I had been invited to run a session but I didn’t, because all I felt qualified to talk about was burnout, without any tips on how to get out of it. I was deep in the midst of a blogging burnout and wasn’t even willing to apologize for it because the only people I owe something to is my family and my family has been growing and requiring more of my time and I refuse to feel guilty about that. I was growing tired of the extra bells and whistles of blogging, wishing to go back to the time when I just wrote ad published, wrote and published. I think that’s what we call “nostalgia”.
It should not have been a surprise then that the session at BlogJam Atlantic that spoke to me most wasn’t one that taught me something or encouraged me to try something new. It was a session by Chris Campbell called “From Complex to Simple: Lessons from 13 Years of Blogging”,
“The closer I am to words, the better,” he said. “Writers write. Bloggers blog. Write every day. Your passion will make you do it and keep coming back to it. The perfect time to write is right now.”
Why don’t I just write? I’ve slowly been writing more and more since being challenged to simplify in this session. It has been a good exercise for me. I’ve made a point of not tying writing to blogging. For me, blogging always involves writing. But writing doesn’t need blogging to stand on its own, and I think this is something I haven’t understood for years. I have spent many a night this past month falling asleep in the middle of a sentence. Yes, I definitely am starting to write way too late each night, but I feel like the practice of writing is more important than a finished product. I don’t want writing to be one of those things I ignore just because I don’t have time for it. People challenge themselves to write every day in November. It is National Novel Writing Month and National Blog Posing Month and for once, I feel inspired to actually plan to write daily. The last thing I want is to create a chore that takes the love out of writing, so I haven’t participated in the past, but this year, as I have been craving to return to the practice of just writing, I think I’m ready.
It is November, which means it is #nanowrimo and #nablopomo and I’m inspired to write through it all. I’m doing something a little different. My goal is just to write every day. I am not going to write a novel. I probably won’t publish a blog post every day. My goal is to practice and focus on the writing. So here I am, checking in on dat 1. 984 words. And yes, today it will go live. Check out my blog in a few minutes. A photo posted by Laura O’Rourke (@lauralorourke) on
I would love to write a novel, but I haven’t attempted one since high school. And while I have it in me to write one, I simply do not have a novel inside of me yet. So, #NaNoWriMo is out. That leaves #NaBloPoMo but that requires a daily blog post, and I’m not willing to commit to that either. It is the writing I want to focus on, not the posting, especially when my goal is to fall back in love with writing.
So this November, I’m falling somewhere in the middle. I am just going to try to write, every day. Sometimes I’ll publish what I write as a blog post. I’ll try to check in on Twitter and Instagram on the days when I don’t publish.
Here’s to the love of writing and to finding my words again. Here’s to mugs of coffee and glasses of wine and cramped fingers and full sheets.