There were three things that told me I’d stayed away from blogging too long.
1. I’d started thinking about blogging rather than sleeping again.
Me trying to sleep at night:
2. My family kept asking me “when is the last time you blogged?”
Anytime anyone starts a sentence with “when’s the last time you you…”, pay attention.
3. I couldn’t remember how to use WordPress!
It was like that dream where you forget your locker combination on the first day of school. I logged on to WordPress and could not remember how to start a blog. This was no a metaphorical writer’s block. No, this was in the literal “how do I get that view in WordPress where I can start typing in an actual blog again???” (FYI, for me it was NOT like riding a bike.)
Why did I stop blogging in the first place?
It happened slowly. I went three days without blogging. Then I went a week. Then two weeks, which turned into a month and then two months. I kept reading and following other blogs, but not to the same degree. It was like slowly losing touch with a friend for no reason. You just grow apart. Life gets in the way.
I made no active decision to stop blogging. But, if I’m being honest, at the time I also didn’t miss it.
Here’s what I did instead of blogging.
1. I finished the first draft of a new book.
2. I helped my parents move out of the house they lived in for most of my life. (During the move, I uncovered a giant tub full of writing from when I was a kid and some hilarious pictures of me as a child. Apparently, I rocked the bang look for quite some time. Plus, I think I make a decent (not scary) clown. #savetheclowns #makeclownsnotscaryagain!)
3. I worked.
4. I traveled. (Note: Still apparently rockin’ the bang look. Never realized I had such an affinity toward it…)
5. I spent more time with my family.
6. I made no progress on becoming a better photographer. (Thank my daughter’s post-photo production prowess for the fact that any pictures in this blog are even viewable.) BUT I read a lot of books. (Again, apologies for the terrible picture. Seriously – this is why I could never be a social media maven. I have no photography skills AT ALL!)
Why am I back to blogging?
When reading the new book Educated by Tara Westover, I came across a quote from Virginia Woolf that really resonated with me.
“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”
When I stopped blogging, I didn’t know why. I am not someone who often understands her emotions and motivations in the moment. I need time to digest. (Sometimes days, sometimes years).
With a little distance, I’ve come to understand blogging had started to feel like a chore. And I never want writing to feel like a chore. Writing is my escape. It always has been.
As I think back, I stopped blogging as a way to preserve the part of me who loves to write because if I lost her or became disillusioned with her, I’m not sure I’d be me anymore. (I know, so dramatic!)
The notebooks full of writing I found in my parents basement reminded me how writing has always been a core part of me. Those pages dated back to first grade when I didn’t care if spelled words like they sounded (rumiging, dasaster). (I wish I could say I’m a better speller but I’m kind of like the Lois Lane of writing – a writer and editor who can’t spell. Oh the irony. Thank goodness for that squiggly red line under words!) When I was a kid, I wrote for no other reason than because I loved it.
Somewhere between drafting novels, Twitter pitch fests, writing for my job and blogging, I misplaced my love of writing. To find it again, I had to be the rumiging/dasaster girl again. I had to get back to the story and not the chore.
And I did that. I wrote a new novel with no other goal other than writing it. It felt great. As I emerged from the novel writing cocoon, the question my family kept asking me – when is the last time you blogged – stopped making me sigh with annoyance and started making me nostalgic.
My Not-So-Exciting Return to Blogging
With a renewed excitement for writing, I got onto WordPress and fumbled through the clicks and tabs, reorienting myself. I won’t pretend like blogging came back to me naturally. This whole blog entry had (and probably still has) awkward stops and starts as I try to get back into the writing style again.
The first day of school after a summer break sensation permeated every period and sentence return. When I opened WordPress I again, I felt as if I were standing in the shadow of a school doorway swimming with uncertainty and self-doubt. (You know, the basic substance that makes up writers). My stomach knotted and twisted with questions. Will they like me? Will they think I’m dumb? Will they judge me for my misspellings? Will anyone even read this far into the blog?
Slowly, though, as I moved and progressed through the blog entry, my fingers became more steady, the words rolled out easier.
Before writing this return to blogging blog, I delved into advice columns such as “how to make a blogging comeback.” Quickly, I realized, there was no flashy comeback for me. I’m not some high profile blogger. I like to write about writing and books and travel (and the things in between). Not very flashy.
There is no big “hey! I’m back!” moment in this blog. That’s not really me. My guess is very few people even realized I’d disappeared from the blog-o-sphere.
So, with that, hi again (or hi for the first time). I hope you come back.