Since Christmas, a lot of things have gone wrong — all wrong. Besides the usual winter doldrums, there’s been a dearth of good news around here. Trouble at school, trouble at home, busywork in my home office that never seems to abate, tax season, missing a few too many workouts to keep me operating at peak sanity levels, overcommitting on projects that move the needle backwards, at least temporarily.
How do you blog when you’re in a funk? Do you dare to blog when you’re blue?
Dark before the dawn
Weird fact: While I don’t exactly enjoy craziness, I’m comfortable with it. Something about disorder makes me want to have a party. One Buddhist teaching that makes sense to me — in fact it’s my rock of salvation some days — is the idea that when life is at it’s worst, you should celebrate, because things are about to get better…and when you’re on top of the world, you should mourn your inevitable fall. While it may appear I’m a pessimist, I’m actually capable of enjoying the crappy parts of life more than most people. It’s a talent I’ve developed, helped along by hearty, Cech Nebraska farm stock and a wonderfully dysfunctional family.
When things get weird, I’m at my best. This is true for many people. Human beings are great at getting through rough patches. We don’t fall apart that easily. Common, resilient behavior is to put our heads down and muscle through the day in a state of busy refusal to acknowledge failure, sadness, and emptiness. If I stay moving, I figure the trouble must to morph into something different in order to stick. It’s only when you stop that the monsters catch up.
But you can’t really outrun the plague. It’s just…there. While keeping very busy, I haven’t expanded much. Resources, time, kindness, energy, money…all leak out as I lean into the wind. I certainly don’t want to expose the remaining husk to other people, at least publicly. My “suck-it-up” policy means I put more effort into the things I actually can change and take adroit steps through the stuff I can’t, in a dogged path toward peace. Serenity doesn’t always look pretty, so I share discriminately.
The challenge? Blogging through adversity. This is the face of my business, right here. I don’t want to be a downer, not even a thoughtful downer. What if someone happens along and needs a boost? Will I tear someone down if write a negative post? Recognizing the power of words, my fear is I’ll be remembered for nastiness. These moments (or months) of darkness should be hidden.
As I come out of my funk, however, I’m starting to see the error of my ways. Dorothy Parker wrote, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit right here by me.” Ahh, I so love that. Come and share the pain. Let’s have a good klatch, partake of heavy sarcasm — make mine a double.
1. Readers can handle it.
Chances are, that personal squeeze is just what people want to read about. Misery loves company, and an honest post, however bleak, simply shows your humanity. The Internet is nothing if not personal — and momentary. If the random negative post sucks the life out of your readers, at least they’ll know they’re alive. “Life affirming” doesn’t have to mean to “cheery.”
2. It feels good to vent.
Weird and vulnerable, yes, but good. Catharsis is a natural byproduct of blogging. Good blogs aren’t always sunshine and roses. If you have something to say, jeezus beezus, just say it. While a “no drama” mantra creates calm in real life, at least you can air ideas in the blogosphere without blowback. In fact, a post that ruffles feathers may even get more reads (a good thing).
3. There’s always tomorrow.
The best and worst thing about a blog is that after a few days everyone forgets what you wrote. Your content is buried; people move on. They’re ready for something new. Prolific writers often reread and don’t even recognize their own writing. “Did I say that? Huh.” Funny how we deviate, then correct our course and continue on our way. So what if a blog post rips the band-aid off? So what if it hurts? Tomorrow’s another day for a better idea and a fresh perspective.
Which brings me to this: The first bluebonnets sprung up this week, a reason to rejoice. The perpetually happy @SandiKrakowski invited her followers to partake of a day of happiness yesterday. It was fun. I lay in the ditch and made a selfie. Later, my 15-yr-old daughter (who rarely talks to me these days) actually approached me, laughing, and picked the leaves and grass off my jacket. She left them on the printer’s paper tray. I found the little nest this morning and it made my heart puff up.
Emerging from the cave, when you’re done with being down, it’s the simple things that bring the deepest pleasure.
What about you? Do you blog when you’re blue, or wait until it passes? How do you motivate yourself to write when the clouds gather?