As much as my blog was on my mind, I couldn’t go there.
In spite of telling others – clients and customers – that once or twice a week was optimal; still, I couldn’t put one word down here on my own blog.
The dearth went on for months. I’m cautiously assuming it’s over now.
Late summer and early fall were heavy, with too much going on personally and professionally to pen two words together to see if they stuck. Meanwhile I took notes every time I was on the phone, or heard someone speak, or listened to a podcast or radio show. I took notes constantly, just to get some words down and to practice my handwriting.
[Incidentally, practicing my handwriting was something a handwriting expert advised me to do around the time everything shook loose. You might say I was desperate.]
I never lost a connection with words because I haven’t stopped writing for customers. Sales pages, opt-in pages, emails, blog posts, Facebook posts and tweets leading to launches, courses, webinars, and infoproducts. I’ve never stopped learning and writing about new things…
My Google calendar stacked my days with blessed structure, although I couldn’t write for myself.
What do you do if you can’t write your own blog?
If it ever happens to you, I say go with it. Don’t write. Other writing experts will tell you to keep writing if you’re a real writer. They say, “push through.” And of course you will want to think of yourself as a real writer, so instead of writing, you will feel guilty for not writing.
If keeping content on your blog is important to you, as it should be, then hire someone to write for you. Make a video, talk to your camera, and post it somewhere. You could hire me, even.
But if it’s important to you to write your own stuff, but can’t, for whatever reason, at least publicly — then don’t.
A few months ago, I had a conversation with a WordPress expert in Cape Cod who followed a blogger who stopped blogging about WordPress things and months later emerged with a change of heart, resulting in a change of direction for his blog.
My Cape Cod friend considered that this blogger had experienced “some kind of breakdown” because he was tired of blogging about WordPress. I made a sympathetic noise, and thought about all the blogs I’ve ever read where the writer divulges a desire to switch tack, a need for a break, a come-to-Jesus moment regarding his posts. It happens frequently in my blogosphere. Maybe there is something to the idea that the bloggers I follow are having regular breakdowns.
But that’s a blog, isn’t it? A log of stuff someone wants to write about and share with readers on the web. They might throw out a curveball, but it usually fits into the big picture, and winds up making perfect sense. Like a house full of eclectic furniture, your blog reflects what you like and care about. You go with the flow. If you tried to plan it out too far, your blog would suck. If you’re daring enough to start a blog, and keep it fed, it’ll shock you how wild it is.
I’m back, I think, but I’m not sharing. This stuff is mine, all mine… for now.
I will write about it some day, just like all the other topics that died and floated to the top temporarily, then rotted at the bottom of the lake of my memory. I will wish I’d written something sooner. It will be messy and illegible at first (as my teenaged son says, “the nari-est of the nar”) It will have chunks of loose details stuck to it, pulling in the current, swaying like flotsam and jetsam. Other memories will swim by and hungrily peck at it. I will wish I had written something when it was plump and shiny and fresh.
[Newsflash! I like blog posts with the words “flotsam and jetsam” in them. Now I have two, I think. This post is not wasted.]
I wrote lots of letters during this time. Letters to my daughter, and as I said before, letters to myself, but I prefer to think of them as notes. This collection of loose pages is waiting like an unformed collage of napkin-worthy ideas, but not quite so romantic as napkin scrawls. Most of them are written on legal pads. “Maybe I’ll do something with them someday.” (That’s what writers say when they are not really writing.)
I say it too; but not tonight.
Tonight, I end this silliness, and post something here to break the spell…
The other day I found a shriveled up sweet potato in a hanging basket full of wine corks in my pantry. I had forgotten about it there, but it sprouted without my attention anyway. It sprouted in the dark. I felt a surge of undeserved relief because somehow its secret photosynthesis (yes, tiny red leaves were beginning to unfurl) was a sign of mercy for my long lapse from blogging. I took a picture and considered it a sign.
I am lucky, as writers go. Forgiveness these days looks like the discovery of a root vegetable hanging on for dear life, birds flying dangerously low over my minivan, and a schedule so full I sleep like the dead. It’s something I can at least write about.
Anyway, this blog isn’t the first one that’s seen inaction. What did you write about, that time you came back from whatever it was? What was your first post back from an absence? Did you jump right in or explain where you’ve been? I’m curious how other bloggers have handled this. Feel free to comment below.
Typewriter photo: flickr CC: zeitfaenger.at