2016, when I look back at it as a blogger, was a big wash. For me, it was basically a 12-month existential blogging crisis. The vast majority of the blogging that I did manage to do was responses to blogging prompts. I was – for a variety of reasons – utterly unmotivated to produce new, fresh, personal content.
So I can’t help asking the question, as I sit here now at the beginning of a new year, taking stock & getting myself in order for a new period of time: is it even worth it to continue to blog?? Has this just run its course for me? Do I still have a purpose here?
One mark in favor of continuing to keep this blog is that I do tend to use it as a means of untangling tangled thoughts.
Writing my way through problems is something I’ve always done, my whole life – but there’s something about blogging my way through them that is almost magical.
I think it comes via the fact that blogging is a public endeavor. Meaning, I can’t allow myself, when I write here, to lapse into (as my best blogging friend, Jenni, puts it so succinctly!) “vomiting up my soul.” This isn’t an anonymous blog – and so I have to be a little more diplomatic when I talk about people and situations. I have a responsibility – for the sake of my own privacy, as well as that of others’ – to detach enough from what I’m saying to ensure that I’m fair…that I can stand behind what I’ve said. That’s not the easiest place to reach when you’re really upset/hurt/ticked off/etc – but it’s useful, not to mention healthy, to try to get there.
Of course, there’s certainly a place for pure venting – and I do engage in that too sometimes (in a notebook that nobody else ever sees!) You can find useful insights that way – not to mention that sometimes it just feels so good to totally own your feelings, selfish and unfair though they might be.
But that sort of purge doesn’t, ultimately, help me usually anywhere near as much as writing with the constraints of public blogging does. I suppose because my ultimate goal, always, at the heart of everything, is to grow – as a person, and in my understanding. And this requires a certain stepping back from the volatility of what I’m feeling and considering of other people.
Blogging forces me into a certain circumspection. It compels me to really own my words and my feelings – to ask myself, as I speak/type whether I REALLY feel that way, or whether it’s just the heat of the moment. And if it IS heat, to dig deeper into what else could be “burning” or otherwise feeding the flame. I have to be sure, when I’m speaking publicly, that I’m speaking what I really feel – not just what my emotions are screaming in the moment.
In that circumspection is usually the growth I’m looking for.
I’m reading a book right now, The Book of Joy (which is excellent, by the way!) The Dalai Lama is quoted there as saying:
“When you focus too much on yourself, you become disconnected and alienated from others. In the end, you also become alienated from yourself, since the need for connection with others is such a fundamental part of who we are as human beings…
…With too much self-focus your vision becomes narrow, and with this even a small problem appears out of proportion and unbearable.”
~from The Book of Joy, 2016, pg.130-131
And I think, in that, is the rest of why blogging has been so useful to me: It’s because blogging allows me room to dig in deep to whatever is bothering me or perplexing me or otherwise causing me trouble – but in a way that forces me to simultaneously consider other people.
And not just the people whose privacy I’m trying to protect, but all people – because when I blog, it’s public.
Blogging – that public nature of it – automatically asks you to consider other people. And not just the subjects of your writing, but your potential audience as well. And doing so not only compels you, as I noted, to be fair, but it takes you to the place the Dalai Llama was getting at: the place where you remember that everybody is dealing with the same stuff. Maybe not exactly the same stuff at exactly the same time – but we’re all humans and we all want to be happy and we’re all struggling. And as you think about how to explain yourself to others (through a blog post), you automatically find yourself considering their potential experiences as well as your own – which makes you part of a greater whole. And there’s peace to be found in remembering that.
I’ve been soothed and steadied by that on countless occasions. Solidarity is a powerful thing.
So I don’t really want to give up blogging. I don’t want to give up that link to solidarity and subsequent peace.
And honestly? Beyond that, blogging is just fun. I’ve forgotten that a bit in the last year; I haven’t bothered with my blog enough to really have much fun with it. But I do really enjoy blogging. It’s not all serious business here! I love to post about music and art and film and books and travel and photography – and so many other things of that nature. This blog is a place to wax on about things I like and why I like them – and I enjoy that!
So, to sum up: blogging has been a really important part of my life in the last few years, as well as an incredibly useful tool for me for personal development. And fun, to boot! I’d miss my blog, I think, if it didn’t exist any longer.
But that being said…what happened this past year?? I think I need to dig in to that a little bit. Because something happened. (And the issue started about mid-way through 2015, I realize, looking back.)
Is it that this (blogging) has simply run its course for me? As useful a personal tool as blogging has been, as fun as it’s been for me, is it that I’ve simply moved past it now? (And my gut has registered that before my head?) In other words, am I resisting engaging in blogging because I’m sensing that it’s not going to be efficacious for me any longer? Is it not worth my time anymore?
Or is it rather that something has been inhibiting me from utilizing my blog in the way I did so effectively in the past? And if that’s the case…what? And why?
I honestly don’t have a clear answer for any of those questions.
So, I’ve decided to do what I’ve done in the past when faced with a tangled question: I’m going to consciously use this blog, use the next couple of posts, to write/think my way through to an answer. The goal is to determine, ultimately, if I should shut this space down – or if I should reconsider how I use it…start fresh with it for 2017.
As much as I’ve made a case for the utility and worthiness of blogging in this post (which wasn’t actually my intention when I sat down to write this…which in itself maybe means something), I have to admit, at the moment I’m very much on the fence.
To be continued…