Blogging Back to Life

What do you do when you stop blogging for a significant length of time and no one seemed to notice, when you’ve had a blog for years but have no more than a few hundred followers (literally what would be called a “drop in the bucket” on the internet, even if it seems like a lot to me personally) and no more than a handful of likes per post, and you know this blog will never have a niche, which seems so important in the blogging world?

It’s tempting to let this gasping site die and start up another one, but I renewed the domain name in August or September, so I have a few months left to go in order not to totally waste my money.

I bought this domain name specifically because I wanted this to be my personal author website. It’s definitely not what most people would call an author website, not least because I haven’t actually been published. One could argue that this is mostly my fault. I never really put myself out there, except for a few timid attempts here and there. It’s no wonder I never get anywhere…

The reason I want to let this blog go and start a whole new one is because I would be able to form and shape it with intention from the beginning. But I don’t want this one to disappear. A lot of work has gone into it in the past, even if not recently. A lot me is captured here. Call me clingy, hopeless, or whatever you like, there are ideas and thoughts expressed here that I believe were worth sharing. Instead of cutting this path short and starting an entirely new one, I’m just going to keep building on this one.

Yes, I’m going to start blogging again! And I know that of most of the people who see this post, only a small number will care. That’s not important right now. The important thing is relearning how to express my thoughts. At the beginning of the year, as I try to get myself used to writing again, I will probably do a lot of personal journaling that will be seen by me alone. In other words, don’t get too excited, because I don’t have all that much to say here yet (that’s sort of a lie. I have a lot to say, always, but I need some time to figure out how to say it), and there won’t be any new fiction for some time unless serious inspiration hits, but soon enough this will be a platform for my weird brand of creativity to come out once again.

 

Don’t touch that dial. We’ll be right back.

The words do not want to come.

Another month. Another Monday.

More questions.

Less certainty.

For some time now it’s felt as if everything is about to fall apart. I’ve been standing on the edge for so long, somehow managing to balance. There are all these saying about how things falling apart might be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, but I am extremely doubtful. I think I’d be too tired to build anything out of the rubble.

I know I cling too hard to things sometimes. It’s a side effect of loss.

If I look like I’m not affected by things, it’s because I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t begin to express it.

If this little piece of writing is a little lacking, it’s because I have so many thoughts running around in my head that catching one long enough to get it to stand still is nearly impossible.

I would like to tell you all my secrets, but then I’d have to let them go. And it’s hard to do that when I’m not sure I understand most of them myself.

Halfway 365k365day Update

It’s one of those mornings when my eyes continue to burn with sleep even though my mind wants to be awake. Those are almost more difficult than the other way around. When your mind is asleep but your body is awake, there are numerous things you can do until it catches up. This tends to just make me feel restless.

My 365k365day challenge has not been going well. I’ve barely written anything for the past few months, and even my updates about it have been neglected. Although it’s pretty pointless to update if I haven’t written anything. More than anything else I’ve done journaling, ranting, brain-dumping sort of writing, which is sometimes necessary to clear a bunch of crap out of your mind. At this point I am VERY behind in my word count, and I’ll only be able to catch up if I am very diligent about writing every single day from now until 2016. This may not be possible. There’s a good chance I might not reach 365k, but if I can manage 200 that’s still quite a bit for me. Maybe next year I can do better.

I’ve had a thousand million thoughts, tons of writing ideas–most of them I’m sure have been not as good as they seem in the moment so it’s probably a good thing I can’t remember them–but they never seem to get on the page. I tend to get ideas when I’m in the middle of doing something else, and I have never been one to stop everything to write down my ideas. When I was younger, I remembered most of them anyway. Maybe I’m getting too old to keep track of ideas? Well, I have though a few times about started to do that–interrupting whatever I’m doing to record my writing idea–but I already have trouble paying attention to things lately, and I don’t think this would help. It would probably tempt me to go work on the writing instead of whatever obligatory thing I was already doing.

When I DO remember, I have a hard time placing the piece. I can’t figure out where it belongs. Should I publish it on this blog, my other blog, or submit it to some other website for publication? And then somehow the whole thing gets lost in the dark maze of my brain…

I’m slowly trying to train myself to have better habits, so that I can stop wasting so much time. It’s a process though, and it’s one that backtracks a lot. There’s no smooth path to becoming truly productive…

Blogvolution

If I happen to glance back at my old posts, particularly those of a few years back, I find that quite a lot of them are the sort of stream of consciousness writing that to me was the point and definition of a “blog.” Articles and points were for professional websites. Blogs were for rambling.

Over time, “blogging” has become an actual business venture, although not for me, and this makes me steer away from that sort of rambly, babbly, slice-of-mind type posts and toward ones that are at least a little bit topical. By that I mean having a topic, and not especially relevant to the time, although almost everything you will ever write is informed by the context of the time you live in, so I guess that applies too.

This blog is a personal site, not a professional one, so there’s no especially good reason not to ramble on, except that I want to put something a little more thoughtful out there. I want to feel a little bit more like my thoughts have a point. It would be nice to look back on previous posts and think “Yes, I see what I was saying here, and I think it was worth saying.”

One could argue that I should go back and delete some of my older posts, at least the silliest and/or most pointless ones. I don’t think I’m going to do that, though. I want to keep this site personal. I don’t want to clean up my image too much, to seem like someone whose thoughts just flow naturally into perfect forms of stories or essays or what have you. It doesn’t get me views or make me money, but I still feel attached to it. I’ve poured quite a bit of myself into this blog and I don’t just want to delete parts of me, even if they are smaller or more distant now than they were at the time of writing. Perhaps I am too attached to the past. Maybe it’s the influence of writer’s journals, like Virginia Woolf’s, and the idea that someday, people will be interested in my raw thoughts because I will have gained some fans through my creative efforts.

I mean, probably not. But at least I can look back on it myself.

Learning Process

There are certain pieces of advice that you hear over and over. On the internet, from your parents, from teachers, made into motivational poster memes. I know there are many that I have repeatedly come across (and for some reason I can’t think of any now, wouldn’t you know it…) and I knew, but could not fully grasp them until more recently.

I wish certain things about life had not taken me so long to learn. Things like failure being a natural part of life, and if you never fail at anything it probably means you haven’t tried anything–and also that it doesn’t mean you should give up. I never really learned to bounce back after failing, I would just move on to something else. I generally did well in school, rarely failing anything and never trying to master that material after the fact, the few times I got a failing grade.

The past few years, I’ve been failing at a lot of things. Often I feel like I’m not capable of dealing with life and I should not have been allowed to be an adult. In this case, dealing with the stuff that’s causing me stress is the only option, short of giving up and staying in bed for the rest of my life. To be clear, that’s really not something I want to do. And after what feels like a million years of hearing from everyone that you just have to keep trying and keep going, I’m able to face things that have gone wrong and try to improve or fix them.

I wish that someone who struggles the way I have would read this and take it to heart and feel better about what’s wrong in their lives, and understand that it doesn’t mean they themselves are a failure or that they can’t do something to make it better. But that probably won’t happen. Here’s why:

For most people, you simply can’t learn those really important things about life until you’re ready. You might know intellectually that the wise advice you hear is true, but it doesn’t reach your heart because you don’t really believe it. Something has to happen to make it sink in. A certain experience, or a person in your life, or just time in which you can think about life and start to grasp what it actually means, what is important, and what isn’t.

The one I’m working on right now is that it might be okay if I never really make anything of my life. I’ll still be a good, worthy human being. This might be the most difficult one, the one that I can never fully accept…

Slainte

What are stories of rainbows and pots of gold really about? Are they stories of good luck and hope, or of foolish wishes for magical solutions that don’t exist? There are tales both of people tricking fairies and fairies tricking people. So, is it a trait of the person that makes the difference? That is, if you’re clever enough, you’ll snatch the prize from its keeper, but if you’re the simple, gullible type the supposed treasure will turn out to be fake.

Of course, rainbows aren’t magical, pretty as they may be. They don’t actually lead all the way to the ground, so if there were a pot of gold at the end, it would be floating in the sky somewhere, not reachable by people. In fact, I don’t think rainbows generally have concrete “ends.”

But who knows. If you meet a leprechaun, see if he’s feeling generous.

January in Review

Who knows if I’ll continue this through the year, but for now I want to implement a regular look-back into what I’ve been up to, writing-wise. Weekly is far too often, so monthly seems like the perfect option. Since my writing has no real deadlines right now, if I don’t find some way to make myself accountable for doing SOMETHING, I’ll probably just continue to procrastinate.

As far as my Year of Writing challenge goes, I haven’t kept up with it as well as I would have liked. I rarely wrote much more than 1,000 words, which is the daily goal, and I fell short of it too often for my liking. I wrote nothing at all on at least four days. Sometimes I only managed a few hundred. I’m still feeling mildly proud of myself, because for such a long time I wasn’t writing regularly at all. My year so far has been much better than my past writing habits for many years before that. That might be the answer. I’m so out of the habit that it’s just going to take a while to really get back to a productive place, as far as writing is concerned. Still, I’m disappointed that I haven’t been able to do better yet. I’m about 5,000-6,000 words behind at this point, and I don’t like that…

In addition to a few blog posts and random journal-y type things that will never be publicly viewed (I hope), I’ve mainly been working on a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that I think I started writing in 2011. It sat essentially neglected for three to four years and now I’ve finally picked it up again. It felt great to make some progress on one of my old ideas. I have a tendency to hang onto concepts and ideas and story beginnings without ever producing a finished product; this is a bad habit I hope to fix.

Now, this project has stalled. I was trying to work on it yesterday and every sentence I thought of slipped away from me even faster than it came. Looking back now, I wonder–have I actually made progress? I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to completely rework the part of the book I’ve written in the past month when it comes to revisions, because it just doesn’t have a good flow. It seems that I got so caught up in trying to build up the story in a certain way, with the belief that I couldn’t just skip right to the “good parts,” that I let it get bogged down in details that don’t necessarily serve the story. (Instant reaction: OMG I’m a terrible writer! More thoughtful reply: If I were really a terrible writer I wouldn’t realize that the product was bad, and now that I have, I’ll be able to fix it.)

I haven’t quite decided if I’m going to continue writing this story, skipping to the “good parts” to fill in whatever other details might be needed later, or move on to some other projects that have been stewing in my mind. I just came up with a really interesting beginning to a story today, which would probably apply best to a thriller, but I don’t know if I want to write a thriller. I might write through the idea and see where it goes…

Writing something I’m not pleased with always feels like wasted time. In a month, I could have written at least as much GOOD quality stuff, if I had been writing better. This is both very obvious and sort of stupid. (Another one of my bad habits is dwelling on the past, and I have to try very hard to focus on just letting it go and moving forward.) It does no good to grumble about what I could have or should have done in regard to my writing or anything else in life.

Next up: The Shortest Month. February contains my birthday, which usually means a VERY slight uptick in social plans, and while it’s never as exciting or memorable as I want my birthday to be, I appreciate spending time with people who care about me. It also means the least amount of time (by just a few days, but still) between bill due dates. Much less fun. Before you know it, it’ll be over, and we’ll have to trudge through the slowest month that ever existed–March. Gee, I can’t wait.

Losing Summer

It is now the first day of fall. I noticed how perfect the weather was today when I went out to get my groceries. The sun shone brightly but the air was cool. A few of the trees on my street have already started to change. THIS is the best of weather.

The turn of August to September saw a flare-up of oppressive heat, but that seems to be the last surge of summer. It’s cooling off again; it seems the season is ready to accept defeat. As usual I had that moment of regret for all the days I didn’t spend at the beach, and having only sat outside at a restaurant with friends or family a few times, despite walking by such patios constantly. I barely wore sandals and I spent far too many days inside.

Every year now, I find a moment to complain about how summer is not very exciting as an adult. When you’re a kid you get the time off from school, and depending on your circumstances, your parents will take you somewhere for a vacation (even if it’s just a two hour drive to a town in the same state). For the rest of the summer you read, you spend time with friends, you hang out in someone’s pool (I always knew someone with a pool). You eat a lot of ice cream, go to barbecues, and don’t have to wake up early.

Then you start to get older. For most people, summer jobs start somewhere in the mid to late teens. Some start much earlier and a few won’t have jobs until after they graduate from college–but those will probably spend the summers volunteering or studying. (This story does not include those people who never have to work. I have no frame of reference to talk about them.) Suddenly, you don’t have all these days off anymore. Teenagers’ jobs are often part-time, so although they sacrifice some of their free days, they still have quite a lot of time to eat ice cream and hang out in their friends’ pools.

But then you enter the “real” world. You have a full time job, or two or three part time jobs, and you don’t have the time to enjoy the beach or spend a day wandering around town with your friends. You have responsibilities instead. If you do have the time to do these things whenever you want, chances are you don’t have the money. Much of your summer free-time goes to waste lamenting that you’ll barely be able to pay your bills this month, so instead of going to the beach, you scour Craigslist for a new job. Gone are the days of being free to enjoy the summertime. Just like they said it would, adulthood sucked away all the fun (I don’t know who “they” are exactly).

As summer becomes just another part of the year with the same schedule, the same stress, and the same lack of time, we long for the time when summer actually meant something more than just wondering what the hell you can wear that won’t cause you to die of heatstroke on the way to/in the office.

 

When you think about it, though, what exactly are we losing? Think back to being a kid during the summer. Really think. My memories of youthful summers are getting a little vague and fragmented at this point, but I’m fairly certain that I ended up bored and ready for summer to be over somewhere around the beginning of August. If I could go back and talk to my ten-year-old self, I’d say “Find something to do and be grateful for your lack of stress.” But unfortunately, hindsight never benefits us. I was always pretty eager to go back to school, even excited.

Of course, I got sick of being back at school after two weeks, instead of two months. I think I just liked the change, the feeling that things were moving forward. New teacher, classroom, notebooks, clothes. Sometimes new friends.

Leisurely summers feel like a story someone told me, rather than anything that really happened. Maybe I block them out because they make me feel guilty for not doing more with my free time when I had so much of it. Of course, I was a kid then, and kids don’t need to be responsible for “getting things done.” I think the problem is that now I know what I would do if I could spend my time how I chose without having to worry about adult things. I’ve felt like there could be so much art, music, friendship, love, etc. in my life, if only I had enough time.

Summer Heat–Sometimes

I think I’ve been conditioned by air conditioning. This is strange because I don’t have air conditioning, and I hate how cold I always get when sitting in air-conditioned spaces. I usually only want it on the hottest of days. Yesterday I found the heat death-like. I thought I might catch on fire. I luckily managed to do some work, but not as much as I had wanted, because I could barely think, I was so hot. I had to get dressed for an errand, but as soon as I got home I changed quickly into something breezy that I would never be willing to wear out of the house. I tried to drink a lot of water with a lot of ice in it. Nothing really worked.

When it got dark the air finally started to cool. I was relieved, but not enough. It still felt too hot. The air in my bedroom rarely moves no matter how wide I open the windows. I probably need a better fan. So I lay there trying to will myself to move, and went to bed much earlier than usual because there was just no way to get anything else done.

As I wandered back and forth that day, spending a few minutes reading, a few minutes watching videos, working, etc., over and over, I looked out the window and wondered when it would rain. “Why isn’t it raining?” I whined to myself. That would have really helped.

That didn’t last long. I thought, it will rain when it rains. I’m not going to make it happen by wishing. Despite what I might want, I have no control over the weather. Soon enough the heat will go away, and then later it will come back…

It was around that time I went to bed.

Not one for the books, this post…

Why can’t I just live like one of those lucky few, doing maybe a few blog posts a day, just getting paid for whatever thoughts I decide to put out in a short written form?

Maybe someday. (Not).

I found a list of writing prompts for the month of September. I forgot about it at first, so of course I’m already behind. When I have some time off later this week, I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch up. Of course, there’s no rule that I have to do all the prompts, but I was planning on it. Just to get some words out. Maybe I’ll even like one of my responses enough to post it.

Fingers crossed.

My mind is like a… something… that can’t hold onto ideas.

That should be clear enough.