I’m having a crisis of self and why I bother blogging.
I started blogging because I’m from the Xanga generation and I loved posting on there. It was my own little journal with friends. I briefly tried LiveJournal, but never connected with it very well. I transitioned to blogging later starting with Blogspot and moving to WordPress. This is actually my third personal blog. The first two were full of trial and error (not that this one isn’t), and I did a lot of learning along the way. This blog still isn’t exactly what I want it to be, but it’s closer.
I have never expected to have a large readership. A lot of why I blog is just to get my own thoughts out and attempt to process them. Having readers is the fun part. But I’m starting to feel directionless in my own thoughts so blogging with purpose is getting harder. I’m struggling with sounding personable vs. technical, something I’ve always had trouble with when trying to keep paper journals.
I also blog, at least partially, because I have been told time and again that without a following, a readership base, I’ll never be published. Twitter is too overwhelming for me, so at the least I should maintain a blog. And I do enjoy posting here. Most of the time.
I want to be a fun blog. Something easy on the eyes, a read you look forward to, one you hopefully learn from at least once in awhile. But I don’t know what that looks like or how to create it, especially in a sustainable fashion. I don’t know how to give you consistency and avoid a stress breakdown for me. I don’t know how to be engaging or how to code a website in a simple yet beautiful way (nor do I have the money to pay anyone else to do so). I’m struggling with feeling subpar in content and image. (As if body image issues aren’t enough, add blog image issues to that!)
So I’m not sure what to do.
Do I call it quits? Wave goodbye and disappear from the online world again for awhile?
Do I call a hiatus for an extended period of time, likely lose any readers I have anyway, and then try again?
Do I try another overhaul of the blog with my limited graphics and coding abilities and risk continuing a subpar image?
How do I learn to be a better, more engaging blogger? I don’t feel like trial and error is getting me there anymore.
Not to mention all the questions I have about the status of my poetry “career” (if I can be so bold). Getting published and applying for grants that I will rapidly be too old for is a lot of pressure right now, but I also feel like I need to forgo any attempt at that for awhile, focus on writing and building my list of poems, and then come back to the ‘publishing’ game in the future. But will I be behind then? Will stepping back just make it harder to jump back in? Will it take me a couple of years once I start again to even hope to get my foot in the door? My foot, my toes are barely in the door as it is, but I have at least one or two editors that recognize my work and name now, and I have a publication (and a possible pending publication) from this last year. It is exciting for me, but is it enough to even be worth it?
To sum it up, I have no idea what I’m doing. Trial and error along with perseverance has taught me a lot, but it’s still just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve worked at blogging off and on for 8 years and poetry for a bit longer, but do I even know anything at all? I don’t feel like I do and that tells me I’ve hit a wall.
I’m going dark for 2019. This blog will still be here. You can follow me on instagram (username lissa.clouser) where I will still be personally active. My Facebook page will also be inactive, just like the blog.
I’m deleting nothing because I have every intention of returning. But I have a great deal of figuring out to do. I need to step back from everything and evaluate my personal life, my blog and online presence, my writing habits and perhaps career, and more. I can’t do it if I feel like I’m constantly expected to be creating content and showing up, even if I’m the only one expecting that of myself.
So please, this is not me quitting or giving up. If you choose to leave I completely understand. If you choose to stay, I hope to begin 2020 in a positive and meaningful way, able to interact with you and build a better community and audience once I know what my goals there should be.
May 2019 be a glorious year for you of growth and joy, and may we meet again in 2020.
I have advice and opinions, but I will keep them to myself unless you ask to hear them. But I will say that I think this is a healthy step, and SO not worth stressing about. And also that blogging is overrated, especially as a way to build platform. That’s all for now.
I agree w/Jean Marie that the whole idea of a following as necessary for a creative writer is basically baloney. Years ago, in the print age, I was advised that I must “make it” in “top tier journals” in order to be considered a “career” poet. I found that process stressful and not conducive to writing. Granted, I am not a well-known poet, but I have a poetry career in addition to my non-poetry career; and I have readers–a few. And books. A few. After much floundering, I might add.
You are doing JUST FINE. Keep learning, writing, revising. Blogging’s so very optional, and not nearly as necessary as the art of poetry. Our only real platform is life.
What’s life anyway. I hope you have an interesting year in which life will give you the challenges to grow and feel life is worth living.