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Flounder (Not the Fish) and Goodbye, For Now

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.

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Christmas Postcards!

Announcement time!!

Last year I wrote a Christmas poem to include in all of the cards I send out to family and friends. I had so much fun doing it that I want to write a small Christmas poem again this year… but I’m going to share it with you too!

If you aren’t already on my Christmas card list and you love snail mail that isn’t asking for money or selling something, then I’d love to send you a Christmas postcard with a poem on it this year.

I’m not putting a limit on how many cards I’ll send out just yet. If the requests are overwhelming I’ll edit this post that I’m no longer accepting addresses for this year when I hit a limit on what I can handle.

I am accepting requests from now through November 30th. International addresses are okay.

(I hope to mail everything the first week of December.)

Please post your name and mailing address in a comment below or email me at lissa.clouser@gmail.com if you don’t want the information publicly visible.

Legal/Privacy: I will not be sharing your name or address with anyone. This is simply for the purpose of a one-time postcard mailed to you. Addresses will not be kept afterward.

 

*Photo by user Jo-B at Pixabay, creative commons usage

Taking a Break

This year has really beat me up. Various difficulties in my health, the health of family and friends, emotional strife with a few people, occasional real job work overload, financial headaches, and more have been rough this year. It happens and that’s called life, but man, my creative streak has suffered for it. I guess that’s also called life.

So I’m taking this month off. From everything. From trying to blog or write or submit my work. I’m going to enjoy holiday crafts, maybe write a few letters, and take it easy. It’s possible I’ll do the same with January, but I’ll reevaluate then.

This year I sent out 44 submissions, 1 application to a fellowship, 1 application to a residency, and a small handful of contest entries.

So far nothing has come back with that magical stamp ‘accept’, but I still have a few things out that I’m waiting to hear on. Worst case scenario I still tried harder this year than I have in years past. And that means next year I’ll try even harder. And more importantly, I’ll keep writing.

I’ve been suffering from some pretty thick writer’s block for the last 3 or 4 months too. But for the first time ever it’s not from distraction or lack of inspiration. It’s actually from overload. I have so much I need to say and get out that when I sit down to the page it all tries to come out at once and just clogs up the flow and gives me a panicky headache instead. Any ideas on how to get past this? I’ve done a little timed freewriting but even that can be hard to get out. Morning pages never seem to work out for me either.

I hope everyone has an amazing holiday season, whatever you celebrate. Enjoy the lights, spread some joy, and be kind to yourself and others. I do have one KidLit post scheduled for later this month, so keep an eye out for that. Otherwise I will see you all in the new year!

Update

I had intended to have consistent updates this month with the promised posts from last year’s trip to Japan, but sometimes health gets the better of me and throws things a little out of whack. There will be posts, three of them in fact, and hopefully soon, but this may run over into June’s postings. Photo heavy posts take awhile to put together and lately I haven’t been up to anything of the sort. Thanks for understanding and see you around here soon!

Tidying Hiatus

No. I am not quitting. I’ve gotten too far in this project! (And I love seeing the changes around my house.) But I am taking a break. I’ve been thinking about it for the last week or two and decided it was time.

I’m trading in stuffing donation bags for letter writing, reorganizing cabinets for writing poetry and reading, and digging through boxes of odds and ends for scrapbooking. I’m taking a break to get creative again, something I’ve been neglecting while I tidy.

I’m not sure exactly how long I will take off, most likely somewhere between 1-2 months, but I will be back and hopefully with a bang as I finish off the house project to end all projects! (Okay, not really, but it feels like it at this point.)

Want to make sure you don’t miss it when I start up these posts again? Follow me!

Click the button to the right of the page and you’ll never miss a post from me again.

Let’s break out the glitter and craft paper for a few weeks. I’ll be back to tidying before the holidays. And in the meantime, keep an eye out, I’ll still be posting other things!

Starting Fresh

Welcome!

If you are new to following me, thank you for dropping by! I hope you will enjoy the time you spend here. This blog is just getting on its feet, so please give it a bit of time to begin generating the sort of content you can look forward to.

If you have followed me here from a previous blog, I appreciate you making the move with me! I am excited to begin again, and I sincerely hope to bring you something better than before.

Over the last four or five years I have played at blogging, both semi-seriously and for fun. I’ve read so much advice about how to blog, what to blog, who to blog to, and how often to blog that I feel perhaps it was entirely overwhelming and by trying to follow all of the advice, in reality I could follow none of it at all. I’ve been trying to live up to someone else’s standards, and those someones aren’t even people who read my blog.

I’ve created this blog out of the past several years of experience. I have learned what I enjoy and what I am capable of when it comes to blogging. I have renewed focus and purpose, and I am ready to keep learning. This is a place for me to write about writing and poetry in particular, but also glimpses into my thoughts and daily life. It is a place I aim to be professional, yet completely myself at the same time. There will be serious and silly posts both, and I have a few small features I look forward to introducing over the next couple of months.

There is no set schedule for this blog, but I will post at least twice a month, though I am sure most months will see me a bit more active than that.

Your support encourages me. Please follow me on this new journey!