September 2, 2015 by Julia
I’ve been neglecting this blog all summer, for the first substantial amount of time since I started it three years ago. Why? It makes me so happy to write here.
Reason Number One: I’ve been breathlessly busy. On a purely subjective level, I feel like I’m constantly playing catch-up, like from the moment the kids wake me around 6:30 a.m. until I give up the daily fight around 8:00 p.m. I have work to do. Every moment is accounted for, down to standing in the checkout line and taking that second to compose a text about the upcoming play date, while making sure Jack doesn’t destroy anything within arm’s reach or decide that at four years old, he’s come of age, is going to walk out of Target, and drive himself home. Some days it literally takes all afternoon to finish writing a single text, in those stolen moments.
And there is guilt around every corner: “Mommy! Play with me! Put your phone away!” I want to say (and sometimes do), “Child! Don’t you know I am texting about fun activities in order to provide you with a memorable childhood?! I am doing this for YOU!” But then I realize that in most cases, it is just as much for me as it is for them – I get to see another adult! I get to be out of the house! I get to not make another mess at home that has to be cleaned up! I get to feel like a good mother for showing them nature/animals/library story time/etc.! And the truth is, they would be happiest most of the time if I would just stay at home and play with them, fully engaged, undivided attention, for ohhh, four-plus hours daily. Whatever their obsession of the moment is, over and over again, with no end in sight, just fueled by imagination and a short attention span and lots of continuity errors. And then I feel myself go a little more crazy at the thought.
Anyway…I’ve been stupidly busy. Maybe my busy is another woman’s vacation, but by my own standards, I feel busy. It’s been a good summer, and I am glad we did so much. I enjoyed most of it, and I believe the kids will remember it in a happy light. But certain things have fallen by the wayside to make way for so much life, and I am missing this blog and writing in general. I am hoping that once Jack starts preschool, I will feel calmer and more able to devote daily time to writing. It will only be two hours a day that he is gone. I just want that to be known. I am trying not to pin all of my own selfish dreams and desires onto those two hours a day. I would love to spend a half hour of it in exercise and then the rest of the time writing, but I don’t know how much time is left for the kids if I do that. There is so much everyday crap to deal with, you know?
Reason Number Two: I haven’t been reading other blogs as much. Honestly, it’s been hard to take all of the sponsored posts from the better-known blogs, which to me undermines the sense of honesty and trust that is supposed to be established within the blogging context. If I know that you’ve churned out a post “inspired” by toilet paper or organic diapers, I am not going to take that post as seriously. If I get the sense at any point that you are writing on a schedule, quality be damned, in order to keep your readership up, I start to question why you are doing it in the first place.
I was talking to friend recently who used to read many of the same blogs that I did, and we wondered if it’s just us who are tired of reading blogs, or if that is reflective of a general cultural shift in the blogosphere. Has the genre been too contaminated by money-making schemes? Or is it all becoming too repetitive? One can only read so many “I’m a failure as a mother ha ha ha!” stories before they start sounding the same. (Ahem.)
There are some exceptions for me. I still love Momastery, and I believe Glennon Melton is as honest AND inspiring as they come – a combination that I will swear my loyalty to every time. I also still like to read smaller blogs that I’ve read for a long time, here on WordPress. I feel as though the blogs that aren’t massive still need me, and I respect the ones that stick with it, over the years. (You know who are, I hope!) This has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve been plugging away here with a small readership, never Freshly Pressed, and I want to support those who continue to write for the love of writing, trends and popularity and money be damned. (Ahem. Not bitter.)
What do you guys think? Are blogs dead? I certainly hope not, but I do find myself reading journalistic “articles” much more often these days than typical blog posts.
Reason Number Three: I wrote a novel once, before the kids were born, and it’s truly not bad. I almost got an agent, twice – agents for authors who wrote books I really, really liked, which a great way to find good agents to query, by the way. I spent many months sending it out, researching whom to send it to, and endlessly revising my synopsis, cover letter, and so on. When Jack was born I shelved the novel. I wasn’t done exactly, but I was burnt out on selling it to potential agents, and once I got my bearings after his first birthday, I rediscovered my love of writing here on this blog. It was like coming home.
Now, I am feeling the need to get back to fiction. I don’t think I’m ready to give up on that old novel. I haven’t read it in years, so I’m a little scared to face it. I wonder how it holds up. I need to decide what to do with it, and what I want to do next. To me, literary novels are where it’s at. That is the dream. This blog has been my creative fuel, a source of life, reflection and joy, and I don’t want to sacrifice it in the name of writing fiction, either. I hope there is room for both.
It hardly feels like there’s enough room, though. All my desires crash against each other, smushed up against each other within my waking hours like commuters on a train that never stops going. I want to be good to my loved ones, I want to make and keep memories, I want to fight prejudice and poverty, I want to write and read, I want to keep a clean, lovely home. I want to be healthy and get fresh air and exercise and travel. I want to find good music. I want to relax and have fun, as well as work hard. I want to crash on the couch after a long day.
So, I’m going to post this without editing. That’s part of the beauty of blogging. You can do whatever you want, in a public forum, and it’s like this release of stress, or something. I hope it gets the ball rolling, blog-wise. I also hope you are well and had a good summer. Okay. Thank you, as always, for reading. I hope to be back sooner rather than later. Wish me well. Hugs.