Psyche-Out

Those of you who have explored the various, digitally unimpressive pages of this blog may remember my original mission for breeding lilacs as explained in the “About” section. In an attempt to defeat the mind-numbing forces of acedia, I wanted to write frequently and thoughtfully. I vowed to avoid the mistakes of the past, the creeping neglect that left multiple URLs wasted and abandoned. Oh, I had grand dreams. Grand ones.

And here I am, lying on my couch in my pajamas at 12:30, eating Cadbury creme eggs before Lent has even begun, staring at the date of my most recent post, which is from FIVE DAYS ago.

I can explain the couch (due to recent swelling of my extremities, I’m supposed to keep my feet elevated as much as possible) and the pajamas (I was dressed earlier, but I’m doing laundry and wanted to wash my only pair of maternity jeans) and even the Cadbury eggs (. . . You know what? I’m nine freaking months pregnant! I do NOT have to explain the eggs!), but even my masterful rhetoric cannot put a plausible spin on the five-day departure from blogging.

Here’s what happened: I started reading more blogs.

I looked up successful Catholic blogs and Mommy blogs and Cooking blogs and Teaching blogs and spent a lot of time reading reviews of blogs that identified just what made them excellent.

And, frankly, it freaked me out a little bit.

One of the best Catholic blogs I discovered is Creative Minority Report : a site that offers a more humorous perspective on breaking news that concerns the church in some way (which is most news, depending on how you look at it). The writers are funny without being overly flippant, and though the site itself is a little too “busy” visually for my tastes, it’s made a fine addition to my Google Reader. The problem? These guys update with new posts five or six times a day—and almost EVERY entry (with the exception of occasional videos of dancing nuns) is thoughtful, well-researched and relevant to news at hand. How do that manage that? I can never be that awesome.

The world of Mommy-Bloggers has a lot to offer, too, but I was deeply disconcerted when I read this article about the top Mommy-Blogger in the world, Heather Armstrong. Just a quick scan of her popular site, Dooce.com revealed that the path to blogging success can be fraught with personal trouble. Plus, I don’t actually LIKE her writing. Her tactless, resentful rejection of the Mormon tradition she was raised in adds an acrid tone to many posts and she often relies on profanity to make her point…if she has a point at all, beyond celebrating her own awesomeness. On the other hand, she probably makes over fifty thousand dollars a month on this blog.

As I told my husband, I don’t think I have a 50K-per-month personality.

What I’m trying to say here is that I’m easily overwhelmed right now. Maybe it’s the constant awareness of an “other” inhabiting my body, preparing for his grand entrance in a few weeks. Maybe it’s the pre-natal hormonal fluctuations that make foil-wrapped chocolates seem appealing one moment and repulsive the next (Did I really just eat that?) Maybe it’s the prospect of writing three months worth of curriculum for three classes that I’ve never taught before. Maybe it’s people like this guy who lead me to believe that no project is worthwhile if it’s not lucrative.

I’m a charter school teacher: the closest I’ve ever come to “lucrative activity” is that time when I sold a coffee grinder on Craigslist for fifteen bucks.

There’s no good reason why these other definitions of blogging excellence should psyche me out, but after a five day hiatus, I think I’m finally willing to admit that it happened.  And admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward solving it, right?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Psyche-Out

  1. I hear ya. It’s hard to remember that sometimes, writing is about writing. And the first step to being a successful writer is….writing :0)

    -Liza

  2. Eva

    I read a great quotation yesterday at my desk regarding writing:

    “Make your readers want to cheer your name or tear you from limb to limb, but never let them be bored.”

    Your blog posts are not boring, so regardless of how often you blog we’ll all be cheering your name 🙂

  3. Laurel,
    Your thoughts stirred me so much I wrote a whole post in response, here: http://www.1trueword.com/2011/02/blog-for-success-and-other-fables/.

    But I really also wanted to say: $50,000 or no, your writing makes me laugh and think. I think you have a gift, one I’m happy to share just a bit by reading your blog. And I just hopped over randomly one day because a friend sent me a link! Heather Armstrong has been at this since 1999. You’ve got time. =)

  4. Aah. Why does my computer have me logged in to an old screenname? Here, same person, so copied my earlier comment (you’re welcome to delete the other one).

    Laurel,
    Your thoughts stirred me so much I wrote a whole post in response, here: http://www.1trueword.com/2011/02/blog-for-success-and-other-fables/.

    But I really also wanted to say: $50,000 or no, your writing makes me laugh and think. I think you have a gift, one I’m happy to share just a bit by reading your blog. And I just hopped over randomly one day because a friend sent me a link! Heather Armstrong has been at this since 1999. You’ve got time. =)

  5. With so much other aspects of life bringing unwarranted stress, anxiety, and frustration, blogging shouldn’t add to the problem. Let it be fun, let it be stimulating, but goodness, don’t beat yourself up about not posting more often. Judging from the comments, it seems that your readers regard you as a friend, a unique, lovely individual (rather than a “mommy” or a “catholic” or a blogging entrepreneurer (too many R’s, no?)), and enjoy your blog because they enjoy hearing your voice. Funny to mention though, just this morning I was looking at my own blog thinking the same thing about it being five days since my last post, and really having nothing new that I wanted to share. Ah well, the world will just have to wait in anticipation until that new entry is born.

  6. Pingback: Blog for Success! And Other Fables | One True Word

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