I’ve been thinking about writing a post, any post, even specific posts on specific topics, for months.
But blogger apologies are boring.
I’ll try to make this one slightly less so. (Maybe?)
Logging into WordPress when you’ve been away for a while is a bit like coming back to any hobby after a break: things have shifted a bit, you feel a little clunky and uncoordinated, some housekeeping is in order to get back on track. So I come in and I back up my database, I install the latest version of WP, I update my plug-ins. I try to avoid my real fear, something I experienced over a year ago (!) and have yet to really deal with, that your site has gone down (or, even worse, has been hacked), that some update has caused some breaking changes. At this point, I barely seem to find time to write anything, let alone troubleshoot (boring) or redesign this space (less boring, but hard, at least for me). When all of the minute design tweaks I had made, slowly, one trip to the WordPress forums at a time, all vanished some time around Christmas 2013, I was mostly relieved to get the site back up, even if the vaguely burlap-y background had been replaced by stark white, even if my fonts were missing, and the colors were gone, and I had a certain Miss Clavel feeling about it all.
After the initial panic of seeing a white screen at this web address, I bounced back, I got excited about a redesign, I quoted a blog post that really hit me then and has stuck with me since then about blogging being a kind of homesteading.
And then 2014 came. And 2014 was a very strange year.
So much happened, and in some ways, it was a great year. But also, I found myself feeling exhausted.
This was likely due to a number of factors, job-related, moving-related, hormone-related, generally transition-related. In 2014, I wrote in my journal twice. TWICE. I wrote a handful of blog posts, none of them the kind that make me feel really proud. Outside of phone snapshots, I took hundreds of pictures, not the typical thousands.
I haven’t been feeling very creative, and I have been racking my brain to try to figure out why.
Some part of it is the firehose and just being overwhelmed by emails and tweets and articles and videos and status updates all day long. So much to read and see, so much of it good, but so consuming, either way. I can blame my phone and phantom ring syndrome. (I’ve become kind of obsessed with our phones as evocative objects, as Sherry Turkle has written pretty extensively about in the past few years, but perhaps that’s really fodder for another post or ten.) Some of it has to do with not quite measuring up, with bloggers and Instagrammers and all the rest getting that much better at showing their perfectly twee, curated lives.
(no one seems to have vertical blinds. no house has carpet. no one eats fast food except maybe In-N-Out because somehow that’s cute and not shameful.)
But really, it’s not about them. It’s about me. I need to turn inside. To examine how I spend my time, where, with whom. How many hours of my day, my week, get sucked into the ether.
And what I’ve realized differentiates this little space, which generally feels good but also sometimes hard (a bit like exercise or reading a challenging book) from social media (candy rush!!) is the concept of time. This feels less ephemeral. Everything else feels pretty fleeting.
And so I develop a million means of procrastination. In the time it’s taken me to sit down and write this silly little post, at a coffee shop and not at home (fewer distractions, right?), I’ve checked my email. Three times. Work and personal. I’ve texted two people and have checked my phone, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything, a couple more times. I’ve done some aimless Googling. Twitter. Insta, of course.
I’ve done everything possible to not sit my ass down and write. write. write. But none of those are things I’m likely to remember an hour from now. One hour!
2015 will mark this blog’s eighth year. Honestly, I’ve written a lot of crap. And some OK stuff. And a couple of handfuls of posts I still think about, reference, go back and reread to remember, to reconsider, to indulge in a little linguistic reverie.
I want to write more of those.
One of the changes to the latest version of WordPress is that they’ve replaced the Zen writing mode (a white screen with nothing but a space for a title and a borderless box for the post’s text) with “distraction-free writing mode,” which basically removes the non-post-specific menus but still allows for adding images and all kinds of formatting. You write within a bounded box. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, and I’m sure people complained about zen mode being too limited. But I’ll miss that great white expanse, feeling unbound by word counts and character lengths, ignoring the most approachable (appropriate, even?) way to write in the web world: easily digestible chunks on not-too-intimidating topics, all composed with web literacy in mind.
I’m no good at those things, not online, not in person.
Well, check that: I can write with those metrics in mind, but it’s not much fun.
Knowing my spotty history, I know better than to make promises about the next post, maintaining some kind of scheduling. Habits have never been my strong suit. But I can guarantee this: I understand the tedium of blogger apologies. And I know I’ve likely hit my limit in that department.
The long, meandering posts in which I unwittingly use GRE vocabulary words are unlikely to retreat. But I’d like to do a little less navel-gazing.
I think of this space often. It means a lot to me.
And, though I know it’s a lot to ask, I hope it also continues to mean something to you.
I’ll try to do a better job of honoring that confidence.