To do more, sometimes you need to do less. To clear the decks. To purge.
So, this past month I took the drastic step of “un-publishing” my own blog. It was hard. I worried it might be professional suicide. But nothing stressed me out more than writing my own blog. I love to guest blog. Love to write just about anything else. But my blog just sapped my writing energy—and left me paranoid about the ratio of Page Views (high!) versus Comments (low!).
Social Media should buzz, connect, springboard and enlighten. My blog seemed to leave me high and dry on my own perch, preaching into the wilderness… or so it felt. I realized I do not have the energy or inclination to make it all happen online (despite taking many classes on the subject). I found myself longing for the tangible, published page… for context into which to offer meaningful content… Sigh.
This dismal dawning meant one of three things:
Either I had failed to promote my blog. To read other blogs (enough). To cross-connect through my LinkedIn account, or to sign up for Twitter and learn the popular hashtags. Etc.
Or I had not learned “how to blog” properly – to strike a conversational tone; to adopt a topic I was passionate about; to set up a weekly schedule—what I would write about when; or to tap into what was important to my readers. Etc.
Or I would forever be a “digital immigrant” rather than a digital native. At sea in a foreign environment, unable to master the new language and customs, or even follow the examples set for me by so many capable bloggers.
In truth, all three are true. I failed to self-promote. I failed to strike a conversational note. And I failed to navigate the blogosphere.
Here are my three excuses to match my three fail points:
I love to promote books, authors, writing circles, poetry, readings, conferences, speakers, publishing, anything to do with the written word! But because writing is so close to my heart, I find it difficult to blog without a focus, or clear understanding of who I am writing for, or even why—other than to promote my blog/writing. I find it very hard to get excited about my own blog. Larger ones (like Inscribe’s!) are great, but personal ones are tricky unless you have a passion, a plan and an ability to promote for promotion’s sake. A lot of writers do it well. I just find it drains my energy for other writings… that follow more traditional paths (and pay). Count me a Luddite.
RE Striking a Conversational Note:
I have a long-standing prejudice towards face-to-face conversation that involves pauses, nods, even hugs and tears. And prayerful responses. Holding or joining an online conversation puts me off my game. Leaves me wanting.
RE Navigating the Blogosphere:
My own reading of how pervasive Social Media is, including its most recent migration from Web 2.0 (the online social world we now know) to Web 3.0 (picture that social data deeply mined and manipulated through locator technology that can predict – and direct – what you might be doing next, where and when!), makes me nervous. Every time I learn something new about Social Media (and there’s lots to learn), it just reminds me of all that high school reading… about Jeremy Bentham’s glass inspection house, Huxley’s Brave New World, and Orwell’s 1984. If Surveillance and Privacy are at war (and they are!), I choose Privacy.
In the end, I believe to live a spiritual life is to live without excuses, not even professional ones. So I do not hide behind my excuses, I merely offer them to you as part of the larger picture, because I do think blogs play an important role in a writer’s life. I wonder (the name of my blog is/was “iwonder”) what kind of hole it will leave in me, not being able to blog whenever I like, about whatever strikes my fancy. I wonder…
PS – I guess the best place to “find me online” is now my old-fashioned webpage – daynawrites.com or feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to “talk more” about the pro’s and con’s of blogging and un-blogging.