You may have noticed that things have slowed down around here. Or you may not, since – as is the way of social media – when one channel falls silent there are lots out there still switched on with lots to say.
It’s a little inane to blog about blogging, kind of like someone having a sulk about how social media is ruining our lives – in a Facebook status. Yet sometimes, the only way to get through the block is to talk about it. And even if you don’t blog, there may be something here you can identify with. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.
Here are ten reasons I’m struggling to blog right now.
1. I’m physically exhausted
That pregnancy with baby number three has really taken it out of me is no secret. Most days I have a small window of feeling human between 8am and 1pm. Some days I wake up tired and get to the evening near tears. Others I just go to sleep when the kids do. The sofa, the television and a bar of chocolate call me away from the computer not only because I’m unconvinced I’ll coherently string a sentence together but because I worry I’ll bring too much negativity to the screen.
That said, I’m writing this in the evening, hoping I’m not going to look at it in the morning and realise I need to delete it all. I also apologise for any grammatical or spelling errors gaping out at you. I blame interrupted sleep and possibly not enough omega-3.
2. I’m preoccupied
I’m actually spending a lot of time thinking! There’s the birth and the new baby and what’s going on with my kids day to day and some tricky private life stuff I can’t talk about and lots of ideas too – things I’m imagining, things I want to do, things I’m really grateful for. In a way, it’s a bit of an overload trying to organise my thoughts enough to write anything, especially since a lot of those things aren’t things I would write necessarily write about.
3. I feel vulnerable
Something that’s occurred to me a lot recently is that blogging lays my life and opinions open. Of course, I’ve always known it. I put something out there and I welcome conversation but I’m also making myself vulnerable to judgement, real or imagined. I’d love to say that it doesn’t bother me and, actually, it mostly hasn’t. But recently, I feel increasingly weary. I kind of want to get on with my life by just living it without having to deal head on with what others think about it. I’m aware that an honest post like this one flies in the face of that. I can live with that contradiction.
4. I’ve softened in my views
Earlier in motherhood, things seemed a lot more black and white and it was easier to blog about things I held to be true. I felt inspired. I wasn’t just sharing my experiences, I was advocating. I still stand by a lot of what I wrote back then and I know that some of my posts have helped others to make sense of their own experiences and to feel less alone. However, as time goes by, I feel less and less like I have the answers and more and more like no one else does either. When I write about my family, I really am just writing about my family. Not yours. I do think that’s still valuable to share but it doesn’t erase the fact that I’d find it easier to blog about “Ten things I know” than “Ten things I reckon could be true…for me anyway”.
5. I literally have less time
Not only do I have less time in the evenings because I’m either falling asleep early or might as well be but I literally have less time in the day as well. I’ve finally reached the point where I can’t function in chaos and have become a lot more routine about keeping on top of the house and life.
The kids are great playmates now which thankfully has given me a lot of space to get on with things I need to or to rest if it all gets too much. Still, Talitha has a lot of things she wants to do that require my active involvement and I generally need to have a few ideas up my sleeve to occupy Ophelia long enough to allow me to come alongside both of them. Yes, I know, I’m about to have even less time with the new baby. I read a funny post recently that said the only way to manage having three kids is to only have two in your care at any one time – not an option for home educating families!
6. I’m not sure who I’m writing for or what they want
This is a difficult one. I’m probably meant to be all gung-ho about blogging for self-fulfillment or whatevs but would I honestly bother to put my work in a public space if I weren’t writing for others? And if I am writing for others, what do they want? I’ve had a lot of real life people tell me recently that they love reading my home education posts but those aren’t the most successful in terms of social media response so it’s really hard to gauge. I feel it’s about finding that sweet spot between what I want to write about and what others want to read. I’m just not confidently hitting it yet.
7. There are so many options
Between Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram and everything else, there are so many things I could be doing around blogging that it’s actually a little overwhelming. Yet it’s hard to ignore. One of the benefits of blogging has been a first hand education in social media which has led to many work opportunities outside of this blog. Also, because the blog straddles the line between personal and commercial venture, I do feel the need to do more than write but to keep up to date with what’s out there, improve my photography and so on.
8. There’s some cool stuff happening out there
Speaking of which, there is so much online now that it can feel a bit wimpy to “just” spill my guts. Photography and video standards are high and increasing. The quality of the writing I stumble across sometimes is, frankly, daunting. Writing “a little thought I thinked today” without tons of research and links to books and sites to back up what I’m trying to say feels inadequate.
9. I struggle with perfectionism
Related to the last two points and possibly all of them, I find it difficult to step out into the unknown. I’ve always felt like I need to be sure I can succeed at something before taking it on. When parenting gets me down, it’s usually because it lacks clear measures of success or because there’s a lot that happens that I can’t know beforehand. Similarly with blogging, I feel like I need to be sure about what I’m doing before I attempt anything and that’s not always possible. Hopefully, publishing a post like this one will help me push beyond that.
10. Not blogging is a self-perpetuating cycle
Finally, the less I blog, the less I feel able to blog. The challenge grows insurmountable. I worry that I’ll return with a whimper rather than a bang (and see point 9!).
Here’s to breaking that cycle. This blog has survived six years and has taken me through a lot in that time. There may come a time to call it quits but it’s not today.