On Writing (Or In My Case…Not)

Type, type, type.

Pause.

Delete, delete, delete.

Pause.

Type, type, type.

Pause.

*Sigh with frustration.*

Backspace, backspace. Select All. Delete.

**********

That, in  a nutshell is what blogging has been like for me for the last year.

Yeah, the last YEAR. 12 months. 365 days.

In the beginning it was fun because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and just threw stuff out there to see what stuck. I think I did some of my best—and funniest—posts in the first 12 months of this blog.

And then something happened. In fact, a whole lot of somethings happened.

For one thing, I got bitter about my job for a while. And bitterness + snark doesn’t end up being too funny. It’s just Bitter Squared.

I got busy with Previously Mentioned Job That Made Me Bitter. And although I had tons of posts swirling around in my head, I didn’t really have the time to get them out. Shit, we’re friends here right? Let’s be honest: I didn’t MAKE the time. So some of them got lost in the flotsam of my brain. Others were filed away in my drafts folder on WordPress, destined to die a slow, hidden death.

45 drafts? That's kind of pathetic, right?



In fact, right now, there are 45 drafts sitting there. 45! Some are just clever titles and I figure someday I’ll have the perfect post to go with them. There’s a series of drafts with an opening sentence. Or even just a few words. I actually have a handful of drafts that are about 1,000 words or so—but I can’t figure out how I want to end them, so rather than muddle through or force it, I do nothing. I wait. And I hope. I hope I get the inspiration I need to write that last god-damned sentence or paragraph or in one case, just a few words.

I’m amazed that I’m managed to eek out 264 posts—but looking back, I wish I either spent more time on about 100 of them or didn’t write them to begin with. I’m better than some of the crap I’ve published here.

The other something that happened is that I’ve felt compelled to figure out what my niche is.

I’m not a mommy blogger (I don’t have kids and there aren’t plans to do so). I used to sort of be a doggy blogger, but I haven’t even written much about Gracie—or dog shows, or dog show people—here lately. And what’s sad about that is that it’s a fucking goldmine of great stories. I’m not a midlife blogger—although the argument could be made that at 40, technically I am. I’m not a food blogger, and I don’t write about cocktails (much).

I write about whatever happens to be on my radar at the moment. Sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s work or my dog. I write about the exceptionally bad reality TV shows I watch, the books I’ve been reading, and a host of random topics that amuse me. Like my rants about Costco.

I don’t know what kind of blogger that makes me. And does it matter?

Also? At some point I started to self-censor. Even before I type a single word, I’ve edited myself. I’m not sure why. I think part of it is because I just don’t want to put too much out there about The Job That Used To Make Me Bitter, arguments at home or any of the other landmines you can trigger when blogging. There’s too much crap going on with everyone else—why would you come here to read about MY crap?

My husband—god love him for this—tells friends, co-workers, acquaintances, the dude at Starbucks, anyone who listens—that his wife has a blog and “It’s-amazing-and-oh-my-god-you-need-to-read-her-she-cracks-my-shit-up!” (No, really, he doesn’t talk like a 13-year-old-girl, but that’s how I like to imagine it). So I never want to put him in the position of walking into a meeting or an event and have someone walk up to him and say, “Dude, that was a douche move on your part. No wonder she’s pissed at you!” Plus, you know, someday he might want to be President of the United States. Or I might. (Okay, stop laughing.)

I’m mad at myself because I’ve gotten hung up on stats and all that other crap. There’s a lot about that online this week, and it resonated with me because I got caught up in what this blog isn’t instead of what it is. I’ve been paralyzed because I hesitated to write anything, and then I felt so compelled to post something—anything—even if it wasn’t something I was proud of.

Don’t worry—I’m not taking myself—or this blog—so seriously. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’m trying to relax. Enjoy the Zen of Blogging and all that shit. I am so grateful for the readers who come here regularly, who comment and who have gotten to know me (and me you) through this blog.

I’m trying to write more and delete less. Isn’t that the first rule of writing? Just write; don’t edit.

I may hit publish less frequently, but that’s not a bad thing.

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Comments

  1. Andi says

    I LOVE this post, it is all natural and honest. I don’t think there is anything wrong in not being defined, you can let your blog evolve holistically and grow it where it makes sense. You write well, those who like you will stick, and you can’t ask for more than that anyway! I’m not a mommy blogger either, and that does seem to be where a lot of the mass is, but I think that just makes those of use on the outside of that mass a lot more interesting :-)

    • Mo says

      I think at some point I got away from being natural on here. I started trying to hard to write in a way that isn’t me—I even tried to cut down the swearing, which is like cutting off my arm! I think people know when you aren’t being authentic, so I’m going to try to just let it all hang out!

  2. Carey says

    I completely agree with what Andi posted.

    This blog has allowed you to exercise a creative side that you have. Enjoy flexing those muscles. And if it sometimes means that you’re throwing up on the screen (virtually speaking) and then tweaking a bit, then do it. Ultimately, this is your blog and we’re here for the ride.

    Keep writing with honesty.

    • Mo says

      I even joined an online writing group to make sure I was writing regularly but I got so caught up in what everyone else was writing and how they were writing it that I got frustrated. I started to change my style and it didn’t suit me. So now I’m just getting back to the basics and writing they way I want to. For better or worse!

  3. Debra says

    Love this post. There is definitely an ebb and flow to this blogging thing, isn’t there? Keep writing. Even if you don’t publish half of it, it’s great to get the words out.

    {{hugs}} btw, haven’t ‘seen’ you in a long time!

    • Mo says

      I haven’t seen you either!

      There’s definitely an ebb and flow—sometimes I can’t keep up with all the things I want to write and other times I wonder if I’ll ever be able to type a sentence.

      I love the new blog, by the way. I thought about doing what you did—starting over with something new and different—but I’m not sure I’m done over here yet. I just need to be patient—and relaxed. This is supposed to be fun, right?!

  4. XUP says

    You do not need a niche. You do not need to end all your posts — sometimes it’s good to just leave them open and let your commenters throw in their two cents. Blog posts are not thesis papers or feature articles – they’re random thoughts, ideas, interesting tidbits. I think you and Lesley both work way too hard on your blogs to produce these amazing polished posts. They’re awesome, of course, but what I like about the blogging community is just browsing around to see what’s on everyone’s mind today. It should be fun! Fun! Not anxiety-causing.

    • Mo says

      I don’t know if having a niche makes things easier or more difficult. I would guess the latter because anything you do differently sticks out like a sore thumb.

      I do have a hard time wrapping up my posts. I think I want to make sure they all have a neat little bow on them, but sometimes it defeats the whole purpose. I’m trying to just go with it and see where it takes me—even if it doesn’t take me anywhere sometimes.

      I don’t know how you do it—every day you write. And you comment and engage your readers. It’s pretty impressive!

    • Lesley says

      XUP: HA! I don’t know if I work too hard on mine or not, but I don’t have any anxiety about it. I love the process and always have a really good time once I sit down to create. I think it’s mostly the art that takes me a while! I often tweak and change the images a couple times, but usually for my own amusement. No one laughs harder at my crap than I do. Which is really sad if you think about it. HEH. (And ditto what Mo said about your frequent, quality posting and comment interaction being impressive. For sure.)

      Mo, I think you hit it on the head when you said that people know when someone isn’t being authentic. Your niche is…YOU. NICHE OF ONE. Just be who you are, write who YOU are and, for the most part, write for you and not other people. I think once you focus on that, the rest just comes. Or, at the very least, you just won’t care as much about the rest, and that’s the most important thing. XUP is right – first and foremost…fun. xxoo

      (You tried to cut down on the swearing? HEH.)

      • Mo says

        Yeah, that whole Me As Niche thing plays nicely into my insecurity! Like, why the hell come here?! I think that’s why sometimes I feel like I need to be attached to a group/niche/whatever.

        I DID try to cut down on my swearing. I think it lasted a post—maybe two—but it’s too hard. I know that throwing in the the “F” word is kind of lazy, but if the “F” fits, I’ll swear it.

        (Hehe. Just totally cracked my own shit up!)

  5. XUP says

    Lesley – The artwork looks like it takes forever -which is what I meant by you working hard at your posts. And the stories that go with the art are always so multi-leveled. It must be a lot more difficult than just spewing random stuff that happens to be in your head at the moment which is what I do. The posts are written in my head as I go for my lunchtime run or as I’m walking to and from work. Then it only takes a few minutes to type it out next time I’m at a computer. I’m not always happy with them and they’re not always complete but they are what they are. My main goal is just to keep the momentum going -from my end and from the readers’ side

    • Mo says

      That’s harder than it sounds. I write posts in my head all the time but for some reason when I start composing them here it ends up different. I don’t know if I wait too long, or if it’s because once I get it down, I got back to work it until it’s dead. And then it sits in my drafts folder. It is definitely about keeping the momentum going. The more you write, the more you can write. And I like when people come back each day—not because of the stats but because of discussions like this.

  6. Chica Bobo says

    hey there,
    what a lovely honest post. i just discovered you. relate to what you say about self censoring and not having decided on your niche. on the one hand i think if you want some sort of commercial outcome like a book deal or something, it makes sense to have a consistent topic. but how do get the essence of what we are all about if we don’t play and try things. keep going and like you say, relax.

    • Mo says

      I think if people do this looking for something bigger, most of us will be disappointed. I’d love to write a book some day, but I blog to vent, to practice my writing and because of the community of it. The rest of it is just gravy!

  7. Eve says

    All I can say is: I’m glad your niche isn’t cocktails because you write a lot better (when you choose to) than that wine 101 broad.

  8. jodifur says

    I long time ago I decided I would blog because it was fun. And when it stopped being fun, i would stop blogging.

    I only recently just started telling people IRL about my blog, and it definitely makes it hard to write.

    I just added a link to you on jodifur.

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