I don't know how to blog anymore and it's really bothering me. I'm used to being able to write effortlessly and often. I don't mean effortlessly in the sense of perfection, I mean in the sense of inspiration. I normally always have something to write about, usually to describe.
A huge part of this writer's block is the perceived expectation of an audience. To admit this makes me feel silly, but it's true. I can't write because I keep thinking about how it will be received.
Another chunk is that I have finished my original story line. I began the blog to describe the deployment and now the deployment is finished. What now?
I can't seem to be able to answer the question. I figured that after time the question would be answered naturally and in a way it has. I want to write stuff that expresses my deep satisfaction with life, just the little things of life.
What stops me is my own perception of blogging; to write about the good things, or just the good things, is not interesting. After a year of being transparent on my blog about things that are deeply personal, it feels like a let down to then want to write about how having my own family has sparked a deep well of appreciation for the childhood I was given, or to write about the roast I made and how the gravy came out without lumps.
I could write about arguments with Keith, but either they are too personal to present here, or they are too minute to matter. That's another thing that complicates it for me; when he was deployed, I could easily write about my own life. Now our lives are entangled every day, in small physical routines and in overarching ways. If I write about me, I am writing also about him. He is constantly implied.
I am used to exposing myself in my own writing. I am used to the discomfort, uncertainty and the liberation that it evokes. He is not. I am constantly aware of my own responsibility in portraying my husband publicly. If I portray the best in him, then it feels as though I am short changing my audience of the other side the coin. Conversely, if I expose him in a way less than flattering than I am betraying his privacy.
That aside, the most compelling factor in my own writing is the public reaction to it. Saying this feels like a confession, I hate admitting that I care what people think about my own writing. I want to be fiercely independent, to say what I want to say and to mean what I say and to be sure of it, impervious to feedback.
But isn't being impervious to feedback imply a refusal to grow? Feedback helps chart a reality outside one's own perception. But charting that course based solely off what other people think or say is equally unhelpful. And in my writing, the pull of how others respond has become far more weighty than my own convictions or vision, and that makes me feel like a weak person.
Early on in writing this blog, I wondered about the possibility of it being published and because of that have written my blog entries less like a traditional blog and more like chapters in a book. I planned, once the deployment was finished, to close down this blog and begin the work of editing it.
I think I will go ahead with my original plan. That leaves me with out a blog, and after all this, I still like the format of blogging as an exercise tool for my writing. I am going to open a new blog for that use, and that blog will not have the comments option activated.
I still have strong mixed feelings about having a blog without comments. Am I being cowardly by not allowing feedback? That's my main question. However, the thought of simply writing is so liberating that I will risk the possibility of being cowardly. Besides, I will display an e-mail address on my new blog, so if a person feels strongly enough to want to respond to what I've written, there will be an outlet for that expression.
My other question about not enabling comments was, am I being unfriendly? A big part of blogging is the community of bloggers, the back and forth. I don't want to be unfriendly and I have deeply appreciated the community of bloggers that I have been a part of. I needed that community.
But with that community, at least for me, came this expectation of quid pro quo; that is, if I wanted comments on my blog, I would leave comments on other's blogs and vise versa. There's nothing wrong with this. And it may not be the experience of other bloggers; it just felt true for me.
This sort of back and forth commenting, with its strong positive of community and support, also requires a fairly large investment of time. It worked perfectly for me when my husband was deployed; I had the time and I needed the support. Now it no longer fits my life. I feel, in some ways guilty for pulling out of it, but I suspect this is due to my own underlying desire to please people. I'm not sure that's enough of a reason to stay in.
In fact, I am positive that it is not. I feel better already. I have yet to think of a title for my new blog. When I do, I will post one last entry in this blog with the title of the new one, in case anyone wishes to continue to read what I write.
My thanks to everyone who made this particular journey such a worthwhile one and I wish you all the best in your own.
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