Oops. I did what I thought I'd never do. I stopped blogging.
I stopped logging into my blog, writing new posts, editing them more times than I like to admit, and then hitting publish. I didn't edit any of the recent photos I've taken. I didn't share on Facebook. I didn't check my Google Analytics. I didn't even go to my blog's url and look at old posts, which is something I'm sure most of us borderline-narcissistic bloggers do.
I just stopped.
And three months later, as I now finally get around to going through these motions, I honestly don't know why I stopped. It wasn't even a conscious decision. I also don't know why I stopped for so long. I've taken breaks before, but this was the longest yet. Even longer than when I took time away to give birth.
Yes, I was busy. Yes, I had other priorities, and no, I didn't really have that many new things to share. But, to be frank, that's never stopped me before!
I did keep writing though. I've almost consistently written my weekly motherhood diary entries, and despite big work projects, I've been working on books and poems like you wouldn't believe, and in November I took part in (and won!) my fifth NaNoWriMo. Maybe that's why I stopped blogging. I was writing enough. I was creatively pretty satisfied... full-up, even. Almost to that uncomfortable, belt's-too-tight stage.
I was also going through a lot of big personal things. Some I'm never going to share with you no matter how much you tickle or torture me, and others I've touched on in those motherhood diaries that I think I'll get around to sharing with you one day soon.
I've enjoyed my break. There has been a release in not holding myself accountable to something. I can't honestly say that I noticed a huge amount of time was gifted back to me, but like I mentioned, I did see my focus on my other creative projects increase.
Maybe my pause was a much-needed break after a busy and hard year. I certainly think it's generally healthy to step back from the online world from time to time and live more fully in the real one. Or perhaps, my disillusion with my own blog is part of a bigger shift in my likes and dislikes. There has never been so many blogs in the world, and with that blogging has become more professional, regimented, analysed, discussed, dissected, criticised, etc. I find this has made blogging in general a little sterile, not only as a creator of a blog but also a consumer. Blogs I used to love, are no longer featured in my search history and I returned to a blog I used to visit daily only to learn it had undergone two different designs since my last visit. I suspect this is also something to do with the rise of video content and vlogging apps like Snapchat and Instagram Stories forcing us to create and subsequently consume (and not necessarily enjoy!) content in seconds rather than minutes. I'm not saying these things are bad. From my limited experience of Instagram Stories, they're a lot of fun and they're a very nice way to build a more personal and yes, instant, relationship with people online.
But in 24 hours, they're gone.
I don't know how much more energy I want to spend on working on things that age so quickly.
I find myself rebelling from this and enjoying more the things that last longer: books, art, good company, a decent manicure.... heck, even bars of chocolate last longer in my house... though admittedly not that much longer.
I know that blogging is different and that not all blog posts are so disposable and some are intentionally "evergreen", but let's be honest, if you want your blog to have any kind of success - whatever that looks like - new content is the key. That's what I tell my copywriting clients. That's what I hear the bloggers who bathe in Champagne and use $100 bills as toilet paper say all the time. You've got to keep creating new stuff... all the time. But I never said I wanted to be a professional blogger. I've always just aimed at growing a readership of people who may want to check out one of my books. That's my one and only "professional" goal as a blogger. The rest is just to share things I like in the hope that someone else will like it too. That's it.
Truth be told, I hate these "Sorry I haven't been blogging posts". They really don't achieve much. In the past I've always tried to make my blog posts do or give something to the reader, be it to entertain, inform, inspire, or even to distract. Of course, it's not up to me if they actually do that, but that's always been my intention, for the most part.
So, let's try and achieve something with this post. Here is a letter to you, my reader, something I hope it will entertain and soothe you.
I'm sorry I didn't blog for the best part of three months. I missed you. I'm not sure I'm going to be blogging again regularly for a while. I hope that's okay. Or maybe I will start blogging again regularly.... who knows? I hope that's okay with you too. What would you like to see me write about on this blog?
I hope that you are spending your time doing things you love, because that's what I try to do, as and when I can. Some of these activities include reading, writing (my motherhood diaries, new poems, a mystery novella that's a sequel to this book, a new novel about strangers travelling around New Zealand together), crocheting, going for a walk in the sunshine, eating cake, drinking wine, having a cup of tea with those I love most, watching/hearing/feeling the joy of my son laughing.
Are you looking forward to a new year? I am, but I'm also hesitant about such a big, blank slate ahead of me. This time last year I was still adapting to the demands of being a mother to a needy baby. Now I feel like life is changing so fast - wow, do kids grow quickly - and I can't quite keep a grip on things or make the most of a moment before it's slipped out of my fingers. Does that make sense?
Will you make any new year's resolutions? I'm a big goal setter but I feel intimidated by making a list of things I want to achieve, only for life to have other ideas, which is pretty much what happened this year.
Am I rambling a bit now? Yes, I think I am. Sorry about that.
Anyway. I'm going to be sending some Christmas presents your way by email, if you're already subscribed to my newsletter. If not, get yourself on my list. You can unsubscribe as soon as you get all the goodies.
I hope I'm back here again soon. It's still quite a comfy place to be. I think I can still see the imprint of my bottom cheeks on my virtual blogging chair. Either way, I wish you well and hope you end this year with a big smile on your face and peace in your heart.
With love & hugs,
Birdie (Frankie) x
(Photo of the beautiful Herengracht in Amsterdam. You can see more pics like this here)
Frances M. Thompson
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