25 November 2013

Thinking out loud about blogging and creativity and a whole lot of random

So many friends in the blogging community have been vocalising what I have been feeling and battling with recently.
That "meh" feeling. That feeling of being obligated. Obligated to post and obligated to comment.
Of being in a continual paradox. Of loving the community of blogging but feeling totally overwhelmed by people to follow, read and communicate with.

I too am struggling with balance. Of working through the day and then wanting to cook and spend time with friends but also engage here because at the heart of it I love this creative space.


I am feeling battered. Battered with keeping up, battered every time I see that number on bloglovin of unread posts.

I am feeling swamped. With Project Life and with creative projects and not enough hours in the day. That quote "you can do anything but you can't do everything" is sticking with me at the moment.
I am so aware that it was this comparison, this need to keep up with new trends and new ideas that brought scrapbooking crashing down. I don't want that to happen with PL but gosh is it easy to be swept away.

I have been so encouraged in the last few days to read posts from wise wise people about these things.
To read Amy's words about scrapbooking and hobbies and how they are for enjoyment not keeping up with trends.

Rinda vocalised exactly what I was feeling about obligation in blogging and that "social contract".

Deb wrote a lovely post about where blogging has taken her and particularly about finding the balance of writing for yourself and writing to an audience.

And Alexa wrote words that brought tears to my eyes because many times when I look at my computer screen I feel like that plant that needs some more water and the dead leaves brushed away.


I don't really know what I am trying to say here but maybe that I/we are not alone in feeling these things.
That these four posts and more besides are a good indication of where we are all at with blogging and being creative.
I think I need to vocalise on here for myself as much to anyone else that this is my space and PL is my hobby.
I choose how much time I will commit to those things. When to be influenced and inspired by others and when to just do my own thing.

I think I need to give myself permission to cut some slack. To be silent sometimes, to finish that layout when I am feeling ready rather than when I feel it needs to be published on the blog.

I think as a community we need to tear up that "contract" that we feel we are in which says "you comment on my blog, I comment on yours". No. I want to comment on your blog because I like reading your words, because you are my friend and because I find what you make/photograph/write inspiring.

I think we need to dispel the obligation to comment. That niggle that says we need to keep up our online appearance.
You are my friend. I know you may have read and haven't commented and I value that.
You are my friend and I thank you and love that you did comment.
You are my friend and I understand with all my heart that you didn't have the time to stop by today, tomorrow and perhaps all week and you know what, I probably didn't either.


Blogging is beautiful and magical and so inspiring, as is the world of craft.
But it is also fast paced and selective. We rightly show the good bits, the things that made us smile, the photos, the craft.
I think it is good to admit though that we struggle, that we compare and that sometimes this blogging thing is a chore.
I think if we recognise that, if we cut some slack, if we value the silence in blogging sometimes as much as the posting, we will have a far richer experience.

This is really a thank you to all those women who put into words what they were feeling the last few weeks about blogging. It's a thank you to everyone who stops by and reads/comments or gazes from afar. It's me trying to put into words where I am at and as always trying to keep it real and honest.

22 comments:

Kirsty.A said...

I think it's that November feeling. Nearly the end of the year so needing to finish off. I have decided to run my yearly albums by an academic year. It suits my life, but it also means less pressure to get the summer and Christmas up to date

Kathy said...

I've been blogging for almost four years and I know exactly how you feel. I've had times when I felt snowed under. I actually gave up for about six months last year but eventually came back because it felt right.
I blog for me .... it's like a visual diary of things that I've done. The only reader I have in mind is my daughter who lives far from home. I only comment now when something I read on a blog strikes a chord.
I used to scrapbook, but I found that blogging sort of replaced it. Plus I was running out of space to store the albums.
I think you should do what feels right for you and not worry about having to keep up.
Love Kathy x

Amy said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post today! Years ago I bought one of Ali Edwards' books and there was one thing that stood out to me .. we all go through a creative ebb and flow and it is important to accept and even embrace the change because new things come from that change in focus ... I found her to be exactly right.

Putting into words, on the blog, has helped me a lot and actually, your photo and 20 words idea was another thing that has helped me kick start ideas and a renewed respect for blogging. I am letting go some of my individually perceived commenting obligations - they don't exist. I blog because I love it, same with scrapping and photography, I don't need self imposed rules!

Your photos, your stories, your tutorials and your kindheartedness is more than enough - don't forget that! :)

Theresa said...

I'm not particularly religious, but I like the passage "to everything there is a season...", as Amy said - it's that ebb and flow, the evolution of our hobbies, or the transformation of them, or the finding of new ones that takes us away from the old ones. Ultimately, we need to do this for our own enjoyment, otherwise it turns into a chore. Abi, wise words you have written today, and as you know, you are not alone in your thinking. Blogland is wonderful, but more important is your real world - the friends, the memory making, and, of course, dinner!!

Miriam said...

I admire you and those of you that put your thoughts into a blog post..I am not so good at that and as a consequence suffer in silence! or take a break.
As Amy/ Ali Edwards says life is all about ebb and flow, if we could recognise it for what it is we wouldn't get so stressed about stuff.
There seems to be a lot of ebb in our blog world at the moment. You wait, come the new year....


Karen said...

Thanks, Abi, for your heartfelt post. Most of the time, I'm pretty good about the ebb and flow of blogging and know that my days are filled with projects and commitments---all of which, fortunately, I have chosen and enjoy. Sometimes that leaves time for blogging regularly and reading blogs every day. Other times, I need to let it go. I always appreciate comments, but I'm also aware that there are readers who rarely, if ever, comment. and some who sometimes simply cannot do anymore than peek in. You, Amy, and Rinda put it all into perspective much better than I could and I appreciate your posts.

scrappyjacky said...

I so agree with your post today,Abi....and you have put it so well.

Alison said...

I so agree with your eloquently written words, Abi.....I too love being part of this wonderful blogging community but life just gets in the way some days/weeks...I am trying to do a bit of catching up today, but who knows how long that will last...thanks for the reminder that I'm not alone!
Alison xx

Sian said...

More interesting blogging talk!

I don't think I have ever felt obliged to comment anywhere. Rinda has talked about a "social contract" and I do agree with her that I sometimes have the feeling that I can't expect anyone to comment on my blog if I'm not out there leaving a bit of love wherever I can. But I don't see it as an obligation. I would hate anyone to think that I expected them to comment on my blog because I had commented on theirs. I comment to say hello and make new friends and to show my appreciation of a great post or idea, because I think we all like a little boost every so often. Interestingly, I find that of my own posts, the ones I like the best or that I've put the most work into aren't the ones that get the most comments! So I probably don't know what I'm talking about at all :) But I do recognise someone in need of a bit of a rest when I see one - it's a long term, this one, and you need to go easy on yourself x

Sian said...

ps I'm taking it back - I do feel obliged to comment on the Storytelling Sunday posts, you're right. But that's a little bit different and I wouldn't change it. But honestly, if you never commented on my blog again I would still be coming here to see what you are up to and how the studying is going :)

Sheena said...

beautifully written x
Blogging & the community are something I enjoy being part of, but life has to come first or else there would be nothing to go in PL!!

I visit the blogs I like or the people I like when I get time & I'm sure they totally understand x

Maria Ontiveros said...

So beautifully written Abi. I love peeking into your life and am so happy you share it with us whenever you get a chance.
Rinda

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Oh gosh, Abi, what can I say that hasn't already been said? I love this post, and I have loved reading the other posts that some of our common blog friends have published recently. It seems like we are all at a crossroads and need to redefine what our participation in blogging looks like. I loved your wise words to "value the silence in blogging" as blogging is indeed sometimes a chore - for all of us. It's a chore I prefer over other chores (say...washing dishes...) but at times it does feel like an obligation and that makes me a bit squirmy.

I love the way you have articulated your own feelings in this post, Abi. Thanks for your honesty ~ you are so lovely! xo

Beverly said...

I used to feel so guilty when i got behind on blogs and tried to do catch up now I just join back in at the present. Every year I have one or two (maybe three) times that I go off track for a bit. Sometimes the things going on in our everyday life desire all our attention, sometimes I believe our souls just need a break. I never feel an obligation to comment unless it's a meme or blog hop that I am a part of and I think that's just a given of participating. I am a chatty person (really?! lol) so generally like to comment. I use to pine for comments but I have reached the point that if I have them it makes me happen because a connection is made, if not, that's okay, in the end I am blogging for me. I will say that without making and receiving comments I would haven't have friendships with so many glorious women around the world :)

Beverly said...

I used to feel so guilty when i got behind on blogs and tried to do catch up now I just join back in at the present. Every year I have one or two (maybe three) times that I go off track for a bit. Sometimes the things going on in our everyday life desire all our attention, sometimes I believe our souls just need a break. I never feel an obligation to comment unless it's a meme or blog hop that I am a part of and I think that's just a given of participating. I am a chatty person (really?! lol) so generally like to comment. I use to pine for comments but I have reached the point that if I have them it makes me happen because a connection is made, if not, that's okay, in the end I am blogging for me. I will say that without making and receiving comments I would haven't have friendships with so many glorious women around the world :)

Barbara Eads said...

Well thought out! Some times, I don't have the time or anything to blog about. I figure if I blog 2 or 3 times a week, that's enough. And, there are times that I don't really have a comment to make on every blog I read--or the time. I don't really worry about it.

alexa said...

Your thoughtful post has generated so many comments, Abi, that I am not sure what I can contribute! Except to say that your lovely frankness and thinking aloud is so refreshing and permission giving :). For myself, I don't ever feel I have to comment - but I know I always want to, because I will always have a reaction to whatever I am reading and will want to acknowledge how something has touched me ... But it might not be immediately because I have whole days where I just cannot get to my computer or ipad :). Thank you, in turn, for letting me know that my words resonated with you :).

Fay aka Beautifullily said...

I haven't blogged or commented in ages. I think I lost sight of what I wanted to say, why and to whom. After a creative weekend away I think I'm ready to go public again, so thank you for writing a post that has inspired me to open my 'mouth'.

Ruth said...

I keep coming back to this post, just as I did with Amy's recent post. For someone so young, you have given voice to the whole blogging thing brilliantly. Ebb and flo, that's the thing and not feeling guilty during the ebb bit.
I love to stop by; there's always something that makes me nod my head and smile.

Heather said...

I'm slowly coming back into the blogging thing again though with less of a feeling of being obliged to comment on everything. I have told myself to only blog when I feel the need to because I previously got stuck with the idea that I had to blog regularly otherwise I would lose readers ( which probably did happen!)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Abi & well done on a lovely blog & some great ideas that I may be joining in with!

Sinead said...

Hi Abi, I read this post a couple of days ago but wanted to wait til the weekend when I could leave a proper comment to respond. Even though I've been blogging for less than a year, I agree with pretty much all of what you've so eloquently described above... Sometimes, commenting on blogs isn't easy and I agree that I sometimes fall into the trap of guilt when I haven't commented or been very visible online for a while. I want blogging to continue to be about friendship and crafting and sharing thoughts, and above all, enjoyment! Thank you for vocalising your thoughts and being so honest about the struggles and challenges that we allow to become a part of blogging.
You are a little superstar!
xxx

Lizzie said...

What a great post, Abi! I've been away from my own blog for months - it was 1st July when I wrote a post, then I didn't post any more til the start of December!
But, you know, I didn't feel guilty, because there just wasn't time to "do everything" and I was busy with the "anythings" instead!
I did read some peoples' posts from time to time - and I even left the odd comment. But Facebook-style blogging was so much easier over those few manic months.
Now I'm "back" and hope to catch up a little and enjoy a bit of Christmas time with my blog friends.
Love this post and will think about the interesting points you made.