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The Hold a Blog Has Over the Writer

It is hard to walk away from a blog.

Not at the beginning when you’ve only scrawled out a few posts.  Not at transitions when it makes sense to close up your blog and move onto the next expression of your thoughts.

But it’s hard to walk away from a living, breathing blog, even one that has grown thin and mangy, with matted hair on the underbelly.  Maybe it is even harder to walk away from a blog when you feel as if you’ve already neglected it, allowed it to become overrun by weeds of thoughts.  This isn’t how I wanted to treat you, you want to explain to it.  I love you.  You were there for me when I really needed you.  It makes you feel guilty, to see the big gaps of time between posts, like peering through overgrown grass.

Even if you vow to do better, it is hard to keep that promise.  It is hard to force yourself to sit down and write, especially if in writing your blog, you are no longer getting what you need out of it.  Then it is just another chore, like wiping down the kitchen table or vacuuming.  It is hard to keep that promise even if you are getting what you need from your online space.  Time feels as if it moves so quickly; by the time you sit down to write about a situation, it no longer feels worthy of being put into words.  Problems shrink as you walk towards the computer screen, celebrations dulls, memories become tongue-tied.

It is hard to walk away from a blog when it still has life left inside of it; when the author of the blog still loves to write.  That is what I mean by life inside of it.  When the author still thinks of her life in words, when she notices perfect phrasing, when she thinks, “I have to write about this moment” while she is living it.  It is hard to walk away from a blog that has held you up when you were emotionally sagging.  It is hard to walk away from a blog that once fulfilled you; that enhanced you.  It is hard to walk away from a space where people got you; where people saw you how you saw yourself unlike those other pockets of life where your words or intentions don’t match up inside and outside of your brain.

There have been a rash of blog posts lately of people apologizing for neglecting their space, explaining long absences, trying to make sense of why they can’t seem to get the words out.  Time constraints and feeling silenced and not knowing where one belongs anymore or whether there are people out there who still care.  Or confusion: dropping blog stats or a sudden lack of comments.

All of them come to the same conclusion: it is hard to quit a blog.  As hard as it is to write it, it is harder still to leave it.  Because a blog has a hold over the writer, making them feel a little technicolour in a black and white world.  If you’ve ever loved your space, then you know that it is hard to leave a space, just as it is difficult to end any relationship where you still feel a huge sense of fondness underneath the difficulties on the surface.

I’m always thankful when a person ends their post by saying that they’re not going anywhere.

21 comments

1 Jodifur { 04.21.14 at 8:58 am }

Oh, this post. I have no idea what to do with jodifur anymore. And I’ve thought about walking away, closing it down. And I always end with, I don’t really want to. But I don’t know what to do with it anymore either.

2 tigger62077 { 04.21.14 at 10:08 am }

I hear you on this 100%. My blog is…sparse, to put it mildly. I always intend to write but never do. I think in bed when I’m going to sleep and my brain is racing “I should go make a post about this, get it out of my head. Or in the morning.” but I never do. I always apologize to my few readers, I always apologize to my blog. I love it. I don’t want to close it. I need it sometimes. I don’t know what to do with it. I thought changing hosting sites would help me but it didn’t. *sigh*

3 Brid { 04.21.14 at 12:05 pm }

Mel, I thought you were leading up to something… thankful YOU ended the way you did! Whew!

4 Jenn { 04.21.14 at 12:22 pm }

Yes! I always feel so much guilt when I go days or weeks without writing a post, even though I know the post will be pretty much useless without much to say or update others on. But I don’t know that I could ditch my IF blog fully. I still struggle with the “What do you do with an IF blog after you get pregnant” but not quite to that problem yet.

5 Tiara { 04.21.14 at 1:12 pm }

Very well said…It’s like you were in my head! Scary for you! I also was a little fearful you were leading up to a goodbye.

6 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 04.21.14 at 1:20 pm }

This is very beautiful and very true.

I found I wasn’t quite blogging but not really not-blogging for a long time, until I found the new space I wanted to create. The old blog had a hold and I still, somewhere, think I’m going to come back and write that epilogue.

7 Smiling Scar { 04.21.14 at 1:42 pm }

I love my blog too much to quit it.. but I also wonder who I am writing for. I know I am writing for me — both in the moment and for the future me who will get something out of looking back at something way easier to read than my journal scribbles.

But I also feel that something has changed in the experience. When I started blogging, I had I list of favorites to read across the top of my browser. I would click those over and over again to see if there were new posts. Then google reader made that easier. Commenting was the heart of the experience. Mel, you were so good at facilitating this community’s thinking on different ways to comment and I became a better commenter because of it.

Then google reader died. My PhD killed most pleasure reading and writing. And when I got back into it, I was mostly reading on the bus on a phone that made it hard to comment.

So while I still love my blog, I am really missing something about the ‘old days’. It is like going back to my college town and so happy to be visiting my old favorite restaurant and feeling so lucky that the food is just as good as I remember… but then looking around and feeling a touch sad that my friends and even the familiar waitstaff have moved on. And partially it is my fault for reading more than I engage at the moment…

8 Lara { 04.21.14 at 2:26 pm }

This is perfectly said. Blogging is so powerful in creating connections, but it really can become a chore if it is no longer serving the purpose it was once created for. It can also be hard to morph a blog as life changes.

9 Catwoman73 { 04.21.14 at 5:30 pm }

I have come to think of my blog like an old, dear friend- our relationship has evolved over time. Sometimes we see each other often, and sometimes life just gets in the way. But no matter how infrequently we visit, I would never abandon that old friend altogether. After all, the best thing about old friendships is the fact that you can always count on them being there. I love my space, and even though it is in a state of flux right now, it still makes me incredibly happy. 🙂

10 Sara { 04.21.14 at 10:17 pm }

When I started reading this post I thought you were going to say goodbye, so glad that was not where you were going.

11 Keiko { 04.21.14 at 10:23 pm }

It takes balls to destroy something you’ve created. Walking away from my blog would be like ripping off an arm.

12 Katie Lamparyk { 04.21.14 at 10:47 pm }

Very sneaky… you had me worried and upset for a moment.

13 Queenie { 04.21.14 at 11:07 pm }

I had to skip ahead to the end to make sure you weren’t going anywhere. I would be so upset if you left your blog. It would be like you broke up with us, rather than it.

So many good, true comments to this post–Catwoman73 says it especially well.

14 Reese { 04.22.14 at 2:14 am }

Like the other commenters before me, I was worried this was a farewell post–so glad it isn’t. I just put my first post up in nearly 5 months. This echoed how I’ve been feeling about my blog exactly. I definitely still “think of my life in words.” There are so many bloggers that I miss during absences, and wonder about when they don’t come back. I can’t ever see myself quitting blogging altogether, but this post has made me think about the excuses I make. I want to stop doing that. It’s a space I will always love, no matter how infrequently I visit.

15 Rachel Lewis { 04.22.14 at 4:18 am }

Yes. I agree wirh Queenie. Had to rush to the end to make sure you weren’t leaving us before I could breathe again and read through your post thoughtfully.

I had started a second blog that is not loss related… But I can’t bring myself to write there. That’s just not where my heart is invested. I don’t even want to think about walking away from my current blog. But will I be 90-years-old, writing about miscarriage? Not likely. I guess one day eventually, the walking away will come.

16 A. { 04.22.14 at 5:06 am }

It reminds me of that sticky conundrum when a band puts out an album that really deviates from their patented style that everyone’s come to accept. That backlash can get nasty (“sellout” and the like) but in the end, they’re artists and the music morphs with them. This is a unique community because, yeah, everyone’s looking for their exit ticket, and it gets messy when an IF blog turns into a pregnancy blog then a parenting blog, a food blog, whatever. But, hey, adaptation makes the world go ’round.

17 Mel { 04.22.14 at 7:27 am }

Whoa! I’m not going anywhere. I was responding to a lot of other people all posting at the same time that they didn’t know what to do with their blog but they also didn’t want to abandon it. Nope, you’re stuck with me.

18 Geochick { 04.22.14 at 4:19 pm }

I’ve noticed the posts and have been bummed that a couple of blogs have been shut down. I think sometimes we don’t realize how many people we are reaching.

19 Justine { 04.22.14 at 9:53 pm }

Another one of those posts that makes me think you must live in my head. How do you know me so well? But it turns out I’m not the only one. Geez, I don’t even READ blogs as much any more. But I’m always grateful to come “home” to them, and to mine, infrequently though it may be. It’s the only space I have that reminds me I’m a writer. Proof of my identity, dusty though it may be. Thanks for this, Mel.

20 loribeth { 04.27.14 at 6:00 pm }

Glad we’re stuck with you. ; ) I have to admit I too read the post twice just to make sure there weren’t any hidden messages in there. 😉 I have to admit I’m not blogging or even reading/commenting as often as I used to… but I can’t see the day I would walk away entirely.

21 SRB { 04.30.14 at 1:48 pm }

I have been thinking about this post for a while. I very abruptly shut down my blog a little over a month ago. A few people knew how much I was struggling with it, but not really. It was not a healthy relationship. I struggled with how to write, what to write, when, how often…it occupied far too much of my thoughts to the point of impacting my actual life. So, as much as I truly loved it (and still do), I needed to break up with it. Nothing else was working – no breaks, distance, changes…nothing. I was letting the pressure of “never walk away” get to me in a way that was not rational or healthy. We just couldn’t be together anymore. I am really very sad about it, and have many regrets. It will take a while to get over. Which is not to say that I won’t start ‘dating’ again in the future, just that I won’t be so quick to introduce my next lover to my friends and family. But sometimes, a blogger has to walk away and put herself first.

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