Monday, April 28, 2008

why i blog. or, back to basics.

Earlier today I spent a ridiculous amount of time creating a post about awards. The entire time I was doing it I was frustrated because I wanted to be typing about some of the much weightier issues that have been on my mind lately. Strange to feel frustrated, I know, because the recognition of getting awards is so encouraging and handing them out gives me a chance to show my gratitude to all of the fabulous bloggers out there.

But, I don’t like the obligation I feel when awards roll around. Lately I’ve been spending what little time I have for blogging writing posts that are not in alignment with the goals and intentions I had when I started this blog.

As a result, I feel like my blog has been sucking lately too.

With this in mind, I thought it best to take stock, clarify why I write this blog and then try to stick to these goals with each post I write. In other words, I want to get back to basics.

So. Here’s why I blog:

1. To record “scrapbookable” moments

I’d heard of blogs before, but the first time I thought it sounded like a worthwhile pursuit was in reference to scrapbooking. Before I started blogging, I knew of scrapbookers who would use the contents of their blog posts directly on their scrapbook pages. It seemed like a really good idea, considering at the time I was collecting tidbits of conversations and snippets of my days on slips of paper that I kept in a box. Sometimes I would forget to write the dates on the papers, sometimes I would loose a slip of paper, or sometimes my notes on the pages were so archaic or poorly scribbled that when it came time to use the information I had no idea what it meant. Blogging seemed like a good solution to this problem.

With this intention in mind, I would like my blog posts to better reflect snippets of my days. In particular, I want to write more posts about my time with Csilla and the cute things she says and does every day. Furthermore, I aspire to keep my posts short and sweet (yeah right), so I have more time to actually scrapbook this stuff. I will not worry about writing four or five posts in one day if that’s what it takes to “jot down” a memory or an experience. I also won’t feel bad about it if readers don’t comment on every post. I know I don’t have time to read every post on other people’s blogs, so I will not expect others to do the same on mine.

2. To record my life and travel memoirs

Surprisingly, I’ve never been very good about keeping a journal, or writing stories about my life or my travels. I’m very interested in genealogy and wish I had more of family history in writing. I’d love to know more about the day-to-day life of my ancestors and how they lived. I started a second blog called Memoirs of a Guppy Fish, where I planned on writing some of my memoirs, but lately I’ve been so bogged down in random, meaningless posts here at Laughing Alone in the Dark, that I haven’t posted a single thing there in ages.

With this intention in mind, I’d like to focus my energy on writing at least one post per month for my memoirs blog. These will definitely not be short and sweet, but they will serve the purpose of helping me to record my memories.

3. To relieve Mommy-angst

As you all know, I have a few issues with being a stay-at-home mom. I believed starting a blog might be a good way of venting my frustrations and perhaps getting some advice from other moms who were going through the same thing. I wanted to use it as a sounding board so-to-speak. So far, this aspect of my blog has been a great success. I feel very supported and appreciated. In fact, I feel much less angsty on a daily basis as a result of all the wonderful feedback and comments received here. Thanks to you all.

With this intention in mind, I will continue to write about any daily little frustration that pops into my head. It’s a wonderful tool to help me cope with my long and sometimes boring days at home with a three-year-old. I’m always surprised at how kind everyone is when I decide to have a bitch-fest over my somewhat idyllic life. Especially when I visit other blogs where people have real problems. Being bored once in a while would probably be a nice change for some.

4. To find The Happy Girl

This intention directly relates to the aforementioned intention. I used to be a bubbly happy person and then somewhere along the way I lost it. One of my intentions with this blog was to track my journey towards becoming The Happy Girl again. Upon reflection, I think this is actually working. On a day-to-day basis, I really do feel happier. Balazs and I are getting along better and I’m learning to relax and enjoy my current stay-at-home-mom status instead of struggling against it all the time.

With this intention in mind, I will continue to write about The Happy Girl and the steps I am actively taking to ensure she grows and flourishes.

That’s about it.

These were my four main intentions when I started this blog. And if you scan back a few weeks on my blog, you’ll notice that many of my posts don’t fit into any of these categories.

So. Time to get back on track.

Although, I will confess to a few other things that I enjoy about blogging that weren’t part of my original intentions which have now become additional goals for this blog.

5. Play with graphic design

I’ve always loved design, colour and fonts, so the process of designing my blog, the header and the layout has been a nice bonus to this blogging thing. With this goal in mind, I will continue to play with design, logos and photography on my blog.

6. Practice writing

A few years ago I wrote a couple of screenplays and discovered my love of writing. Before then, I’d never written anything in a creative capacity before. I didn’t even take creative writing in high school. I had no idea when I started this blog that the writing aspect would be so enjoyable for me. With this goal in mind, I will stop apologizing for extraordinarily long posts. It’s so hard for me to focus on writing for myself without thinking about “my audience”, but I will strive to write FOR. MYSELF. Full. Stop.

7. Connect with the outside world

It didn’t even occur to me when I started this blog that anyone would even read it, so getting to know other bloggers has been a huge surprise and a blessing. However, this aspect of blogging is a double-edged sword for me. Cultivating and maintaining these relationships is rewarding, yet time consuming, and unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time on my hands. Csilla does not take naps during the day and rarely goes to bed early in the evening. She’s like the energizer bunny, without the need for rechargeable batteries. She just keeps going and going and going, which leaves me about two hours in the evening to do everything I can’t do while I’m taking care of her (properly - like not letting her watch television all day). Each evening I try to squeeze in my favourite television shows, some scrapbooking, maybe some reading, perhaps some bathing and, of course, far too much blogging.

Trying to fit all of this in invariably leaves me sleep deprived and unhappy. So here’s the part of the post where I tell everyone that I need to stop worrying so much about keeping up with everyone else’s blog. I’m going to read what I have time to read and stop worrying whether or not I’ve given enough attention to other blogs in order to keep those bloggers interested in me. If you read my blog and stick around regardless of whether or not I have time to visit your blog, I appreciate it. Thanks. Having said that, if I spend more time focusing on my blog instead of everyone else’s blog then maybe you’ll visit here because of the great entertainment value you get instead of my reciprocated love. Which leads me to…

8. Be funny.

A very surprising offshoot of this blogging thing in the notion that I might be funny. I am genuinely caught off guard when people tell me I made them laugh or said something witty. I would love to spend more time cultivating this newly discovered part of my personality.

So with this goal in mind, I will try to be more funny. Like, right now…

Or now.

Hmpf. I got nothin’.

Oh well, maybe I’ll save my best material for another post.

That’s about all I wanted to ramble on about right now. I suppose, in a very roundabout way, the point of this whole post was to say that you might find me respectfully declining awards or refusing to post memes in the next little while. Although they’re fun, I feel they take away from the intentions of my blog. I need this blog to have a purpose that suits my needs and sometimes the time I spend on giving and receiving awards (or, as of late, writing memes) frustrates me. And I hate to be frustrated. So thanks, but no thanks to awards and memes. With all due respect of course…

Thanks for listening and have a fabulous day!!


Suzanne said...

Your blog seems to be quite closely aligned with what I'm thinking. For instance, the first time I stopped by, you were writing about being stuck...yep, I got it immediately. I'm facing the same in my resistance to do whatever it's going to take to move out west.

Today, your post about blogging is quite appropo....while I use my blog as a place to post my chapters, so keep me writing (and it's done a good job of that) I often wonder why else I'm blogging...or what the purpose of blogging is, or if, God forbid, blogging sometimes gets in the way of other stuff we're supposed to be doing...I guess in its best iriteration, it should instead be a catalyst.

See, as usual, one of your posts got me thinking and off I go on a tangent!


Kimberly said...

Number seven? Fab. Fab! Took me nearly two years before I figured that out (i.e. mmm...last week sometime, I think). I have a friend who really struggles with the feelings of obligation, went private to escape it...but is thinking of starting a public blog again, etc...

So I asked her...what do you want out of this? What's this about for you? Figure that out. Act accordingly. Voila! A chance at being happy in your blogging life.

Brilliant post.

Jan said...

I really really enjoyed this post and needed it too. The blog thing can be so complicated if we let become complicated. It really is about the things that you mentioned. Memories, creativity etc. Those are good things. And then there is the harder side..But please never worry about me okay. I will respect you however you choose to blog. Consider me a low maintenance blog friend okay.

ped crossing said...

Gotcha on all counts. I feel the same about awards. Thanks for mine, but no hard feelings if the buck stops with me. I'll do meme's if I find them interesting.

Sometimes I am actually relieved when someone isn't blogging daily. Which has given me permission to not blog daily. Sometimes you just need to do some livin', you can write about it later.

Back to basics is always good.

ped crossing said...

And I forgot to thank you for the award. Yes, we are all in this craziness together.

Jen said...

Hello, everything you said could of come out of my mouth, but you say it so much better. I wish I could explain myself the way you do and just go on with my day knowing I made perfect sense to all in the blogging world. I have also stepped back from doing daily meme's. If you look back a few weeks, you'll notice all my posts were Meme's corresponding to certain days of the week, plus things I had been tagged to do. I felt overwhelmed and OBLIGATED to respond to all the comments/tags I received and felt like I could never catch up. What was even worse was I wasn't writing what I set my blog up to write about. I wanted it to be to document my life and my fun/sad/creative etc. times I have with my children as a SAHM as well as other adventures that come along. Sadly, I missed out on writing about these things because I was too bogged down with obligation to read others blogs and comment and post things to keep certain readers coming, etc. You get my drift. Like I said, you wrote exactly the things I have been thinking. I just don't write it as good as you do. I'm feeling a sense of freedom coming back to the basics and if I end up losing readers (which I know I already have) so be it. It's my blog. I'll write what I want and if you(the blogging world) like it and want to stop by and read, I encourage you do to so as I love the great friends I've made in the bloggy world. If you in the blogging world don't like what you read, there are thousands of blogs out there to read that will fit your fancy. With this said. I'll shut up now. I really should go back and see what I wrote, but I am too lazy and tired. Thank you for writing this post. I appreciate it and like Jan said, "consider me a low maintenance bloggy friend" :)

KAREN said...

That's the beauty of blogging though, don't you think? That feedback or awards or certain comments cause you to veer off track, revealing things about you that maybe even you didn't know before! Mine is (mostly) about writing, but I can't help talking about other things occasionally. I even started another blog, because I wasn't sticking to writing about, er, writing.

Either way, it's improved my writing (I've said that word way too many times now) no end, which was one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. I suppose that's the point you were making though. That you're not using your blog as you intended! I've talked my way round in a circle...

Anyway, whatever, you're a great writer and officially Very Funny.

Personally, I think you should carry on exactly as you are. Unless it's making you miserable :o)

Aline said...

Another brilliant post and you are really close to what I am thinking (except for the writing part, I am no writer, I prefer talking until everyone is begging me to stop).

I'd love to write more about your posts, but I am often struggling with my English, and it is hard for me to say it all the way I'd love to. But I wanted to let you know that you are always pushing me, getting me thinking about some things I didn't want to or simply didn't think about.
So thanks to you, and thank you for the award (I have the same feelings about awards as you, but I am nevertheless happy about the nice words you wrote about me!).

Have a wonderful day! :)

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

I love your blog because you remind me a bit of me (the same sort of anxieties) and you write as you feel, as it comes to you and that makes your blog so honest and so real.

And you know, we all go through these blogging anxieties - I think that blogging has created more problems for us all than it solves sometimes!

I don't expect anyone to read my blog just because I read theirs. So stop by mine if you have time and, if you don't....that's not a problem!

CrazyCath said...

I so needed this post and agree with you. I do enjoy all the awards an memes, but sometimes, it can be overwhelming and totally detracts from everything else.
Maybe I like them because my reasons for blogging are changing (almost daily!) but I never seem to have time to do all I want to do, and I have found myself this week making an effort to visit everyone and apologise for not being over sooner! This is why I am here - to pick up the meme and start working on it. :0/

SO I certainly don't feel offended if you visit less often - friendship is not about intensity or frequency. It's about understanding each other's needs. So long as I see you sometimes (cause I'd miss you ~ and how else would you see what I'm rabbiting on about?) then I'm ok with that. And I'll get over when I can too.

You just enjoy your blogging. It should not be a chore. Well written and well said! If you write for you, it doesn't matter if it is awards, memes, photos, life stories or whatever. It's yours.

Jules~ said...

Review and evaluate are always good things to do. And a perk is that I get to learn more about you.
It seems that we have similar reasons for blogging. Though I would not trade a single ounce of my years of motherhood and devotion, it is easy to forget self. I blog to find that me and to keep a journal so I don't forget. I unsuccessfully tried ot do book journals many times. But for some reason, zapping a thought into blogland is working for me.

Daryl E said...

Yeah well, your meaningless blog about awards pushed me to write a I hoped would be a meaningful blog about awards which ended up being a confession and no one has even come to read it .. so its all your fault... no, its all my fault .. I am sure everyone is too embarrassed for me to comment.

I dont care what you write about, I like listening.


Corey~living and loving said...

just be you.....and those that stay are the ones who are meant to be here.