A Time Out

“We have what we need. The wisdom, the strength, the confidence, the awakened heart and mind are always accessible, here, now, always. .. We’re not inventing them or importing them from somewhere else. They’re here. That’s why when we feel caught in darkness, suddenly the clouds can part. Out of nowhere we cheer up or relax or experience the vastness of our minds.” — Pema Chödrön, “Taking the Leap; Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears”

I’ve read in so many places that writer’s need to build up their connections with others, even before they’ve written their book, by blogging, tweeting, retweeting others tweets, tweeting and Facebooking other people’s blog posts, and commenting on lots and lots and lots of blogs. There’s also this thing about authors having their own Facebook page before they’ve been published. That seems just silly to me.

I see writers and people with some kind of small business doing all this quite successfully.  I can’t figure out how they do it, even though they are kind enough to tell you how YOU can do it also.

I feel like I’m back in high school trying so hard to be popular and feeling like crap because I’m not.

I think I’m whittling down through my Google Reader list when BOOM! there are twenty-five more things to read! Even with an IV of coffee constantly running, I cannot keep up!

My low numbers of readers and commenters makes me especially thankful to the people who do faithfully show up at my site. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I’m starting to wonder if I am actually being misled by these people telling me what I should do with my time. I am not getting any of my book writing completed or doing the kind of writing that will lead to writing as well as I know I can if I put in the miles.

At this point, I think I’m too burned out to produce anything of quality and need a break, so I’m taking one for the rest of July. I’m going to try going cold turkey on blogging, Twitter, Google Reader, Facebook, and Pinterest (although Pinterest is where I found my haircut). Okay, so maybe not cold turkey because I just saw on Facebook that there’s a cool event at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. That sort of thing I don’t want to lose sight of.

And I still have a post to write on Vision and Verb later in July that I’ll post here too, but otherwise, I’m going off the radar. Really! (breaks out in cold sweat…)

If I need more time to figure some things out, I’ll take even more time.

This blog started out being geared to other cowgirls and animal lovers, but times changed and I’ve changed in the process. Writing teachers often talk about “finding your voice”. I used to have a very distinct voice. I was once told I sounded like Anne Lamott, not as poetic but able to lay things out, honestly, down on the table. Fear and uncertainty about what makes people stay and what makes people leave has silenced much of that.

I don’t know who I sound like anymore, but I’m going to find out.

“Naturally, we are wise to be patient with this process and give ourselves unlimited time. It’s as if we’ve been kicking a spinning wheel all of our life and it has its own momentum. It’s spinning rapidly, but now finally we’re learning how to stop kicking the wheel. We can expect that the wheel is going to keep spinning for some time. It won’t just abruptly stop. This is where many of us find ourselves: we’ve stopped kicking the wheel, we’re not always strengthening the habit, but we’re in this interesting middle state…”
— Pema Chödrön

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  1. Well, I hope I’m not too late to let you know that I absolutely get you, I understand what you’re saying … maybe that’s because Anne Lamott has been one of my favorites for some time. But I’m just going to say that if you want to write then write! Forget about the numbers, the readers for now, the commenters. I got hung up on that, too, awhile back and that lady that left a note above me opened my mind to just let your blog be a journal for yourself and record what’s going on in your life. Don’t try to write about things you think will please and be popular, listen to your heart. Oh, heck, you already know this but I’m just hopeing that you won’t be too quiet here but I also hope for the best for you.
    And that image you shared? it moves my soul, truly!

  2. Maery, you are allowed breaks. I think that people who we perceive to “have it all” rarely have it all…all at the same time. They have somehow learned how to work within the ebb and flo of things, and pick good times to work. (And they have summers off…kidding, sort of…seriously though, lots of writers are teachers)
    Have a rest, write a little and we’ll see ya later!

  3. Maery, one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn, (and I still have to work at it), is to forget what “THEY” have to say. I think we get lost when we stop listening to ourselves and get tied up in trying to please others. Don’t write for anyone elses pleasure other than your own. Throw it out to the Universe with joy and you will find that joy will find you as well as MANY other people who are ready to share that joy with you!
    Take care and hang in!

  4. Ginnie – Thank you!

    Susan – No, you’re not too late. I just need a break to rest and rethink how I’m spending my time. I’d like to make some changes, but have to figure out what those changes should be.

    Lynn – Ya, hitting that point in life where many people are retired, working part time, able to have summers off, and so on. It doesn’t help to compare what I can do to others in a different situation, not that I have it bad either.

    Elaine – Yes, you and Susan have said what I know to be true but it’s hard to not always want more outward “success” and instead go for inner “success”. Thanks for your encouragement.

  5. Enjoy your break from your blog. I know how you feel about there being so much out there to read it gets hard to keep up.
    I try but then leave the computer for a day or two and have 365 posts in my google reader – impossible!
    Take it easy! hugs

  6. When I take a break and them come back I start with deleting all the new posts in GR and start new! 🙂 Take it easy and have a great time.

  7. Aaah Maery. It’s a place and space – I think – we’re all too familiar. Good for you for taking the time you need to figure things out (and now – I’m not even sure you’ll be checking your comments..reading this). Looking forward to seeing what comes out of your time away..

  8. When I began blogging, I wanted to use my blog as a platform for real writing.

    Everyone told me I couldn’t – shouldn’t – do that. I should post every day, keep it short, and in the meantime work like crazy to produce “real writing” on the side.

    Fiddlesticks. I treat every blog entry like a “real” story, and I’ve learned a lot. It’s been slow, slow – for two years, I was thrilled if I had five comments on a post, and when I had 50 “hits” in one day, I thought I was in heaven.

    Now, that’s changed somewhat. And part of the reason it’s changed is because I spend what time I have on my writing. I’m not on Facebook, I don’t text, I don’t use Technorati, Pinterest or any of that. I do publicize my posts on Twitter, but that’s about it.

    Content is key. If you produce intersting posts, people will read them. And comment.

    Here’s what I think: many, many of the people who say “Facebook! Twitter! Reblog! Comment!” are people who aren’t willing to put in the hard work of focusing.

    I grew up as a people-pleaser, and one who was very eager for approval. Beginning my blog was terrifying, because I thought, “What if no one likes what I have to say?” I finally decided I would just focus on the writing, and let the rest take care of itself.

    It’s working out, and it will for you, too.

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