A couple of months ago, I wrote a Dear John letter. This was a true Dear John letter in that it went to my friend and fellow blogger John Howell (author of the thriller My GRL), to tell him that I was bowing out of our Monday collaboration at the end of our first year. My throat was so tight I could barely swallow when I hit the Send button, my eyes moist as I accepted the finality of that message. I had been slowly turning down or turning off projects in an effort to slow myself down and gain more time to write. This was the last project to let go, and it was the hardest to let go.
I’m not done with blogging. But to John and a few others, I’ve mentioned feeling overwhelmed, at a chronic loss for time to get anything done. I spend my days at work and at home, “satisficing,” that is, doing well enough and just enough to get through to the next day. I don’t like living or working like that. (Although at my day job, that is often standard operating procedure.)
I’ve been feeling frazzled (not to be confused with Fizzle, the delightful creature in Charles E. Yallowitz’s The Legends of Windemere series). The word frazzled comes to me from a news article in The Seattle Times, “One Man’s Year Off Social Media.” Last year, David Roberts, a staff writer at green magazine Grist.org, decided to go offline. He explained: “I think in tweets now. My hands start twitching if I’m away from my phone for more than 30 seconds. I can’t even take a pee now without getting ‘bored.'”
Granted, my condition is nowhere near as serious as Roberts’ was, but the potential is there. My loyalties were becoming divided: loyalties between my self, my work colleagues, my online community were frequently in conflict.
After a year offline, David Roberts made these observations: “How nice it is not to have an opinion about everything. How dedicating himself to immediately beneficial real-world activities–even just washing dishes–feels more productive […].”
When I’ve gone offline for a vacation, I find I don’t miss the grid as much as I initially think I will. It’s not that I don’t miss people. My dearest blogging friends are always with me in my mind and in my heart, even when I don’t access their blogs. I just don’t miss being tethered to my computer.
I ask for your patience and understanding. I will be less active in the blogging community, but I won’t be gone. If I Like your blog post but don’t comment, you can be sure that I actually read your post and did like it but I needed to move on. Perhaps I simply didn’t have enough time to write a comment. Or I was interrupted by a cat fight.
Let me share a secret, but you have to promise not to tell anyone: Writing is very difficult for me. I often wonder why I do write when a two-sentence comment might take me 10 to 15 minutes to compose. This blog post will go through several revisions (
5 6 7 8 to be exact) before it sees the light of day (or, more accurately, the light of your computer screen).
Maybe I have this wrong. I’ve been able to write 50,000 words in 30 days so maybe it isn’t the writing. It’s the publishing. I can’t let my writing go out into the world without making sure that I’m saying exactly what I mean to say. I will spend a ridiculous amount of time on one comment before I hit the Reply button. Too often, my real-time comments, off-the-cuff, rough draft, stream-of-consciousness utterances have been misunderstood. After awhile, a person gets tired of having to explain that she meant this in her comment, not that.
So this post marks a turn in my life as a blogger. My original posts may become farther and fewer between as I get into a groove that (I hope) enables me to refocus on my writing and (again, I hope) make some sense of the piles of printed pages taking up space on my bedroom floor.
And, Gwen Stephens, please don’t recommend that I get up at 4 AM. That time is my sweet spot for sleepy time 🙂
Marie A Bailey
Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.