Last summer I wrote a post called "Lunch and Heartbreak." It started like this:
Remember when blogging first became a craze and everyone was doing it and everyone was reading everyone else and there was no Twitter or Facebook or Buzzfeed quizzes to find out which cheese/shoe/fictional character you were? There was only your "feed reader" with dozens (or hundreds) of blogs that you tried to check every week. And we were all writing (and reading) about each others' lunch and heartbreak.
Basically, what that post boiled down to was this: "Sometimes, you just want to connect. Sometimes, you just want to say: I ate this. I'm worried about this. I'll be okay, and I hope you will be, too."
I'm thinking about that post today as I sit down to write a blog post and really want to start it with:
I think I just want to write you a letter.
Maybe a thank-you letter for stopping by here whenever you do, whether that's regularly or not so much.
Or maybe I'd write you a love letter, all about the way the light hits your face and how your eyes shine when you smile. (What's that? You protest that I can't see your face or your eyes? Pshaw. It's true about the light. I know it is. Everyone looks lovely when the light hits them just so. And the light in anyone's eyes is beautiful when they let it shine. Especially yours.)
Or maybe I'd write you a letter of true confessions: of the unkind things I think (and say) when I'm tired and crabby; of the times I simply top-up the cats' upstair's water bowl instead of getting them a fresh bowl; of the petty jealousies that can keep me awake at night; of my fear of fire; of the way I routinely misspell the word "because" when I type; of my deep sadness about things I used to believe.
Or I could write you a "here's what's new letter," which would pretty much consist of scenes of me sitting on my couch since Easter Sunday when I came down with some hydra-headed flu/cold monstrosity that has been a tilt-a-whirl of fun. And by "tilt-a-whirl" I mean fever dreams and coughing fits that leave me dizzy. And by "fun" I mean absolutely not fun. But that letter could also tell you about the new herbalist/nutritionist I've started seeing, and how she's also an intuitive healer with apparent psychic abilities, which sounds cool, but it's kind of confusing and annoying because she told me stuff about my emotional health that didn't resonate with me and actually pissed me off, which I realize might be a sign that I have an issue to work on, but whatever.
Back in 2009 I wrote about the pitfalls of being a writer with a blog, and how that combination comes with some sort of pressure (real or imagined) to make the blog a stellar example of your work. (There are some good reader comments on that post, by the way.) I've been feeling that pressure again. I worry about how to balance self-promotion with platform building with storytelling with having fresh and useful content.
And when I worry, I tend to hide away. I feel paralyzed. I so desperately want to take the "right" action that I end up taking no actions.
I think maybe I've been trying too hard. Ironically, that has led me to blog less, not more.
Perhaps I'll start trying less. Maybe that would help me to write more often (both here and in general). (After all, I determined years ago that I don't need to take my writing more seriously.)
Maybe I could top-up this blog with posts the way I top-up the cats' water bowls: Just enough to get us by until I have the time and energy for a fresh clean serving of something sparkling: like that light in your eyes, Sunshine.
Yep, just like that.