On Blogging

JournalI have been suffering slightly from blogger’s block this week. Being conscientious to the point of slight neuroticism, I can’t let a week go by without posting anything (it’s a slippery slope down which many a blog has disappeared without a trace), so I am sitting here literally not knowing what I am going to write about. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and look my first paragraph is almost done.

Perhaps now is a good point – with just under two weeks to go before I leave work and start my ‘project’ in earnest, which will hopefully mean lots to reflect on and write about – to write some thoughts on what it means for me to write this blog. In my first post I wrote about the slight awkwardness associated with having to basically endorse the notion that people will be interested in what I have to say. This was a fairly big hurdle to overcome: as a modern human steeped in social media, I am often irritated by other humans’ propensity to venture their inane opinions on everything, as well as their relentless excretion of the minutiae of their daily lives. The way I finally settled the argument with myself was that having to post something on a regular basis would be a good incentive for me to evaluate and record my feelings and experiences. And that in order for me to deem something fit for external consumption, I would at least put a modicum of effort into it.

Both of these things are true: without the self-imposed pressure of keeping this blog up to date, I know I wouldn’t write half as frequently as I would like, if at all. I have kept various diaries over the years, but mostly as an outlet for long litanies of self-pity in times of darkness and heartbreak. In less troubled times I am quite happy bimbling along without writing anything down. The only disadvantage of writing things that the whole internet can read is that you do have to watch what you write. If this were a private journal, I would probably give in to the occasional bout of uncharitable swearing, which though lacking in nuance can be very cathartic.

Recording this experience is very important to me. Finally leaving my job after 10 long years is a momentous occasion and I really want to probe the feelings it churns up, in the hope of reaching a higher level of self-insight. I realise, of course, that I am a walking cliché doing the whole ‘finding myself’ thing aged 33, and that I am unlikely to ‘find myself’ during a six-month career break, or indeed ever. But self-reflection is usually a good thing, particularly if you have more or less drifted along with the current for the past few years. And nothing aids self-reflection better than writing.

Trivial and amateurish as they are, my illustrations are also a positive by-product of this blog. My artistic endeavours do not usually go beyond doodles in the margins of my notebook during boring meetings, unless I have a ‘purpose’ of some kind. Before I started the blog, I wasn’t sure if I should give myself the added obligation of drawing something every week, worried that it would become a source of stress which would undermine the whole purpose of writing a blog. But now I’m glad that I did: they make the blog more personal and it’s good for me to get my little Windsor & Newton pocket set out on a regular basis. To be honest (as you can probably tell), they really don’t take me that long so the stress is minimal.

A major benefit of writing this blog has been the wonderful comments I’ve received from friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues and even complete strangers. From the initial germination of the idea to stick a symbolic two fingers up at my corporate life and take some time out – which, incidentally, came last summer when I was sitting on the beach one evening after work with my boyfriend and a beer, feeling an indeterminate sense of sadness and ‘wrong-ness’ which grew into a resolution to take action – every word of encouragement has been brilliant, serving as a validation of my decision which initially I wasn’t sure was complete folly or not.

To underline this last point, a fellow blogger called Sara popped up right in the middle of writing this post to wish me all the best and give me a ‘Liebster’ award, which is an informal award shared in the blogging community to recognise and encourage new bloggers. Thank you so much, Sara, and I will try to devote some time to answering the questions which come with the award and perhaps return the favour to other bloggers.

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4 thoughts on “On Blogging

  1. Hey Anne – I completely agree about the self reflection bit. I know this for sure. I have become infinitely more mindful than I ever was when I was pre-occupied with work all the time. I also agree about setting a basic posting requirement for writing … mine is a month but I’ve been doing about 2 posts or more a month – which I am completely ok with. I find that because I need to post a monthly update I’m more mindful of my experiences and even sometimes eager to try something new just to be able to write about it. All in all this experience is so worth it … whether its 6 months, a year or even more. For me I needed to pull way back from my career to be able to see my life from a whole new perspective. Its a risk but to me it was worth attempting.

    -Nisha

    • Hi Nisha, thanks so much! I realise that my post frequency really only matters to me and that no one else really cares, but making sure I post frequently does help me to maintain momentum. I’ll probably end up getting a bit more relaxed about it! You’re so right about the self-reflection, it’s so useful to have a descriptive which encourages that. If blogging makes you try new stuff, that’s even better! I’m really glad your career break has had such a positive impact, it’s very encouraging. 🙂

  2. Hi Anne – don’t ever stop blogging! It’s people like you and others making a change that encourage me to keep going. It’s comforting to know there are others in the same boat and to hear your stories. You feel a little less lonely. BTW, I didn’t realise you drew the pictures for your blog. They’re great!

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