Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why I Love Blogging/ Why I Hate Blogging

My good buddy Kirsten over at I Still Hate Pickles invited me to join her Blog Hop today (thanks, girl!). Be sure to stop by her blog and check out her books, too. Oh, and if you're a writer, please join the Blog Hop fun! We saved you a seat, honey.

Kirsten asked us to write about writing... what it means to be a writer, why it's sometimes hard to 'fess up to being a writer, or how writing impacts your life/identity.

This Blog Hop comes at an interesting time for me because I've got all kinds of crazy mixed up feelings about writing right now.

I love writing. I always have. When I think about not writing, I imagine myself blowing up like a puffer fish, and with bathing suit season just around the corner, I can't take that risk. Things are bad enough as it is. Do they even make a round tankini?

Do these spikes make my butt look big?

But, uh, can you keep a secret?.... (I'm kind of over writing right now.)

I know, I know - it's so confusing. It's coming from inside my head and I can't get it to make sense, either.

Probably like most bloggers, I started blogging for a convenient and inexpensive writing outlet. I never expected anybody to read it. So I blogged away, over-sharing silly stories or zany videos. I wrote whenever I had extra time. I didn't worry about whether or not my topics were interesting to the masses. It was laid back, stress free and fun.

But then people started reading it, so I wrote more often. I read articles about how to build my blog audience. I became focused on pageviews, likes, and shares. When I was supposed to be watching a movie with my family, I was mentally constructing my next blog post. If I went out to dinner and something hilarious happened, I could barely enjoy it for thinking about how it would make a perfect story for my blog. My kids couldn't even pick their noses without me taking a pic with my iPhone. This website owned me.

I researched the business side of blogging - conferences, networking, promotions, media kits, and advertising. I spent a lot of free time making pinnable graphics for Pinterest or tweeting Ellen (#iloveher). I focused on Facebook promotions and networking with other bloggers. This website owned me.

Then I lucked my way into a writing a viral post. I watched the pageviews soar to 100,000+ a day. I worried that all these new people would hate my writing style when they read other posts. I was scared to write anything new. My fear of failure crushed my creativity. Blogging wasn't fun anymore. This website owned me.

I became known as "the blogger" in my personal circles, and I don't know if that kept anybody from inviting me to their Thirty-One party, but I worried about it. Other bloggers put out negative articles about me. I'd like to say that it didn't affect me personally, but I don't lie on my blog (that much). After reading them, a huge knot would reside in my gut for days. I wasted precious hours thinking about what I could write in response or how I should handle the backlash. This website owned me.

Then I got sick. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I loved the memories that were documented on this website, but I didn't care about pageviews or likes or radio interviews or negative reviews anymore. I didn't care about writing anymore. All I cared about were the movies that I didn't pay attention to or the hilarious dinner experiences that I didn't enjoy. I worried about the kids who were attached to those tiny, perfect noses. I worried about the husband who never complained once about me spending so much time writing. And suddenly, this website didn't own me anymore.

I don't know if writing screwed up blogging or if blogging screwed up writing but something definitely got jacked up, so I haven't been writing much lately. Although I feel liberated and free these days, I feel a little sad, too. I miss worrying about my next story. I miss connecting with other writers. I feel like I'm being left behind. I want to be creative again.

So, right now, I guess I'm just looking for the balance. I want to be a prolific writer without being owned by my writing. Is that even possible?

Because my struggle with writing has never been with writing. I love writing. I always have. And I always will.