The slump to end all slumps has been mine this year. I have been eager to hold on to it. Keep it all to myself. It’s not my fault there are no words-it’s The Slump you see. The perfect excuse.
The Slump has allowed me to write many posts, but not publish them. They remain half done, eyeing me as I type yet another one. I see the mocking in their unpolished words.
Some of the words have been used at work. That place I like to keep separate from here. Reflections, reports, assessments, newsletters. They take words I may have otherwise used. It seems, after all, words do have a limit.
I have struggled to keep the blog going. But much of what is written is just noise. And sound. And fury. Signifying nothing. Those are not my words. The Slump, it has no shame.
I have thought about the merits of keeping the blog. And those found in closing it. But, like many things, I am sure once I don’t have it I will want it again. Find need of it. Even if the drafts mock me. So stay it shall.
Who knows, maybe talking about The Slump may make it pack its wordless bags and leave. Although then who would I blame for the lack of words? Maybe I could start a new blog, and only write about not having anything to write about. That should take me places.
So I shall pack my notebooks and remember to have pens in my bag. Just in case. I will use voice notes wisely, and type away the noisy words. If they all end in the draft folder then so be it. At least on my grave stone it will say, she was a writer. Of sorts. She took her password and drafts folder to the grave.
There has been a shift. Another one to be exact. As is the way with parenting, with family life, as soon as you get used to something, change rears its head.
Where do you draw the line between privacy and a personal blog when children keep on growing? When they are less wanting to be in the posts. When their lives are less centred around myself and their father. Friends, school, becoming who they are – all things that I see, am part of, but have no right to share on the pages of a blog.
What to write when a large part of life is not for the sharing. How to write without giving away details of other people? Vague blogging. There is a trick to it. An art to the writing of words that say so much, while not giving away specifics. For now though I am at a loss. There seems to be much to say, with no clear way to say it.
Some days it is not so much what is written as the spaces in between the words. In what is not said more than what is. In the lack of posts. Or, sometimes in the flurry of them, all saying very little other than here I am to fill the empty space.
Autumn has come to the hills. Our road is covered with leaves that soften the black tar edges. Perhaps I should write about that. Or how I love the ritual of cleaning and polishing school shoes for the kids of a morning. Something I remember my own Dad doing for my sisters and me. Or how I miss running with a less than cooperative knee prohibiting it for now.
Perhaps I should just say nothing.
There is an art to vague blogging. A trick to it. Perhaps I will learn it. Or perhaps I’ll keep writing about the leaves on the road, and my love of clean shoes in the morning.
Well there you go. This is the five-hundredth post. There are six thousand comments in all as I type. As for spam, 9,384 have been caught by my spam filter. That’s a lot of words. Mine and others. Some of the words are better than others. Without doubt.
While you are reading this I am off at work. Doing the other thing I do. The other me. Well one of me anyway. Then again you could be reading this while I am home, cooking a meal, nagging about homework, or faffing on twitter. Perhaps I am drinking gin. What would a 500th post be without gin?
So here I am at post five hundred. Here we are. Some of you have been here from the start. Others have come and gone along the way.
What I’m about to say is not startling. No revolutionary statements. But true nonetheless.
Blogging has given me voice. Granted I had one before, sometimes though it got lost. This little pocket of the internet gave me the nudge I needed to speak my words. More than that it gave me friends and a community. Ah, those old clichéd chestnuts.
Clichéd yes, but true all the same. Through this blog I found friends living just down the road. People I can call on, drop in on, lean on. People who I know can do the same to me. It also gave me friends across the country. People who when we meet natter like old friends. People who get the need to write things out, and over share on the odd occasion. People who don’t think it odd to take photos of inane objects, or to tweet while out and about.
Some days words have tumbled out. Spilt across the page mixed with hot heavy tears. I have asked for help, sought out comfort. Offered thoughts to those in need. I have met people I would not have otherwise.
I have learnt to rage quietly. Use words with caution and economy. I carry my heart on my sleeve. But some days I wrap it tightly and keep it quiet. Not everything is for public consumption. Not all stories are mine alone for the telling. There are days when subtext is more present than text. Days when words sit heavy and will not out. Days when self doubt slithers. This blog gave me back my running legs. Gave me words and a will to write. Taught me that sometimes the best thing is to say nothing at all.
And because this is my 500th post, I am going to keep it at five hundred words. I will drink my celebratory gin. Raise my glass and think of where I have been and where I am going. I will thank my little blog for the connections and friendships, the laughter and tears. I will end with a song. As is my wont. And then, when tomorrow comes I will post again. Because that, after all is what it’s all about.
So it is more than clear now that I have completely failed at the whole blog every day for a month thing. I admit defeat. I have no excuse. I just didn’t blog some days. The whole just write, just blog seems not to be doable for me.
I learnt the hard way to give myself breathing space. I know when enough is enough and tend to shut down a little. Cut off the non essentials. Like writing a blog post every day. Challenges are all good and well, but the dreaded home/work balance is teetering perilously close to tipping point without the added extras.
The pointy end of the year is here and I am clawing my way to the end. The evening is my haven. Away from noise and the demands of each day. I want comfort television with a side of gin. Blogging is not high on my priority when I finally sit down. The words, sometimes, somedays they just do not come. I have made my peace with that.
I have work to complete, a house in disarray, children over tired after a long school year. The end is in sight. I just have to get there in some semblance of one piece. I can do it; well there is no alternative. In the meantime, there is music and joy, and more takeaway meals than is recommended. It is how the end of the year rolls. I can live with that.
The start of November is the time when many people begin a month long heads down at the keyboard writing. NaNoWriMo to be exact.
I love the thought of being able to commit the time needed to do this. I even tried one year. However, as this coincides with report writing, and the pointy end of the work year for me, I just can not be involved.
Lucky for me someone else has had the great idea of doing a smaller scale writing project for the month. My lovely martini loving friend at Stella Orbit’s Blog has given us Blog-vember. A blog post every day of the month of November. I can do that. Just.
I have been wanting to write more, and this is the perfect excuse to do just that. If I start posting more than is necessary about the special hell that is report writing, or you see more than one post that is basically a Youtube clip for a current favourite song, feel free to get all shouty in the comments.
I have never posted every day for a month. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Change is something I’m pretty used to. Sometimes I don’t really like it, but I get on with it regardless. Mostly though I like it. If you’re not changing, you’re standing still, and that is not always a good thing. Think for example if you had not changed your hair from that body wave perm you had in the 80s. Well, OK maybe that was just me, but really it was bad (not that I thought so at the time.)
I change things about myself a fair bit. Different styles of dressing, new hair cuts, new hair colours, I am still fundamentally the same person, but I get bored with the same things all the time. I like to try new things, change up how I dress, how I do my hair. It’s fun. I love clothes, and as I get older I love not being tied to latest trends. Modern, not trendy.
So it is with my blog. I got bored of seeing the same design. I was over it. So I contacted my designer, AKA the Hubby, and sent him a barrage of emails with ideas, fonts and images. An unholy mess of stuff I thought I liked and it was then over to him to make sense of it all and create a new design for me. Lucky he lets me pay in, er, cups if tea. I have a feeling if I wasn’t married to him he may have suggested we were not suited to working together and given me the business card of another designer. One he wants to exact revenge of some sort on.
Change, reinvention, it’s something some people make a living from. I’d say to me Madonna is the master of it. Say what you will about her, but she has managed to stay relevant for at least thirty years, and she didn’t do it by staying the same fresh faced bleached, permed, bra showing, popped coller girl from the borderline video clip (which was my first ever seen Madonna video when I was 10.) Â Now, I’m no Madonna, but I do like a bit of a change.
So then, here is my new blog design. Same me, same writing, different look. And hey, it was cheaper than a new hair colour!
What about you, do you like change? Chase it? Or hate it?
Some weeks I’m tired in a good way. This is one of those weeks. Meet ups with bloggers who have become friends, great runs and looking forward to the hurt of sit ups and boxing have been part of this busy week.
My lovely Hubby has patiently kept home going while I galavant around the city or swan off to get sweaty with boxing gloves.
So, on Thursday afternoon I returned home and got stuck in to some washing, vacuuming, dusting and cutting freshly bloomed flowers for the home. As I did this my thoughts were with my lovely friend returning to her home state, and through the speakers came Paul Kelly and Adelaide.
Which gave me the chance to use one of my favourite words in a blog post… what would life be without serendipitous moments now and then.
When I began blogging I thought perhaps my family and a few friends may read it. I even thought some people I didn’t know might read too. Writing brings me great joy and I’m happy to share it on the blogosphere.
I have been lucky. I have some regular readers and have made some wonderful connections and real friendships, this was something I didn’t even contemplate when I began. I have been to conferences, meet ups, brunches and emailed being asked to blog about products, services and community organisations. I have even said yes to some of those emails!
But, never, ever in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be a cornflake girl.
You see, many moons ago, before children and marriage there were three girls. My sister a friend and me. We lived close to each other and were finishing uni. We baked scones and had afternoon teas. We sat in the sun in each others yards. We danced into the wee small hours and walked the steep hill home in the bitter cold of Hobart winters. And through all this we had a soundtrack. A soundtrack that to this day peppers our conversations, keeps our memories alive, wraps us in the familiar and makes us laugh and cry and love.
Our soundtrack was Tori Amos. Her songs spoke to us. They still do. They are the warp and weft of our early twenties. When we were finding ourselves, falling in love and full of future promise. We have lasted distance, time and years.
So, when last Thursday I was invited to a brunch by Louisa of Brand Meets Blog and Kelloggs, I thought I may get a few cereal boxes to take home. Which I did… and my growing almost teen Blue Eyed Boy has been in cereal eating heaven since then. There were a number of other goodies too, and it was great to have a chance to speak with Kelloggs representatives and talk about concerns and give feedback, as well as eat a yummy brunch. But, what I didn’t expect was to get my very own cornflake box. Complete with my face on it and my blog.
I am a cornflake girl… so now all that is left to do is ask: Rabbit… where’d you put the keys, girl?
Do you have an artist like Tori that floods you with memories?
Like many other bloggers last weekend I headed to Federation Square in my home town to attend a blogging conference. Blogopolis, organised by Nuffnang and attended by roughly three hundred people.
Armed with only a few hours sleep (thanks to the gift of the gab and the inability to check the time after ashared bottle of wine with my roomie) I headed to the conference, to be honset though, I did wonder what I would get out of it. But, coffee in hand I registered and found my seat, thinking that if nothing else I could doze off and wait for morning tea. I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
Once the coffee kicked in I began writing notes. Many, many notes. I was lucky in that I use wordpress, so a lot of it made sense to me. If I’m being honest, it was a nice change. So much of what I read is about blogger, so I liked that I understood what the speakers had to say. I know some attendees were a little put out there was a lot of wordpress love, but the main message was that blogger is a fine option depending on your needs, but that for those wanting to be a pro blogger – ie use it as your main income – wordpress was the best option in these speakers opinions. No one said you had to swap – it was an opinion. There were a lot of tweets about wordpress being mentioned so much, but I think some of this detracted from the main message. There were bloggers from a wide range of categories, and not all of the message was going to be targeted to one particular type of blog, so take what you want and discard the rest of the information.
I’m not going to go into detail about each speaker and session, there are plenty of other posts to read on that. But what the day did do was give me more direction. Give me a sense of where I want to go blog wise, and some great ideas on just how to go about it. Ways to keep the blog mine, but make it more reader friendly I guess. It made me realise that if I did want to monetise my blog I have every right to, and that I can still have my own voice. That monetisation is not, or should not be a dirty word. That I have every right to ask for payment from companies that want me to write about them, and that I have to set my own worth. I touched on this earlier in the year, when I wrote The Devil Wears… and by the end of the day, I had a much clearer direction on how I can engage with brands if I so choose.
I have a small connection with some of the presenters on the day. Others are new to me. But each one had something I could take away and use. Each one gave me new ideas, or a reminder to keep doing what I do. There was a lot to take in, and my head is still buzzing with ideas and plans. As I often do after conferences I have renewed focus. Some of that comes from the information I have taken away form the speakers. Some though comes from knowing I am part of a community. While I don’t know all of the people in the room, while I never will, I know that there are many people who share my love of blogging. That it is, and should be, something that is taken seriously, whether you have ten or ten thousand hits per day. That as a collective group, we bloggers have a right to be taken seriously. That it is called social media for a reason. That we each have a voice, and should be proud to use it. And then, at the end of the day, as I walked out into my city, there was a double rainbow. A perfect end to an inspiring day.