I started blogging in the fall of 2005. I resisted it for a while, even though all of my online friends were starting blogs. Mostly because my online friends were starting blogs, and I tend to resist something if everyone is doing it. But eventually I couldn't resist the siren call of writing something and then putting it out into the world, so I started my blog.
Twelve years later, I’m on the other side of “everyone is doing it”: almost no one I know blogs anymore.
I’ve kept at it though, mostly because I would write about things even without blogging, but blogging helps me feel heard. It encourages me to polish what I write, instead of only scrawling it in a notebook or dashing it down in my computer journal. Blogging helps me observe the world better, as it reminds me to watch for things to write about.
But my blogging efforts have been pretty minimal this year. Partly that’s because of the silent blogging world. Part of the fun of blogging in those early years was interacting with other bloggers, and that’s mostly gone away. In January of 2017, I joined a blogging group on Facebook, hoping to revitalize my readership, but it served to point out how I am blogging in a way that’s destined to be overlooked: my blog is about random stuff. The thoughts, passions, experiences, frustrations, and joys of an ordinary life rather than a focus on a topic—that’s just setting myself up for failure.
But I don’t really want to only blog about one topic. I could have a running blog, a scrapbooking blog, a sewing blog, a book blog. But for me, blogging hasn’t ever been about my hobbies (even though I do blog quite a bit about my hobbies). It’s been about writing itself, about exploring experiences through the craft of writing.
And I’m not sure even successful, well-known authors achieve a wide readership that way.
So I’ve stepped back from blogging a little bit. Out of discouragement, maybe; definitely out of feeling the lack of how it used to be, the lack of a writing community.
It’s been 57 days since my last blog post, and that’s the longest I’ve gone without blogging since I started my blog.
I took this time as a way to process: does blogging still matter to me? If I never achieve a wide readership, is it worth it to continue? Is blogging actually detracting me from pursing other writerly goals (such as writing and then actually submitting my pieces, rather than leaving them to molder on my hard drive)? What would life feel like without blogging?
And I discovered that I would miss blogging if I stopped for good. If I am not blogging, I am writing less, but I didn’t submit more. (I didn’t, in fact, write anything at all.)
Then, this morning, I saw this quote on my Instagram feed (it was on Alice Hoffman’s page): “You only fail if you stop writing.”
I know this in my heart: I am a writer. It is as much a part of my identity as being a mother, a wife, a librarian; a runner, a scrapbooker, a hiker, a quilter. Do I only qualify as a real writer if I am being published? Perhaps. But I mean it in this sense: When I experience something, my gut response is usually “how can I write about this?” and in that sense, “writer” is part of my core identity.
So I am going to start blogging again, even as my goal continues to be “write and submit.”
Because the only failure is not trying. I trust Ray Bradbury.