I mentioned in my review of Shonda Rhimes’ book that I’d been reading but not writing book reviews. Confession: I haven’t been on my blog in TWO weeks. I realize that that’s not a million years or anything but I love blogging. Even when I’m not posting, I’m thinking of what to blog about next or tweaking things or promoting blog posts. When I can’t do any of these things, I’m a bit bummed and wishing school gave me more time to do them. But in the last three weeks, all you’ve seen are scheduled posts. The book review was the first “real time” post in a while.
I’ve been overwhelmed, I think. In my mind, I call it blogger burn out.
The month of October was for my writing and if you follow my newsletter, you’ll know my start of month routine and what I like to do to get re-centered.
This month, I just did not care about my blog. It was scary because I contemplated deleting my blog for the first time ever. I’ve never wanted to delete my blog. Ever. I’ve stepped away consciously many times but I always knew I’d come back and this time only my friends stopped me from clicking “delete” and wiping away 4 years plus of dedication. They asked me why I wanted to delete all my hard-work.
- I was bored.
- I felt like no one cared about reading about the things I enjoy blogging about (because I was bored, I thought everyone else was)
- I was stuck in what I like to call “the consistency trap”. I felt enormous pressure to keep posting three times a week, as my new mental schedule dictated.
- I was tired of my photo summary posts 🙁 The editing and selection wasn’t “fun’ anymore. The goal had been achieved: improving my photography and making it a part of my life.
- I felt all-shared out. I needed time to live and love things. To amass beautiful things to share. To be creatively “dormant”. To let the land lay fallow.
And so, my friend Esther said: “Take a break. I think we complicate our lives a lot of the time. If you don’t want to do the photo posts anymore, then don’t”.
I felt relief. I was going to be off till April next year. Like just vanish off the blogosphere and live a little. Honestly, I was sure I wasn’t ever coming back.
During my two weeks off, I thought nothing about blogging. NOTHING. I forgot when already scheduled posts went up and I only posted about style posts on Instagram for grid decoration purposes (I have major grid OCD). It was blissful. I focused on school and it felt nice. It dawned on me how much stress I was putting myself through. All by myself. A labour of love had so quickly become just a labour.
I spent time listening to good music, retreating into real life, reading good books (without feeling a huge weight thinking “man, now I have to write a review. how many stars do i give this?”) and just being off duty from my nagging blogzilla self.
I woke up this morning and I just knew: I’m ready.
Ideas were bubbling over in my head. I changed my blog theme for starters. I was terrified for the first half hour afterward. No picture of me up top. Very minimalist. No side bar. Just the blog, just the work. Just the labour of love.
I proceeded to write a review of Shonda’s book, because I wanted to and the words came so easy. It was “organic” and I thought this is how it should always be.
I made myself a few promises after my (unnoticed) hiatus:
- Do it for the love always. Do not ever be trapped by “consistency”, especially because I’m very self motivated already, putting myself under extra pressure quickly turns counter productive. I’m reminded of Liz Gilbert’s words about putting pressure on your creativity to feed you. While it can feed you, it’s so important to remember the real reason, always.
- Take many steps back, ever so often to evaluate. Sometimes a little perspective changes everything. Seeking the perspective of others is also a good idea.
- Don’t make impulsive decisions like irreversibly deleting 4 years of work. No. No. No.
- I’ve always believed that writing or creating needs living to thrive. Not just being alive, living; feeling, seeing, hearing; tasting. Living. So take a break to live once in a while.
“One reason that people have artist’s block is that they do not respect the law of dormancy in nature. Trees don’t produce fruit all year long, constantly. They have a point where they go dormant. And when you are in a dormant period creatively, if you can arrange your life to do the technical tasks that don’t take creativity, you are essentially preparing for the spring when it will all blossom again.”
— ~Marshall Vandruff
5. Sometimes, all you need to do is shake things up. Ditch some old routines. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Listen to new music. Eat new food. Read new books. Glory in the ever renewing nature of life.
I’ll be discontinuing the 52 weeks series, sadly, but I’m ready to move on. I have thoroughly enjoyed doing it and I’m so thankful for all of you who have too. I’ll keep blogging but I shall try to pace myself so you might have more spontaneous posts just like the newsletters (but more often, of course). I have also finally embraced the fact that my blog really is about books, style and all the living in between.
I hope you stay with me.
Love, Afoma x