Thursday, October 22, 2015

An honest pause

I haven't been beating myself up over my sporadic blogging habits as much as I used to these days, but when I really stop to think about this blog and all the opportunities that have come out of it, I feel really sad. It's almost as if a close friend has moved away, and while we still talk and see each other every now and then, it's not the same. There's been a change. There's been a shift. I'm far from being the person I was when I started blogging 4 years ago, and that's both a good thing and a bad thing.

I know I've given adequate reasons for my sporadic appearances, but the fact that I've strayed so far from the soul searching explorer I was when I first started has me feeling pretty down on myself. I feel like I've taken too many stops along my journey to observe scenery and waste time. I've veered off my path and have pretended it doesn't bother me. I reach occasional milestones and then don't try as hard to reach new ones. The passion has burned at times and fizzled at others.

When I first started this blog, I was bursting at the seams with passion, ideas and potential. I made it my mission to do something writing related every day, and I never settled for less than what I wanted to achieve. I knew exactly what to say and exactly how to say it. I didn't care about followers, money or notoriety, but some of that stuff followed anyway because the passion and work ethic came first. But as I've grown over the years, reality has settled in and grown-up responsibilities have taken priority. I have more bills now. I have to buy a car. I need another job (or two or three). I don't get out as much as I should and barely know what to write about outside of what happens in my brain, my heart, and the walls of my home. My ability to inspire others has diminished because I can barely inspire myself anymore.

In short, I need to remember how to live before I can remember how to write.

Some not so fun facts for you:

- I've been trying to write a new Tiny Buddha post for 3 months. It's taken me 3 months to write this one post, and it's still not finished. It might not ever be finished because it feels so forced at this point. The ones I've written before have been written in a couple of days, if not a single sitting.

- I want to write more stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul, but the topics I find fill me with nothingness. "I don't know which story I should tell for that one," I think to myself. And I honestly don't. That may make me sound like the laziest bastard ever, but I'm telling you...I feel like I don't have very many stories to tell anymore. I've told all the stories worth telling already, sometimes in many different forms. I have to create new ones. I have to find the stories because unfortunately, the stories won't find me.

- Almost every blog idea I've come up with this month has been cast aside in favor of paid work and the book I'm trying to write.

- I have 16 webpages bookmarked in a folder called "Writing" on my laptop. They are full of resources, tutorials, publications seeking submissions, articles about overcoming writer's block and anxiety, and so much more. I never look at them. I rarely open them. I have nothing to say in response to them.

- I compare myself to other writers constantly and tell myself how much better I could be doing. I never used to do that. Other writers inspired me. They never made me feel threatened or inadequate. We were all on the same team. Now I feel like the awkward kid jogging behind everyone else and not even bothering to keep up. Mainly because I feel like I don't have the energy to.

- This year has been one of the worst years of my life. I'm trying to turn my stress, pain and disappointment into art, but I barely know how. There are people out there who have it way worse than I do. Who am I to complain?

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to stop pushing so hard. I'm going to do what I have to do to pay my bills, pay my dues, and pay my future self, even if certain writing ventures suffer for it. I'm going to believe that my future self will be less shitty than my current self. I'm going to choose sooner over later. I'm going to take a vacation with one of my best friends and see and do things I've never seen and done, take risks that need to be taken, and find stories that are waiting to be told. I'm going to finish writing my book. I'm going to treat my fellow writers as teammates rather than rivals. I'm going to stop giving people a reason to assume I do nothing all day. I'm going to accept the fact that adulthood can no longer be put off, no matter how scary and overwhelming it is to be an adult. I'm going to slowly cut ties with people and things I depend on too much and learn how to depend more on myself. I'm going to remind myself that the soul searching journey is an ongoing one and that peace, happiness and clarity are fleeting. And I'm going to continue writing for this blog because I can't ever see myself giving it up after all it has done for me. I just need to take an honest pause so I can give it what it deserves.

BUT DON'T PANIC. I know this sounds like a break-up post, but it's not. I hate those. I will always blog when I feel inspired or have something to say. But I don't feel inspired right now, and I don't know what to say.

I will be back as soon as I do.

<3 Madison