I guess it happens to the best of us, we start off blogging, it gets good, we build an audience and then one day you find yourself stuck. I have seen it happen to several of my favorite bloggers, some faded away, others took time off and eventually came back, some never come back. I never thought it would happen to me but I must admit, I am there. That place where I am starting to think what’s the point?
In the early days, this blog was meant to be a space for me to kvetch and connect with other people of color, after all being a Black chick in Maine means I have little color in my day-to-day life. Yet in the two years since I started blogging, my audience has grown beyond the target audience. I have actually made connections with folks beyond this little ole blog, I love the fact that I often get emails from folks particularly Black folks interested in visiting or moving to Maine. Glad to know I provide a useful service. Lord know when I moved here 8 years ago and started researching the move there was very little I could find online at the time.
Yet the longer I do this blog, I am convinced that my writing skills are not growing as I find the type of writing that I have fallen into doing for this blog, is not the type I want to be doing. I admit when I have seen a few other blogs that shall remain nameless grow in prestige, there is a small part of me that is sad, I feel stuck. However I think part of the problem is that unlike many blogs, I have no specific focus. This blog is the written version of the many thoughts that are in my head on any given day and due to the lack of structure, well maybe that is part of the reason that I am not growing as a writer. Or frankly as a blogger.
So after much thought dear reader, I am thinking its time for a break while I get back to writing in a way that feels productive to me. I am too young for a bucket list but one of the few goals I do have in life is to write a book, and I keep thinking I have some great ideas yet they are just not coming out. I want to take some time to focus on ideas that translate in to a possible manuscript. In addition to this blog, I do write a monthly column for a local arts and entertainment paper in Portland, Maine called The Portland Phoenix. My column is called Diverse City, if you ever want to look me up feel free to.
So while I am not sure if this will be a wrap completely from this blog, I will say that I will be putting a lot less into it than I have in the past. I would rather turn out one piece of quality writing every week than the 4-5 pieces of shit writing I have been doing for the past two years. I need to find my voice as a writer and stop trying to duplicate the style of others. So while I don’t think this is completely a wrap, after all there is simply too much going on in the world for me to remain completely silent, I think I need to step back.
I would welcome any ideas or thoughts you may have on how I could make this blog more interesting, if I do decide to come back to a regular format with it.
15 thoughts on “It’s a wrap…maybe”
Wonderful! Learning new tricks is fun, and you sound half past ready.
If you do Maine photos, I may be enticed to visit if my money ever gets right. I’ve always wanted to do the Cape Cod whale watching and see the seals in the wild.
Take care and hugs,
Its been a crazy weekend but Kit, I just wanted to say thank you for your words. They mean a great deal, I will say that in the short term while I work on my writing I have decided to post pics on the blog. I am too much of a big mouth to ever be completely quiet so I want to keep the space active. I think I will still post but its definitely not going to be with the frequency I have had in the past.
Readers, thank you so much for your feedback, it really means the world to me.
Well, if there’s one feature you could do to improve your blog, is to add the preview feature before one leaves a comment. I just left a tag open and that messed up the italics in one sentence. Oh well.
Now that I’ve had time for this possibility to sink in, I can better separate your needs from my emotional attachment to you and your blog. I’ll also assume from the get that there are minor variables not stated, as is usually the case with most big decisions. Here are my thoughts:
“Yet the longer I do this blog, I am convinced that my writing skills are not growing as I find the type of writing that I have fallen into doing for this blog, is not the type I want to be doing.”
Unequivocally, I see this as your most important statement.
When we keep doing the same thing the exact same way, in absence of other variables, our results don’t change. Notice that I didn’t use the word, improve.
Okay, so you want your writing skills to grow. That’s always a worthwhile goal. A review of the mechanics of grammar and syntax can go a long way in writing for different audiences or character development. You not only know when you’re breaking rules, but why, and can better integrate this in experimenting with different styles and character development. This is particularly true in writing fiction, but also useful in writing about real events.
This leads me to the next part.
“I want to take some time to focus on ideas that translate in to a possible manuscript.”
Writing fiction as a hobby forced me to learn how to speak and think in different voices. This is invaluable. Each character has to have a unique style, values, and world view, or they all sound like the same person.
One of the best things I learned how to do came from my nephew. He said, “Write in short, declarative sentences.”
That was ten minute lesson that changed my writing style forever.
I also spent a lot of time practicing how to breathe life into a story by instead of describing what happened, to have the people in the story talk about it in present tense, using quotation marks as they talk. The payoff is that the reader feels like they’re in the room as events unfold, rather than reading a narration about something that already happened.
Now that took months and hundreds pages and rewrites to do well, because I’d mix up past and present tenses in a scene. I would begin writing a narrative of what happened</i., then go back and change certain parts of the story to active discussion (using quotation marks for the speaker). You can see how I used this technique in a real life, recent post, Ramen Noodles For Brains.
In that post I use another technique that you do too: talk directly to the audience, as though it’s a one on one conversation. That’s one of my favorite styles by authors and bloggers, because it’s intimate, and you do it well.
But back to writing in different voices. When we blog, we typically use only our voice and point of view of the world. Character development in fiction is so different. It’s sort of like being on a debate team, and you have to debate the side of an issue you abhor. When you add in different syntax, language style and idiosyncrasies of the characters, the story becomes richer and more colorful.
This should be a helluva lot of fun for you, because you’ve lived around starkly differently places, ie, Chi-Town to Maine, cutting across class, race, and culture. Go for it.
“I admit when I have seen a few other blogs that shall remain nameless grow in prestige, there is a small part of me that is sad, I feel stuck.”
Pffft. Smoke and mirrors… and for so many reasons that I’d make new enemies by saying why.
The next time that small part of you feels sad or stuck, remember that you have a loyal cyber audience. People read you do so because they like your blog, not because they think you’re famous, prestigious, can do something for them, or want to be seen a the conversation on a big blog. You don’t use hardly any photos so your stats and page rank are a not grossly inflated by hits from images.google.com. No gimmicks, no whistles, just the voice of reason and common sense in what I call the Internet Tower of Babel and a world gone mad.
More importantly, you have a real life outside of cyber life, with a nice husband, a successful manchild, a nice little girl who will never let you get bored, a good heart, and talent.
Suggestion: Don’t close your blog. Instead, either put it on hiatus, or reduce posting to a few times a week or month, OR just do you, like your early days of blogging. By that, I mean to use it as a testing ground for whatever new writing techniques you learn. Ask readers at the end of a post if it worked for them. The ones who hang around will be learning new tips from you.
Whatever you decide, best wishes, and please stay in touch.
I have many thoughts about this. However, I’ll have to email you my comment later tonight, b/c right now I’m dead tired and need a short nap.
I have read some very prestige blogs with awesome topics they focus on. This has made me think my writing is boring or meaningless but I had to write for me which is how I re-focused myself. I would say daily writing for a blog along with other writing obligations would be a lot so maybe a break is all you need because venting is a still a great outlet.
I find your blog plenty interesting. I shall sorely miss it if it goes away. That said, I understand the need to recharge your creativity and that sometimes your creativity leads you in different directions.
noooooooooooooooooo! your blog is plenty interesting, and of great quality, and don’t you ever tell yourself anything different. that said, 2 years is a long time in blogger years (and i certainly understand how much tiring it is, and i’m not recovering from surgery or chasing a kidlet around town!), and it sounds like you have some pretty interesting reasons for taking a breather. i will most definitely be following you @ the phoenix, and digging through your archives on days when i’m feeling wistful for your blog presence. now go write that book, because i want to read it. 🙂
I have been thinking just to make sure my readers don’t completely bail, I may just post pictures on a regular basis. I am always snapping pictures of something so it might turn into a view from my life type of thing. Like the chickens on my home page, they aren’t mine but I snapped their pics last fall when I was at a local farm hanging out.
Two years of almost daily writing in blogger land is a lifetime. I think that’s why all but the best known generally call it a wrap or take a break.
It sounds like you have some good reasons for taking a break. If your long-term goals aren’t being achieved partly due to the energy you’re investing here, then a change is needed. While your readers will miss your writings, I’m sure they’ll understand.
oh man, i just found your blog yesterday! i do enjoy diverse city though, so i guess i will console myself with that and your archives.
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