Nine years ago, I started my first blog. Like a lot of people, I didn’t start off smoothly. It was a rough few months figuring out exactly what a blog should be, how to tell a story in a way that was interesting, how to share what was happening in our lives without oversharing.
Blogging filled a need for me. I was a writer, but I needed to practice the art of the written word, and I learned a lot in those early blogging days. I also had a lot of fun.
I owe a world of gratitude to the blogging community and all it has offered me. This is why it’s sort of painful for me to step away from it, but more and more over the last few months I’ve felt that it was time for me to take a hiatus from the blogging world.
I’ve fought this decision. I didn’t want to stop blogging, and discontinuing my blog goes against all conventional wisdom for writing and marketing books, but the current life stage in which I find myself demands that I make some changes.
Right now, my heart’s desire is to continue to build my publishing career, and with four kids, homeschooling, taxiing said children to ALL THE SPORTING EVENTS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD, and every other daily responsibility that falls on my shoulders, something has to give.
Right now, I can either write good books, or I can write good blog posts. But I can’t do both.
So I will be taking a hiatus from the blogging world. I don’t know if I’m stepping away forever or for a time – I just know I need to give myself the freedom to walk away so I can focus on writing my next novel, as well as the novella I’ve been mulling over. I’m also fleshing out an idea for a new nonfiction book.
My brain is spinning with ideas, and this is exciting!
So, while I’ll be stepping away from blogging, I’m not completely disappearing. I still want to connect with all of you!
I’m going to start posting Facebook videos a couple of times a week on my Facebook page, and I would love to have you join me there. I’ll be discussing books I’m reading, talking about the writing process, telling funny stories – pretty much everything I would have done here only in short 2-5 minutes video bites.
I will miss sharing my life in this medium, but for now this is the right decision. To whomever has hung on with me from the beginning (and there are a few of you!), I thank you for taking this life journey with me. You all have been such a blessing.
And for those of you who are new, I sure hope you’ll continue to follow along, because if I’ve learned anything during this blogging journey it’s that life is so much more fun when it’s shared!
I do not have quiet children. I have the loud, gregarious type of children who enjoy being seen and heard, some of them more than others. And the more the noise ramps up, the more this mama feels like she is losing it.
It’s not just their voices, though. They’re into music now, so there’s always music playing in the background, which I love. I always dreamed of having a house filled with music and laughter. Only, and I’m revealing my age here, their music is loud and…dare I say annoying?
And it isn’t so much laughter that’s floating through the halls of my home as it is a mixture of bickering, posturing to be heard, and the telling of silly jokes that I think are supposed to be funny, but 99% of the time I don’t get the punchline.
I think maybe I am the punchline.
It’s been an intense season around here. No one told method launching two books in three months would leave me feeling poured out in ways I didn’t know possible. I hesitate to say anything because it sounds like I’m complaining.
For the record, I am not complaining.
If I were to list the number of blessings to come out of the last five months, this blog post would turn into a short novella. It’s been a wild, but extremely exciting ride, culminating in the release of the books, both of which I am immensely proud.
I’m also immensely tired.
I’ve felt all poured out the last couple of weeks. I sit down to write, and the words feel stuck. They can’t seem to make it from my fingers to the page, which is a problem when you make your living as a writer.
I think I just need some time. I need time to be with my family and not feel rushed.
I need time to exercise, coaxing my loose muscles back into shape.
I need time to let my neck heal, since I somehow seem to have injured it with all this rigorous book launching. (It’s ridiculous, I know. But I refuse to say my neck hurts because I’m getting old. I’m sticking with the whole “writing injury” thing.)
There’s this sense of angst that settles in my heart when I consider taking a break. Part of the business of writing requires that you build an audience. Know your people and talk to them. Publishers like that.
The truth is I like it, too. I like sharing my life with readers, and in turn I like them sharing their lives with me. But it’s time for me to give myself a little space.
I’ll be taking a blogging break. I just need to give myself the freedom to step back, not completely. I’ll still be sharing on Instagram, and on Facebook, and occasionally on Twitter. I would love to have you follow me in one of those spaces.
But I’m going to let this space breath for a little while. Because here’s the thing:
I’m working on a new book.
I’m really excited about it. I love the characters already, and I’m fleshing out the details. I’m ready to start diving in, but I need to give myself a break in other places in order to let my brain process. So I’ll be quiet in this space for awhile, but I do hope you’ll stay connected.
Because this journey is so much more fun with community.
Eight years ago this month, I typed my first blog post. I resisted starting a blog for a long time because it sounded so ridiculous. Type out my thoughts and publish them for strangers to read?
But I quickly grew fascinated with the art of not just recording my day to day life, but rather telling stories. After a first, bumpy year of blogging (Oh, the first months of posts are painful to read), I fell into a rhythm. I told the internet funny stories, and together we laughed our way through motherhood.
It was instantly gratifying, you see, because I’d longed to be a writer for so long but the world of publication kept slipping through my fingers. With blogging, I was in control. People could read my words because I had the power to put them out there.
The first four years of this blogging journey can only be described as fun. I simply enjoyed the process. I knew exactly who I was as a blogger, and I embraced that, and the internet embraced me for it.
Then I went to Tanzania with Compassion International and everything changed. I came home having seen and experienced things I’d never seen and experienced before, and I didn’t want to go back. I longed for a depth in my writing that I didn’t know I was missing.
Shortly after that, we experienced the termination of our adoption, and blogging took a back burner to my grief. Instead of spending time online, I poured myself into my novel, the process of finishing that keeping me from slipping fully into the sadness that constantly threaten to engulf me.
During that time, a longing to publish traditionally was reignited, and within two years I had a contract to publish two books. It was then that I considered bidding a fond farewell to blogging.
Only, I just can’t seem to let it go.
I love the interaction that happens here in the online world. It’s ebbed and flowed over the years, of course. That’s mostly my fault as I lost the grip on my online voice. When I stopped being Minivans Are Hot, I didn’t know what was expected of me.
I didn’t know what to expect of myself.
Life will naturally bend and twist and turn with the passage of time. Blogging is no longer what it was eight years ago, not just because I’ve changed, but because the nature of online interactions have changed. We’ve progressed beyond the online journals, and now we want something more out of these cyber spaces.
We want reality.
We want to be moved.
We want pretty pictures and practical advice.
We don’t want to spend a lot of time reading words.
I’m rambling a bit – a blogging no-no. But I’m winding through this path to say that I know I haven’t been very focused lately. I’m working on it. I’m finding my footing in this online world once again.
This weekend, my parents are coming to take care of the children while Lee is out of town, and I am headed to their condo in Clearwater for twenty-four hours of alone time.
I’ll be spending that time lining out the next six months, preparing myself to curate better, more consistent material online because I want to honor the time you spend here in my little circle of the online world. I want it to be worth your while.
So don’t give up on me just yet. I’ll find my way back to the blogging path, and I hope that you’ll join me as I journey toward the launch of my first novel. It feels nice to know you’ve got people in your corner, cheering you one toward the finish line.
When I first began blogging, I made it a habit to try and post every day. Given that my subject matter was raising children, and I had three children under the age of four in my midst, I was rarely wanting for post ideas.
Then my subjects grew up and became aware of what I do, and suddenly finding things to write about became more of a challenge.
Add to that the fact that blogging changed, and the day to day storytelling that was my niche became a bit archaic, and my job as a blogger became even more difficult.
When I began this blog, I gave myself the freedom to post less often. If I’m going to write, I want to have something to say that’s worth your time to click over.
It turns out that posting less comes with it’s own unique set of challenges. In hoping to only post when I have something to say, I find myself feeling completely unoriginal in all that I write. Oftentimes, I sit down, stare at the blank screen, and my brain starts screaming THERE’S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN!
Then I shut the computer and eat a cookie.
Feeling unoriginal is bad for my blog and my waistline, unfortunately.
The thing about blogging is that originality doesn’t have to look completely different. Because we’re all unique, and we all have unique stories and backgrounds and world views, we can be original to the people within our circle of influence.
What I have to say may not be completely ground breaking when you look at the grand scale, but inside my circle of influence? It may be just what people need to hear.
I don’t want to live in paralysis, constantly in fear of being unoriginal. I simply want to enjoy the gift that I’ve been given – this love of words that leaves me feeling relaxed and whole.
And you should do the same.
Don’t get stuck in fear that you have nothing to contribute to the world around you. Instead, simply embrace your own creativity for what it is – a gift to be shared and given away.
Your words matter. Your paintings matter. Your photographs matter. Your art matters. What you do is unique to you, and it is, therefore, completely and totally original.
I’ve never been very good at stepping away. Perhaps one of my greatest flaws is my constant fear that I’m missing something. I’ve been this way my entire life. And, lucky me, I produced a child who is exactly the same.
We don’t like to miss a good time.
This week I stepped away. I unplugged as much as I could, and I just entered life fully and completely, and a crazy thing happened when I did this:
Life went on.
I don’t think I missed anything of great significance, and as far as I know not a single person really missed my online presence. Funny thing, this online realm. You feel like what you do is so important, and if you’re not doing it you’re somehow letting people down.
The pressure is something else.
We had a sweet week as a family. Cancer changes everything, which means our time was spent truly relishing the little moments – those precious down times when you just sit and enjoy one another’s company. There were things I could have said, but not many things I needed to say.
I just needed to be.
We are hosting “K” again this year, and it’s totally different the second time around. The first year was spent doing every fun thing ever imagined to give her an experience she’d never forget. This year is real life, and real life is a lot less exciting. That’s produced more stress than I thought it would, but this is the part of ministry that we often forget about.
The hard part – the part that requires you to love in the quiet, not with experiences or things, but with words and time. Cooking in the kitchen, reading books, watching movies. Loving someone in the quiet is actually much harder to do. The constant pouring out is more exhausting than I imagined it would be.
Plus there’s that baby we all have to deal with.
And by deal with, I mean snuggle. Oh the snuggles – they’re simply the best at this age.
As I head into the New Year, I’m looking over some of the posts from this past year that have impacted me. The benefit of blogging is you have a record of the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s always fun for me to go through each month and try to pick one or two posts that I particularly enjoyed writing, and then share them with you all who have so faithfully taken this journey with me.
Happy New Year, everyone! Praying a full and blessed 2015 over each of you right now as I type.
Without further ado, I hereby give you 2014 at a glance.
January: At the beginning of 2014, I was still blogging at Minivans Are Hot. We also went camping with friends right after the New Year, and this post from that experience still makes me laugh. My husband, man. He is always good blogging fodder.