“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have.”
Five years ago, I started a blog. This blog. You can see how the time has passed in the archives, occasionally with lapses of a few months, but fairly consistent over the years. Clearly I haven’t monetized this little outlet. It’s just me, chugging along with sporadic posts, some family photos, badly photographed foods, and random musings. For me as a writer, this is a place that holds untapped potential.
But yet, five years is not nothing. I can look back through the archives and find little memories and snippets of time that make me say, “Oh, yes. That was me then. I’m mostly the same now and then.”
Here are some things I’ve written:
- about motherhood before having a baby, one month in, and one year in
- about the Hubbs’ zombie card game and its launch party
- about food, but I’m not a recipe creator or good with measurements or a competent food photographer. I like to dabble in the kitchen. (You can do that on your own, without my help.) Of course, I do believe that baked goods are a good way to win friends and influence people.
In five years (outside of this blog), I managed to:
- have a baby
- finish my master’s degree
- move to Ohio
- switch jobs (a few times)
- buy a house
That feels like a lot of life, in all the best ways.
I used to make a living from writing and editing. First it was writing news stories for a printed newspaper (isn’t that quaint?), then science and medical communications for alumni magazines, hospital websites and patient newsletters. Brochures and flyers. Posters. Occasional pieces for niche magazines.
But for the last several years, I’ve been managing people instead of words. They’re similar, in some ways. People and words need guidance and rules, but they also do well if you give them freedom. They can both be innovative. They can be sensitive. They can be needy. They can be difficult. They can be fun and weird and joyful. Was I talking about people or words? Yes.
For the last many years, I’ve made a living by working with and around writers and editors. At work, I do still write, but it’s all emails, presentations, training guides and schedules. Updates and action items.
In my non-working hours, I edit articles for friends, post stories to a website that is a long-simmering passion project my dad started, and read interesting things online and in print. And I blog. And I curate the internet.
What am I doing with this little corner of the digital world? What have I said? What am I trying to say? Why do I keep coming back to this WordPress dashboard to capture thoughts, memories, found recipes and quotes? What am I saying? Who am I saying this to? Do you hear that echo?
What is my voice? Am I serving some sort of purpose with my words?
I asked my husband if he read my blog. I asked, “Is it pointless?”
“Do you love doing it? Is it fun?” he asked.
I do it because creating something is satisfying, even if I’m not sure why I’m creating it. It’s offering me some corner to say things to myself. It’s a digital scrapbook. It’s a sentimental traipse through my brain.
I like what C. Jane Kendrick says about why she keeps blogging while mothering:
“I mean to say, I never, ever want to give up writing in this state that I am in right now because I really worry that if all the women in the space I am in gave up on recording and narrating their lives we will continue to have less and less of a voice on what this–this intense mothering–feels like. And sometimes I stay awake at nights trying to think of essayists or novelists or even screen writers who have captured this experience I am having daily but I can’t think of many. The reason is, I believe, we give up on writing and let this lifestyle swallow us whole. AND I WILL NOT LET IT SWALLOW ME.
And this is my daily fight–to not be consumed.
Because there is art in what I am doing–raising kids, building community, navigating faith, being in a romantic relationship, failing at finances, succeeding in chaos, perpetually planning–but there has to be time to write it all down. There has to be time to make sense of it. To make art of it.”
There are many things in my life so much more important than blogging. Friends and family are numero uno, especially that tiny nerd I am raising. I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who are constantly supporting, loving, feeding and entertaining me.
Learning, endlessly and forever, is important to me too (whether via reading, classes, new experiences or good conversation). “There is no cure for curiosity,” Dorothy Parker (might have) said.
Having a comfortable home is a priority for me. I need a giant chair to lounge in, a well-stocked kitchen to cook in, soft sheets to sleep on, and a big television to view Netflix on. And weird art on the walls.
Sharing meals with people I love is good. Sharing a conversation over a drink is also nice.
I like small pleasures, like hearing my son giggle, taking walks with the Hubbs, eating good bagels and summer tomatoes and local ice cream. Yes, we have good bagels in Ohio. Shush.
I’m not really even mentioning the little green monster of envy and comparison. There’s enough pie for everyone, I say to myself. But you have to make your own pie, I think. Is my pie good enough to offer to the world?
It might be time for a blog makeover, but I’ll ease into that nice and slow over a few months. I never claimed to be a photographer, but some of my photos are atrocious. I wanted a space where you could read easily, yet have an occasional eye-rest via an image or two. The words are the reason I’m here, but so many of the blogs I admire really nail a visual style that I don’t have a handle on executing myself. (Shush, little monster.)
Thanks for being here, blog. Happy 5th anniversary! Thanks for reading, readers. Let’s see what I can do with another five years.
Top image via Library of Congress here