3/5/10

The insecure blogger and her train of thought

The posts that write themselves, in a flourish of creativity where fingers pound the keyboard like they have a mind of their own, are the best. I'm often confident about them in a way that escapes me most of the time.

On the other hand, if I'm driving or taking a shower or making lunch for my boys and an idea strikes me, it rattles around in my mind and heart for too long. So when I sit down to reign it in, I'm lost, often pulling thoughts from a hundred light bulb moments that don't add up. I'm editing and editing and second-guessing and insecure. I work and work here and there, and still feel I come up short.

There needs to be a freedom in this, a gut level honesty of the moment, a kind of escape. That's when the words reach out to other hearts and shake hands in agreement.

It's rarely a reality, that a person (sorry guys, but especially a mother) has the time for the kind of writing that they dream of, the kind that demands hours. If I finish one more thing, answer to three more demands and succumb to the volume of my home, all while trying not to let the aha thoughts slip away, something is lost.

Is it strange that this makes me sad?

I long for blocks of time to visit spaces, books and posts that bring me inspiration and then allow my reactions and feelings and thoughts to flow across the keyboard. But that time is not now and sometimes I grieve that. I then resent what is holding me back and then of course I feel guilty for the resentment. I think of Charrette's tag line, my children are not obstacles in my path, they ARE my path. And so often they ARE the inspiration for my heart's words, while they unintentionally create a dam to them.

The second part of that tag line is - Oh, but then there are all those other delightful paths.

This is why so many mothers often waffle between near constant attention to writing and reading (we bloggers, anyway) and then guilty angst that leaves us thinking of quitting completely, at least until...someday.

Then we feel like a hateful martyr and we kick ourselves for wanting anything other than this gift of time with our children. We also know time away is healthy, but it's also terribly unreachable almost always. We steal ten minutes here, thirty seconds there and sometimes even two full hours in a coffee shop. But it doesn't feel like enough, and so begin the thoughts - the fantasizing of time off, whether we work at home or not, and we once again come up against walls, no options for the kind of help we need, no money for the kind of help we need. So our time, like a line of books with no bookends leans and falls flat. Again.

That's me anyway. The irony is that I'm secretly relieved when I realize it won't work out. There will be no large blocks of time that beg me to give my all, to set down my insecurities and truly write. No pressure. I love no pressure. So I throw out what I can here and there, into the universe, and watch it float for a while, sometimes gobbled and praised and sometimes misunderstood and simply gazed. Either way, what I have to give always disappears into the archives with a shhhhh. That's how it seems to me, in my ruminating mind, my always questioning and comparing, hesitant to confidence, mind.

I did a little Twitter poll on the subject of blogging zen. Do you have it, I asked. Do you hit publish and feel nothing but good about what you wrote? Even before that first comment comes in that assures you that you were understood?

Almost everyone said no. And if they said yes, they followed that with rarely.

We humans are such an insecure bunch, aren't we? At our core, we're always wondering...Does my voice count? Here is my heart in words, now don't stomp on it, please. And since many a blogger wants to write beyond blogging, that can be hard. People pleasing rears it's ugly head nearly every time.

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The last part of Charrette's tag line says - Fortunately - eventually - all roads lead to Home.

I find comfort in that. I'll certainly have more time in my future, and I hope that time is met with more confidence in both my mothering and my writing.

Perhaps the writing time I long for now is elusive and slippery because I'm not ready for it.

I can't imagine a better place for stretching and warming up than here in my home with these boys, and here in this space, with you.

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Just so you know, I just did exactly what my very own tag line says - I wrote to find out what I'm thinking. I answered the following questions of myself- Why the blogging angst? Why am I not confident in my writing? And I found out I'm practicing, and somehow, that makes me care less about people pleasing in this space and in my life. Seems so obvious, but sometimes a girl's gotta blog to find out what she already knows.

34 clicked right here to comment:

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

Yes! I think all writing is trying to understand what we already know, and throwing light in the corners.

I'm right there with you.

MommyJ said...

I loved this post, Heather. It's been a long time since I've written anything that I've felt really good about. Not that I feel bad about what I have written, but mostly, it's just been fluff. Nothing significant, nothing that I would hope to be remembered by. But the words have to keep coming... even aimless words are still words and for me, it's important to keep them flowing.

tara said...

i think you took the words right out of my fingers.

katdish said...

I think insecurity goes with the territory when you're a writer. I'm a fairly confident person, but the more I write, the more insecure I become about certain things. (That's encouraging, huh?)

That said, I think you're among the best writers I've read. And that's pretty good company, IMO.

Kelly said...

I never know what I think until I write about it, so I completely understand where you're coming from.

Also, the insecurity? It can be really crushing, but at least it keeps everyone -- from bloggers with no audience to those with a large one -- grounded.

lareinaelena said...

You're always so thoughtful. I love that about you.

Kimberly said...

Love that last line especially. So often I sit down and pour my angst out into my keyboard, only to discover my own answer, or my own peace, by the time I complete the post. This is my therapy.

Beautiful post. So much of my own feelings is reflected here. I nodded and smiled the whole way through.

Ellie said...

Every time I read your posts, I struggle with how to say more than OMG! YES! I KNOW! But... OMG! YES! I KNOW!

I have always loved the tagline under your header... "I write to find out what I'm thinking." That's it for me, in a nutshell.

All those great idea moments I have when I'm washing dishes or grocery shopping are utterly meaningless when I sit down to blog .. either they have shrunk in importance or relevance, or I just can't make the words match the thoughts.

So blogging Zen? Never. Is it arrogant to say I hope I never acheive it? Because the writers I know who are in love with everything they write aren't usually very good, in my opinion.

Since Anne Lamott seems to be popping up all over the place today - I'll take a writer like her anyday .. someone who frolics with her 'isms' all the time, who personifies lyrical grace, with all her honest clonking around.

Hmmm... maybe I should have stuck with OMG! YES! I KNOW!

-Ellie

Kelly @ Love Well said...

First I read and re-read this.

Then I read and re-read katdish's post on the resistance.

I think you've both touched on something profound. Certainly, there can be a laziness to our passivity. "There's no time. I have writer's block. It doesn't make sense. So I'll just go watch TV and Tweet with my friends." That's giving up and letting The Resistance win.

But there's also a real need for balance in this. Our children, as you so aptly noted, consume us right now. Are they roadblocks? Or gifts?

Only you can answer that, with lots of help from the One who made your heart.

CaJoh said...

Now the question is… how long did it take you to write this post.

I know that there are some posts that I write that I feel really good about and wonder if anybody will have the same good feelings that I do.

I'm almost always in draft mode. I have the fortunate time when I walk the dog where I can compose my thoughts together. If I don't have to make dinner, or go somewhere that evening, I may be able to put down what I conjured up.

Excellent post. I'm hoping that this doesn't mean that you are not going to be posting anymore, but rather will post less frequently. I'll miss you if you do stop.

Keyona said...

I'm never really sure about what I write. When I don't get comments I almost want to delete posts all together. No Zen here.

Haley Quarles said...

Wow Heather this post really says it all.

I have many of the same thoughts you discuss here on a regular basis.

I often fell extremely uncomfortablw when I hit publish, on to be encouraged and reminded why I write when comments do start to roll in.

This was especially true with my post from today.

I was scared to death to publish it, but the encouragement I've received in response has been so therapeutic.

Blogging is good medicine...at least for me anyway.

Robin said...

I have absolutely nothing to add to what everyone else has said ... it's really beautiful and I appreciate it. Thank you, Heather.

Melissa_Rae said...

I read this post and completely relate to everything you said. The self-doubt, resentment, guilt, everything. But what I don't get is how someone who just wrote such a wonderful post feels those things. I'm glad you found time to sit down & get this out. I hope it helped you to feel better, because it did me.

Heather of the EO said...

It's good to know this resonates...I'm not alone in my ANGST :)

katdish (above) does have a great post up about a person's resistance to their own creativity, how we make excuses not to write or paint or...whatever. I started to think about how, if I really wanted to, I could find these blocks of time to write. I think I ignore the pull, so unsure of if I'd write "good enough" or what I'd write about, blah blah blah, the resistance.

And Kelly, I hesitate to sound like I'm making sure everyone FOR SURE knows that I didn't mean my boys are road blocks or detours to my one true goal. I would put aside writing (though I'd ache) for them in a heartbeat if I had to. But I'm pretty sure ya'll already knew that, so I'll shut up now.

Lindsey said...

I am always nervous about how people will react, always feel insecure about my words. I can't remember ever hitting "publish" and feeling confident. And then the comments and the emails mean the WORLD to me and make me feel, finally, like I am neither insane nor alone ... and that is wonderful. But then the cycle starts again. Alas.
But at least I have the consistent, persistent sense of identification and connection that I feel whenever I come here to look forward to!

Corinne said...

I think everyone hit what I was going to comment...
especially Ellie, when she wrote: "Every time I read your posts, I struggle with how to say more than OMG! YES! I KNOW! But... OMG! YES! I KNOW!"
Seriously. Every time Heather.

I think the insecurity also lies within the fact that we write about things that are so personal, that mean so much to us. Putting it out there is not for the faint of heart.

Andrea said...

Yes! I feel like this so often. I just keep going because I love it and it feeds me. Thank you for saying it so eloquently.

Ellie said...

I forgot to say in my earlier comment .. I was thinking about this the other day, when I posted something that made me feel exposed, uncertain, that I felt "Blogret". When I post something and then just stare at it, wondering if I should pull it right down again. I happens alllll the time.

Hyacynth said...

Echoing Corinne and Ellie with OMG yes! Yes, yes and a thousand more yesses! (<-- is that a word?).
And ... YES! Struggle with everything you said a lot. I cannot tell you how many times I think of just quitting blogging. But I must write. Or I never know what I'm really thinking. It's kind of like exhaling for me ... honest-to-God needed.
Plus, I'd miss so friends.

Kazzy said...

Some universal truths in this post. I take notes on my iPhone when I get some sudden flash, but by the time I sit to write I can't always capture the moment. But we are hardest on ourselves too, of course.

sara said...

I don't consider myself a writer or even very good with words..so I always have angst when I hit that publish button.

Being a pastor's wife adds even more as I wonder if in writing what I'm feeling, I've said too much or will someone in my congregation read too much into it.

it's a fine line for me.

Chele said...

Heather I love you! LOL. You just wrote exactly what has been on my mind lately. I know I have something to give in the blogging community but my thoughts do exactly what yours do. They add up and then when I have time to write, I'm lost. There is one thing that is helping me. Ephesians 2:13-14 says "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility." We are worthy of blogging, we do have it... we just have to go to Him even in blogging and sharing our hearts! He will lead you! This is the truth I'm leaning on in blogging. :) BTW, it's been awhile so I have to say, I like your new look here!

Jo@Mylestones said...

Oh thank you. You saved me some writing time today (not that I actually HAVE that time, but you know what I mean!) Anyway, I don't have to write to figure out what I'm thinking because YOU ALREADY DID. How did you capture my thoughts so perfectly? You're amazing. :-)
Love to you.

My Bottle's Up! said...

i love how we write about not writing... or taking a break from writing... as though we owe others (ourselves) some sort of explanation or reasoning as to why we are having this mental block. why are we unable to get beyond it at times? and why the hell do we write about having a mental/writer's block?

LOL... it's silly. and funny. and sometimes that i think all of us writers, bloggers, creatives have something in common and puts us all on the same page (no pun intended) with each other.

oddly enough, the word verification for posting this comment is "moody." LOL!!!!

LutherLiz said...

I do write to find out what I'm thinking and in those few times it comes out just right then I'm not worried what others think. 99% of the time I crave the validation of my words and the feelings behind them.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

I have nothing to add to the words of the wise, wonderful women who've already commented, but this post rang so true for me that I couldn't leave without saying: Yup. Absolutely. I hear you, Heather.

kirsten said...

the hardest thing about being one of your blog followers is that if I get to this too late, you & all your readers have already said all there is to be said. The End. What a buncha beautiful words here!

having said that, love the idea of writing being practice. It is - it really is, even when its out there published and sitting on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. I told hubster the other day that my blog is my calisthenics: it gets me in shape for the if/when I need to write 'for real.'

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

My blogging cycles, not surprisingly in the same rise and fall with my self-esteem. The more sure I feel with myself, the better I write. The more insecure, the more I question myself. But I think it's important to give BOTH feelings a place to say the words.

imoomie said...

I get every word.

I don't worry as much about what people will say as much as trying to deal with the hollowness of when nobody says anything. Makes it hard to gauge.

Enjoyed the visit to your site!

mama-face said...

Heather, I think I've said this so many times that you may think I'm insincere, but I believe we are the same person in so many ways. I find myself nodding (vigorously) while reading your posts. My "best" (to me) posts are when I just let it fly. If I over think it my words never mean that much to me. Or are the real me. So, does that mean blogging is good for me or not? (I just switched to a purely me me me reflection).

Thank you for this and all of your wisdom. you rock.

Terresa said...

We write sometimes to find out, to articulate what we know and then, later, find that we become more articulate through that process.

Or at least that's the idea.

The grace I have encountered from others in blogging is nearly overwhelming at times. The compassion and courtesy and kindness.

Sarah said...

This is a simple comment.

Yes.

To all of it.

And. Thank you.

And that is all. Because the rest? You already know it.

jubilee said...

It's so comforting to know that others feel the same way I do. Thank you for putting it into such moving words.

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