Did I Fail At Blogging? At Writing?

13 Oct

Last month, I received my WordPress award for six years of blogging.

And it felt like such a lie.

Most of you know that I stopped blogging this year. It started in April, a little over six months ago, and it is by far the biggest step back from blogging I’ve ever taken. I tried a lot of things to avoid it. I went from blogging every other day to blogging two times a week to blogging every Saturday. I started taking breaks, and then the breaks weren’t enough.

Granted, this year has been HARD. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ve been struggling with health issues, my cat had cancer (then beat it!), and I started a new job. Recently, there was an unexpected death in the family and I found out I have to move. All of these issues and more led to posts like Tips For Writing During a Life Change and I’m a Writer with Imposter Syndrome. By writing those blog posts, I realized I needed to take my own advice. I needed to take huge steps back to breathe. But I honestly thought I’d be back by now, and that’s what scares me.

Logically, I know there’s a lot still going on in my life. (My kitchen is filled with moving boxes instead of plates. Not to mention that I currently write in the moving box-filled kitchen because my office is unusable due to a raccoon. Don’t ask.) I keep thinking I will feel better and attain more “when it gets better/easier/less busy,” but everything has just been getting worse, and I often feel at a loss about what to do to change it, because trust me, I’ve tried. And I’m still trying. After six months, though, it starts to feel like life is never going to stabilize enough to get back on track.

Trust me, I’ve tried to take the “life will never stabilize, so get back at it anyway,” but every time I sit down to write a blog post, I just get so depressed. I keep going back and forth, back and forth on when and how to come back. Should I post once a week again? What about every other Saturday? How about only when I feel like it? Will I ever feel like it? Not to mention that my free time is miniscule, and anytime I manage to get some, I want to use it to write my next novel rather than to blog. Not that I don’t want to blog, I do. I love blogging. I never meant to quit. And I still don’t feel like I “quit” blogging. I feel like I failed. Or time got away from me. Or life did.

Everything has felt so out of reach this year: my health, my job security, my writing. I used to average 10,000+ words a week on my “goal” project, plus some in other ideas. Now I’m lucky if I finish one chapter a month for my writers’ group and get to dabble in editing my historical. Forget pursuing publication. I can’t even fathom doing that right now, even though I want to. Granted, I haven’t technically stopped either. I always read Publishers Marketplace and Writers Digest, and reach out to publishing professionals, and work with beta readers, and and and. But every little thing feels huge right now.

It’s just hard to feel like I can give advice on writing, editing, and pursuing publication when I’m struggling to participate anymore. Oddly enough, though, I realized while writing this diary-style rant that I am participating. This is participating.

This is what I used to do every week: share my feelings as I navigate this crazy dream of writing.

And maybe that’s all I need to do. Maybe I’m enough, even in my failures.

~SAT

P.S. On a positive note, I will be signing books at the 2018 Story Center Local Author Fair in Kansas City, Missouri on November 17 at 3 PM. My books will also be paired with a custom-made pastry, so it’ll be super fun (and sweet).

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42 Responses to “Did I Fail At Blogging? At Writing?”

  1. Ann V. Friend October 13, 2018 at 12:30 am #

    Congratulations on six years! Hang in there and write when you can. It is hard when life throws curve after curve and words won’t flow…the last two and a half years, my posts were fewer and fewer, until I decided to write as I can. Sometimes, we put too much pressure on ourselves and for what, at the end of the day, we’re still standing. (wink) Abundant blessings, this too shall pass (smile)

    • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 12:51 am #

      Thank you so much! I am trying to recognize that all my goals were ones I set, and I can always adjust them, and that doesn’t mean failure. Thank you for sharing your story about change. It truly helps!
      ~SAT

      • Ann V. Friend October 13, 2018 at 1:19 am #

        You’re most welcome Shannon (smile) You are on the spot on by realizing that you can adjust and it’s not a failure. I learned to care less (wink) If you get a chance, checkout my posting today, it might give you another perspective (smile)

      • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 1:20 am #

        I definitely will!!
        ~SAT

      • Ann V. Friend October 13, 2018 at 1:22 am #

        Thank you Shannon, hope it helps

  2. depatridge October 13, 2018 at 1:25 am #

    Congratulations to you Shannon. It’s been a great time and experience for you blogging all that time.

  3. K.M. Allan October 13, 2018 at 2:20 am #

    Great, honest post. I hope it gets better for you soon.

  4. josiesvoice October 13, 2018 at 3:01 am #

    Blog when you can. Don’t be pressured into doing it. Your writing thoughts would be affected if you give into the pressure. Like you, i have been with WP for 6 years also(Congrats BTW).I used to blog regularly but after my mother passed away and life’s realities came in for me to deal with, blogging is not my main priority but i still do it when I feel and can do it. No guilt. I do it without the need to feel that i need to please society.You mentioned that you’re moving—good luck on that whether its still in Kansas or some other state. Take it as a new adventure and another source of life and writing source inspiration.

    • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 3:35 am #

      Big hugs to you and your loved ones. And congrats on six years as well. It’s been quite the trip, right? A lot has changed since I started, but my love for it hasn’t. You’re so right to do it when you feel you can, though. I am going to try to take a page out of your book and be kinder to myself. It’s always good to hear from you!
      ~SAT

  5. frasersherman October 13, 2018 at 6:01 am #

    You haven’t failed. You wrote lots of good posts, and it sounds like there’s good reasons you can’t blog regularly write now. Health issues and sick pets and moving are all demanding, and your fiction writing deserves to come first. Definitely be kinder to yourself.

  6. Charles Yallowitz October 13, 2018 at 6:49 am #

    I agree with the ‘blog when you can’ statement. Even if it’s once every two weeks or once a month, it’s something. Wouldn’t call it a failure either. Life does have a habit of throwing curve balls and one has to re-prioritize. I’m actually in the middle of semi-retiring from writing books, which is agonizing, but necessary due to life events. It hurts, but I keep hoping to be back some day once things settle. I mean, they have to settle eventually even if it takes a year or two. Chaos can’t last forever unless we let it.

    • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 9:05 am #

      As usual, Charles, it’s always a delight to hear from you. “Chaos can’t last forever unless we let it.” I so hope this is true! Thank you.
      ~SAT

    • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 9:05 am #

      And I hope you enjoy the semi-retirement and get to write again soon.
      ~SAT

      • Charles Yallowitz October 13, 2018 at 10:41 am #

        Thanks. I’m hoping to get back into editing my stuff soon. Not a big fan of this semi-retirement either. The characters in my head aren’t making it easy. 😬

  7. Jena Henry October 13, 2018 at 7:11 am #

    Thanking you for sharing what’s in your heart and head. You should be so proud of yourself for blogging for 6 years, for writing books, for connecting on social media, for weathering your challenges, plus a raccoon! Celebrate you- you are amazing. Everything else is mostly details that you will sort out. You weee brave to write this- so stay strong!

    • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 9:07 am #

      I’m really happy I shared. I kept going back and forth, but hearing from so many like you has made me realize how right it was. Thank you for your encouragement.
      ~SAT

  8. Paul Bowler October 13, 2018 at 8:38 am #

    Of course you’ve not failed. You’ve had a lot to deal with and blogging has had to take a back seat is all. I had to have a break beginning of this year for nearly 3 months because of a nasty chest infection that wouldn’t clear. Since, I’ve still blogged occasionally, but not as much as I did because of other commitments. When the time is right you’ll get back to blogging I’m sure, as I have, but don’t worry about it.

    • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 9:08 am #

      So right! I’m not very good at the not worrying part, but trying to get better at that. Glad to hear you’re feeling better now. Thank you for commenting.
      ~SAT

  9. honya October 13, 2018 at 9:09 am #

    I can’t even pretend to have all the answers, but I know what it’s like for life to spin out of control and be crazy hard. And yeah, sometimes just being able to rant to the community at large is both a personal relief and a great way to connect. But time away is important too, especially if you’re feeling pressured. And for what it’s worth, I’ve always enjoyed getting to read your posts, whatever you choose to write about. 🙂

    • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 9:28 am #

      Thank you, honya! It does mean a lot to me to be able to chat with the community and see that everyone is still here, reading and commenting despite my absence. I think I was feeling pressured. (A pressure I put on myself.) And I had to leave for a long while to figure out what I wanted out of blogging in the future (only to realize I don’t “want” anything out of blogging, I just like to blog). But stress can warp things, and make everything harder than it has to be. I’m hoping I’ll get to blog more soon, but no pressure, right? 🙂
      ~SAT

      • honya October 13, 2018 at 9:30 am #

        Exactly. If it’s fun or de-stressing, do it; if it makes you feel pressured, don’t. 🙂

      • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 9:49 am #

        A great motto for blogging. 🙂
        ~SAT

  10. debeysklenar October 13, 2018 at 9:17 am #

    Kudos on six years!! I myself have been blogging for five and when life got overwhelming a couple of years ago when I went back to school, I also couldn’t keep up with it. I’ve found that for me, a blog post once a month on a set date pushes me to have something ready for that day. Maybe that could work for you and when you feel like you’ve got more time, go to twice a week, etc. Hope that helps! 🙂 Keep at it and “Never Give Up, Never Surrender!” 🙂

    • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 9:29 am #

      That method definitely worked for me in the past. I used to have set deadlines that would push me, and I plan on doing that again in the future, but I don’t want to rush into it and burn out either. I’m hoping I can trust myself to be easier on myself this time (or, at least, until life settles). Congrats on five years! That is awesome!
      ~SAT

  11. kingmidget October 13, 2018 at 9:27 am #

    You’ve just described what I’ve been going through with writing for the last few years. After a blizzard of writing for about 8-10 years, things just started drying up. I couldn’t figure out how to finish some works in progress. I lost interest in them. The idea factory in my head stopped coming up with new ideas. And every day I sit down and try to write, but it’s just too hard. I thought it would come back sooner, too, and it hasn’t and I have the same worry as you.

    I do think the solution for me is that I just need to sit down and do it and stop finding excuses and distractions. That’s easier said than done.

    • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 9:48 am #

      I totally understand! One thing that has helped me just sit down is the forest app. (I think that’s what it’s called.) It shuts down all my other apps to grow a tree during a given time, and I can’t open up anything if I want it to grow. It sounds silly, but knowing I have this goal/ticker counting my progress time has helped me focus during a hard time. Maybe it’ll work for you too? I hope you find your writing time soon, either way.
      ~SAT

      • kingmidget October 13, 2018 at 9:55 am #

        That’s amazing. I had this idea a couple of years ago that somebody needed to develop something just like that. Something that shuts down the rest of your computer so you can get something done. Can you see if you can track down the name and let me know?

      • Shannon A Thompson October 13, 2018 at 11:33 pm #

        It is! Turns out it is called the “forest app”. It should be in your playstore, but here’s the link to their website: https://www.forestapp.cc/en/
        ~SAT

      • kingmidget October 13, 2018 at 11:54 pm #

        Thank you!

      • kingmidget October 14, 2018 at 10:06 am #

        My biggest problem is with my laptop when I try to write. Internet distractions are too easy. So, I’ve added it to Chrome and will try it later. Thank you!

  12. Kelly Brigid October 13, 2018 at 11:03 am #

    Thanks for sharing with us, love! You haven’t failed! Blogging is a hobby, and we a fully understand how difficult it is to stick with it when times get hard. Just hang in there, doll, and I hope your health issues and moving stress improve! Have a wonderful week! ❤️

  13. The Animation Commendation October 13, 2018 at 11:08 am #

    You should only blog if you want to; you don’t owe it to anybody.

  14. DebyFredericks October 13, 2018 at 11:21 am #

    Sounds like a real fasten-your-seatbelt year!

  15. truegritsblog October 13, 2018 at 4:09 pm #

    I’ve been through the season you are describing and understand completely. Please don’t feel guilty. To be honest, it takes a really, really long time to get back into the swing (like years), and sometimes when you do come back it’s not the same. You’re a different person with a different life and that’s okay. It’s okay to be in a different season. It’s okay to do things differently. It’s okay to do something totally different. It’s also okay to walk away and just let things go for a while. Let go of the guilt and find what works for you now. Best wishes!

  16. debrapurdykong October 14, 2018 at 5:51 pm #

    You’ve contributed a poignant and relatable blog, and that’s a huge step forward! I was texting my 24-year-old son today, who is struggling at his new job, and said that there’s a difference between challenging yourself and putting too much pressure on yourself. It’s a tricky balancing act that requires practice and patience. keeping moving forward and slowly things will start to come together a little bit better.My two cents, for whatever it’s worth 🙂

  17. Giovannoni Claudine October 15, 2018 at 1:34 pm #

    Almost each one of the previous is congratulating you for the six years blogging…
    But behind your words, I read a lot of sadness and an unsatisfactory life period. I’m sorry to get this impression, but I know all these obstacles in life are there to temper you (us all) and make you (us all) even stronger.
    What about stop pretending to do things to please others? Once you may be egotistical and think about your needs, the deepest ones, these which may be well hidden in your hearth. I wish I was able to come to the book signing, but I’m more then 10 hours flight away and even if I believe in miracles, I don’t have the money for allowing me this caprice 🙂
    I love your books and I love sweets.
    Think about a faraway lady, between the highest Alps, looking down to a deep blue lake…
    Do what you feel right to do, do not pretend, let your hearth give you the best suggestions!
    Hugs and love (believe in the power inside you)
    :-)claudine

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Did I Fail At Blogging? At Writing? – Matthews' Blog - October 13, 2018

    […] via Did I Fail At Blogging? At Writing? […]

  2. The Loss of Self Control – There’s an App | KingMidget's Ramblings - October 14, 2018

    […] few days ago, Shannon Thompson, a young writer/blogger who I’ve followed for years now, wrote this post about feeling like she had failed at blogging. I commented that I felt much the same way about my […]

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