Friday, March 20, 2009

Maybe More Volcanoes Are What I Need . . .

Paperwhites in AlaskaThis winter has been fun and it's been hard. While the snow is slipping beautifully into spring and I've got all the daylight my soul could crave blogging has been difficult.

Not that I haven't got plenty of things to write (I will write forever) I've just had a hard time wanting to keep up with it. I guess if I had to describe the feeling, it's as if I'd "lost all my starch" as my Mom used to say.

It's a combination of things: too many self-doubts (the "why did I ever think I could write?" syndrome) along with a few recent disappointments as well as having so many other wonderful things happening that I feel rather lethargic when it comes to thinking about my blogging future.

Twelve hundred posts, four years and to simply walk away seems unthinkable though I find myself wanting to do just that. I've never been so tempted to shut things down and run off, skipping merrily into the sunset which is why I suppose it's a good thing I can't just walk away. I've worked Scribbit into a business complete with business obligations so even though I may feel like pulling the plug I can't. Not yet . . .

Which is probably a good thing and will keep me from doing anything too rash.

Do you ever get in moods like that? Like the time I was up studying at 2 am in college and got my friend to give me a haircut right then? I needed a pick me up, some change, some excitement and a haircut seemed like a good idea at the time. Hey, it could have been worse, I could have got a tattoo, right?

When I get tired or low I tend to get desperate. Maybe that's all this is, just a mood, which will soon pass and it'll be business as usual. I really hope so because blogging has been so wonderful I'd hate to have it gone from my life.

Well enough introspection. I'm never good at naval gazing anyway . . . so I'll leave you with a link that is truly amazing. An underwater volcano near Tonga erupted yesterday and footage of the eruption can be found at the Guardian. It's the most spectacular thing I've seen in quite a while.

Maybe I should bag the blog and become a vulcanologist. If nothing else wouldn't it be cool to be able to say at a party, "Hey, I'm a vulcanologist"?

64 comments:

Lori said...

You'd be my daughter's hero. She loves volcanoes, but would point out that due to where you live, "you have to be careful, and stay away from mud". She also obsesses over tsunamis, and will no longer go with us for trips into San Francisco. Three year olds are so funny sometimes.

GR said...

Ever notice that the Tsunami folks built their Alaska control center in Palmer, well out of tsunami range, but atop an earthquake fault? Michelle, I've noticed several of my favorite bloggers have doldrumized lately. You ARE a writer, and have an impressive body of work. I'm amazed how energetic young folks like you manage to keep pumping out such a volume of quality material. I write a story now and then to amuse myself, but could never write facing deadlines and a demanding public while still tending to life's other little time-consumers. You're blessed, in many ways. Blog 'til you won't. Write 'til you can't.
- I'm out of firewood. Time to burn the soap box.

Michemily said...

That is fascinating footage. Don't give up on your blog! I hope you realize how many people you're helping through your blog.

Robin said...

Sounds like you're in dire need of springtime. It's bad enough for me and I don't even have a real winter.

Personally, that's what I think the Ides of March were all about - forget stars aligning and all that. I think Brutus went mad because he hadn't seen the sun in months!

Hang in there Michelle, we all go through slumps sometimes, and I'd imagine even more so when a blog is not only a passion but also a job, but the slumps do end eventually. Anything special you can do to give yourself a little extra pampering in the meantime?

Jolanthe said...

Hang in there. And not that I am NEAR the writer you are, but I know the feeling. :)

And I would surely miss you if you weren't around.

Jolanthe

Lis Garrett said...

It's just so difficult for me to conceptualize you having self doubts or not considering yourself a writer. You are the type of person so many people strive to become, and you express yourself beautifully through your writing.

However, I certainly understand wanting to just walk away from it all. In less than a year, I've put myself in a position where I can't quit because of my responsibilities to others and the possibility of opportunities down the line. I've got a fulltime job now, and it's often difficult to manage the business, kids, home and marriage.

But you are one awesome, powerful and influential person, mother, wife, friend and writer. I have no doubt you'll get through this slump. :-)

tjhirst said...

Honesty that we are not everything to everybody all the time is what keeps us real and approachable. Your honesty is a signature part of your writing. May you have continued success with your writing business, wherever it eventually leads.

Melanie Nelson said...

You *know* I understand. Have you seen the challenge to unplug for 24 hours? It may do us a world of good.
http://asoftplacetoland-kimba.blogspot.com/2009/03/step-away-from-computer.html

My concern is that 24 hours may not be enough. You've written exactly how I feel.

In other news: This week has been crazy with spring break and my mom--I haven't forgotten you. Sorry it's taking so long.

Lucy said...

I've only been doing this for...going into two years. So far..I still just love it. I didn't know I liked to write and heaven knows I'm not that great at it, but it seems to fulfill a need right now. I just don't know what that 'need' is. Maybe I'll find out someday. In the meantime, please don't quit.

Allysha said...

Some of the people I admire most quit when they want to. Not that I want you to quit! And not that you want to, either. That said, I do know the feeling you're talking about.

I have noticed that you never take a break, though. And maybe that's all you need is a little break.

Suzi Dow said...

I think Robin may be on to something with the Ides of March. Sounds like a "change of wallpaper" (as my late mother-in-law would say) is in order. Try having a baked potato for breakfast or banana split for lunch - always help me escape for a moment from my "box." And, I think, we would understand if you decided to take a day off.

One Mom said...

Even the President takes a vacation! You're entitled to take a break without feeling guilty...you will gain a fresh perspective and then you can decide on your next step.

And someone once advised me that taking a hiatus was a good thing. Oh yes! That someone was you!

mum2twelve said...

If nothing else wouldn't it be cool to be able to say at a party, "Hey, I'm a vulcanologist"?

and if you happened to say that to a star trek fan they might ask; "Oh so do you speak Vulcan?" and then give you the Vulcan salute.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcan_(Star_Trek)

EVIL GRIN from Christi

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

I've been feeling the same way for a while, and I know my blogging has suffered, in frequency at the very least. Part of the reason is probably that I've been writing elsewhere. That's been eating up my blogging time and replacing it as my main creative outlet.

I need more balance!

Scribbit said...

Ah gee thanks guys! I woke up, cringing when I thought about this post that I dashed off last night before oozing into bed and wondered why I'd done such a thing. (Though that volcano footage still is really really cool isn't it?)

Robin, you made me chuckle. Who knew I was channeling Brutus? :)

And a "change of wallpaper"? What a perfect metaphor.

I appreciate the encouragement, I think my biggest problem isn't so much needing a break--though that may be a good idea--is that I'm someone who has to have a project going. I've wondered if Scribbit has grown stagnant and while I still like writing here I worry that I'm not doing anything productive anymore and need a new outlet but I'm out of ideas as to what to do.

I've thought that writing a book would be fun, I've always sworn I would do it, but then those doubts creep in again.

It's a good thing I'm committed until September, my ad space for some of my ads are prepaid until then, so unless I want to start handing out refunds I'm here until then for sure.

I've got fun things coming up that I want to write about (a trip to India and a sea kayaking trip I'll be taking over my birthday this summer for example) so there are good things ahead but I don't want my writing to deteriorate. I worry that I'm becoming stale.

The Source said...

Oh that would be awesome! I totally want to learn how to embalm people for a living but my kids won't let me.

I would miss you if you gave up blogging! I love hearing about life in Alaska...it's like another world to me.

Alison Kerr said...

I always find myself getting antsy when the seasons change, or sometimes when I'm just fed up waiting for the seasons to change! It's even sometimes hard when everything is working out - where's the challenge?

Sounds like it's time for a change of pace? If you've met all your goals then you need new ones! I'm always available to chat and bounce ideas around with.

Mrs. Organic said...

I think Hawaii would be just the trick right now. Hang in there!

Deb said...

Michelle, the thought that roared as I read this was "it's a DIP." It was almost like I could see the word "DIP" hovering in the air over my monitor. I prescribe a re-reading of Seth Godin; a goodly measure of courage; and then rappel into the caldera and check out the landscape.

Jennifer said...

It must be catching... While I don't have the business that you do, ever since my computer fast I have felt the same way. If it weren't for my desire to chronicle Charlotte's life, I would probably have stopped last week. But, making scarpbooks is more work!

Becky said...

Spring fever, maybe? Or you could change the focus of your blog, or write more posts like today's post, or keep this blog, but also start another blog where you can say whatever you want without focusing on pleasing or attracting readers.

Marina said...

I absolutely know how you feel. When I left blogging in the middle of 2006, I was done with it. I didn't think my creativity could whether the storm.

I was just laying in bed last evening, and I thought, "I had no idea how my blog was building until I cast it away." Now, I can see that my hard work had paid off, but at the time, I wasn't getting anywhere in my mind.

I believe that taking time off and assesing a situation from the outside can be very helpful, if not cathartic. I hope this mood doesn't last for you, but I certainly do understand it. Slumps for writers can actually be good things, I think. It gives you time to cultivate your creativity into something powerful.

Chris said...

We all go through it and this too shall pass...........

Madeline said...

I can relate, and that middle of the night college haircut, I did that...twice!

Erin said...

I feel this way about my blog pretty frequently. Blogging is kind of fickle, isn't it? I hope things warm up for you, both blog-wise and temperature-wise!

Erica Douglas said...

There's a pressure to write every day, which I've struggled with the last year and a half, in fact I only post now when I want too now, but of course I don't have the readership you have.

Having these new experiences will provide inspiration.

The Dunns said...

"Oh please don't go. We'll eat you up we love you so." (from Where The Wild Things Go)

Sounds like most Alaskan's mood by the time March rolls around. We all need a nice, warm vacation somewhere tropical!

Barb said...

"Vulcanologist" sounds very Star Warzy. :-) I think after about three years of blogging, everyone goes through this. I certainly have. But I've found it comes and goes. When this mood hits me, when I start entertaining the thought of just saying goodbye to everyone, I find myself just kind of backing off from it all and slowing down a little. Before you know it, the mood has passed and I'm back at it again.

Don't even think about shutting it down. Way too many people would be sad. :-(

Josi said...

ANYTHING we do a lot eventually loses it's spark for awhile--cooking, writing, reading, mothering, running, blogging. I often have those same thoughts, especially when I fetter away all my writing time into blog stuff. I usually take a week or two off, let myself miss it, and then I come back refreshed and ready to get back into it. Maybe that's what you need, a break--or as much a one as you can do. You've done an amazing job.

Mrs Ohtobe said...

Yours is the first blog I read. I used to read the online papers, CNN and local news channels. Too much bad news out there and I grew tired of it all. Some how skipped across to find you and your blog one day which led me to others and now I have my own little piece of bloggy complaint heaven. So, I for one would miss your posts but would completely understand if you chose to leave.

ames

Kathy G said...

I'll agree with what everyone here has said...I'd miss reading about your Alaskan adventures!

I shut down my first blog after a year; its purpose had been fulfilled, but started a second thinking that I wasn't bound to daily posting there. In two months, I've only skipped ONE DAY! Just knowing that I don't have to do it if I don't want to is good enough.

CountessLaurie said...

Hmmm... if you walked away, what would you do with your stationary :-)

Hey, take a break if you want.

If you do it skipping merrily into the sunset, make sure your post video ... that I want to see ...

But we would miss you horribly and because we are selfish creatures, we implore you to stay.

I am sure all the greats go through what you are feeling and I think everyone who reads you would count you among the greats.

Hang in there and skip if you must.

CountessLaurie said...

P.S. Your post on the Iditarod had me watching some special on TV the other night, so you aren't stale...

fortyb4forty said...

I am not much of a commenter but I do enjoy reading you blog and would be said to see it end.

miriama said...

Reading what you wrote today...it was like you were in my head. I didn't want to get out of bed today. As a matter of fact I didn't until ELEVEN a.m. Why get up? Life is so....I don't know..missing something. I hope this passes....personally, I have had enough change this past year what with moving out of our house and all....

I can't tell you not to quit but read my first sentence again. Most of your posts are like that. And I imagine for a lot of people it's the same. We enjoy reading what you write. Literate, funny, intelligent, warm, all of these and more.

Pick a ghost writer for a week....take a vacation where you don't go anywhere but think about things......

It's been a hard winter for everyone, I think. And yesterday I got my husband and daughter to come to the computer to look at that volcano and we were stunned. How beautiful, how powerful..and a reminder that the Earth has its own agenda. We are just visitors.

Stephanie and Co. said...

1200 posts?! Wow! You are amazing. I have been impressed with your blog since I found it. As long as you keep blogging, I will keep reading.

Sue said...

I know exactly what you mean. I haven't posted on my blog in two weeks. I'm getting more email every day, people asking "what's wrong?" "are you alive?" etc. But I just don't have anything to say. I love blogging, I think for the positive validation more than anything else (when I talk about stuff in real life I don't get sixty people responding saying, "You're so funny!" - mostly I just get my husband rolling his eyes - and I think I'm a little addicted to that feedback, maybe not in a good way), but I've been trying to put it back in its proper place in my life - which for ME, is blogging as a hobby.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

First, the video took my breath away. I'm such a weather geek.

Second, I think we all feel that way about our blog at times. It always shocks me -- and truthfully, makes me feel strangely envious -- when someone walks away. I certainly wouldn't blame you if you did; our blogs don't mean very little in light of eternity.

But personally, I hope you stick around and find new creative energy. Come quickly, spring, eh?

Summer said...

I've been feeling this way an awful lot lately. I don't know how you've kept it up and interesting for so long. When I get in these moods I feel like my content is so boring. I've been having a hard time thinking of things I'm excited to write about. But I'm still pushing on hoping it's just a funk.

Jennifer said...

I think you'll start feeling better when summer finally hits. Winter is just too long here.

Your trip to India sounds exciting! Are you going as a family?

Randy, Ally, and Wes said...

I can totally relate to the self-questioning in relation to writing/blogging. My quick thought is--if we never question ourselves, will we ever push ourselves that much more to reach the next level? As long as doubts are not crippling but put to constructive use, I'm not sure they are always a bad thing.

jacjewelry said...

I think we can all relate - everyone expresses his creativity differently, and we all go through ups and downs. I certainly feel the same way about my jewelry once in a while. Perhaps you can take a class at a nearby university (e.g. a volcanology class :))? Your summer trips sound like so much fun - and you never know where you will find inspiration and be back writing like a madwoman before you know it. :)

Damselfly said...

I get like this ... far too frequently!

Heather said...

I think it's the time of year. Spring is all about change and new beginnings it's only natural to want to have that in all aspects of life.

Alison Kelley said...

You can never quit! I only discovered you a little bit ago and I do so enjoy reading your blog. You truly can write about anything and I would read it. you have a way with words that connect with people and that is a special gift to have. I've got my ups and downs with my jewelry business, I have a year and a half before my youngest (4 1/2 years old) goes into 1st grade which then makes him in school full time (our kinder is only 3 hours) and then if my business doesn't take off I've got to get a "real" job. Not exactly the best timing for such a wish because of the economy but a girl can dream right! Michelle you're amazing and I'm sure you will find something to inspire you really soon.

Have you ever thought about doing a contest, asking your readers what they want to learn or know about and the best ones make it?

Headless Mom said...

Late to the party here, but I noticed that there were a bunch of commenters that have already said what I want to say.

Yes, we all get in slumps sometimes, and no, please don't quit! Maybe a break would do you some good-I give them to myself all the time, unintentionally, but I do feel better afterward.

Scott McMurren said...

Ah, Michelle. You're funny. As you know, all writers go through the cycles you're describing. Back in college, I never sought out a barber, although more than once I took a stroll to the store for some rolling papers. That was then...this is now.
As for being a vulcanologist, you remind me of Katherine Jefferts Schori. She's the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. But for years, she was a marine biologist who studied squid (I am not making this up). She's also a private pilot--and recently wrote a wonderful book about the great adventure of her life. "A Wing and a Prayer". It's one of my favorite books...although I loaned it out a long time ago. Keep up the great work.

Shalee said...

Yep, been there, felt that. I love writing and I have rarely felt "dry" in the ideas department, but I do sometimes feel like turning the blog off and walking away. It helps that I only write weekdays and about things that I enjoy writing. I don't have a big "business" side of things, so I could shut down easily, but I know that I would miss the outlet, the friendships and the opportunity to show off my kids. :o)

I'm glad you're still writing, even if I'm not a faithful commenter. You know your stuff, Michelle!

lifemoreabundant said...

Maybe if you became a vulcanologist, you could blog about it. :-) Then everyone would be happy.

Enzie at World Market Portraits said...

I am in the same spot, I call it fondly "The blue mood". Things are just not happening the way I had envisioned them. But I remember a radio show I listened to about depression. A therapist told his client not to think of these periods as the crushing enemy that wears you down, but as a guiding hand to sort through what had been and to expect new exciting turn of events.

Sit next to me and we keep each other company while waiting for new exciting turn of events!

Maddy said...

Self doubt? I suspect we all suffer from it from time to time, but I think you're right, it's just as well you have business obligations so that the temptation can't become a reality because then you'd have to deal with guilt as well. It's a perfect combination, 'self doubt and guilt,' just as well really, as it will keep you on the straight and narrow for your readers benefit.
Best wishes

Christine said...

(Incidentally, my boy's current infatuation is vo-canos.)

I understand how you must feel blogging the kind of blog you blog, but for us Scrib admirers out here in Internet-land, you are the example we strive for in our own lowly blogs. That contain lowly posts, and lowly pictures...compared to yours.

But it's a big job you've given yourself, and jobs, as we know, are rarely permanent (except that motherhood thing). People change and priorities change and stuff happens, and the jobs we have should change, too.

I suppose I'm trying to give you permission to let your life happen. Cause you need permission from me...

If you decide to quit, I'd be terribly disappointed, but I'd also know that a woman living in Anchorage is walking a little lighter because of it.

Just please give me plenty of notice so I can prepare to mourn. : )

Mommy Cracked said...

I've had the same thoughts quite frequently lately, although my blog is not a blip on the radar at all. I think it's all the good weather. But like you, I just can't walk away...blogging is my writing release, I guess you'd say.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I'm kind of in that mood lately, too. Not totally...I have no business obligations to drag me down, so I could quit if I wanted to. But lately I feel like I've said everything I want to say. Sigh.

Amy said...

Scribbit, I cannot imagine what it is like to have your job, a terrifically dedicated parent and blogger. I love reading about your adventures and trying out your projects. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling burned out and I hope the days getting longer will help to lift your spirits. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your blog and how fun it is to read and keep up with. I have discovered so many blogs and people through your blog. You are terrific.

Twinsmom said...

So glad you aren't leaving us. My day wouldn't be the same without you! Now on the volcano thing...didn't Redoubt erupt not once but 4 times over the last day? If that isn't a sign to keep blogging, I don't know what is! :-)

Janet said...

I'm impulsive like that too. And Spring makes me want to be outside all day. But my little 2-month non-voluntary blogging hiatus around Christmas made me miss my blogging friends (although not my own blog so much). But as you point out, you have business obligations that I do not. But there's no law that says you couldn't cut back a little if you wanted to. (NOT THAT WE WANT YOU TO!!!!) But you have to do what's best for you.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I'm so glad that even you think of running away from the blog life. It means you are human, and I love humans. ;)


I'm sure you just need to make some changes and freshen things up a bit to keep yourself interested. Personally I'm a bit excited reading this because I'm sure any changes you make will be fun to witness.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I suppose I am a bit late to this post, but such is the way my blogging life has been lately :)!!

I can't imagine blogland without Scribbit. You were there when I started and I just assumed you would always be there.

So take a break, but never permanently leave :) !! (And if you haven't noticed, that is what I am doing. I blog when I feel like it :) !!)

jubilee said...

While being able to say you are a volcanologist would be cool . . .

I'd sure miss you in the blogoshpere.

"This too shall pass . . ." right?!

page2 said...

I don't know how you manage everything in your life AND write such an amazing blog, but I hope you will keep it up. After my kids are tucked in bed at night, I treat myself to reading your posts. Your articles keep me company when my husband is gone in the evenings. I love your blog and will truly miss it if you ever quit.

All Rileyed Up said...

I'm totally with you on how cool it would be to claim the title "vulcanologist."

That aside, I just want you to know that you should never indulge those self-doubts and that darn "why did I ever think I could write?" syndrome. I get it all the time and I've learned to live with the knowledge that it will come back again and again, but I've gotten better at ignoring it. Also, I love your blog and would be very upset if you walked away, so please, it's all about me now. Don't do this to me. :) Lastly, you really are a great writer and an inspiring blogger. In fact, I look at your blog as an immeasurable source of information on ways to make my own blog better. You're spectacular. And if you really needed a break, I'm sure you could convince someone to guest blog for you for like a week or so - I was on Storm of Thoughts recently and she went on a vacation and had her mother post in her place. It was really fun!

Laura said...

Oh gosh I can so relate. It's hard to keep the passion ignited when there are just so many darn obligations isn't it.

Kim said...

I'm only just now reading this, so I see that your angst has passed, but I can sooo relate to how you were feeling. I was contemplating giving up blogging as well, but my 6-week "fast" from the computer over Lent helped me put it all in perspective.

I realize that your situation is different because you have built a business, but some times a break is warranted and UNDERSTOOD by your readers. I was convinced that I would return to an empty room, but I actually gained two new followers and several new Google Reader subscriptions!!