Blogging: I Love It and Hate It + Assorted Rambling
Building traffic and revving up my SEO marketing sounds nice in theory, but I don’t have time for it. While I love writing, I am daunted by a blog’s need for content. It is always hungry, never satiated, always wanting more.
I don’t blog every day because, frankly, I have nothing of value to add each day. I don’t want this blog to become “I had a good day today because my family was here!” or “I had a horrible day today. Worst day EVAR!!!” I want this blog to be somewhat smart and interesting. I want to tackle topics that are important to me that other people don’t talk about. (Well, I could talk about poop but moms of newborns have that covered.) Okay, maybe I’ll tackle politics this year.
I have several blogs, each focused on a different topic: Pop! Goes the Music focuses on pop music but I’ll probably only post to that when I feel like it rather than trying to establish a regular posting schedule. I’ve been upfront on depression introspection that the site is rarely updated and mainly offered as a resource. I also have a professional blog about the dynamics of the American English language.
Posting to This Journey Is My Own is still fun. I don’t do it often, much of my posts are scheduled (thanks to prompts), and I blog when I want to rather than feeling like I need to (as with my professional blog). I also like that my readership is moderate despite that wacky 992 e-mail subscriber number.
My Professional Blog
My professional blog feels like a 100-ton weight around my shoulders even though it’s a topic I enjoy. Somehow my readership has built up to a decent size (not for most people but for me), which gives me stage fright. I seize up when having to write a blog post. Remember, I’m a professional editor: my posts need to be near perfect before I can hit that publish button. I draft a post, edit, put it away, then edit it again before scheduling it for publication. Time and time again, I think of giving up the blog. It’s not fun, and I want it to be. There’s no room for mistakes and it’s anxiety-inducing. I’m also often pressed for time, and each post requires thought and some citing of references. I can’t merely sit down and write an authoritative post on lay vs. lie off the top of my head; I need help from Grammar Girl, Merriam-Webster, or Grammatically Correct. Oh, and no one pays me for these posts. I am currently working three part-time jobs with a fourth brewing. Not to mention the ordinary tasks and errands I need to tend to. How am I supposed to focus on a professional blog with all this craziness? (Thank God the holidays are over.)
Maybe you’d like to know about my four jobs. Maybe you’re interested in learning when to use who and whom (a topic I plan to cover on my professional blog). Perhaps you’d like to know that I’m dealing with flash dizziness as a side effect of my medication. Or that I’m dealing with the potential reality of a life without children who have my husband’s hazel eyes and my dark curly hair. I don’t even know if my medical history will allow me to adopt children.
I can’t afford to fall apart because I’m so busy, but here I am struggling with a way to avoid checking out of life. My heart wants nothing more than to find a way to escape all of my obligations when all I really need (I think) is a week without people, to disconnect, to just relax. Relaxation will not come until March is over, until after the stupid party I’ve planned for myself ends (I’m anticipating a disaster because I’m a pessimist), until my editing project is off my plate, and I am not working regularly six, sometimes seven days a week. I’m beseeching God to give me the strength to get through three months. I need to get through these next three months with my mental health intact.
Let’s also discuss how I feel like I bring cursing upon the heads of those whom I pray for. Since 2008, I’ve been regularly praying for my friend’s husband to find a full-time, steady job. That has not been answered with a yes. (And yes, I would like the answer to that prayer to be a one-time “yes” instead of a continuous “no.”) I haven’t had kids of my own and have watched the precious children of others rapidly grow up. A dear friend has not received definitive answers about persistent problems with her health. This is frustrating. My prayers have gone from “Please, Lord, let the Phillies win” to “please, Lord, provide for this family,” “give this family hope,” and “give this family answers.” I consider not praying anymore so maybe God will answer these prayers if other people pray. Perhaps I am hindering these prayers from being answered.
I should be thankful. But I’m a pessimist so I simply see discontent. Will I ever see contentment this side of heaven?
Anxiety & Fear
I am trying to hold on to two scriptures to help me get through each day:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6–7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. —II Timothy 1:7
I find it nearly impossible to obey the first verse. These days I am anxious about everything: driving, interactions with others, my editing, my performance on the job, having children, creating and publishing a blog post, what I say, what I do, what I cook, exercising, my standing with God . . . the list goes on and on. Everything in me wants to quit my job but I also know if I did that, I’d never venture out into the world again. Fear would paralyze me and I’d probably have to go on disability because of debilitating anxiety. It’s what my father applied for before he passed away. I simply don’t know how to overcome my anxiety and fear. I don’t know how to overcome my strong, repulsive feelings of “I really don’t want to do this.” Ativan has become quite the helpful pill recently.
Thirty is certainly not shaping up to be remotely close to 29. I suffer with constant dizziness and equilibrium issues (could be due to my medication). I have constant fatigue and struggle with feeling like I have brain fog that I just can’t break through. My vision, after years of not changing, has gotten worse and I’m afraid to drive at night. All of this wears my mental health down and I feel as though there’s no point in continuing on living if 30 is shaping up to be this bad. What will 40 bring? 50? Why not just end it now while I’m still somewhat in my prime?
Oh, look, a blog post in which I did not need to cite references (OK, maybe I did with scripture) or worry about the grammar in my post. I edit as I go, hit publish, and come what may. On this blog, I am not the polished editor trying to put on a professional face. On this blog, I am just me: warts, discontents, flaws, unpolished, and varnished. I can vent. You can choose to read it or not. But this blog provides a form of catharsis in ways that the high readership of depression introspection or the forced perfection of my professional blog do not. If you’ve read this far, thanks for reading.