Monday, November 3, 2008

The evolution of blogging

After blogging for almost 15 months now I sometimes fear that I have become incapable of allowing a single thought, no matter how inconsequential, to go unexpressed.

If it seems that the writing in this space has been lighter, fluffier and more inconsequential lately, please forgive me. I seem struck by the notion that perhaps there is value in holding things to my chest, in just letting thoughts swirl around in my brain so the weak ones eventually die a natural death, as opposed to beating every one of them to death and exposing their mangled corpses here on the internetz.

In days past blog posts were everywhere. I never left home without my camera and delighted in Graham's antics not just for the sheer joy of them but also for the fodder I was already imagining they would provide. Every tiny notion that popped into my head, every fleeting question and flash of insight was seized and tortured until I had extracted all of its secrets and every last breath of its essence.

I was like a mad gardener, heaping fertilizer (sometimes literally, alas) on every kernel, determined to make it blossom into a piece of writing . I nurtured every tiny seed so carefully that they inevitably flowered, though I rarely allowed myself the luxury of critiquing or learning from what I had managed to create.

Some of the results, if I do say so myself, were quite lovely.

But there are times when I cringe just a little at the narcissism implicit in my ongoing compulsion to tweak and broadcast my navel gazing to the world. And I wonder if basking in the feedback my writing has generated has become just a little too addictive.

I am a parent who has always felt strongly that a child's daily life need not be over scheduled or over analyzed. I believe that every activity need not be a means to an end, every conversation should not be fraught with meaning and that constantly turning daily decisions into "teaching moments" is tiresome and unnecessary.

And yet here I am. Ouch! - the irony hurts.

At the end of the day, I guess my love affair with this blog is a love story just like every other.

During first six months I was breathless with excitement. I thought about DMD constantly and couldn't wait to put the day away so we could settle into our exclusive evenings together.

For the next six months I strove to keep up the excitement. People were noticing me and it was wonderful, but it also caused me to labour over what had previously been effortless. I checked my traffic stats at least daily and investigated a million and one cheap fixes to keep things fresh - social networking sites, memes, etc. etc.

Fifteen months in I've become tired. If a relationship's meant to last, it shouldn't feel like so much work. I have said before that I believe in the poignancy of the mundane and I do - I believe that the beauty of everyday life provides endless fodder for inspiring writing.

But it is exactly that belief that causes me to not want to work quite so hard at documenting it. My life is beautiful: I don't need to slap high heels and makeup and a pretty dress on it and trot it out every night so all the world can see and applaud.

I am not shutting down Don Mills Diva, though the thought has crossed my mind lately. I have, however, decided to write less often and let my muse, not my sense of obligation or my stats, dictate when it's time to post.

I cannot continue to maintain this site with the frenzied passion of a new lover. I can only hope the relationship between my readers and I is mature enough to survive the inevitable evolution of our affair.

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59 comments:

caramama said...

I think that is totally understandable. I will be around for whatever you decide to write, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it. It's definitely more important to love what you are doing than to be sure your stats are high.

But please don't stop writing/close down your blog. You are such a wonderful writer and your voice is an inspiration to many of us.

Holly said...

Over time we all become comfortable with our blogs; yes, usually after that initial passion fizzles out. BUT, we all started blogging for us right? Don't let the attention from others keep you here, let your love of expression (detailed or not - sometimes it's okay to plainly write and not think) be what keeps you coming back and sharing.

mamatulip said...

I know exactly what you mean.

Rachel said...

MWAH!

Quality over quantity. But I think you could make a grocery list fascinating, so there ya have it ;-)

Perfectly written. I understand completely and know I'll be here waiting whenever that muse kicks you in the tail. ;-)

April said...

Of course we'll still be here! I'm glad you're not shutting down.

OHmommy said...

Of course I understand. I wrote about somethings similar two weeks ago... just not so eloquently.

One of my readers pointed out that as a blogger we write and publicize our thoughts. Out loud.

We do don't we. Hang in there and know that you are not alone. Many of us have the same thoughts often.

Shannon said...

So well written!! You've documented the evolution exactly - I think a lot of bloggers go through this. It becomes overwhelming sometimes when you feel you must produce and write . . . and you lose sight of what your original goals were. I hear you - and I, too, often think of shutting down my blog and just "getting on with my real life". I'm incredibly impressed with your ability to write such thoughtful, organized entries when you have a full time job and a little guy to take care of. I am still at home on mat leave, and I'm positive my blog will die as soon as I go back to work.

I'll certainly still be reading DMD whenever I see a new post pop up in my reader :-)

allmycke said...

I too am glad you're not shutting down - but I do understand the bit about maturing and realising that the blog mustn't become a a burden to maintain.
Quality over quantity - as someone else already wrote - I'm all for it!

Ernesta said...

Hi DMD, I came by your site about a month ago -- you tweaked my interest at that time and so I dropped by again today to see what was new - it's unfortunate that you are thinking of shutting down! Totally understand reducing the frequency, but do hope to see future posts!!

C said...

Phew!!! You had me worried for a second there!

BTW, I'm in your neck of the woods at the 'mo. Actually, Mount Sinai Hospital since "Junior" looks like he/she will be arriving a few weeks earlier than expected. Just thought I'd say "hi" from the T dot! ;)

So glad you're not shutting down the blog! :)

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

I honestly don't know how you have time to post as much as you do! Since just starting a part time job, my number of posts has dwindled significantly AND I can't keep up with anyone else's blog either. So actually, if you post less, I'll probably be able to comment MORE. haha! :)

Ellyn said...

I will be here when you do decide to post. Totally understand scaling back. It is a lot to keep up with. Good luck.

Immoral Matriarch said...

This is a much more eloquent version of something that I have in my own drafts box. I totally get it. :)

Karen said...

I hear exactly what you're saying. Sometimes it's just a post for a post's sake. And I, too, wonder if that's the right thing for the blog or the readers.

I'll look forward to reading what you think is worthy of sharing.

sky girl said...

We all go through this evolution even though most of us aren't as famous. :)

Some weeks I write almost daily, other weeks, not at all. The stats will inevitable drop but that's not so bad.

Backpacking Dad said...

There's such an odious fog hanging over blogs right now. I don't know the reason, but I don't think it's just an evolution of individual bloggers. I think there's something in the water.

Helen E.M. Wright said...

You go through phases don't you?!? Live your life, we'll be waiting on the sidelines! ;)

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Well I am here regardless, I love to hear what you have to say, whenever you have something to say!

Kat said...

When I started I never knew what a balancing act blogging would become. It is such a learning process. And I know exactly what you are talking about. I've been there.

I hope you do take some time away to just enjoy the moment. And then I hope you come back renewed. Posting should be easy and a release, not pressure.

Either way, I'm here. :)

kbreints said...

Oh I totally understand. This is your space to write when you want... we are here to read when that happens.

ewe are here said...

I can relate.

Glad you're going to stick around... less is more sometimes, right?

Heather said...

What Backpacking Dad said. It must be something in the water. It seems like there are waves of bloggers quitting or thinking about quitting every so often...it sweeps through then it's gone for a while again.

I think it just depends on what you want to get out of your blogging and what your goals are.

Angella said...

I TOTALLY get this. I wrote something similar a little while ago...then signed up for NaBloPoMo (I have my reasons :) )

I applaud you for doing what you feel is best. I will be here whenever you are :)

Aunt Becky said...

As someone who has been blogging since 2004 (although not as frequently then as now), I can suggest that you not shut the whole site down. Interest waxes and wanes (yours I mean) but you may be glad to have this here some day. I know I am.

Anna said...

I completely understand! I too have been trying to cut back and not let my blog completely consume me. I will be here for whenever you do post. Glad you aren't closing down DMD!

Vered - MomGrind said...

"I am not shutting down Don Mills Diva, though the thought has crossed my mind lately. I have, however, decided to write less often and let my muse, not my sense of obligation or my stats, dictate when it's time to post."

I could have written that.

I mean, I'm not there YET - I've been blogging for 8 months now so I'm still in the "second 6 months" phase. But I can certainly see it coming.

You need to do what works for you. You're in my Google Reader so I'll always know when you publish something new.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It's really a relief to give up on worrying about the stats--my life just got too busy to obsess about it and I feel very freed by that.

Mr Lady said...

OF COURSE IT IS STRONG ENOUGH!!!

I'm pushing up on year four now, and if they're anything I've noticed about it, it's that these things wax and wane. We hit it hard for a while, back off, hit pause, come back later and restart the cycle.

I've not read ONE blog that hasn't gone through that cycle. I've paused my blog what? Four times now? I've never even thought of shutting it down, but I keep a great big pause button picture in my image file just in case.

I for one will certainly miss you when you're not around, but you're in my reader...I'll see you the second you get back. *smooch*

Chelle said...

Makes sense to me girl! Whenever you do write, I always enjoy it :)

for a different kind of girl said...

I'm reasonably new to this relationship with you, so I've enjoyed getting the chance to read what you've posted. That said, I completely understand the place where this post came from. I think a lot of people who are blogging now are feeling the same way, and many of the people I read have shut down or stepped away for a bit lately. I'm glad you won't be shutting down, but I can completely respect the desire to live life more and worry less about documenting every facet of it for us. I'll definitely be around when you are.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

spooky... I have an eerily similar post in my drafts that I just wrote a few days ago. AFter coming home from my vacation, all I wanted to do was... NOT blog. It's like a career! One you're not paid for!!!! Well, just write whenever and we'll keep reading.

Stomper Girl said...

I think there's a lot to be said for stepping back from one's passion. I hope you find the right balance with your blog/life!

Karen MEG said...

Glad you're not shutting down, but you're bang on, blogging is definitely an evolution. I don't find any of what you write mundane at all. It's about life, and you capture it beautifully.

I was just looking at my own blog, over 400 posts now since 2005, less than a quarter of which are of any um, quality ;). But the amazing thing is that when I pop into older posts, I do see some of that passion, some inspired writing, and think, well, that wasn't half bad... where did SHE go?

I don't think she went anywhere. Just got tired.

And now I'm crazy one more time ... guess who's signed up again for NaBloPoMo? I need an intervention!

Michelle said...

I felt the same, but I really hope you continue to write. I guess for me, blogging is my way of writing, and for me, any writing is better than not writing. This last week has been lackluster for me too... but I'd miss your blog. I justify the less than stellar posts on my blog by noting that at least I'm writing, I'm exercising a part of my mind that I don't use as much any more, and that in and of itself is useful. It may seem narcissistic, but it's not meant to be. I love reading your blog and I'll be here whenever you decide to post. :)

flutter said...

what you want, when you want. We will be here to catch wind of your muse.

RiverPoet said...

And that is what makes a great blog. I've been at it for 13 months, and I've been through that exact timeline. Though I don't have nearly as many readers as you do, I suspect that's because we write of life from two different stages: you from being a young mother, me from being a mid-lifer/empty nester. There is a point at which it begins to feel more like a demand than a privilege to blog.

The best thing you can do is to write when it's interesting. Though the mundane can still be interesting when viewed from your unique perspective, if you're not feeling it, don't worry about it.

Peace - D

Parent Club said...

Hey DMD - I feel like we're friends even though we only cyber-know-each-other. And one must support a friend right?!...

You are a talented writer - full of reality, passion, humour and insight. But at the end of the day - it's your blog - not the nobel prize. Write when you are inspired - not bc it's a job. There are enough "jobs" in the world.

We'll be here...

Oz said...

I think blogging is like most things - it goes in waves, and we just have to ride them.

Mara said...

We will be waiting for you!

Mara
http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

Corey~living and loving said...

It really is interesting isn't it. We start blogging for ourselves...then get caughtup in building it up, and keeping readers, then burn out, and go back to just blogging for ourselves. whew...what a ride. I'm sitting right next to you! :)

Lisa said...

i hear you sister. do what it takes to keep the love alive :)

CC said...

I've been feeling the exact. same. way.

Mary Lynn said...

It's a challenge sometimes, finding the right balance, isn't it? I'm always mulling over what I write to make sure if it's really things I want to share. I totally understand.

Gail said...

Blogs, like people, evolve. So does readership. (And templates!)

I've been blogging for more than six years, really formative years, and the blog's purposes have changed as my life changed. At the beginning, I was blogging very infrequently, with hardly any images (this was pre-Flickr). I was a full-time student while working full-time, I did a lot of ranting.

In busier times, I've written far less and my site turned into a photo blog. They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

But in an ideal world, I'd be writing more -- like I used to. I really enjoy writing and I have phases of being very prolific, but I don't have the time for the long posts anymore so it's mostly a photo blog. But that will likely change, too!

Keep doing what you're doing. Internet pages have no bottom... so pace yourself! :)

Indy said...

Sounds like a lot of us are going through this now.

Nap Warden said...

Nail=Head...I totally get this post:)

Mandy said...

I love you, you diva. I'll be here for you no matter how (in)frequent the posts.

xo
mandy

Secret Agent Mama said...

What you have said here, I think most of us have felt (or feel.) I will be here looking for DMD posts when they come to fruition!

tinsenpup said...

I'll be watching for you.

Queen of My Domain said...

We all go through times when blogging seems more like work than it should. I'll still be checking in on yours.

Reluctant Housewife said...

Not to worry, I'm sure everyone will keep on coming, even if you don't post as often - I know I will.

For me, I think it's important to keep in mind the reasons I started blogging - basically, in my case, I started to give myself a space to play and be creative. I'm doing this for my own enjoyment but I still find it hard not to focus on my stats. But I find that when I get too caught up in whether or not people are reading I enjoy what I'm doing less.

Good luck with your changing blog relationship. I'm going to keep reading as long as you keep writing :)

- C - said...

I know what you mean.. it seems like so much work sometimes, and for what?
But the truth is, once a blogger, always a blogger.

Nowheymama said...

I think taking it easy helps you come back refreshed and full of ideas. Whatever you decide is great--it's your blog.

Trannyhead said...

Woah - you clearly think WAY more about your readers and material than I do. But then again - I have a silly and fluffy sort of blog. And then again - I am not a serious person. I'm sort of silly and fluffy. And I have total tranny head.

Jaina said...

That makes a lot of sense, I'm glad you're doing what you need to do. :)

Mandy said...

You will always have a reader in me. I'll just ditto everyone else in that similar feelings I have been experiencing lately, too.

a kelly said...

When my computer crashed a month ago I was aghast and suffered blog withdrawal...for about a week. Then I began to enjoy the time away. It has been a chance to put my total computer time in better perspective. Life happens away from the keyboard. Even though I am back on line I haven't done a post of substance yet. It's been swimming in my head...just haven't been able to get it down. The honeymoon must be over...You've expressed it well. I'll look forward to and enjoy your future posts...whenever they happen.

The Mom Bomb, a/k/a Folksy Mama said...

This was lovely!

If you're a half-way sensitive/creative type, I think there's always that struggle to view life as artistic material instead of, well, just life. Sometimes I have to tell myself to put the camera down and just enjoy and experience the kids, for instance.

Blog without guilt!

Shellie said...

I'm glad you don't see it as all or nothing. I love the analogy!