Zen and the Art of Blogging

Enso Circle
Calligraphy by Kanjuro Shibata XX "Ensō (円相)
Nearly a year ago, for several reasons, I decided to blog daily. For the most part, I succeeded. Not two months into the 2014, however, a series of events pitched me into an existential funk, my posts became erratic then I ceased blogging entirely. The anniversary of my decision to blog daily is just around the corner and, yes, I’m back at it. Wiser? I hope so.

In 2012, driven by curiosity and a growing fascination, I spent months immersed in everything being written about social media and dabbling more and more with the various platforms. At the beginning of April 2013, I dipped into the darker (but no less befuddling) art of numerology to decrypt all the stats I’d been collecting. Despite the lack of a compelling statistical foundation, I decided to blog every day and see how my stats reacted.
Lest you think me completely whack, and on a more serious and sincere note, understand that I was also driven by the long-held belief that writing is a muscle that needs constant exercise. Just as for the body, the mind needs daily stretching and activity. Heady with my decision, what I failed to consider was that, like the body, you can overdo it on the mind-stretching and wind up twisted.
Headiness won out and I threw myself into the adventure. Except for a few weeks off in summer to think of creative ways to give myself even more daunting challenges, I blogged nearly every day.
Until I didn’t.
Fast forward to January 2014, I began the New Year in an angst-filled funk. Too little paying work, then too much to have time to focus on blogging or tripping from one social platform to another. I soldiered on until February 3rd when I wrote about the weather. Not a terrible post (thanks to Robert Frost) but, really, the weather???
I stopped blogging. Then I stopped visiting my fave social media platforms. Then I stopped carting my Blackberry with me everywhere except in the shower. I started turning on my e-mail at 9 a.m. on the nose then shutting it down at five p.m. sharp. On weekends, although I worked, all channels dedicated to receiving e-mail were closed. When working, I unplugged the land line.
For the first time in years, I didn’t respond to every e-mail the instant it appeared in my in‑box. Because my in‑box was not open and dinging at me incessantly like a child on the checkout line confronted with candy at eye level. Ma, Ma, Ma, but Maaaaaaa!
For the first time in years, I did not respond to every e‑mail.
At first, withdrawal did nothing to mitigate angst. Over time, however, I felt my heart rate slow to a more normal pace. I started to sleep more. I ate. I gained weight. I bought flowers and started meditating. I really suck at meditating but the masters say that trying counts for something. I. saw. friends. In person, face-to-face. Yes, I know, startling.
The stats. The social media wonks are right. Writing every day and being constantly present on social media do increase traffic to a blog. A year ago, I was thrilled to have reached 10,000 visits to my blog. Currently visits are inching towards 50,000. What’s it all mean?
Well, older, wiser and somewhat more zen, I am tempted to respond à la Mr. Natural and say, “It don’t mean sheeit.”
What does mean a lot is the folks who check in and comment or send me an e‑mail to say they enjoyed a post. What does mean a lot is when a local business woman is wowed and not just a little tickled by an unsolicited write-up. What matters a lot is working the writing muscle and gaining ease, perfecting technique.
So, I’m back to blogging. Not every day maybe, but back. Om.

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad you didn't give up, Nancy, and I appreciate your experiment in being absent. So few of us realize the benefits of balance - that all-important middle way that is as shifting and elusive as a grain of rice on an empty plate - write from your heart, and the right people will be listening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lorrie. You're right about not realizing the importance of balance. Typically, at least for me, it takes a major "Tilt" before I sit up and take notice. Be well.

      Delete
  2. It's good to hear from you! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You, too, chère! I hope you and la petite famille are well. Bisoux!

      Delete
    2. Writing needs to be exercised, yet balanced with living - reflection and action. In by gone days, diarists serenely documented private events, insights and intimacies, all interspersed, as mementos to time. Today, we publicly share germinated insights from life and our diaries, to generate discourse. Sadly, the diaries reside next to our bedsides, or ensconced scattered in fragments between iPhone, iPads, and laptops.

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Beverley, for your reflection. I'm not sure if all the scribblers of yore were serene or didn't yearn to share, but the pressure to share was probably less intense. Does that make any sense?

      Delete

Note bene : Une initiative du cœur et non commerciale, sauf où bien indiqué, le contenu en français n’est pas révisé. Merci de votre compréhension. Je vous invite à me signaler des erreurs.