Last week I finally got out to Kelley’s place after talking about it for two years (and skipping out on her at the last minute last time due to car shenanigans, she was NOT IMPRESSED, haha). Kelley’s blog Magneto Bold Too is one of the first Australian ones I ever read, and is still my favourite to this day.
After the serious business of discussing My Little Pony with Boo was attended to, and two small children dived headlong into a bowl full of easter eggs the size of my desire for a full night’s sleep, Kelley and I sat outside and attempted to have a conversation. This isn’t easy when you have two kids under five who have you out of your seat every 2.5 sentences like a bloody jack in the box. The 12th time they asked for the spa bubbles to be turned off, Kelley looked at me like “WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?” and I’m like “bitch, this is how I get nothing done in a day”.
Our conversation turned to blogging, as it does when you are with a fellow blogger – especially when you’ve been friends for as long as we have and have seen the changes blogging has undergone over time.
Now it made me a little bit nostalgic to talk about the way back when days – not to bash the new days, they sure are different, but not entirely anything to complain about – and it made me re-live the feelings I had when I first started this space, how excited I was, how I wanted to write, and connect with people, and how much I loved finding new blogs and reading chatty missives about people’s lives. It was a whole new world and I wanted so badly to be part of it.
It’s often not easy to get traction on a new blog, it can feel like friendship groups and hierarchies are already formed, and I felt that even back then, six years ago. But I stayed true to myself, blogged what I wanted, and thought the right things would happen at the right time. There were some confidence-killing moments and realisations that I’d never be part of the cool kids club, but I found my way over time.
Until I didn’t any more.
Somewhere along the line, I can’t quite pinpoint when, I lost my mojo. In hindsight I put it down a mixture of a few things that all merged into one giant turdburger that shat all over my weak attempts to hang on.
My kid didn’t sleep, and hadn’t slept since birth. She was a year and a half old and only 18 months younger than her sister, so my sleep debt was high and my morale was low. We had just moved interstate to a new city, and I worked two jobs. Every day was survival and I couldn’t do anything to upset the precarious emotional balance I found myself in. And what’s the first thing that will upset your carefully crafted emotional balance? Trolls!
People on the internet who would rather be an asshole to a stranger than go and have a fantastic time doing just about anything else. And not just trolls, even the well-meaning but critical people can be hard to deal with. You need to have the right attitude to roll with the gamut of hackle-raising comments, from minor burns right through to death threats and the only attitude I had was “make it through the day without crying” – I was in no state to provoke the wankers of the web.
It was also a time when GOMI was in its heyday and while I know all the arguments for and against it, I just didn’t have the desire to fan its flames in my direction when I was in no fit state to hear quite how much my blog sucked.
So the perfect shitstorm had descended: baby brain + no sleep + self preservation had all rolled into one, and I forgot how to write. Sometimes I would just sit at a screen and nothing would come out. I’d have ideas at two in the morning and zero desire to write anything in the cold light of day.
Dear reader, it’s been years now. Years of writer’s constipation. I won’t call it writer’s block, because I’ve got plenty to say, but writer’s constipation because it won’t fucking come out. Once I tried to write a 1500 word feature for a magazine and it took me 9 hours. Every word felt wrong and nothing came out how it was supposed to. It happened again, and again, and again. My ability extended to the occasional witty text and that was it.
I was talking to a writerly friend the other day and I told her of my predicament, and she said “just write”. So I write all the time now, in diaries no-one sees, each of them thrown in the bin when they’re full. But none of it is readable by anyone, it’s mostly just things like “this sun is nice” and “remember to get butter” in between the WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE HOLY SHIT pages. The mojo is still not back yet. Writing is what I’ve done since before I have actual memory of doing so. As natural to me as breathing, something I always knew would be my future. And I broke it!
So this here blog has suffered. In my line of work, I know what makes for a successful blog and I also know unless you’ve got magical fairy luck, it’s fucking hard work. There’s editorial calendars and being useful and photos that don’t look like a drunk giraffe sat on your phone, and stories that entertain or inspire. My blog has none of this and I had less time to spend on giraffes that knew their way around a Canon. When I turned around to pick up momentum, the whole damn landscape had shifted and I’d never be able to catch up.
But talking to Kelley reminded me of how much I love blogs not for their usefulness and not for their stunning images, but for the chats, the person behind the blog sharing their world. Somewhere along the line I stopped chatting – I figured nobody was really wanting to waste their time with my dribble thoughts, they wanted something useful. And I didn’t have the brain capacity for useful, so I popped it on my “to do” list for another day. Not everyone loves the chats, plenty of people are looking for the next curated image or recipe that isn’t midweek pasta. I had lost knowing what I wanted to share and couldn’t figure out what people wanted to read, so the posts spaced out until they eventually dried up. I was so concerned about not wasting anybody’s time and not annoying someone to the point they had to bitch about it on the internet, that I just stopped doing anything at all.
So that’s where we’re at. Notebooks full of angst that would rival my 1994 high school diary and a hefty dollop of the can’t be fuckeds make jack a very dull boy. The small kernel of OG blogger tucked deep inside my tired mind just waiting to open her wordpress dashboard for another day. My rampant consumption of other people’s chatty blog posts and my impressive Pinterest collection of fancy quinoa recipes I’ll never make from images I’ll never style. No real answer about what the hell I’m doing, and taking up your time telling you about it.
Will see you back here tomorrow for some more dribble. Thanks for sticking around, folks <3