After having yet another problem with my blog the other day (or the other month, if you comprehend my internet accessibility issues), I requested The Lizard's advice.
"Well, Ms. Eastwood," my Clint Eastwood fan replied, "I'd recommend perhaps taking several weeks to several months off. In big, bold letters start a blog post with the phrase, 'See y'all the 1st of November!'"
Rather extreme, but stated with a kind, concerned and loving sense of humor and yet a degree of seriousness, he sees first-hand the stress and frustration I experience when I am not able to be all things to all people. He's been attempting to teach me to say firmly but kindly, "No" for 10 years and 28 days now.
Although I do experience a "Go ahead... make my day!" attitude now and then, my permanent and long-standing goal is to be respectful and professional. Thanks to our internet limitations of the past six years (until competition entered the airwaves in February), I think I finally began to learn I don't always have to say yes. I can't always say yes.
I finally am learning it's okay for me to have a life.
There are times when my blog is like a second full-time job. Both my job and my blog sometimes require overtime, and I've always been willing to submit, often at the expense of time with my husband. I love all three, but my husband is my priority. With our ten-year wedding anniversary last month, the temptation to let go of the blog did indeed simmer. Bad days brought it to a boil.
Thankfully, my husband understands my need to write. He has never demanded I give up my blog. He would like me to give myself a break. He doesn't want me to burn out. He knows burn-out is not inspiration-friendly. He knows I can't be at my creative best when I'm frazzled and drawn in too many directions.
What does all this mean?
I do not stay at my job 24 hours a day. I am not on call around the clock. I love my job, but it is not my life, and my bosses feel the same way about their jobs and lives.
Is it wrong to expect more commitment than that from a personal hobby blog?
I do not have 24-hour internet access. I recently lost half the internet access I've enjoyed the last few years. I cannot change my limitations without serious, dramatic life changes, but I wouldn't want to even if I could. (There was a time when I would have deeply, deeply loved to IMPROVE my former internet access without having to buy my internet provider a fresh array of satellite transmitters and a space shuttle to service the transmitters and surround sound-fashion cell towers.) I do not see life on the internet as life. Just as work is not my entire life. I have made amazing friends over the internet, just as I've made lifelong friends at work and outside work. I've enjoyed a plethora of resources at both work and on the internet. There is more to life, however, than what I see on my computer and on my phone.
I want to be able to ride my bike, stalk wildlife, climb mountains, hike canyons, photograph wildflowers and bake homemade bread. I want to make quilts and clothing. (And grandbaby clothes!!!) I want to write books. I want to finish books I've already written. I want to be the master over the weeds in my garden during growing season. I want to use up the rest of the yarn I dyed during the summer of 2013. I want to be properly trained in time for next year's Ride the Rockies if we get drawn. I want to be able to sit back and relax after a hard day at work without having to answer questions from blog readers who don't read and would have their answers if they took the time to read.
I'm not complaining. I'm not trying to be mean or judgmental. I'm not even trying to nudge anyone.
I just want to be able to reclaim a part of my life I've unknowingly but unwillingly surrendered to total strangers. It is not within my means to be all things to all people all the time.
One of my husband's favorite magazines recently published a story about what they are seeing in terms of subscription numbers. They said print subscriptions are on the rise, and electronic subscriptions are falling by the wayside.
I am one who loves a good book or magazine. I like the feel of holding books and magazines in my hands. I love to write in a paper journal, although I do think I like to type in a computer journal more because it goes so much faster and doesn't run out of ink in the middle of a word, but that's not proving my point. I like turning pages. I love the sound of pages being turned. And I hate trying to read (or type) much of anything on my phone. Can I say that enough??? My eyesight just isn't what it used to be. I hate squinting to read or write anything on my phone!!!
I would love to be a part of a world taking the time to unplug, at least temporarily, a world reinvesting in real reading completely free of texting and tweets and ads!!!), a world slowing down just enough to smell the flowers, watch the trickle of a stream and listen to the rustling of leaves.
I'm not walking away. I may slow down a bit, and my sporadic commenting may become even more spotty, but I'm not going away, at least not yet. I don't want to abandon my post. I'm just putting my foot down and taking time to enjoy things I may never get another chance to experience again. Hopefully, in the end, that's what makes my blog special. Seeing beautiful things, then sharing them right here. Like this...