Friday, July 31, 2015

Towards a Renewed Blogging Practice

Thank you so much for all the birthday greetings extended to my wonderful husband on the last post. We spent a very good day together, cycling and celebrating with family. I have some photos of the day to share with you last, Meanwhioe, I hope it's okay if I save some blogging energy by thanking you here collectively rather than individually on that post. Comments are much more time-consuming to respond to from my mobile set-up, much as you know I appreciate them.
And I've been doing some thinking about ways that I can use my blogging time more effectively to more clearly defined ends. In fact, I started putting this post together with the words that follow and then thought I could (efficiency again!) add this preamble and even throw in a photo or two because otherwise all those words, no colour....


Urban cycling gear, my J Crew linen skirt and a sleeveless COS tunic bought in Bordeaux last summer lin
As much as I have loved hunkering down on my island for the last several weeks, Pater and I have really been enjoying our days in the city. Something about the alternation of active days with lazier ones, of visits with family and quiet days on our own, something in this rhythm here and now is loosening up some of my thinking. I'm moving toward some potentially bigger decisions, but littler issues are beginning to sort themselves out as well.

The blogging recalcitrance, for example. What's becoming clear to me is that as much as I value and enjoy chronicling the daily aspects of my life (the garden, what I wore, food, family, going out, etc), I will feel dissatisfied if I don't also connect the daily with something larger.

Honestly, I find so much remarkable in each and every day, no matter how ordinary, that I could spend all my blogging time and energy--and, dangerously, enthusiasm--on sharing anecdotes and activities and joys and frustrations in a jumble of what I like to think of as quotidian miracles. But if, as American poet and essayist Kim Stafford says, "Coherence is Born of random abundance" (and I hope and believe that it is), then perhaps once born that coherence needs a bit more nurturing than I'm currently organizing and prioritizing for.

What I'm thinking I need to sort out now is a balance between posting on the abundant random and spending some time working toward coherence. I suspect this may need a more systematic proactive than I've employed thus far in my eight years of blogging. I think, for example, that it might be useful to sort how how many hours a week I spend on the blog and then work toward saving, say, a third of those hours for a more focussed post that develops a theme I can move forward with, flexing my writing muscles.

I'm also hoping to articulate really clearly, for myself and for you readers, what my priorities are here. I began the blog as a kind of antidote to an intensive period of a academic writing that had me overly self-conscious, overfly editorial, about my own voice. I wanted to develop a writing voice in/with which I could integrate my personal, domestic, familial life with my academic one. I don't think I had any expectations of community when I began writing here, except I suppose that I must have hoped my writing would engage someone "out there." I could surely not have known that I would go on to meet many of you and to feel close to many more, simply through chatting with you here over the years.
So, of course, you're an important part of why I blog, but I want to balance keeping you here with keeping me here, and I hope you won't mind if I use this space to think through an approach that might keep us all engaged. More to follow....
I think I need to queue in this line, the Wisdom Line. What a name for a freighter! Shipping Wisdom!
I'm off now to run with my sister. She's such an early bird, so we're starting at 6:30 (and she's already been putting in some time at the office!). Any responses or suggestions you have about my blog-thinking (or any other remotely relevant topic!) are very welcome.

22 comments:

  1. It is important to get the balance right so I guess editing and organising is the way to go. I love reading about your life, your travels and your family and hope you will continue to share it all with us. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Marianne. I expect much will remain the same but I hope to carve out space for a few changes that will make me happy and readers too, I hope.

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  2. The "connecting with something larger" is a goal for me right now. The balance is so important as you enter your new stage of life. I enjoy your book and Netflix suggestions. I did not know that Fred Vargas was a woman. Enjoy your city time.

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    1. Thanks, Mme. Not always easy to achieve that balance but worth striving for, I think. Did you know that Vargas is an archaeologist by training?

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  3. Lovely picture of you. I'll be interested to see what you decide. In the absence of your academic work I suppose there's a void which perhaps calls for something deeper in terms of your writing. Good luck with working out the new balance. Mary

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    1. Thanks Mary. Not sure if I'm searching for something in the absence of my academic work or if it's just that I finally see a chance to write more fully about the non-academic. Or something. We'll see!

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  4. Ah you and I should Facetime or something about how to blog happily in retirement:). Seriously, setting the Why Do I Do It, and supporting that by a schedule and a Possible Editorial Calendar list, is what has kept me going so long and keeps me even now. Also, embracing the right to change. Oh, and finally, funnily enough, monetizing is an incentive, not because the cash itself is significant, it's not at all, but that it becomes another source of recognition and metrics. I understand that you blog for different reasons than I, and mostly less about aesthetics per se, so I wouldn't expect you to monetize. Although, I'd support you if you did. In any case, a good framework for the activity, and period assessment of whether you want to give it up, is really helpful.

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    1. Never thought of Facetiming and I love the idea! As for the monetizing as an incentive, yes, I absolutely get that although I'm not going that route for now. I do need ways to measure costs/benefits, however nebulous ...

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  5. I love the idea of combining the daily with connecting to something larger. I think that's what we try to do in the classroom -- we hope students will enjoy the daily (or weekly or whatever) readings, but we also want them to understand how events or writings are part of a grander world. This is what I will miss when I finally retire, so it makes sense to incorporate that in your blog. Bravo!
    Lynn

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    1. Thanks, Lynn. This might be part of what I'm looking for. I have long got a thrill out of making connections, seeing patterns, synthesizing, and I've definitely enjoyed helping students do the same. How to define "larger" will be an interesting challenge and it may only be a larger contained in my own personal...

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  6. Whatever you blog or whenever, I'll be here to read it. You large looking lovely and rested.i wish I had those curls.

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    1. Thank you! I suspect if you had the curls, you might be envying straight hair, but I've learned to live them😉

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  7. I agree that is a lovely photo...you have had the retirement facelift!

    I really enjoy the variety in your posts (A flower! A recipe! Travel! A deep topic I mull over for weeks! Yes please!) and will look forward to and be absolutely content with whatever works for you.

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    1. You're so kind and encouraging, Georgia, and I love that expression: retirement facelift indeed!

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  8. I'm looking forward and am curious. As I like your longer and investigative and "think about" posts,I'm happy with whatever you choose to write and what makes you happy :-)
    Because tha main thing is that you find balance,satisfaction and inspiration in your life,work and writing/making photos!
    Dottoressa

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    1. Thanks,D, it's all a matter now if organizing to be more deliberate in my blogging, I think...

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  9. This seems very sensible. Why would your blog remain the same when you are undergoing such changes? I spend a bit (Ok, quite a bit) of time reading blogs and have given up with some because they do not change at all. You get tired of looking at the same old images and hearing about how crazy-busy (yech phrase) people are. I can tell; they spend zero time on their blog. Go ahead and ruminate. Still be here.

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    1. I think that's it. I'd like the blog to change with me, but I need to think a bit about what that means and how to make it happen. So heartening to know that so many good readers are willing to accompany me. Thank you!

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  10. You've touched on something here that I have struggled with, and continue to struggle with. As much as I want some sense of something bigger and some cohesion, and I do, as much as I admire those who manage greater cohesion in their blogs, I struggle with any kind of bigger something in my own life or interests. I flounder all over the place; but perhaps I am willing to admit that I have deliberately chosen the path of floundering as I felt I was locking myself up too much into something I felt I should be but was not. I don't see that happening with you here, and even in your random approach to the daily small miracles, I see a cohesion and a theme here, and I think you will find the right balance and groove for you in your own time, and it may change with time as well, as we all do if we continue to grow.

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    1. There is a time for floundering as well... And if we listen carefully and are patient, the flounderer gradually develops a swimming stroke that takes her to places she might not have expected...it's hard to give ourselves permission sometimes, isn't it?

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  11. I would expect you to be thinking more about the bigger things now that you do not have work distractions...your blog will develop and change as you settle into your new retired lifestyle.
    Happy belated birthday! You look wonderful and positively glow in that photo. Your devotion to fitness shows!
    I am keen to hear about your new approach to blogging and the balance of everyday life...

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    1. Thanks! I'll pass the birthday greetings along to Pater! He's been a big inspiration in getting me out on the bike...

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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