Contributed by Marisa Mohi, OKWB Factotum Extraordinaire
So, I quit blogging. Packed it all in, deleted old posts that were functionally crap, and called it a day. My blog had become a place where it was evident that I was trying to be the most marketable me. And if you’re trying to be everything to everyone, then who even are you to yourself?
If that paragraph isn’t evidence enough that I haven’t blogged in a hot minute, then I don’t know what is.
My blog–on a website that shares my name–was no longer me. I tried so hard to be cool. I signed up for multiple blogging e-courses and took advice from people who made inexcusable portmanteaus of entrepreneur and some other word. (The definitions of these portmanteaus functionally meant entrepreneur. Maybe I’m alone in this, but if we could stop with all the solopreneur, femtrepreneur, momtrepreneur, and the like, I think the world would be a better place.) I took part in blogathons to increase viewership, which meant I blogged about crap I didn’t care about. I was reading the blogs of people I didn’t like or respect simply because they had daily pageviews in the hundreds of thousands. And I wanted to be like them so bad, even though I DIDN’T EVEN LIKE THEM.
I’m a competitive person deep down. Whoever says Gen Y kids only do things for the participation ribbon is wrong. I’m straight up cutthroat. I graduated high school in the top 2% of my class, finished undergrad in 3 years, and had two master’s degrees by my 27th birthday. For me, just showing up and trying hard DOES NOT CUT IT. I’ve been accused of white knuckling my way through life and I know I do. Contentment: I struggle with it. So for me, just having an online diary that maybe got a few pageviews here and there was an abject failure.
So I deleted everything. I turned my site into a static page with some biographical info, contact information, and some links to things I’ve had published. I quit blogging. (Okay, not really. I quit blogging on my own site, but I’ve been posting 4 days a week over at The Lost Ogle since time immemorial.) That was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. In the 3 months since, I’ve been able to concentrate on short fiction instead of SEO keywords. I’ve spent more time with my boyfriend (Note: I need a better word for a longterm relationship with a man, but common law husband sounds weird too) and dog than I have in ages. I’ve started working out again–like the getting up and swimming laps and going to yoga and kickboxing type of working out.
Basically, my life has dramatically improved since I stopped blogging. And it will probably shock you to know that I plan to take it up again.
Am I a glutton for punishment? Maybe. Do I need to fill every square inch of my day with some sort of activity? Probably. Do I miss it? Yeah. Am I insane? Certifiably.
I wish I could say that I’m going to approach it from a healthier angle, that I won’t be so competitive and obsess about the numbers. But I know that’s not the case. These past 3 months of no blogging haven’t somehow centered me. (Though, my yoga instructor says I have a very centered pelvis!) But I think I’ve finally figured out who Marisa is in the blogging world. And hey, weirdly enough, it’s the same Marisa that I am in the real world. (This is kind of like that moment in the story when the hero realizes she had the power to defeat the villain all along.)
So maybe I didn’t quit. Maybe I took some time off to reinvent myself. Into myself. I don’t know. Identity is a really complicated thing.
So what does being myself on my blog mean? Well, get ready for posts about teaching, because I do that now. Get ready for posts about writing in general, because I write so much fiction that my hard drive is full to bursting. Get ready for posts chock-full of pictures, because occasionally I take the ol’ DSLR out for a spin and then months later, remember to put the pictures on my computer. Oh, and there will totally be posts about my dog. I love her. She’s a mess.
But you know what there won’t be? Any content that is not me. SUCK IT BLOGATHONS AND SPONSORED POSTS BECAUSE YOU AIN’T TOUCHING MY BLOG NO MORE.
Marisa Mohi teaches Business Writing at the University of Oklahoma and is one half of the editing team at Dominion House. She’ll probably start blogging again really soon over at MarisaMohi.com, but she’s kind of busy tweeting way too much to get any real work done.