Opus Without the Magnum

I’ve been having a big problem with this blog. I want it to be perfect. I know – shock and horror! But it’s causing a real problem with me.

I started this blog to give me an opportunity and a vehicle for regular writing. And like a lot of beginning bloggers I really wasn’t all that clear on what I’d be writing about – vaguely I thought I’d weave stories from my past and my present, with some humor and maybe a little lesson culled from my work with mindfulness in there somewhere. I don’t know that I ever thought anyone else might read what I wrote, at least not at the beginning.

So what changed? I started having an audience – maybe they started out just dropping an Entrecard, but some stuck around to read a post or two, and even a few let me know how my writing affected them. When no one else was actually reading what I wrote, I was just doing a more advanced “Dear Diary, today I ate fish sticks. Marsha is a big toad!”. But now I wanted what I wrote to be well written, polished, and to the level of a professional writer, which I assuredly am not. I’ve ended up writing long essay-like posts with long periods of nothing in-between. I don’t know that there’s anything wrong with this, but the purpose was to be doing regular writing, not irregular writing. So along with my perfectionism has come procrastination and paralysis (the evil triumvirate).

Ultimately, I love reading good writing of all forms (I subscribed for years to The New Yorker and still have it delivered to my office where I sneak read it before putting it out in my waiting room!). But my writing? Well . . . I’m going to have to rethink what is possible for me. I already have one business and one “second” job; I’m not sure I want this blog to be a third job, too.

The best I can come up with at this moment is something an old boyfriend used to say, “Writers write.” He never said “writers write really good stuff.” Or “writers write really lengthy stuff.” No, it’s simple and profound, “Writers write.”

25 thoughts on “Opus Without the Magnum

  1. I understand how you feel. I started out blogging with the hopes of having a place to vent (anonymously) and also with the idea that it would get me writing regularly. The more people that read it (not legions or anything, but there are a few loyal readers), the more pressure I put on myself to write something … interesting. Not that I’ve succeeded.And then there is the whole blogging world maintenance thing — commenting, checking in, dropping cards. I realized last week that I miss reading books. So I’m trying to cut back. That’s why I’m out commenting on blogs tonight …Jennifer (who found you via entrecard)

  2. Ah, I sympathize as well. I started my blog for the same reasons, too, and already I find myself stressing over the quality of my writing on it. It’s a lot of pressure, especially for something that’s supposed to be fun!

  3. You can only do what you can do…if your aim is for this to be a blog about writing, where you share your writing, than know many writers only share a few times a week, otherwise they wouldn’t be writing. If you are looking for a general blog…well, I guess you could end up like me with 3 blogs to manage then. Just remember that staying true to yourself is the key thing to concern yourself with.

  4. I think you’ve described what 99.8% of all bloggers experience. It’s all fun and games until people start coming back. :0) I think the secret is like anything else in life. You strive for that happy balance between short fluffy posts and the lengthy novellas that people are less likely to read from beginning to end. Good luck in the quest!

  5. Thank you ALL so much for commenting. Jennifer – I read your blog pretty regularly now and I certainly understand what you’re talking about when you were anonymous. Funny part is – I can not only forgive a clunky post (not saying any of yours ARE that) but it tells me something about the vulnerability of the poster. Yet when it comes to myself being vulnerable, I just freeze right up. And as to reading books – yep, I’m trying to re-integrate reading more than fluffy things in my life. Not always easy.Erica – boy you are right about the stress – and yes, wasn’t supposed to be fun? yeah, right…Sassy mam bear – I fear I had too much of a whiny tone in my post and I appreciate your comment because it’s all true – it’s a choice as to what type of blog you want and I do think my general vagueness has made this difficult to figure out. But I seem to be gravitating more to finding a balance between the extremes – must be all that Libra in my chart.And Lee – thanks for validating my concerns – I suspected that this might be a problem for others, too. It’s just good to know I’m not alone out there. Again, I’ll strive for the elusive balance, and probably miss it on occasion. That’s okay – I think I can live with it.Again – thanks to all of you for your thoughtful comments.Warmly,~Laura

  6. yes. writers write. period.and i know a bit whereof you speak – my attitude towards blogging goes up and down, too. one of the great things about blogging is, though, that change and metamorphosis are expected.

  7. Yeah, we have all been there. I in fact am there right now. I have like 20 posts in draft right now, stressing over all of them. Oddly though, its the ones that I think that are the most boring that seem to get the most hits.

  8. Your post and all of these comments express what I feel too. I started out blogging NOT intending my site to be a personal diary but it has become so (I guess, because of the blog software format, partially). Now, I am not sure if I should start a second blog to fulfill what I intentionally wanted to do or not? Like you, I can barely keep up with posting on one blog. And like dineometerdeb says, it’s really disheartening that the posts you work the hardest on, seem to be the least appreciated and the ones you throw together, readers seem to adore. It is a learning experience, and I guess that’s why I keep plugging away at it.

  9. I’ve found myself in this place too. I dealt with it by cutting back some. I haven’t lost any readers by doing so, on the contrary. Don’t know if this will always be the case but at this point in time, I blog when I feel like it and when it doesn’t interfere with my family time for the most part. Blogging is supposed to be fun not a chore. At least, that is the way I viewed it when I started blogging and that is the perspective I am trying to maintain even now.

  10. I started my blog off as a personal diary for my counselling diploma course, it has now evolved into a scary creative monster. I still see it as my personal diary to some extent, but not sure where it will go next. I do know that if I am not having fun writing something, I don’t do it.Hopefully you still having fun writing? I love fish stick tales 🙂

  11. I think all our blogs change from what we originally indented. I’m right there with you, except in reverse. I started out as a personal journal, with the intent to improve my writing, and maybe post a few fiction stories here and there. My readers now want me to start a book or something. At first this was intimidating, but then I just kept doing what I have been, and it seems to work out. Most important, HAVE FUN!

  12. Very well stated. I realized I was spending so much time getting widgets, new themes, learning about sez who and entrecard and marketing that I forgot what I set out to do… write! oops.It’s a continual balance between writing and maintaining and, you know, maintaining a life! You seem to be doing it! with style! I found you via entre card too. will definitely be back…

  13. I to have been through some of the samr trials and got to the poin that I wondered if was worthwhile..it was then I realised that I write for me what is going on inside..if it’s long or short and nobody reads it or thousands do isn’t the point ..I write because that is what I do..

  14. That old boyfriend is right. I was going through a period on my blog where I wasn’t writing because I couldn’t think of anything to write (anything good any way) but you can’t be to hard on your self. Any real writer has been there. We all want to create a masterpiece everytime we write so keep writing and thinking and eventually something will come to you. Browse blogs to get inspiration and definitely read books. Have a good one.

  15. Your old boyfriend is right. Every writer writes. And every writer has been there every time we sit down with pen and paper or at the computer we expect to create a masterpiece but don’t beat yourself up to bad. I’m a new blogger and I expected myself to bring the top notch stuff out but I know my limits and as humans that’s what we need to do. So don’t worry and keep blogging and if you have to, take a break for a while, it will come back. Read some and it will come, ‘Good things come to those who wait.’

  16. I see most of your commentators agree, that the purpose of writing is fulfilled from within. I can relate to both your dilemma and that statement. Bringing what is within out is the stuff magic is made of, so to speak. Tapping into it will give focus, purpose, interaction and life to your blog, most of which you already have.

  17. Some of my favorite blogs are short, simple (what I did today w/pics attached, etc.) b/c it is nice, simple, and fun. I wouldn’t worry about living up to anyone’s expectations… a blog is FUN 🙂

  18. Some of my favorite blogs are short, simple (what I did today w/pics attached, etc.) b/c it is nice, simple, and fun. I wouldn’t worry about living up to anyone’s expectations… a blog is FUN 🙂

  19. Gosh you guys . .. I hadn’t even peeked in a few days and I come back and it’s like comments a go go!THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH . . . I’m actually a bit teary-eyed (the sentimental slob in me is coming out in high style, apparently) because you all definitely do get it.I ended a post a few months ago with the quote from Elizabeth Zimmerman, the wonderful knitting diva who used to end her correspondence (remember the days when people wrote LETTERS????) – with “ONWARD!”So, too, I say to everybody who sits before the wonderful and fearful blank page and comments on blogs and just keeps showing up . . .ONWARD!Warmly,~Laura

  20. I agree that you should blog about what you want and don’t worry if it changes directions every now and again…..this is a great time in your life.

  21. Clearly you aren’t alone. I don’t know what I wanted when I started out, and after messing around a bit found that I needed two blogs — one for only food. It’s quite a bit of work, but I do enjoy it. I can write my way out of a paper bag, but should be doing so outside of blogging and am not. So now, blogging has become a deterrent. The unexpected outcome has been that I’ve learned things I never thought I’d be interested in, and met so many amazing people. Hang in there. It will work itself out.

  22. Nice post.. you’re right, but its also true that once you have a strong audience, you owe them a responsible, well baked write, or none at all! Its a tough choice we all bloggers have to make…

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