Long time, no see, huh?
It’s been a while. And no one has felt that more sharply than me.
After I started my blogging job, a dear blogger friend of mine said that a lot of the time, when people start blogging for other sites, they neglect their own blogs. I made a solemn vow to myself that I’d never, ever let that happen.
And then it totally happened.
When I started blogging for money, I was all concerned that I wouldn’t hit my 5,000 hits per month quota. In February, my posts generated over 400,000 views and set a mom.me record. A few days later, I quit.
Why? Because I can’t fit it in my life anymore. Because I have been over-packing my days for way too long and it’s a foolish way to live. I’ve always struggled with this, but one would think that having twins would get me to slow down. Nope. In fact, I’m not sure my life has ever been fuller…and I’m not just talking about the kids. I mean the stuff outside of parenting.
The other day, a loooongtime friend of mine told me that she was listening to a sermon series on “margin.” She said, “it’s in the margin that God can speak to us and we can heal from the busyness and stress.”
That word made me want to cry because it pointed out just how destructive and injurious busyness can be. My overcommitted life has been wounding me. And probably my husband, children, family and friends.
I haven’t listened to the sermon series yet, so maybe I’m just repeating the stuff that the preacher says here, but the very first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the word “margin” is reading. When I was in high school, I always read with a pen and marked up my books like crazy. Even novels. Something I read would spark an idea in my mind, and all of a sudden, I was journaling my silly observations next to the writer’s poems or prose.
Even now, though I mostly stick to underlining and starring, writing without a pen in my hand feels like panning for gold without…well, the pan.
The margin is where the insight shows up. Where the noticing happens. Where God speaks. The margin is where we make meaning. Where we make sure we don’t miss the beauty, the lessons, the gifts.
So for me, living a life where the words pack the page from edge to edge…isn’t really living.
Was it hard to quit my job with mom.me? Not really. The thing that I loved most about being a contributor was that when people asked me what I did for work, I could tell them that I wrote for money. I was a real writer. Studying writing in college, our professors made it very clear that few of us would ever actually make money by writing. And because I didn’t exactly look like the other writing students – not as quirky or creative – I definitely didn’t expect to be one of the lucky ones who ever got a gig. So letting go of that hurt…but only a little.
The other thing that made it pretty easy to quit? Well, I’m just sort of sick of the mom conversation. It’s too much. And it seems to be getting weirder and weirder all the time because we mom bloggers get desperate for material. The over-thinking is exhausting. And those mommy wars that we all hope our posts will end once and for all? I fear it just fuels them.
My last post for mom.me, one that I actually wrote after I quit, got such scathing comments that it left me with a pit in my stomach for a day and a half. It’s strange what unkind words from people I will never meet can do to my heart. It only served as confirmation that although I do write about motherhood a lot, I don’t want it to define my writing.
Don't get me wrong. I love sharing ideas and sparking conversations. I’m passionate about mothering, about my children, about encouraging other women. I'm passionate about words. But sometimes even good and true words can just add to the noise.
I don't want to be noisy.
The other day, I watched a TED talkby Monica Lewinsky. It's absolutely excellent and so worth your time. My favorite part is toward the very end when she states that we need to "acknowledge the difference between speaking up with intention and speaking up for attention."
A friend recently told me that I'm one of the most intentional people she knows. And coming from her, that means a lot because she's one of the most intentional people I know.
Sometimes that means that we spend ten minutes talking about whether we should talk about something. But for the most part, intentionality brings with it all kinds of good things, so I want to grow that in myself, especially in regards to how I use my time and how I use this space.
I don’t want to blog just to blog, just to stick something in a corner of the internet so I can watch it generate clicks until it becomes totally irrelevant…the next day. I want to write with intentionality and purpose. And for me, that’s really hard to do on someone else’s site, someone else’s deadline and someone else’s dollar.
And it’s especially hard when I can’t talk about Jesus. I run out of inspiration real quick when He can’t be part of the story.
And who deserves my intentionality more than He does? Well…nobody.
One of my pet peeves? Blogging about blogging. Another one of my pet peeves? Posts that lack anything really tangible for the reader to hold onto. So I guess that makes two more solemn vows, broken.
But I wanted you to know where I’m at.
So here I am.