Breaking the Silence

I’m not sure whether I should write this as an explanation or an apology. Functionally, I suppose, the difference between the two is mainly a matter of tone and inflection, both of which can be hard to convey in text. Perhaps I’ll just let the reader decide how they would like to categorize this post.

It’s been a while — a month and a half, to be specific — since the last post on this blog, which began rather similarly to this one and was written on similar premises. I’m not a fan of repeating myself, though, so I won’t.

Typically, the first guideline to making any sort of online content is to establish a consistent schedule and hold yourself to it. This creates predictability, ensuring that anyone looking for your content knows when it will be available, as well as accountability, making it very clear when you have fallen behind.

That’s what I aimed to do with the weekly posts. I started that schedule during the summer, when my workdays were fairly well-defined and self-contained. I knew more or less exactly how much free time I would have for any given week, and how much of it I could spend making a blog post.

I quite liked that system, actually, because it allowed me to spend a decent amount of time researching and drafting a post before I had to publish the finished product. I’m not writing just for the sake of feeling my fingers on the keyboard, after all; I enjoy learning and thinking about a topic myself, and I think many of my posts during the summer reflect this. They were fun to write because they were deliberate and careful.

However, I was quickly reminded that my blog is not the only thing in my life — nor is it the most important. After classes resumed in September and my obligations began to pile up, my free time became much less predictable, consistent, and defined. I couldn’t put as much time and effort into my posts, and I think the quality of the content suffered for it.

As my free time grew ever more limited, I ended up publishing posts that I thought were unpolished, unsatisfactory, or even unfinished, and I stopped enjoying the process. It became a chore, another assignment that I had to finish for every Monday.

So when things got even more stressful and I found myself having to stop making posts for a while, it felt like somewhat of a relief. I was glad to set the blog aside because I wasn’t happy with how it was going. Even after exams, when most of my sources of stress were effectively gone, I didn’t write any new posts. It just felt so much easier not to, particularly since it had become associated with that dissatisfaction and anxiety.

There’s a YouTuber I watch every now and then, thatzak, who recently resurfaced after posting only one video in the preceding 18 months. The video in question, which can be found here, arrived with no pomp and circumstance, no triumphant fanfare, and really nothing more than a blip in my subscription feed. In it, Zach offered (at least in my opinion) a rather insightful and mature examination of why he started making videos, why he stopped making videos, and why he’s starting again.

I found the whole video to be very interesting, but there’s one line about five minutes in that really jumps out at me: “I don’t have to create now, but I want to.”

I want to create. I want to explore issues and write about them. I want to get back to the way it felt during the summer, when I could take the time necessary to make something I was proud of.

I don’t want writing to become a chore, or an obligation, or a source of stress.

I’m going to write again. I still have a lot of ideas bouncing around, after all. But I’m not going to rush it or force myself to do anything. There’ll be some tinkering involved with this — maybe I’ll end up making a post every two weeks, or maybe just whenever I feel like it — but I will write again.

Until then, this is a reminder (to myself as much as anyone) that silence is okay. Sometimes, it just means you need to take some time to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it.

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