Why Are We Here?

Lately, I’ve been feeling like my head is spinning.

In realizing what I’ve realized about selfishness, and looking for assurance and approval from the wrong places, I’ve been rethinking the time that I spend online.

What am I doing here?

I’ve developed a tight-knit group of friends, in the other bloggers I have been corresponding with. And yet, I’ve noticed that I have been relying on many of these friends to provide me with a sense of worth. I’ve spent far more time involved with the online blogging community, because it is a place where I feel safe and accepted.

Safety and acceptance were not going to happen, in my old situation. I needed the escape, and I desperately needed the support. I needed help getting on the right path.

But now, clinging to the old ways is preventing me from jumping out there and embracing my new reality. I spend time online, rather than interacting with the people around me. The online community has become my primary reality.

When I am experiencing life in the “real world,” I am thinking about how I will write about it, whom I will e-mail about it, and whether it will make a nice blog post. I am experiencing everything with a reality show-style narrative running through my head.

Being online is not even a “guilty pleasure.” It’s a crutch and an escape that I have outgrown. In the way that I used to use it, it no longer serves me well.

So why AM I here?

I tell myself that I am here to establish writing as an income source, so that I will have that when we leave port. In order to do that, I have been working very hard, spending many hours, trying to increase my readership here. I have become involved in social networking once again, and most of my evenings are spent in front of the computer.

I have found, that this new goal has made writing less rewarding for me. I am not enjoying the blogging community, in the way that I used to. I’ve found that it has become very high-pressure, and my mind is feeling cluttered. I find that I visit many blogs, but there are so many, that I don’t have time to actually read them all. I skim through the posts, so that I can leave my all-important comment (and linK!!!).

But I do it, because I want to be successful self-publishing. I need to get readership up, so that more people will actually buy my book.

In other words, I was in the process of selling out.

It’s time to refocus on my purpose, and my ideals. I am writing the book to share, and we’ll see if anyone finds it. I do not want to waste any more of my life, in front of the computer screen. If I am spending time here, I will be doing things that matter.

I will become even more of an e-mail slacker, touching base with my friends once a week, unless there is something more pressing. I will visit only the blogs I love, once a week. And I will post once a week, because I don’t think that you should visit a blog more often than that.

My page rank and Alexa score will go down. I will not be linked to from any of the larger blogs.

I will hide my stats, because I am not here for stats. I will quit all social networking sites (again).

I am here to learn from and share ideas with all of you. And I will continue to do that. I’m just getting rid of all the clutter.

Because, folks, there is a real world out there. It’s time to stop saying that we should spend less time online. It’s time to do it.

Look at the community we’ve created here. Look at all the great things you’ve done on your blogs. What if we brought that kind of love, that kind of unconditional support, and that kind of creativity out into our communities?

It’s time to go out there and change the world.

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32 thoughts on “Why Are We Here?

  1. Hi Bethany! I’m definitely in support of your “slow down” and a return to blogging fun. It’s so easy for all of us to get sucked into the busy-ness aspect of blogging so it’s critical that we pause every now and then and ask the questions “Why Are We Here?” I’ve wondered for a while how you’ve managed to work, raise a child and write blog posts several times a week. I find that if I write one post that says something I find important once a week that’s enough for me…oh, and then Thom posts one of his photo/quotes once a week and that’s enough to keep me happy and stay writing.

    You also might be surprised to find out that your readership grows by not flooding their email boxes with tons of posts each week. Not everyone wants more than that–that’s why I usually manage my subscriptions to only get a summary of posts once a week from those I follow.

    I also don’t expect to hear from my blogging friends every single week (and definitely not every single post) There are not enough hours in the day–and you described how difficult it is VERY WELL! Much better to wait until a post catches your eye AND interest and then make a thoughtful reply.

    Enjoy the time. Make writing fun again. And I’ll see you when I see you! πŸ™‚ ~Kathy

    • Yes, Kathy, it can be a matter of quality over quantity. I remember when I cut down to 2-3 posts a week, I found that I was thinking a lot more about what I was going to write, before I wrote it.

      I may end up doing one written post, and one pictorial post. I’ve been playing around with photography, and it’s been really good for me, when I make time for it.

  2. Totally, slow down! Take some time to get to know your new community. I’ve been working hard to balance the blogging/blogger friends with real friends, forcing myself to take time I sometimes feels I don’t really have, to see real people. Nice 2 hour long lunch with a friend today.

  3. Just when you finally get me to join social media you leave it. πŸ™‚ I am already overwhelmed by the response and feel pressured I don’t know how you did it. Definitely take the time off, I too don’t know how you did all the writing you did with everything else on your plate.

    • Last winter, I NEEDED to do the writing, as often as I did. It was this community that helped me keep my sanity. But winter is over, and it’s time for my writing, my friendships here, and my role within the blogging community to change. I need to get out there and enjoy this new life that I went through so much to create–keeping in mind and being grateful for all of you who helped me to get to the point where I could create such a life.

      • I definitely understand that. There were some days this summer that I came in late and the last thing I really wanted to do was write a post. I think it showed in my writing. I may need to change my schedule as well. I have already eliminated writing on most weekends, but maybe I need to cut back to only 3 days a week. I do know that I am overwhelmed trying to read everyone’s blogs and look forward to those that write less frequently. I wonder if others feel that way about the number of posts I write. Keep in touch when you have the time, no pressure.

  4. When I cut down to posting once a week, it simplified my life immensely and made me enjoy blogging again. It also made me more thoughtful about what I wanted to write about each week, instead of just trying to hit my own arbitrary deadlines. It’s always good to listen to your gut for what works and what doesn’t work for you. I’ve gotten better at it as I’ve gotten older, thankfully.

    Wishing you all the best as you steer through these waters.

  5. Wonderful post Bethany and one that I’m sure resonates with a lot of your readers. Taking a few steps back like Kathy mentions is a great way to reassess your priorities and overall satisfaction. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll still be dropping by no matter what πŸ™‚

    “I am experiencing everything with a reality show-style narrative running through my head.” – yes…but YOUR reality show is better scripted πŸ™‚

    Take care and best of luck no matter what you choose to do.

    Lyle

  6. It’s a conversation I think we’ve had before. I was ready to throw in the towel completely and I ONLY write once a week. You told me to keep going. I didn’t think I had anything left to say. I said the same thing to my son. He told me to write when I felt like it and it was fun. As far as looking at your life from a reality show perspective, “the unexamined life isn’t worth living”. Not sure who said that but most people just live the soap opera life. You are looking at yours as an observer. Pretty Zen and it reflects in the decisions you have made to keep altering your course to reach your chosen destination. How often you write is up to you. When it’s not fun, don’t do it. You have a lot to offer and touching one life (which you have) is worth it. I’ll keep reading no matter how few posts you put out. I have a hard time keeping up with the everyday posts. I’m way behind. So there is my two cents worth. Hugs M

    • Wow, thank you so much for that. I had never thought of it that way, but I guess I am looking at my life as a third party. I’ve only recently (over the winter) learned to look at my thoughts that way, and I guess it’s translated into everything. I’m glad that my journey has affected you in a positive way. We all have a lot to learn from each other.

      I hope I never reach my chosen destination. πŸ™‚

  7. I get what you’re saying, Bethany. I’ve been both places in the social media blogging world. I have to say I’m liking it better where I’m at now, same as you.

    I’m enjoying my life and family not pressuring myself to keep up with social media and writing. When I did, it was for all the wrong reasons anyway. Now, I love the connections I have and internet friends and think my writing is better for it too.

  8. Thank you for such an honest post. I have just started blogging so I’m not sure what to expect, and your post makes me wonder even more!
    I found your blog as Twitter had you as a ‘similar to me’ account! Good luck πŸ™‚

    • Blogging has kind of an evolution to it. I started out as Our So-Called Life, at blog.com, and my writing and focus were definitely very different then. Do a search for March 2011, and you’ll see how I started out!

  9. I am glad that you are finding clarity in your writing direction. I am also going through a similar evolution at the moment.

    • It’s been feast and famine. But I definitely am changing directions. Which is good, because writing about suffering means that I have to be suffering. And I’m happy to not be anymore.

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