Posted in Of Bloggingly, Of Life's Dramedies

Of Blogging Withdrawal Symptoms

Peanuts - Linus making a case for his blanket to Charlie Brown Source: http://www.freditorials.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2011/12/happiness-is-a-warm-blanket-charlie-brown-poster.jpg
Peanuts – Linus making a case for his blanket to Charlie Brown
Source: http://www.freditorials.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2011/12/happiness-is-a-warm-blanket-charlie-brown-poster.jpg

I said I would take a break, but I did not know I meant it. My relationship with blogging is hardly like Linus and his blanket from Peanuts. Without the intention of patronizing Linus, whose relationship with his blanket  I fully support, my relationship with blogging is a little more complicated. I don’t participate in social media. I used to, in my teens and early twenties, but I got over it right before it became normalized to the extent of being a) not only for young people anymore and b) not only for fun anymore, even though the typical visualizations of both these ideas are still very much there in all of social media. You could probably have an app for people above the age of sixty that would be packaged in such a way that it will inevitably have a user base also comprising of a much younger age group. It’s sadder to think I’m not the one who has speculated this situation or that it has not probably happened; it has happened.

The reason I’m going on about social media is because blogging is all the social media-ing I do. And, after deciding to take a break from blogging at successfully completing NaBloPoMo, I’m having, kind of, low-level, withdrawal symptoms. It has only been two days, but I feel a sort of emptiness that I didn’t feel to this degree when I was a less frequent blogger. And it is not to do only with writing. I am writing actually, I am working on something else that has a deadline coming up soon. It has all the ingredients of what makes me a writer – anxiety over deadlines, writing something I’m passionate about, being dissatisfied with what I write. So, it isn’t straying out of my comfort zone. That is, it used to be my comfort zone until blogging came along and rewired my brain, also causing chaos in my circulatory system. Suddenly, this strange pattern of writing an approximately 800-word thing about whatever catches my fancy, editing it, adding a picture, publishing it and responding to its feedback became part of my life. Like a love affair, where everything else to is either a distraction or a resource for it. But, what makes my withdrawal symptoms worse is it’s making me question whether this love has only to do with ideas, observations and making my writing better, or whether a large and significant part of it has to do with the other relationships that are formed in social media – the strange ones you have with people you have never met.

The excitement that a writer feels towards his or her work is not a self-congratulatory pat in the back for how ingenious they think they are. It is having a story inside they were excited to tell which is finally out and which they wish to share with the world. Why? Because they want you to feel some of the excitement they themselves feel. Writers who say they don’t care about feedback only do so to protect themselves. It is true that the harder your circumstances are, where you have surprisingly managed to keep working hard in spite of it, the less likely you are to care what people think. Those who care what people think have the luxury to do so. It is excitement that is addictive in social media, not validation. Yes, many use social media to promote a self-image that they are half in love with, and need daily approval to fill the other half. But, for most people, whether they have a following of 2 or 2 million, it is simply the ability to share your excitement, your passion, your opinion about something that is important to you – whether it be silly or serious – and hopefully, important to them as well.

I have no idea what my small but lovely group of readers expect from my writing. I have no demographics, in practice or theory, that I can brainstorm about in my office – my laptop and me on my bed. My two-day withdrawal has shown me that, because I have become comfortable with blogging now to an extent (though the Linus and his blanket stage is far, far away), I actually want to give it more time, not less. I want to prioritize it more, try new things, make it better. I don’t want to intentionally take a break from it because, I want to make the most of it while it lasts. I hope you do too.

Author:

Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

12 thoughts on “Of Blogging Withdrawal Symptoms

  1. Reblogged this on galesmind and commented:
    I couldn’t shut it down. Couldn’t stop the ideas so here I am blogging away. Do I hope people like what I write? Oh hell yes but it is really the joy of writing sharing ideas. It is different than in social media where everything is in bits and bites and conversations it is more having a conversation with yourself and hoping someone will eaves drop. I enjoy your blog it makes me think. Let’s all make the most of it while it lasts.

    1. Thank you so much! My purpose here is to make people think, not impose my opinions on them, but rather encourage them to have their own. I love your idea of social media being a bits and bites conversation, while blogging being a conversation with yourself. I very much feel the same. That is why I’m no good with tweeting or facebook updates. I can’t communicate in bits and pieces. I only do long, digressive conversations. It’s wonderful to find people who feel the same.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. I can’t stand social media either, but I absolutely adore blogging, which is in itself a kind of social media for writers. Social media is a useful tool though, for getting more views for your blog, and it’s cool when a post is shared many times to social media and brings up your view count. Not all bloggers care about such things though. Twitter is fine for me, it lets me keep tabs on my son (who practically lives there), but I can’t stand Facebook anymore, with all its drama and it has become big brother. It’s become a pretty scary place. I don’t know too much about other social media.

    1. The Big Brother aspect is what scares me too, and what seems worse is that people, even though they are aware of it, still ignore it in lieu of the constant attention they get. We can’t deny it; our lives are online whether we like it or not. Our bank records and medical records. What would have been considered creepy 5 years ago of a new acquaintance to check out your Facebook page immediately after meeting you, is mandatory and accepted now. I am just highly suspicious of all this. I was a teenager when I started online social networking, but through my own bumpy ride on it, I pulled out of it before it got to where it has now. I have known a life outside it, can appreciate it and prefer it.
      I have also learned to tell people “no”. They think I’m a “dinosaur” when even a lot of work related contacts can also be made through social media. I understand that, and especially with writing, you need to have some sort of presence online to make it into a career. But, I will try my best to not let it get out of hand. I have a twitter account which I wish to “synergise” with my blog, but it is hard enough maintaining one platform for now.
      Thanks for reading! Hope you are having a nice day!

      1. You have to be very careful what you put on Facebook because potential employers and other authority figures use it now instead of doing background checks or IN ADDITION to those. There’s no privacy on social media, but FB is the worst. I still have my account, but rarely ever use it.

  3. I’ve been wondering a fair amount on a point which if not the same as yours, is still very similar to it. For reasons we don’t need to discuss here, I have no real-world social circle. Certainly odd, but not unique. I’m pretty certain there must be hundreds, maybe even thousands of people just like me in that regard. I honestly, at the age of 57, have 2 friends that I visit on occasion, and I could still easily count the times they have visited me at my residence. Since beginning my blog, I have, like yourself, built up a group of readers, possibly not as large as your own, who I already know I would miss terribly if I wasn’t dropping by their blogs at least once every couple days or so, and even more regularly with a few who write exceptionally well, I’m very partial to good writing. You also struck a nerve with me when you said that you want to write more, not less. I have had that exact feeling, and the group of Bloggers that I follow are even responsible for improving my writing because I find myself constantly endeavoring to write up to their standards. So basically, I agree with you, and I also plan to try and make the best of things for as long as the bloom remains on the rose. Thanks for a thought-provoking article.

    1. You’re welcome! I’m glad you found it useful.

      I don’t think the quantity or quality of friends necessarily tell something specific about a person. Our individual relationships with people in our lives differ so much from day to day. Friends I could talk to endlessly in person now prefer to WhatsApp. I still prefer in-person conversations, but I’m used to texting and chatting as well. Connecting with people I have not met, through blogging, is new to me. It is rather strange to put a piece of writing out, and then have people respond to it personally. I’ve been published in traditional media a few times, and I’m more used to that vague, incommunicable readership. Also, the people in my life NEVER read what I write, so I hardly ever get any personal responses. Therefore, the biggest reason why I value the strange relationships here is because they take the time to read what I have written, (when there are endless other things they could be doing on their computers instead) and even generously, tell me what they think. It is such a privilege to have these relationships, which are simply selfless acts of generosity, which you don’t often get from people in real life for things that matter the most to you.

  4. I agree so completely with you. I don’t do social media either. Sometimes I feel I ought to do Twitter, for the reader count thing. But I do Twitter as part of my work, so am wary of doing Twitter for my blog – too easy to tweet as the wrong persona! I have never joined Facebook, I’ve always found too intrusive, long before it became cool to close your Facebook account. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, and like you, am amazed at how much of my life it has become. More than this, I have grown as myself, becoming braver with what I share with the world. However, to me it is important that that I remain anonymous. I don’t have a large readership, and this works for me. It means I can connect more genuinely with followers who comment. I also have regulars whose blogs I also admire, and always hope to get a like from them 🙂

    1. I am anonymous in a way too. I have told a few people in my life about my blog, but nobody has bothered to check it out. It’s just that I’ve been writing all my life, so nobody finds it surprising that I have a blog. However, they don’t know what my content is, which is often sharing perspectives on Psychology from a personal angle. I find myself being braver, though cowardly at the same time. If I were a qualified Psychologist, then I could talk objectively. I have a minor in Psychology, and I keep up with research as much as I can, which means that I can base my opinions on things like anxiety and depression on a scientific ground. But, because my only subject for study is me, it does make me feel uncomfortable. At the same time, I don’t want to be dishonest either, because these are my opinions after all. I will never write confessionally, but I’m sure people in my life will see me in a completely different light if they ever bothered to read what I write here. And that does make me comfortable in my anonymity, because even if I share uncomfortable experiences, at least it might help someone who is reading it, which is more important.

      1. When I started my blog, I did it for a purpose, and thought this might become confessional, which is why anonymity was so important. I started writing the blog to find a way out of myself; so called it “Little Steps to Somewhere”. I think of myself as a functioning depressive, which brings its own discomfort in sharing, because it is insignificant in relation to those who have severe mental health issues. I’ve recently changed my tagline and “about” section because they are no longer so relevant to the content. In fact, I hardly ever write with my original intentions. Instead – after encouragement from a fellow blogger buddy – I posted some of my more conceptual artworks. I’ve also found myself returning to a passion of writing Haiku, then doing sketches to accompany them. The longer pieces I enjoy doing because they make me feel like a writer. My blog has become so many things to me, though probably too eclectic for a wide readership. I do shy away from deeper confessional writing, it doesn’t seem to fit. But writing with a bit of discomfort has become easier, and actually I find it affirming and helpful to reflect on these subjects.

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