Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Brief Blogging Hiatus

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" —Eleanor Roosevelt
What was I thinking, taking a whole 3 months to write another blog entry? I thought I'd been convincing enough a year ago that good writers must write on a regular basis. Now I seem to be going back on my commitment... and I've been inconsistent for some time now. What happened?

Clearly, I've been on a blogging hiatus of sorts. Unintentional? Yes. Justified? Perhaps. 

You (and I) could see this as a post dedicated to making excuses for myself, and perhaps that's marginally true. Yet I'm choosing to view it in a lens of reality—that life is messy, and day-to-day plans don't always turn out as you want. Sometimes, that's okay. Sometimes it lets you focus on things that are important in that period of time. So, what have I been up to lately?


"Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored." 
—Earl Nightingale
Whatever writing aspirations I have, I have sacrificed them on occasion in light of giving necessary attention to some very important people in my life. And sometimes, I take time away from writing to better take care of myself. Because sometimes I need to regroup.

It's not that I get nothing done, or that I hit writers block and don't have the courage to push through it. Rather, I believe that people are more important. My summer's been a roller coaster of highs and lows, and I'm sure others can relate to similar situations. Only this time around, I sacrificed some of my writing time to help me take care of myselfand better culture my relationships with family and friends. While it was difficult knowing that I wanted to write productively but couldn't (for various reasons), I believe it was the right decision for me.

This also doesn't mean that I'm going to make a habit of making 'writer's block' some kind of excuse every time my personal life takes a drastic upward or downward turn. Absolutely not. Yet I'm recognizing that for this summer, taking the extra time was something I needed to do.

One more thing: a huge thanks to a dear friend of mine, Vivienne. She's halfway around the world, and we haven't seen each other in a few years now... but she's such an inspiration to me. Whenever I need a word of encouragement, even when I don't realize I need it—she's there to provide it. 谢谢!

"I think it's important to get your surroundings as well as yourself into a positive state—meaning surround yourself with positive people, not the kind who are negative and jealous of everything you do." 
—Heidi Klum

"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading."
—William Styron
In the meantime, I'd like to give some credit to my subconscious; it looks like I dove into a summer reading spree! 

I can't say I'm disappointed at all. I've been craving some good books to read, and not solely for pleasure. I realized back in June that I had a tendency to pick up books that speak from 1st person point of view. This isn't 'bad' by any means, but for my personal writing purposes, it wasn't entirely helpful either. The long writing project I've been working on is written from 3rd person limited. Yet the more I read of 1st person heroes and heroines, the more my writing style tried to emulate that position. After a while, it just doesn't work. Sure, there are instances of personal thoughts sprinkled throughout my project, but my writing doesn't derive solely from the eyes of one character... and that creates a significant change in how a story is told.

Not only did I seek out 'new' books written in 3rd person ('new' to me that is, instead of rereading some of my regular favorites), but I also devoted more time to reading in general this summer. Turns out, the 'brain break' transition from lots of writing to lots of reading was exactly what I needed. I have ideas springing up from my mind on a regular basis, instead of me feeling like I must dig furlongs deep just to find one good one. 

I can't forget a huge source of inspiration I discovered over this spring and summer. A lot of credit goes to Write Club for my renewed enthusiasm. Friday Night Writes is a group of writers from around the world (primarily the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK) who connect through Twitter via @FriNightWrites and #writeclub. Every Friday night they conduct 30 minute writing sprints with 10-15 minute breaks in between, and anyone can jump in! During the break, all writers tweet their word count for that sprint, using #writeclub so that Friday Night Writes can keep track of the statistics. The whole point is to get writers motivated to really write, even if what's typed or written longhand doesn't seem totally worthwhile at the time. It's truly the biggest, best support group of writers I have ever encountered—and most of us have never met in person. To see the talent that emerges from every single participant... it's an awe-some and truly humbling experience. Plus, it gives procrastinators (like myself) a good kick in the behind to get some solid writing accomplished.
"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." 
—Benjamin Franklin

Needless to say... my blogging hiatus is over. After all, creating a story, writing an article, or recording an experience needs to be meaningful—otherwise, why bother reading it? So I'll keep writing, and I'll make it worthwhile.

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." Leonardo da Vinci