Somehow, I stumbled and fell into a bloggy black hole recently. The kids' school vacation + a solo trip away for me to attend a friend's wedding + a painting job that had to get finished + everybody getting the stomach flu added up to my whole routine getting turned upside down for a couple of weeks. On the one hand, I feel guilty about this, like: crap now I'm behind! Why is the blog always the first thing to be sacrificed when I get busy? How will I ever make this blog how I want it to be if I don't take it more seriously?? And then on the other hand I think: this blog is for myself - no one else determines its schedule but me, and I do not have to show up here as anything other than who and what I am. But that sure is a tough one to remember. If I say I'm going to do something, even if I only say it to myself, it can move straight from joy to obligation faster than you can say "own worst enemy." Once obligation's in the mix, the vicious cycle starts. I want to gets confused with I have to. If it's just because I have to then it doesn't feel authentic. How do I show up as who and what I am unauthentically? But the longer I go without doing it, the harder it is to start again. So then I REALLY have to. Rinse. Repeat. You know the drill.
I've been thinking a lot lately about an idea I've seen rolling around the interwebs, that of slow blogging. As with slow food or slow parenting, the basic premise is that if we could decrease the pace at which we blog, it would have more meaning for us and we would enjoy it more. To me, this doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't be posting every day--it means you shouldn't feel you have to. It's easy to get caught in the mindset that we must constantly be consuming, responding to, and creating blog content in order to stay relevent. Just being in the swirl of that way of thinking is exhausting, whether you're actually accomplishing it or not! And honestly, the blogs I love best are the ones that march to their own drummer and do their own thing. I don't read people's sites to stay abreast of the latest trends, I read them for each blogger's unique perspective, whether they're writing about politics or parenting, food or fashion. I don't want new and different all the time, I want something that feels real and that offers me a little relief from the dogmatic conclusions my brain comes to about How Things Are when it is left unchallenged. And if I value substance and authenticity over speed and constant content in other sites, then shouldn't I likewise value those qualities in my own site?
So yes, this recent blog break was unintentional, and there is a lot I now want to catch up on, but I am trying to remember that it's all okay. Life was not interfering the past few weeks, it was just... being lived. Fully. Loaded with spilled paint and long plane rides and rubbing my children's backs while they puked, and with parties and new books and drinking in the presence of friends I hardly ever get to see. Just because all that living wasn't documented and commented on True North doesn't take away from the fact that it was real and preciously mine, nor does it mean I have wasted the chance to ever mention any of it here. I believe wholeheartedly that it is never too late to reclaim your creative life, and I need to extend that same belief to blogging. It's never too late to post what you want, and your work may actually end up richer for the wait.
If you're interested in reading more about slow blogging, these are the posts that have given me the most to think about:
The Slow Web (Jack Cheng)
Manifesto (Slow Blog)
Begin Again, Blog it Slower (Wise Craft)
The Rebirth of Slow Blogging and a New Direction (Design for Mankind)
If you blog, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this... And if you don't, I'd love to hear your thoughts too! However we choose to spend our time and energy, I think we're all affected by the cultural premium placed on speed. Do you love the convenience of more, faster? Or does it leave you feeling like you're clutching the safety bar on the Tilt-A-Whirl crying, "stop, I want to get off"? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.