01 December, 2007

The Perils of Being "Stuck" When it Comes to Blogging

I have decided to confess something. I'm posting this with some trepidation--after all, what person enjoys admitting their flaws and/or weaknesses?

I am stuck.

Specifically, I am stuck on what to blog about, and, to a larger extent, what to write about. There are a lot of things that piss me off, that anger me, that make me want to punch those responsible square in the face, but this is not the "What Pisses AnnaHam Off" blog. I could also take the opposite approach and blog about things that I am grateful for, or things that I love to do, but this isn't the "Happy Fun Glurgy Oprah-esque Reflection Time With AnnaHam" blog. Ideally, I would balance the two, but the fact is that [3-4, at most] people read this blog regularly, and in a way, I am still working out my "identity" as a blogger. Oftentimes, I find myself questioning whether or not I actually have the wherewithall or level of awesome-ness to blog at all. Is what I have to say interesting? Does it make people think, or question assumptions that they may have had before reading my posts? Do some who felt misunderstood, marginalized, or alone before feel at least a modicum better after reading something that I have written? I would hope that the answer to all of these questions is somewhat in the affirmative, but despite the mostly positive feedback that I do get, there will always be a wee voice in the back of my mind that constantly screeches NO!

This feeling is extending out into my academic life as well. I have no doubt that I'll be able to come out of being "stuck" with my academic work soon enough, as it is nearing the end of the term, and I almost always go through a phase where being stuck is part of the territory. I've been through it before, I know it's not the most fun thing to go through, and I know I will get through it, but, like any non-fatal human trial, it is hard to realize that you will survive--that you will get out of it--when you're mired in the thick, peanut-buttery consistence of it all. If I had to pick out one "positive" lesson that dealing with ongoing health problems--fibromyalgia and severe depression, specifically--has enlightened me to, it would be just that: I know I'll get through the worst of it, goddammit, but I sure as hell can't see that right now! [Sidenote: This also happens to be the only positive thing about my experiences with chronic health conditions, LOLZ.]

So, my question for EVERYONE who is reading this right now: How do YOU go about getting "unstuck," whether in your writing/blogging life, or in your personal life?

Also, it's World AIDS Day today. Just thought I should point that out.


Lindsay said...

It depends what it is i'm stuck on, for the most part.

If i'm doing some digital artwork and feeling stuck, i'll just start tossing stuff together and tinkering around. Sometimes i'll come up with something nifty, sometimes i won't; but i'll usually keep at it and something will eventually click.

If i'm stuck on writing... well, normally i don't really write unless there's something already on my mind. With this past month, where i wanted to write something every day, i tried to comb through my news feeds to see if there was something worth writing about.

If there's something you want to rant about, perhaps instead of ranting about it, explore why it is that particular thing upsets you. What is the psychology behind it? Do you have a negative history with that particular topic? What is the reason behind the negative reaction, and what sort of things can be learned from it?

This is stuff you prolly already know, i'm just tossing stuff around, see what happens. :)

vesta44 said...

I have had the same problem with my blogging. I don't think I'm all that great as a writer (I'm no Kate Harding, or fillyjonk or sweetmachine, either), but I know I have something to say about a lot of the stuff I read online and in magazines and newspapers, and what I see on tv. Sometimes I don't blog about it because someone else has expressed an opinion so much better than I could, so all I can do is comment and say "what you said". Other times, I'll go ahead and blog because I have a different view and I want others' opinions. I have about 65 blogs that I check on, some daily, some a couple of times a week, and I get ideas from them as well as my google alerts.
I've always been a wordy person, though. Before the days of email, when I was writing letters to keep in touch with people, they always said I didn't write letters, I wrote books. And I tend to be guilty of that even with emails (and comments, as you can see).

Rachel said...

When I first started my blog, I didn't think anyone else would find what I had to say even remotely interested. I've been pleasantly surprised; I have nearly 2,000 unique visitors a day now to my blog.

I try to write about things that I don't see being addressed, whether by other blogs or by the larger media. I'm a news junkie anyway, so when I comb through the news each day, I keep a mindful eye towards stories that fit the theme of the issues I write about on my blog. If a story has already been written about, I try to find a different angle or perspective to consider when I write about it.

I try to break up my blog entries with a mix of short and longer posts. Long posts are very time-consuming and draining; short posts are easier for both the author and the viewer to read and digest. I also try to incorporate a mix of light-hearted and serious stories to prevent burnout.

Elaine Vigneault said...

I have a couple methods I use to break out of blogger's block. Here they are:

1. I read other blogs. If I feel compelled to comment, that's usually the beginning of a blog article on the same subject.

2. I just start writing. Anything, just start. Something will come and lead me towards a good blog post. Sure, half the stuff I write is crap, but some of it is really good. My aim is to increase the ratio of good to bad.

3. I use memes and blog questions to get started. Someone asks a question somewhere, and I answer it, and that's a blog post, bang!

There really is TOO MUCH to write about, so don't beat yourself up if you don't feel up to the task of writing about this or that injustice or this or that protest or this or that issue... just write about what you feel like writing about. You can always start other blogs for particular subjects later if you want. Or you can contribute to group blogs.

But ultimately, the more you write, the better you write. You have to toss in some editing here and there and some reading too, but the basic principle is: good writers write a lot. So, just force yourself to write sometimes until it comes naturally.

Hugo Schwyzer said...

Elaine's suggestions are particularly good, and Lindsay's remark about exploring the issue itself is right on. I mean, look at this post itself -- it's attracting discussion and provoking thought, even as it's also about being unable to do so. If there's a problem that's keeping you from blogging, then blog the problem.

geo said...

My sense, which I don't think disagrees with others who've responded already, is that you need to look at yourself and try to figure out what's happening within you.

Silence and reflection are fine. Getting stuck in depression or similar isn't so simple or easy.

Your blog is for you - and is a part of you. You describe parts of what it may reflect in your posting.

It is a chance to be heard by a few of us at least. It's a chance to share what you choose to share. It's a chance to explore and/or take risks if you want to or ask for advice or whatever you make of it.

It's not a place where you have to thrill us or draw us in or do anything else for us.

It's also of course a place to seek a lack of feeling alone, though when no one responds or the responses aren't what we may hope for, it's tough.

You are a nice, caring person! Hopefully you'll figure out what gives for you now - so that your schoolwork and life can move along whatever path you find that works for you.

Good Luck!