Monday, July 02, 2007

Dealing with a Dangerous Dependency

When I woke up this morning, today’s post was going to be titled “Taking a Necessary Break from Blogging.” After posting most every day for the past 2-1/2 years, I am feeling the need to reassess the role of my computer in my current newly defined life.

During these past years I have watched my Blog go from zero comments for months at a stretch to having a faithful following who check in on a regular basis and often let me know what they think. My ego soared recently when my cell phone rant was picked up by DC Blogs, Wonkette, and Express all in the same day. That resulted in close to 1,000 hits for me in one day (not spectacular in comparison to Blogger greats like Velvet and DC Cookie and Rhinestone Cowgirl) and then it was back to my regulars who number far fewer.

So what happened that makes me wonder about filling my time with Blogging and e-mail? Several things:

– I have realized just how much time I’m spending writing every day, reading other Blogs, and exchanging e-mail with a lot of people.
– Contrary to the old days when I was lucky to check my home e-mail twice a week, I now seem to be turning to my computer for conversation on a regular basis throughout the day, running upstairs when I come home from wherever to see if I’ve heard from “my people”.
– Lately I’ve been short on good ideas for posts, usually a sign of slight depression for me.
– I gave my Blog address to some trusted friends from my old office and never got an acknowledgment. Did they ever look at it? Did they brand me as some sort of a lunatic?
– A comment I made to a dear friend was totally misinterpreted, making me question this means of communication.

All of these reasons were my impetus to just take a break – put everyone on notice and shut down my computer for a while.

But then I went to meditation this morning and a couple of things happened that I was longing to share with someone. I realized I wasn’t quite ready to quit writing altogether. So instead, here’s how it’s going to go for a while at least:

– I will write when I have something worth saying, probably not daily. I welcome comments, but can’t commit to reciprocating for now because...
– I will take a break from reading all other Blogs.
– I will look at e-mail twice a day, in the early morning and before I go to bed. I will definitely respond to all e-mail messages, so feel free to write to me.

Although I will sorely miss reading about the interesting lives of my Blogger friends, I feel I simply must try this new approach so I can balance my time between family and the rest of the world a little better.

If you’ve experienced this conflict, please let me know how you dealt with it.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I hope to tell you about walking meditation and my new flute. Many thanks to my friend Gordon for recharging my creative juices!


Blogger Kristin said...

I write daily because, well, I like writing. I believe I'm doing it for me but at times I've slipped into questioning whether others liked it or why they haven't commented, forgetting the point of it all.

I write so many things that I don't post and don't write things I could. I have an entire life outside of the blog. We all do, right? Or we should. Being online all the time probably isn't healthy.

I look forward to reading whatever you write, whenever you post it.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Jamy said...

You are one of my favorite reads, and I read over a hundred blogs (I am also addicted!). I like your blog because you are in a totally different stage of life than most bloggers, you are a good writer and I enjoy your perspective.

Because I read so many blogs, I don't comment often--but rest assured I'll be reading you indefinitely, so I hope you'll continue writing regularly, even if that doesn't mean every day.

I have thought about taking a break--and I seem to take quite a few short ones these days--but I can't imagine giving it up. At least not yet.

12:16 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

Change is good. And, as your cell phone post revealed, technology can be addictive, and sometimes it's good to step back from the brink.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin, Jamy, and Matt -- Thanks for the words of support. I'm hopeful this will all work out and my life will once again be in equilibrium. I may just have to break my own rules and once a week sneak over to Blogs like your that I have so enjoyed reading.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

I'm stuck in what I think is a related problem. Relationships in my real life (which I try to keep separate from my blog -- mine's not meant to be an accurate diary but rather a way of instilling a discipline in/of my writing) have developed a sense of conflict with the relationships I've formed through my blog.
I have appreciated being able to keep up with you through your writing, and look forward to discovering new, or old (I do still prefer using a pen) ways to keep in touch.

A free hint: lashing yourself to the mast has always worked for me in the past.

10:24 PM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

Getting the balance is always challenging ...

I will keep visiting because I enjoy reading your posts.....

Are you ready to take responsibility for depriving me of this pleasure?

And yes I know, we can't be responsible for others people's happiness but .........

5:39 AM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Barbie- First, I must say that I have always been impressed with how you manage to find something interesting and thoughtful to say every day.... I struggle to find something I think would be worth reading even twice a week..
I sit at my computer, read other blogs (though not ALWAYS commenting) and still have nothing to write about most days.

I always enjoy your thoughts and ruminations- but I totally understand not making it a daily affair. It does just take too much time sometimes.

I often chastise myself for using the computer too much, and vow to move away from it more frequently. Usually that just imvolves running upstairs to get a glass of wine, then running back down here to see what I've missed...sigh!!

O.K.- I'm going for a walk, really, I am!!
Plus, do you need anything at the grocery store? I might even do that today.

11:27 AM  
Blogger steve said...

It was either you or Ol lady that graced me with my first comment, and you are the first one to really seem like a friend even though we are worlds when I tell you that I'll miss you it doesn't mean I don't want you to go, just that I wish you didn't have to!

6:02 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I understand totally! I've often wondered how you've kept it up daily without feeling pressure. You are very driven so you might have seen it as something you had to achieve. Now, in retirement mode, you can see that you don't have to constantly achieve or rise to meet anyone's expectations.

I have a lot of health issues and I often don't have the time or energy juice to post. I could never do it daily and I certainly can't keep up with reading all those I'd like to. Personally, I find you get more comments when you just blog a few times a week since most don't get to read all of them if you do a daily so they'll just comment on the one you post when they visit. I always comment late on yours because they come out faster than I can read them! Then, there's the time difference too.

Do it when you REALLY WANT to and then you'll be more into it. We all blog for different reasons. And you have to know that what you do daily with the people in your life is more important than blogger friends.
That sounds terrible but I know that Steve's,Old Lady's, or your life, would not suffer hugely if I stopped blogging totally. I love the response I get and the feeling of friendship from the bloggers I's really unique..but you have to balance it in your life so that it pleases you.

(Hope that came out alright and didn't offend anyone!)

7:23 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Write when you want to, read when you can, comment if you're so moved - it's all part of living, these connections and the ones outside the computer. I write at work (I'm a publicist for a non-profit during the summer and a teacher the rest of the year). I don't post every day - I don't want this to be a pressure thing. But blogging is a great source of both challenge and reward.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Ulysses -- I'm not sure I understand the conflicting characters. And I need to know more about lashing oneself to a mast -- is that like wearing pebbles in your shoes for penance? Sometimes I am just a little slow on the uptake.

Rise, Gewels, MOI, Pauline -- Writing and not reading the last few days has been like having a one-way conversation. I feel like I am in mourning for a now-departed friend. I'm pretty sure I will ultimately have to reach out to others and catch up with their lives. It just feels unnatural otherwise. But for now I am just exploring, learning about what makes me happy. That's one of the reasons I started writing initially.

Steve -- Obviously I am not throwing in the towel, simply becoming a bit of a hermit. It'a all about seeking a necessary balance to my life.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Blogging is nice, but it needs to be balanced with other aspects of your life. If you are computer-bound, then checking e-mails, and surreptitiously inspecting blogs is a lot easier than when you are out bicycling all day (of course, this could be remedied by using a cell phone or blackberry or some other portable e-device to stay on top of things - but I think that would be excessive).

9:52 AM  

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