Monday, January 30, 2012

How Taking A Blog Break Has Helped Me.

I've been blogging at Lady Mama for about four years with the exception of the break I took last year, when I decided to go do something different for a few months. The different thing was good for a while even though in the end it wasn't exactly right for me. But the best thing about doing something different - about taking a break from this blog - was the new perspective it gave me about blogging: a perspective I think I might not have otherwise have found. When I came back to Lady Mama it was like all the old things I'd worried about didn't matter anymore.

For instance:

I like to write opinionated posts, but occasionally I'd press the publish button and for a few moments afterward feel sick, worried I might offend or upset someone. Taking a break helped me understand that (so long as you're not going out there with the intention of hurting or offending) there's nothing wrong with expressing an opinion, that in fact it's a good thing where blogging is concerned.

I used to fret about how many comments I was getting. If I had less than ten comments on a post I'd wonder if there was something wrong with what I'd written. I needed validation. Now I know that number of comments have no connection with the quality or value of a post. I've seen all kinds of scenarios on other blogs: There are really excellent posts with just one or two comments and mediocre ones with dozens. There are hugely popular bloggers who continuously get just a few comments and less popular bloggers who get tons. And vice versa.

All writing is still important if it's important to the person who wrote it. 

But I think the biggest thing I learned during my break from Lady Mama last year is the impact other blogs have had on my life. As well as connecting with some wonderful people I've found huge comfort in other people's writing. I've read posts that made me exhale with relief knowing someone else had been through something I'd been through thus removing the loneliness of parenting; I've read posts that opened my eyes to things I didn't previously understand; I've read posts that have changed the way I think about the way people parent; I've read posts that have resonated with me so strongly that I've wanted to reach out to the blogger and yell "YES! YES! YES!" (in more of a you-totally-get-me! way than a When Harry Met Sally way!).

It's the authenticity of the writing in blogs that brings comradeship to people everywhere - in my case with other parents. I would go so far as to say that people's stories and experiences have, in some ways actually helped me to be a better parent.

I learn so much from other people.

I've said it before but I love reading blogs more than I love reading magazines - and I love magazines. And sometimes now when I do read them, I find myself cringing at the artificiality of it all.

The one other thing I learned from taking a break is that, although I prefer to every post to have a goal and a structured beginning, middle and end, it doesn't always happen, and that's okay. Parenting blogs are not software blogs: we're writing from the heart about the things that happen to us and the things we think, and sometimes it's messy and convoluted. Like life.

And I just have to hope my readers made it through to the end of the post....

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the mombshell said...

Yes! All of it. (just back from a break)

Gabriella said...

Yes to all as well!!!

Daniela said...

Yes!!! And I'm so happy you are back :-D

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

That was beautifully expressed! For me, it's more about the person behind the blog than what they write although I enjoy what they write too. I come to visit my friends and I'm happy to read whatever they've written that day because it's like dropping by for a quick chat. It keeps the friendship going, and I love that. :)

MercyMathews said...

I'm new to blogging and so glad I've discovered so many wonderful blogs out there. I actually woke up early this morning so I could find a few new ones and put them on my daily reading list. Your posts are really great so I hope you won't take another break soon :)

LisaDay said...

Your posts always keep me reading.


Skwishee said...

Hello. :)
I first found you after you'd decided to take your break...Nice to see you again!

Slightly/Aubergine said...

Well put!