Not that I particularly expect anyone to notice, but I haven’t written a new blog post in almost a month.
And it feels great.
The pressure’s off. I’m not really sure why I ever felt pressure to blog—it’s not a rational thing. But I do know my own psychology enough to realize that I’m driven by the self-imposed pressure to continue doing things once I’ve started doing them. I used to feel my chest beginning to constrict and my breathing becoming faster if I saw a blog post date more than a week old. I wasn’t particularly concerned about what people would think—I was falling short of my own expectations. I didn’t like to see my blog with an old stamp on it, any more than I like coming home to a sink filled with dirty dishes. I had never made a promise to anyone about how often I would blog, but I felt that I was bound by an implicit law. If I owned a blog, I thought, it was my moral duty to keep it up to date with fresh content.
And then one day, I decided that enough was enough. I’m not sure what day that was, exactly. But I just decided that I was done pressuring myself to write at fixed intervals.
But, more importantly, there was another factor driving my decision to walk away from the keyboard: blogging was not moving me toward my goals. It was taking up valuable time that could have been put to better use doing practical things. Sure, it was fun. It’s fine as a hobby. But hobbies don’t deserve to get the same priority as business activities. Previously, I was treating blogging as if it were a business activity. No one has ever paid me a dime to write a blog post. But there were nights that I didn’t let myself go to bed until I had written a blog post.
What a perfect way to siphon the joy out of a hobby.
I recently read an excellent pictorial article about the differences between being a hobbyist photographer and starting a photography business. The exact same concept applies to writing. Now, don’t get me wrong. I never consciously thought that my blog was a “business.” I never expected checks to start arriving in the mailbox as a result of my blog posts, no matter how brilliant I thought they were. But I was acting out of habit, unconsciously and automatically. I would tell myself that I “have to” write a blog post. A hobby isn’t something you have to do. Right now, I don’t have to write this blog post. I’m writing it because I felt like writing it.
I do a lot of writing at work as a part of my job. But that kind writing is different. I do it whether I feel like it or not. I don’t always feel like it. However, that’s not a problem when you’re getting paid. My blog was in a third category. It was the worst of both worlds. It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t paying the bills. I was stressing over non-existent deadlines. Blogging wasn’t the least bit fun anymore. It was just an obligation. It was drudgery. It was another item on my to-do list that I resented doing.
No more. I refuse to profane my art form any longer.
When will I post on this blog again? Who knows. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. Maybe next year. Maybe never. But should I choose to post again, it will be because inspiration struck, not because I felt like I had to.