Frazzled But Not Fizzle-d

A couple of months ago, I wrote a Dear John letter.  This was a true Dear John letter in that it went to my friend and fellow blogger John Howell (author of the thriller My GRL), to tell him that I was bowing out of our Monday collaboration at the end of our first year.  My throat was so tight I could barely swallow when I hit the Send button, my eyes moist as I accepted the finality of that message.  I had been slowly turning down or turning off projects in an effort to slow myself down and gain more time to write.  This was the last project to let go, and it was the hardest to let go.

I’m not done with blogging.  But to John and a few others, I’ve mentioned feeling overwhelmed, at a chronic loss for time to get anything done.  I spend my days at work and at home, “satisficing,” that is, doing well enough and just enough to get through to the next day.  I don’t like living or working like that.  (Although at my day job, that is often standard operating procedure.)

I’ve been feeling frazzled (not to be confused with Fizzle, the delightful creature in Charles E. Yallowitz’s The Legends of Windemere series).  The word frazzled comes to me from a news article in The Seattle Times, “One Man’s Year Off Social Media.”  Last year, David Roberts, a staff writer at green magazine Grist.org, decided to go offline.  He explained:  “I think in tweets now.  My hands start twitching if I’m away from my phone for more than 30 seconds. I can’t even take a pee now without getting ‘bored.'”

Granted, my condition is nowhere near as serious as Roberts’ was, but the potential is there.  My loyalties were becoming divided:  loyalties between my self, my work colleagues, my online community were frequently in conflict.

After a year offline, David Roberts made these observations:  “How nice it is not to have an opinion about everything.  How dedicating himself to immediately beneficial real-world activities–even just washing dishes–feels more productive […].”

When I’ve gone offline for a vacation, I find I don’t miss the grid as much as I initially think I will.  It’s not that I don’t miss people.  My dearest blogging friends are always with me in my mind and in my heart, even when I don’t access their blogs.  I just don’t miss being tethered to my computer.

I ask for your patience and understanding.  I will be less active in the blogging community, but I won’t be gone.  If I Like your blog post but don’t comment, you can be sure that I actually read your post and did like it but I needed to move on.  Perhaps I simply didn’t have enough time to write a comment.  Or I was interrupted by a cat fight.

Let me share a secret, but you have to promise not to tell anyone:  Writing is very difficult for me.  I often wonder why I do write when a two-sentence comment might take me 10 to 15 minutes to compose.  This blog post will go through several revisions (5 6 7 8 to be exact) before it sees the light of day (or, more accurately, the light of your computer screen).

Maybe I have this wrong.  I’ve been able to write 50,000 words in 30 days so maybe it isn’t the writing.  It’s the publishing.  I can’t let my writing go out into the world without making sure that I’m saying exactly what I mean to say.  I will spend a ridiculous amount of time on one comment before I hit the Reply button.  Too often, my real-time comments, off-the-cuff, rough draft, stream-of-consciousness utterances have been misunderstood.  After awhile, a person gets tired of having to explain that she meant this in her comment, not that.

So this post marks a turn in my life as a blogger.  My original posts may become farther and fewer between as I get into a groove that (I hope) enables me to refocus on my writing and (again, I hope) make some sense of the piles of printed pages taking up space on my bedroom floor.

And, Gwen Stephens, please don’t recommend that I get up at 4 AM.  That time is my sweet spot for sleepy time 🙂

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About 1WriteWay

Writer, blogger, knitter, and cat lover.
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34 Responses to Frazzled But Not Fizzle-d

  1. elainecanham says:

    Go for it and good luck

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  2. Good luck and we’ll miss you. Gotta do what’s right for you.

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  3. kingmidget says:

    Right there with you.

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  4. words4jp says:

    I understand so much of what you are saying. I am finding that I have to turn my email off at work. And the amount of guilt I feel when I cannot read a post or comment is terrible sometimes. I know I have been to connected to my technology and I really need to let go and focus on things that – pay the bills and get a good nights sleep and enjoy the time with my boys – though all I am doing right now is driving.

    Oy – you must do what you must do and I know that your friends and followers understand. 😉

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      Thank you for such kind words and for sharing your own feelings. It is so tough when there are so many great blogs to read and comment on!

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  5. ericjbaker says:

    Blogging is a funny creature. A lot of us do it to build up an online presence in support of our future or current writing projects, but then it takes on a life of its own and needs constant feeding and grooming. It’s hard to work full time, be a future or current author, and sustain a blog (by sustain I mean a minimum of 1 post a week). I’m sure those weekly top-10 lists are quite time consuming. I used to write a weekly entertainment piece for a website, and it ended up eating up 5 to 8 hours every week. I enjoyed it, but it became too much and I had to let it go.

    If you need to focus on your main writing project, do it. We might even want to read periodic updates on your progress! Those are no-pressure blog posts and don’t need to be more than 150 words.

    You strike me as a compassionate, empathetic person, which are the top two qualities I’d want in a friend. The dark side of that is a tendency to worry too much about everything. Cutting to the chase, if someone gets ruffled because they misunderstood your comment… they’ll get over it.

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      Eric, your comment means a lot to me. You pretty well summed up my general state of being: “The dark side of that is a tendency to worry too much about everything.” I do that, yes I do. It’s an effort not to, but I’m working on it 😉

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  6. Sounds like a wise decision to me, Marie. I’ve found in my year + of blogging/tweeting etc. that writing has taken a back seat and that much of my attention is geared toward these fleeting messages that, in the end, very few people actually see. Yet, if you’re going to publish, your social media presence is a key element in a marketing scheme.

    Seems like balance is required, but online stuff easily becomes an obsession and obsessions are hard to let go of.

    You’re not giving up email, are you? 😉

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  7. As I mentioned in my private e-mail, Marie, I could have written this post myself. I admire you and your decision. Eric hit the nail on the head for me, I worry too much about everything…but I’m working on that. 🙂

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  8. Luanne says:

    Just wrote a long comment that disappeared! More later as I have to go, but I understand how you feel and have been there and whittled down myself as I had 3 blogs. But sometimes it is still too much. Blogging can be like a garden that must be tended every day. I agree with Eric’s comments above. I wish I had time to recreate what I wrote before as it was a lot more articulate. xoxo

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      I hate it when comments disappear! That happens to me, too. Thanks so much, Luanne. I know you and others have struggled with the quantity vs quality of blogging. I love your analogy of blogging as a garden. Of course, if you saw my garden … 🙂 xoxo

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  9. Marie. Just want you to know I support your decision and want to thank you again for all your help. *Hugs*

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  10. Gwen Stephens says:

    It’s easy to get caught up in the blogging frenzy. The elation we feel when the number of followers begins to climb, the connections, and wanting to please, always please. But blogging is only one of many things we all do in our lives, and when it starts to take over, it’s not worth the sacrifice, as you worded it so aptly above. I cut down to once weekly and went with that for a long time. This summer, I’m down to twice monthly, and I like that even more. It’s manageable. I set time aside a few times a week to reply to comments and read others’ blogs, but I don’t always leave a comment. There is a way to balance it all. You just have to find that sweet spot (and for most, that’s not 4 A.M.) 🙂

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      Gwen, you’ve expressed what I’ve been through in the past 1.5 years so well! Yes, I want to please. I started off following everyone who followed me, but it’s not sustainable. You are one of the bloggers who inspired me to take stock of my situation and realize that it’s not how often I post, but the content of my posts that matters. Thank you for the inspiration and for not insisting on 4 A.M. 🙂

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  11. Expat Eye says:

    Do what makes you feel happy! Don’t get me wrong – I love you stopping by my blog! But I also understand the feeling of being overwhelmed by it all and needing to take time out. Best of luck!

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      I would imagine that you would feel overwhelmed at times, given the number of comments generated by your posts 🙂 I love reading your posts and hope to catch up soon. Your adventures are such fun to read about, your insights even more so 🙂 I appreciate your support, Linda, and your blog is definitely one that I will always follow 🙂

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  12. Katie Cross says:

    Good for you, Marie. Good for you.

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  13. Dave says:

    Wow. Marie, I feel like I could have written this exact post. The feelings you describe are the same ones I often struggle with. The amount of blogging I’m doing has gone down recently and for the same reasons. Feeling “frazzled” is not good, so I’m glad you’re stepping away, or stepping back. Whatever it is that makes your life feel under control, and gets you to writing, is the right thing to do.

    I’m with Katie on this. Good for you, Marie!.

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      Thanks, Dave! I have been surprised by how many people are sharing the same feelings. And relieved in a selfish way. It’s good to not feel alone in this 🙂 I’m keeping my expectations fairly low right now, focused just getting “unfrazzled” 😉

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  14. I know how you feel Marie. Blogging and participating in the community takes a lot of time and I know you’re the wonderful type of person that doesn’t want to make anyone feel like you’re not showing them love. 😉

    There have been days where I feel bad because I want to “Like” a post, but don’t necessarily have anything to contribute to the comments…yet I feel that person may think I didn’t bother to read their hard work, so I write something anyway. Maybe that’s okay… but it’s a symptom of too much time spent blogging when, you’re right, we could be working on our WIPs!

    I fully support your decision to back off for a bit. I wish you the best of luck on all of your writing. 😀

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      Phillip, thank you so much for your support. It was a tough decision and still feels tough (especially on a Monday). I’ve made so many friends through blogging, and I want to keep up with everyone. But this has been catching up with me for quite a while. Right now I’m just trying to regain some balance and then hopefully I’ll be writing again. Now YOU have some distractions 🙂 I hope all is well with you, your wife, and your almost-here child 🙂

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