I’ve Been Blogged Down

An essay on the perils of living in a “lovely” blogosphere

blogger's block

"Writer's Block" available for sale from I Wear Party Hats on Etsy

I’ve had a tough time blogging lately, and have begun to refer to it as being “blogged down”.   There are several factors that have seemed to contribute to this lapse…..but I’ve recently realized the primary dilemma:  I’ve forgotten who I am and have thought I should be someone else.  

blogger's block

The Boden Girl and Me... She looks great, doesn't she? Sometimes, I wish I could be her.

My Google Reader and Facebook feed run long with “love, love, love it” blogs about beautiful people living lovely lives in tenderly restored vintage homes.  There are perfectly symmetrical (and dust free) mantels decorated for Christmas with just so eco-friendly handmade snowmen.  There are the cutest candids of model-gorgeous women in short skirts and great boots who look over their shoulders through gauzy filtered light as they bake vegan pies from scratch, while surrounded by beautiful children in clean, matching Hanna Andersson jammies.

My not necessarily clean nor cherubic (but very much loved) oldest son in his "ugly Christmas sweater" which he wore for three days in a row.

There seems to be lots of cleanliness, a good amount of order, and quite a few cherubic children.  All of this is captured by women who are not only cleaning and creating that order, but raising the shiny angels, doing amazing DIYs, and also blogging about and photographing it all.  In their great boots. With their amazing long legs and upcycled hand made skirts.

I”m not a hater, although I’ll admit there’s a part of me that is jealous…  I’m sure that if I met these stylish, talented, kind, organized, creative women I would like them – maybe even a lot.  I’d want to have coffee and vegan pie in their tidy and romantic kitchens.  I don’t hate them because they’re beautiful.

Perhaps, though, there’s trouble (at least for me) in blog world, because there is so much perfect, perfect, perfect.  We’re always to be showing off our finest accomplishments, remodels, DIY’s, and the best of the photoshopped photos.

Part of it is that this is what we readers want to see.  Who wants to read a blog about a floor covered in dirty laundry?  You’ve probably got some laundry of your own at home to look at if you want to!  Who wants a blow by blow tutorial of me making Kraft Mac and Cheese?  For that matter, who wants to read a blog about my struggles with blogging?

I’m banking on the fact that someone out there does.  In part, this is an explanation of my absence and my journey to the group of genuine, interesting and kind friends whom I’ve met as a blogger, and to all those who have shared the joy finding creative inspiration along with me.

I’m also wondering if there are others out there who feel swept along (and away) by all the perfection and “lovlies” and simple solutions of the blogosphere.  Can we be more real, and still be winsome, interesting and valuable?  What does this look like for me as a writer?  I don’t aim to write any sort of confessional blog, but I also don’t want to burden myself with the high bar of always being “on”, good, or right.  Neither do I want to portray myself to you in any way that doesn’t at least move towards fuller disclosure of what it means to be a real person living a real life.

I don’t have an answer yet, only a few ideas and a general direction.  I started the day by cleaning most of the design and decor blogs out of my feeds. (See, I did some cleaning)!  I kept the art blogs that I love, and a few others that I think will help motivate me to write more genuinely.

I am also reminding myself of what my own writing is about:  art, creativity, imagination, inspiration and all the variety of people who express those in their lives.  This is what I love, what I sometimes do, and what I want to share.

Thanks for joining me in these incomplete thoughts – I’d love to hear your takes, your experiences as either readers or writers in this culture of “lovely”, and certainly any input that you have to offer!

To conclude, I wanted to point to a few of the bloggers I’ve met along the way whom I like in particular.  These are all newer writers, and I think one of the reasons I’m drawn to each of them is that they (in different ways) reflect authenticity and beauty at the same time. When you have time, check them out!  I think you’ll enjoy…  (Any to add?  Tell us in the comments!)

Beauty of Everyday Life

Shambolic Living

Still + Life 

Take Care…  ( Look for a double dose of 52 Fridays this week!  🙂  Delaware and Florida coming up!)

20 thoughts on “I’ve Been Blogged Down

    • Sara,
      Thanks! And I look forward to more glimpses of your life in Alaska, imperfect though they may be. (By the way, I think you art is perfect. 🙂 )
      -H

  1. Hi There – Well, I think I’m suffering from a similar affliction. Hadn’t thought to call it blogged down. But I am definitely feeling at a bit of a blogging crossroads. Interestingly, it coincided with doing BYW. Partly I feel there are just so many “words” out there – and I question which words I want to add to the mix. Partly I feel like sharing less at the moment and retreating into a more solitary creative phase – you know, just creating, but not blogging about the process ! For me, its not so much about the lovely loves – as I do understand that people want to put out ‘their best side” to the world.But probably a bit of balance would keep it more authentic. Anyway, hope you find your way through as i’ve enjoyed having a wee read here 🙂

    • Rhiannon,
      Thanks for commenting. I really resonate with your dilemmas of where to find a place/ have value when there are “so many words” and also the “doing v. writing about it” issue. I definitely am still thinking about both of these issues. I think we all want to do things that have significance, and allow us to express ourselves in a way that is relevant. It will be interesting to see how blogging does or does not contribute to that end.
      I look forward to checking out Starry Blue Sky! Nice to meet you. 🙂
      – H

  2. heidi, you need to be true to yourself and your calling. why did you start blogging to begin with? as a reader, i can tell you i love what you write – your knowledge and curiosity about art, and your discussions about ideas – remember “failure”? – are really compelling and meaty. life is more interesting and beautiful when it is true. did you know those sunrise pictures were just unadjusted iphone shots? not fancy at all. the sky did all the work. thanks for mentioning me, and please take good care of you. stay away from your computer if you need to for a bit. then come back and BLOG! we need you here.

    • Noreen,
      Thanks so much for the kindness and encouragement. I really respect your consistency and voice, and am glad to be motivated to be “be true” by you. And WOW about the photos – even more now that I know their story!
      – H

  3. Heidi, thank you for the mention here. I sooo get what you are saying. I too have struggled with how to portray myself in the blog world – I can’t compete with all the perfection – originally I wanted it to be a really true-to-life warts-and-all blog – but as I started and became overwhelmed with all the great blogs out there I realised that it couldn’t be completely open – I don’t let people into my house when it’s messy so why would I show the WORLD the mess. But as I keep going I am starting to find my own voice and my brother’s photos add a particular feel to the blog. I break all the rules. I’m not focused enough on one topic, I’ve got people who follow because of the funny stories, others who follow for David’s pictures, others for the books. Everyone says you must focus on one thing but that’s not me. I love making people laugh, I love art and photography (but am really bad at creating it) and I adore books and writing. In the end I’ve just got to hope I do enough of each to keep the people who signed up happy. I really hope you don’t give up because I love your blog and I would miss you. I really value the AMAZING support you have given not just me but many others with your thoughtful comments. Between you, Noreen and my work colleagues who signed up to the blog first off you have kept me going when I’ve felt like quitting. I am very aware that blogging becomes all consuming and I’m still struggling to get into a system with it that means I don’t lose sight of my real life. Somehow though we will Heidi and in a few years time we’ll look back and laugh at the early days when we didn’t have a clue what we were doing. LOL.

    • I really didn’t expect when I wrote this piece that it would be therapeutic in any way except through “getting it out”. I can’t believe, though, how helpful and thoughtful others have been! I appreciate so much the time you took to share your own experience a bit. It IS a journey, isn’t it?

      I was thinking about your response a bit earlier today, and what sticks out to me is your statement that you “break all the rules”. I think that’s just another way of saying that you have found your own voice. I love reading your blog. I feel like it *is* funny (very), but always in a way that explores something about what it is to be a woman/mom/writer/wife/etc, etc, etc. Those pieces help me identify experiences and feelings in myself and see them in a fresh perspective.

      Anyhow, thanks again. Btw, I have so many questions about life in Australia. Maybe one day I will write them all down and send them to you. 🙂

      Take care,
      H

  4. heidi, i love your voice. i love that your writing resonates wiith me. my life is not pefect, or tidy. it is challenging, emotional, messy and beautiful. i love that you write from your heart, your art inspiration post are always inspiring.
    unplug and journal for a bit. nurture you and your passions.
    life is messy! enjoy the mess!!! xxx

    • Leah,
      Thanks so much. I read your response when I was feeling kind of down, and your encouragement felt very personal. I want to tell you, also, that I feel like you have handled perfectly a blog about your life. You’ve made it beautiful, interesting and have even let us in to your truest feelings a little bit. Yours is a blog in which I feel like I know you a little, and want to come back for more. 🙂 Thanks again!
      – Heidi

  5. Ha, I could relate to this post. My blog is connecting to my business so I keep it pretty squeaky clean…however I have a personal blog (that is blocked from the public and only for close friends and family) where all my dirty laundry comes out for sure! I have a “design” blog you could say but I live in a tiny apartment and am broke most days. I think I find refuge and am reminded of my dreams/abilities in the midst of the mess by displaying my best foot forward on my business blog. It’s like little winks into what what are my best days…and reminders of the desire to grow during the bad days. You write beautifully and good thing the blogging world has leveled the playing field, for those of us who don’t look great in skinny jeans and tucked into boots 😉 Let’s just say I’ll stick to bootcut jeans until I die!

    • Bootcut jeans – holla! 🙂
      Thanks, Jenni – I appreciate your encouragement and the insights from your own blogging. I’m thinking that maybe the thing I’m going for is what I hope to be in real life – a genuine person with strengths and flaws who is able to inspire not because I’m a-ma-zing, but I can share some of the goodness and creativity that I experience and find around me.
      I’m looking forward to checking out Jarfly! (Headed there now…)
      Thanks for dropping by.
      -H

  6. Hi, I really appreciate the honesty in your post and I think that’s what makes some blogs special and interesting. No one leads a perfect life…who knows, that perfect vegan pie was probably burned 3 times before taking that great shot or they probably took dozens of pics to get that perfect one! 🙂 I think it’s courageous to put yourself out there and blog about what rings true to you. I’ve ruined plenty of lollipop batches and one of these days I may just write about it! Thanks for sharing.

    • Maria, thanks so much for the encouragement. I also find honesty refreshing, especially when it inspires a community that is honest as well as hopeful. (V. Honest and whiny).

      Thanks for commenting and introducing yourself here. I can’t wait to see your lollipops! What a cool niche!

      Happy new year,
      Heidi

  7. I really love this post! What to share is tough to decide.

    As you might have noticed, by my entire category devoted to things I stink at, I don’t mind sharing where I struggle. This is probably because I tend to think it’s funny as opposed to embarrassing, Pobody’s Nerfect so just go with it. If it’s silly, so much the better 🙂 Bill Cosby and Erma Bombeck made entire careers out of seeing the funny side of their foibles.

    I think that some people want to consistently put their best foot forward while others are happy to invite you into the mess. I happen to be in the second category but I appreciate the first. It’s nice to enjoy someone else’s perfection. Personally, I have no desire to ever try to be perfect, I’m not like that, I’m goofy and silly and I prefer to remain that way. I appreciate the perfect while feeling no pressure to become perfect myself. (I’m also fine with people feeling better about themselves by comparison, if seeing my mess makes you feel like you have your act together that’s OK with me.)

    Heidi, there are so many people out there who will love to read your blog, even if you share all of the imperfections, you can bank on it!

    And for the record, I love that your son has worn the same ugly Christmas sweater three days in a row! That makes me smile 😉 It also sounds very familiar.

  8. When you described in this post why you started blogging and your initial purpose, that’s why I read your blog. Just be “you”. Yes there are a zillion blogs out there with amazing photos and writing but there is only one “Mish, Mash, Make”. I’ll be joining you in the next week or so! I’ll let you know when I am “live”….

    • Sandra,
      Thanks so much for the reminder and encouragement! I am really looking forward to getting to know you when your blog is up. It’s sweet that you’ve put so much energy in to forethought… I”m sure there will be good results!
      – H

  9. Hello dear. I took my own break over the holidays, and I’m only ever so slowly dipping my toe back in the mix. The holidays were harder on me than usual this year for a whole host of reasons, and far, far from perfect (Crying in the bathroom so no one would see me on Christmas day “perfect?” I don’t think so!) But I missed my community. I missed you guys. Imperfectly disordered, up wrapping (with paper from Walgreens and no ribbons) until midnight and short-tempered, I missed you all.

    I so appreciate what you wrote here, and I’m so humbled to be included on your list. It’s so important I think to share our true selves out here, with great authenticity. My son has been asking me lately if I want him to be perfect, and I keep saying “no.” Perhaps I need to remember that myself?

    Happy New Year. Keep writing, please?

    • Oh, and if I could have a dollar for every time I had to say to my son (as he’s headed out the door), “Didn’t you sleep in that shirt?” Well, I could get that new camera I’ve been dreaming of.

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