Bouncing back from an unplanned blogging hiatus {and minor emotional turmoil}

How do I even begin this post? It has been pretty crazy lately. Last August, I conducted a major rebranding and relaunch for my blog. A few weeks later, the influx of my blog posts started to become discontinuous, sporadic and rare. I wish I could pin all the blame on college and the constant accumulation of work and requirements, but then I’d be lying both to you and to myself.

Which brings me to what could possibly be your question: What exactly happened here? What’s with the abrupt hiatus?

First of all, academic workload aside, my extracurricular activities have kept me pretty busy as well. I am a member of two student organizations (a department-based academic organization, and a service organization); however, this semester, I tried applying for other organizations that interested me. In addition to these extracurricular, non-academic activities, I have been pushing myself to experiment with numerous, different things as a way for me to discover more about myself.

Second of all, I have significantly altered my study habits. I make it a point to study for at least one class per night. Additionally, I have also made it a regular practice to completely rewrite all my notes from lecture classes and to create comprehensive reviewers for tests and exams at least three to five days before the actual examination date. Given my perfectionist tendencies, rewriting notes takes up hours to accomplish because I am obsessed with keeping everything neat, comprehensible and organized. Sometimes I stay up until two in the morning just for rewriting and reviewing. Anyway, I will (hopefully) publish a post regarding my new study habits soon!

Thirdly, not only have I recently developed a greater interest in poetry books, but I have also begun to shift more of my focus towards writing my own poems instead of composing book reviews and drafting up blog posts. For the longest time, I’ve always been an “essay over prose” kind of girl. I used to prefer writing essays partly because they provided a bigger space and a greater leeway for me to elaborate on my thoughts and partly because an essay’s structure is essentially set in stone whereas poetry is very liberal in terms of form and measure.

As a perfectionist, the freedom that poetry offers structure-wise used to bother me because I could never really objectively gauge if I was on the right track or if what I was writing was any good. Composing stanzas made me feel awfully uncomfortable because it was like I was writing blindly – there was nothing to guide me towards a certain direction, and there was nothing to ground me.

On the contrary, I’d like to believe that I’ve gradually gotten better at writing prose. Throughout these past few months, I’ve come to realize that there is something unbelievably, inexplicably cathartic about writing poetry. Having such a limitless canvas is both intimidating and calming. I can’t really put it into words; all I can say for sure is that I have definitely come to cultivate a deeper appreciation for poetry both as a form of art and as a creative outlet. I hope to continue exploring different styles and forms and exposing myself to the works of other people. But I digress.

After my exceedingly catastrophic semester that ended last May, I have decided to commit this entire semester to myself: reconnecting with my unattended interests (especially writing), searching for new things I can be passionate about, conquering small fears, overcoming my own paranoia and insecurities, rekindling my genuine love for learning, unearthing new goals and new dreams for myself, and learning to treat myself better. With that said, concentrating on myself and my personal growth has consumed (and continues to consume) a significant portion of my time. While this is, I think, a perfectly normal and perhaps even noble pursuit, making sacrifices is an inevitable, unavoidable factor in this process. Unfortunately, my time for blogging has consequently been compromised, leading to the discontinuous and sporadic influx I mentioned earlier. This has also effectively lessened my time for reading books, writing book reviews and interacting with the blogging community in general.

And it does not end there. As positive and as great as everything I mentioned is, the reality is, the journey towards personal growth is not as easy as it seems on paper (or in this case, on a blog post). It is not always smooth-sailing. By trying to learn more about myself, I am simultaneously forced to deal with the darker parts of me – the shortcomings I’ve tried to hide, the insecurities I’m not prepared to face, the flaws I’ve refused to acknowledge, and the parts of myself that absolutely terrify me. In order for me to truly grow as an individual, I cannot selectively unlock doors; I have to open them all. I have to allow myself to be vulnerable. I have to learn to accept myself wholly and without exception. Which is extremely difficult, to say the least.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that personal growth and self-discovery are accompanied by a recurring emotional turmoil. The happiness I feel on most days is evenly matched with the degree of sadness and frustration I feel on most evenings. Despite everything, sometimes I still hate myself and sometimes I still resent who I am as a person. On some days, I still feel as empty and as lost as I did last semester. On some days, the insecurities I’ve tried so desperately to bottle up overflow and threaten to consume me, drowning my mind with negative thoughts. On some days, I still cannot fully accept myself. On some days, I can’t find a reason to get out of bed. On some days, I still struggle.

Truth be told, one other major reason behind my blogging inactivity is my lack of motivation. Yep, the more blogging deadlines I miss, the more discouraged I get to keep going anyway. The more I notice how inactive I’ve become, the more I lose sight of the reasons why I started blogging in the first place. Moreover, to be completely honest, witnessing my blog activity and my stats plummet dramatically has been pretty disheartening as well. During the first few weeks after my blog’s relaunch, my blog had a steady, average influx of 200 views a day. Recently, the number of visits my blog receives barely scrapes 10 a day. While I know in my heart that these numbers don’t matter and that my blog is first and foremost for myself, I still can’t completely erase the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I am losing something. And it sucks.

This does not mean that I am disregarding all the positive and supportive comments I’ve received because I am still thankful and I do appreciate all the love and warmth. I guess I’m just disappointed with myself for not doing better and for not taking care of my blog the way it deserves to be taken care of. And okay, this is getting pretty depressing so let me stop here.

What’s my point?

Well, I am not promising anything. I don’t think I am in the position to promise anything. However, I will say that I am tired of feeling sorry for myself. And I do not want to give up on blogging just yet. I don’t know what exactly is going to happen next, but I’d be damned if I would throw in the towel now. At this point, all I can do is keep trying and cross my fingers, hoping that I will eventually start to feel better again.

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Shealea

First of her name. Queen of millennials and the constantly caffeinated. Protector of books. Breaker of norms. Iskolar ng bayan.

13 thoughts on “Bouncing back from an unplanned blogging hiatus {and minor emotional turmoil}”

  1. Oh hon, take your time! YOU come first, not this blog. We’ll be here, waiting for you. In the end, real life is top priority.
    I wish you all the best ♥ *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The amazing thing about being in our 20s is that this is the time for discovery, failure, and triumphs. This is the time in our life where we transition from being children to adults and during this time we experiment, we try, and we discover. I’m glad that you’re taking time for yourself. I’m a firm believer that self love is needed before you can fully love others and another (or at least, it makes it easier haha). I’m jealous of your studying habits. My studying habits are horrid and I’ve actually thought about doing the same thing you are, but my time is cut so short I never get the time to. *sigh* This time in our life is a great road to our future and even if you fall and fail, we just gotta pull ourselves up, dust off, and keep moving. If something doesn’t go your way, try something new or try to learn from that moment. Don’t feel bad about leaving your blog for self discovery, we’ll still be here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t believe I haven’t replied to this comment! I’m incredibly sorry, but know that I greatly appreciate everything you said. It really, really helped.

      My study habits used to be horrible, too! My last semester, despite how depressing it made me, was the perfect catalyst in convincing me to pull my act together. It’s never too late to make changes! Wink, wink.

      Anyway. I’m feeling so much better now, if that helps. Thanks again! Happy holidays!

      Like

  3. In my opinion the only real problem that you mentioned in your post and should be worked on is your relationship with yourself. Discontinuous blogging does not affect your followers, because we are here for your good content which even if it comes more rarely, it comes; and when it does, we appreciate it. So don’t worry about that, because at the end of the day we’ll still be here. Of course that self growth journey is hard and has it’s stepbacks, but that’s the whole challenge! To work through and to kick ass on those days when you feel not so happy, not so content and proud. That kind of days will kick in from time to time, and that means you’re doing something good. So keep on getting through all these challenges with your head held high, because you ARE TRYING, and that is more than enough. The rest will follow. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have always felt the same way as you do on the essay over prose part basically because prose, I think, functions in a more complex manner and also quite restricting. So it’s really admirable that you’ve turned to writing poetry ’cause god knows how much I suck at it. It takes a whole different kind of mind-racking when it comes to poems. On one hand, you should feel more proud than sad with you being busy, and giving more attention to your studies/work because this world doesn’t have much of your kind. And always remember to write for your own pleasure more than for others and that you’re not losing anything. I’ve been writing articles for journ contests, newspapers, and newsletters since grade school, up until now that I am employed but I barely get visits in my own site as well. So lean more on honing your skill and the real world might see it and acknowledge it as much as the people here in the virtual setting. Enjoy your life! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Poetry is an odd thing. It’s both teeming will all sort of possibilities and simultaneously, as you mentioned in your comment, restricting. I still prefer essays in general; it’s just that, lately, it’s been easier to express myself in stanzas rather than paragraphs. But I still think I suck, to be honest. 😂

      Anyway. Thank you for the encouragement! I appreciate all the kind words. 😊

      Like

  5. Take care of you and write what you love. The people who connect with that will find you. Those that don’t weren’t meant for you after all. It’s ok to explore and do what makes you feel happy abd good. No pressure!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Here’s the thing Shealea…you don’t owe anyone anything and not a single one of your followers resents the fact that you’re not posting frequently. I guess I can only speak for myself, but the reason I follow you is not frequency of post, but quality of content. You’re an interesting voice, an intelligent thinker, a young person having a crack at something and doing a great job of it. A young person finding out about themselves and trying their hardest to improve and extend themselves and actually reach their potential. And that journey is interesting and inspiring – and the way you write about it; whether you’re happy, sad, ecstatic, frustrated or bored, is so well articulated that it’s pretty much addictive. So it doesn’t matter whether you post once a day or once a year, it’s always worth a read. I guess what I’m saying is that you’ve already succeeded in this blogging quest Shealea – there’s nothing more to prove to yourself or anyone – you’ve made it. You now have over 1200 confirmations that you have a great voice that is edgy and interesting and so uniquely Shealea. Sure, take it anywhere you want to from here, or not; but if “Find out whether I can write stuff that people will actually want to read” was ever a life goal of yours, then know that it is one box you can confidently tick off and say, “Yep, nailed that”. And not many 20 year olds can do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is honestly, legitimately the nicest thing someone has ever said (or typed) to me. I’m struggling to find the right words to express how grateful I am. Thank you very much!!!

      Like

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