My blogs have both tended to be journals, or perhaps a series of personal essays, which is what the definition of a blog was originally. (www.Merriam-Webster.com/dictionary/BLOG) Neither of my blogs have generated much interest from the online community which hasn’t surprised me. It’s been a benefit in some ways, because having a place to put my thoughts has prompted me to disgorge them from swirling endlessly around in my mind. Almost every writer I’ve read advice from has said that in order to write well, you have to spend a lot of time writing badly. Both of my blogs contain ample evidence of bad writing, and I hope a bit of good writing here and there. The audience my writing is aimed toward is narrow. How many women do you know who are married to disabled men, have disabled children, have experienced childhood trauma, want to help others who have been traumatized by discussing ideas of how to process it, want to write for a living, have lost faith in the religion they were raised in (Christianity), and are pursuing Buddhism through meditation? Probably not too many. Two of the topics dear to my heart, disability and trauma, are subjects that aren’t very popular in American culture during good times, let alone during a recession/depression as bad as the Great Depression of the late 1930’s. What is foremost in people’s minds right now is surviving financially, finding work (if laid off, or out of work), and how to explain why there are no presents under the tree this year. “Merry Christmas Susie, your present is that we paid the heating bill for the month!” (can you imagine the squeals of joy?) Already worn out from the bad news, the bulls**t in politics, the swine flu, the increasing poverty and disparity between rich and poor, climate change, ongoing scandals, and the daily reality of problems inside our own homes, how can anyone find the time, or the stomach, to read about someone else’s “personal journey”? My heart goes out to each and every one of us.
Returning to the original topic, my blogs also tend to suffer from a lack of clarity, or focus. My thoughts wander extensively depending on input throughout the day, and finding clarity gets lost in the endless to do list of calls regarding my disabled child’s health needs, calls to my siblings as we struggle to find a way to help my 82-year-old, blind, mother take care of my severely demented father, (all but one of us live out of state), and meeting the needs of our two dogs, who both need “exercise, discipline, and affection” as Cesar Milan puts it. Chronic sleep deprivation, and a hyper-excitable sympathetic nervous system further complicate my attempts to stay on topic with a frazzled brain. This is the state of being many 40-something women are in, but I’ve not yet found helpful tips to manage my own scattered life, let alone any that I could generalize to help others. The crux of the issue is that writing has to be my primary “job” and for someone who has always put her own needs last, it’s extremely difficult to justify spending the necessary time on it.
Clarity – it’s where I started this, and where it logically ends. Prioritizing my writing is going to have to be my foremost goal, or it will continue to not get done. I guess that would be my suggestion to try and help other men and women struggling with the impossible task of meeting the needs of the incessant, nagging voices that fill your/my head in every waking (and many sleeping!) hours. Look to your heart, and put your heartfelt dream at the top of your list of priorities. Put as much time as you can into it, and try to make peace with where that takes you. Finding clarity around that may help all the other demands fall into place.