Boy, a guy takes a mere 27 month break and suddenly he’s alone in the room?
I must say, I’ve missed you all. I’ve also missed writing, but oddly enough, only recently. Over the last 2+ years, the burning love I had for this place slowly dimmed, until one day the flame simply extinguished. No matter how hard I tried to pull myself out of the funk, it just wasn’t happening. The joy had fled, much like the strands of hair that once adorned this shapely bald head.
When I first started this blog back in 2008, I wanted to write in “wingin’ it” fashion without a care in the world as to how many people read it.
And I loved it.
Despite having a readership measured purely in family members, I still loved it.
Over time, people unrelated to me managed to find the place. Then more came along…and even more. Not only that, but people were coming back to see what was new. Again and again they returned. Soon, people were sharing things I wrote. Actually sharing! My words!
It delighted me.
It empowered me.
Then it paralyzed me.
Back in the good ol’ days, I wrote without obsessing over every word and laboring over every paragraph. I just let the creative juices flow as I hammered away at the keyboard. There was no filter and no stopping at every line break to critique myself. There were no re-writes. People either liked what I had to say or they didn’t. It was all a big whatever to me.
But as I became more and more addicted to comment counts and metrics, I descended down a spiraling path of perfection obsession. It didn’t take long for me to reach that critical moment when I felt obligated to hit a grand slam every time I stepped up to the plate. A post had to be better than the last or it was a failure. Unwittingly, I had given myself a dead-end job without pay.
Where posts in my younger days would be completed after 30 minutes of furious unfettered typing, they were now taking 3, 4, even 5 hours…if they were even finished at all. I can’t even count the number of posts that were started, obsessed over, and ultimately scratched. In time, writing just wasn’t fun any more and I self-destructed. Rather than focus on what was, I obsessed over what wasn’t, and I felt I was drowning in an unforgiving sea of anonymity.
It was then that I stepped away.
Over the 27 months that followed, I was urged by others to write again. I received countless notes from readers who were concerned about my well being and curious to know if I’d be back. Each of those messages touched me and provided a much-needed boost. But still, despite the warm fuzzies, my passion for writing was gone.
When I decided to shutter Telling Dad, I promised myself that I wouldn’t resume writing until I was pulled by desire, not pushed by obligation, to the keyboard. If it weren’t natural, I’d only be leading myself to the same end.
I thought I’d be rejuvenated after a few months, but before I knew it, a few months gave way to a year. Then, another full year passed. And still, I didn’t miss it. In fact, the thought of writing left me awash with dread.
But last month, something clicked for me. I won’t go into details about the epiphany, but suffice it to say, it lit the flame. I missed sharing my life with others. I missed the camaraderie. I missed my blog. Not for its heyday, but rather for its beginnings.
And that’s what’s led me here. A new beginning. A “stick to your roots and f*** perfection” kind of beginning.
I’m so ready for this, and whether or not people find me again, I’m going to embrace it.