Say No to Boxes

You know when you have a blog and you keep promising yourself you’ll post soon. Today. Tomorrow at the latest? And then it’s many weeks later and all you have to show for your promises are a few drafts and a sense of impending doom associated with your site? So much so that you every time the site is mentioned or comes to mind you clean a different area of your house or work on someone else’s site until you don’t have time left to think about your own? Mentioning this for a friend.

At the beginning of this year, I made a commitment to myself to publish consistent content here. That was a mistake. I knew better. Really, I did. My writing withers and dies when I try to box it in, and what I was attempting was a series on craft and trauma writing. That’s well and good (and is now encapsulated neatly in a syllabus for an online course I’ll be teaching), but it wasn’t good for The Honeyed Quill becuae that does’t work for me.

There is copious advice on how to blog, monetize your blog, advertise your blog, blog your blog, snog your blog, make blog eggnog. As soon as you set up your blog, you are inundated. Judged. Promised more and better if only you do more of this a bit better. Every couple of years I fall into that trap.

Here’s the thing: I don’t write here to make money. I write here to make connections. Let this be a reminder to myself.

Connections happen between me and readers, ideas, or parallels I discover as I craft and re-craft my personal stories to heal, love, or step into joy.

Enough with the boxes. Enough with the optimizing visual content. If I try to do that, I won’t blog.

So. New commitment: Write. When I can. What I can. Just write. Because (and here’s the big secret), I haven’t been writing AT ALL. I have been so overwhelmed by doing just the right blog thing I’m not doing anything.

Again, that’s not working for me. Good thing I know what does work: just writing. No gimmicks. No challenges. No “don’t post that without an image and hashtags and subheadings and the blood of ten faeries.” Just writing.

Anyone care to join?

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7 Discussion to this post

  1. Shawna, I found your past posts on writing and trauma very meaningful. A totally understand your dilemma. I’m working on multiple writing projects after a long hiatus and recently got back to blogging. I set a monthly goal for myself. I enjoy connecting with readers and the satisfaction that comes from crafting a short piece. Looking forward to reading your words whenever they come.

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    • Shawna Ayoub Ainslie says:

      Thank you, Evelyn! It’s a relief to be allowing myself to write off-topic. I know it means I will write more frequently on-topic. I appreciate your readership and voice. <3

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  2. Mary Rowen says:

    Thanks for this, Shawna. You capture the whole thing perfectly. I haven’t blogged in such a long time now. It’s been a combination of many things, but the main one is that I normally blog about my personal life and things that are either making me happy or upset at the moment. Unfortunately, the things that have been affecting my happiness–or lack thereof, depending on the day–aren’t the kind of thing I feel comfortable sharing in a public place. Heck, I’ve barely even mentioned these things to my closest friends. However, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one whose writing goes through cycles, and can only hope that when I pull myself out of this, I’ll *want* to get back to regular blogging. Until then, again, thank you for this piece.

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    • Shawna Ayoub Ainslie says:

      Good luck with this, Mary. It’s absolutely okay to take that break. I go through stretches where I’m only posting announcements. Others when I’m writing poetry or fiction. Right now I just need to write anything. I hope whatever writing you do (whether you share or not) soothes you.

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  3. I can’t imagine there is any other way to do it.

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  4. Rachel says:

    I am with Robert, I can’t imagine any other way to do it. My goal this year started out as “write every week about a specific topic” and now I’m just like “write every week.” Sometimes that’s a quote, sometimes it’s a longer post. Just something every week to get that little whatever-it-is out of my soul and on to the page.

    I love your words and am so grateful for when they come <3. You are amazing!

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