Going Up?

The Elevator

I am currently between floors – not sure if I’m going up or down.

I have inhabited this piece of cyberspace since February 2011. This online community has enriched my life in untold ways. I have grown as both a photographer and a writer through this blogging adventure.

But lately, I have experienced a real resistance to writing that next post.

Now, coming here, feels a bit like busy work – simply items on my “to-do” list. And because I always do the items on my “to-do” list, I grit my teeth and push through. Every day, I work on my online presence: I write; I choose and edit images; I respond to comments; I read the work of others and comment.

But now I wonder if I am using all this online activity as an excuse for not pursuing other creative work. “Oh, no – I can’t possibly take the day and …(insert creative activity)…I have blog posts to write; a posting schedule to maintain.” When I crowd my days with maintaining my blog, what other possibilities are squeezed out?

Quitting is not an option – I gain too much from being here. But I do need to figure out how to better balance my online time and other pursuits. Because I know this tinge of resentment I feel is not conducive to good writing or good images.

Something needs to change. I just have to figure out where I’m going next.

How do you balance your online time with other creative activities?

 

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Posted on June 6, 2013, in Blogging and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. It’s a tricky one! I think it’s good to reassess every now & then how you spend your time- I occasionally get a bit bored with my blog, & I always find it helpful to think about why I want to post, what I want to post, what do I enjoy linking up with. Usually I just decide that I like taking photos!
    I’m sure you’ll work out a good balance 🙂

    • Leanne – it is a tricky one, isn’t it? On the one hand, there is so much good about this online community and I realize that it takes effort and time to build connections. But at the same time, I find it really easy to put online activity ahead of everything else because doing original, creative work is so much harder. I’m still working on the right answer for me. Thanks for weighing in.

  2. I know what you mean and it is a tricky one. Sometimes when I feel like that it means I need to take a blog break. I have a policy to always choose the creative excursion over writing a blog post (it can always be thought of as creating blog post material!). It is really difficult to find that balance – and I think it can be a changeable thing too. You have lots of really exciting personal stuff going on right now. Maybe take a break, blog when it feels right but soak up all the real life stuff first. We’ll all still be here. 🙂

    • Becs – you are so right. Without those creative excursions, I have little of interest to share and write about in the first place. I know what the priorities should be – I’m just having a difficult time implementing them. Having already given up my daily shooting commitment, I’m afraid of what will happen if I also give up my blogging schedule – too much freedom! What will I do without that protective routine to guide me? 🙂

  3. I love the light and reflections in this one!

    • Lisa – This image was taken at the Raleigh-Durham Airport on a recent trip to visit my son and his fiancée. The terminal has recently been renovated and the architecture is quite extraordinary. I had a wonderful time waiting for my boarding call.

  4. There seems to be a lot of this going around. Truth is, I don’t balance it very well. I feel like I spend way too much time online, and most of it isn’t even being productive. I’d like to do more with my blog, actually, though I’m not sure what. I’d like to be doing more with my life in general! There’s much that I’m mulling over right now. Maybe you need to take a summer break? Cut back to less frequent postings? (Selfishly, I’d hate to see you go away entirely.) I guess my advice would be to allow yourself to do what makes you happy, not just keeping to a schedule out of a sense of obligation.

    • Lee – maybe for us, it is a symptom of being retired – where every minute of our day is ours to do as we please. For me, with all those minutes in front of me, I needed the structure of a regular routine. And so I have built one with my online activities as the core – it has become my retirement job, if you will. Which is comfortable and familiar. But now I can see that I use it as my excuse for not pursuing other things. Like you, I am mulling. Trying to figure out what makes sense for me now.

  5. I can’t come up with anything better than Becs’ advice above. In fact, I need to absorb as much of it as possible. Choosing the excursion over the sedentary makes so much sense as does the idea of enjoying and engaging in the activities on your personal horizon.

    Figure out what’s most important to you right now, work your online activities into that rather than the other way around, downscope your blogging schedule on either a temporary or permanent basis, let your readers know your plans, and then relax and enjoy.

    I’m confident you will find the right mix…

    • Wanda – I knew my readers would be full of wisdom and experience on this issue – thank you for sharing yours. I am still wrestling with these issues but feel better just for having said them aloud.

  6. Aren’t we all between floors – never quite sure if we’re coming or going??? All we can do is relax and go for the ride!!! Love the shimmery shine in the image!

    • Marcie – being “between floors” is certainly not a comfortable place for me to be. I like knowing where I’m going. But perhaps I just need to sit here, stop pushing the buttons and see where I end up.

  7. Such an elegant evelator, with many layers of color, light, shape.
    For me, balancing my activites is a constant process. I may achieve balance for a bit, but then life intervenes to throw the balance off, and I have to make changes to regain balance. Life intervenes by my changing needs and desires, by the changing seasons, by my family’s needs, etc. Life is ever-changing.
    In deciding what to give my time to (I, too, am retired….yay!!!), I ask myself what is the purpose of each activity. If the purpose is one I value, then I pursue it, if not, it is easy to let it go. Complications arise when the purposes are all one’s I value, but, I don’t have the time or energy to pursue all of them.
    I may look at whether the activity will add meaning, love and joy to my life. These are important to me.
    I also remind myself of my longer term goals. Why am I doing photography? That question is essential in determining how I spend my photographic time.
    I sometimes (often) do what I feel like doing.
    I also tend to let go of less important activities, such as cleaning the house or edging the flower beds. I allocate less time to chores than to my creative work. I may give up some social events (as an introvert, that is easy to do).
    I change the frequency with which I post photos on my blog.
    I don’t respond to all comments on my blog. In fact, I usually don’t respond to them, doing so only occasionally. I do try to visit the blogs of all who leave comments, and I leave a comment on at least one of their photos.
    I also try out new activities by viewing them as experiments. I experiment with posting less often and see how that feels to me. Viewing it as an experiment means I’m not committed to it, that I can change my mind and go back to the old way, or, that I may discover that I like this experiment and want to follow this new approach/activity for now.
    Few decisions are permanent. Most can be changed.
    These are some thougts on how I try to find balance in my life.
    Above all, I try to get plenty of sleep. I also have one day a week in which I have no (or almost no) commitements and can rest or do whatever I want.

    • Anita – I can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful response – you have given me much to ponder and consider. You have obviously put much thought in to this topic and I so appreciate that you took the time to share your wisdom. I like your idea of thinking of changes as “experiments” so you can test out how you feel about that particular change. I think that is something that would help me – because once I make a “commitment” I have a hard time letting it go. But an experiment, by its very nature, is short-term and can be modified as new data is gathered.

  8. All I know is that you will make the best choice for you, and it will come in time. I so understand what you are going through. Lots of good advice here, so I won’t add any more.

    One parting thought, however; some of my favorite bloggers may only post once a week, sometimes less. I still read what they put out there because it speaks to me.

    • Deb – thanks for weighing in. It’s funny – ever since writing this post, I have felt better. Something about the act of putting it in writing seems to have resolved something inside.

  9. I am not so driven to get things accomplished…I’m not lazy, but this is the first year in my life I haven’t had the job of raising children or working a full time job…which I did while raising children. I’m at a loss so to speak on how to manage my time now. But, with that said, I still find spending time taking care of “Sara’s Garden” (a Flickr group started to support my daughter-in-law while she dealt with cervical cancer), commenting on my Flickr contact’s images, “liking” my Facebook friend’s comments, and maintaining old friendships via email…I can’t make myself sit any longer to work on my own projects. As minimal as this all sounds, even I need to change something so I feel like I can take some time to pursue creative endeavors.

    I love the comments already given…lots to think about. The comment I really liked was from Marcie…”Aren’t we all between floors – never quite sure if we’re coming or going???” Well, at least I’m happy to know none of us are alone.

    The image is wonderful as always…I love the subtle images of people throughout and your signature light, tone, and color.

    Have a wonderful day!

    • Suzette – there is definitely something comforting in knowing that I am not the only one struggling with these life balance issues. The thing is – I understand my own need to mark things off my to-do list, to “be busy”, to feel productive. And working here in my online world provides that boost – at the end of my day I can pat myself on the back, knowing that my online life is under control. And these “to-do’s” are easily obvious – the in-box fills up and you empty it. But trying to come up with new creative work – that is much harder and much scarier and probably doesn’t result in a checked-off item at the end of the day. So, even though I can see what I am doing to sabotage myself, I haven’t quite figured out how to end the “busy-ness” cycle.

      But, as you said, at least we aren’t alone. 🙂

  10. Brenda! Whatever you decide, I will (we will) always come visit you virtually, here at your blog, or in whatever form you create!! And, hopefully, someday, I will get to visit you, for real and in person! 🙂

    Your work, as with your schedule, is consistently stunning, thoughtful and inspiriting. And, your friendship means so much – and we’ve only ever met on-line!

    I don’t know that I have good advice. I certainly believe that by listening to this inner prompting and giving it voice, you have taken two powerful steps to finding your way. Your spirit is clearly seeking something…it may mean a complete change to your schedule, or it may be enough to take an adventure away, even for a few days, and return to your schedule. Mini-holidays might be perfect. Or, just one consistent change to your schedule – like posting only twice a week. Start small…and keep pushing the boundaries till you find what’s feels right. And, whatever feels right – that, too, will change at some point. It’s a ‘forever becoming’ – this creating and living. And, how lovely!
    Big (albeit belated) hugs from Mexico where the views are amazing, and the internet intermittent (at least, for me at this time! :).

    • Juli – it is amazing to me that such strong connections – ones like ours – can be forged through this online community. I, too, hope that someday we will get to meet-up in person and deepen our friendship.

      I think the act of putting my feelings down on virtual paper helped quite a bit. That vague feeling of resentment has lessened and thus, the online work has been easier. It also helps to have made a commitment to become a hometown tourist – that act has exposed me to so many new subjects that I feel incredibly excited about heading out with camera in hand and excited about sharing that work here. I love your thought of “forever becoming” – a lovely reminder that we change each and every day.

      Enjoy Mexico – and that intermittent internet 🙂

  11. This is a familiar struggle for me. Lately, I “play the day.” Some days, I have a lot of time to do blog work. Sometimes, I fall a week or two behind. I catch up. I spend a mad week working on a short story, and everything else falls through the cracks. The next two days are doctors appointments for the kids. Homeschooling snags me up and writing drops . . . . I think I struggle most when I look for the pretty, perfect balance. For me, it’s not there. The days shift and I try to roll with them — on my feet, more or less. Usually, on my butt, though. Flailing around. 🙂

    • Lisa – I have to admit – the image of you flailing around, flat on your butt, brought a smile to my face. It has been a long time since I had as many daily responsibilities as you – and yet, I still struggle with finding the right way to create that daily balance. Maybe, as you said, it can’t be found and we need to just shift with the daily tides, doing what we can each day.

  12. Glad I could supply a chuckle. And I do think it’s a matter of shifting with the tides — letting go of that need to do it all, to create the complete picture. I’m fractured, always, but that’s exactly how we grow, right?

    • I appreciate the chuckle 🙂 I’ve never been very good with tide-shifting being much more of a “complete picture” kind of gal. I always prefer certainty. I suppose it is never too late to learn the art of shifting with the tide.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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