Sunday, March 29, 2015

margin

Long time, no see, huh?

It’s been a while. And no one has felt that more sharply than me.

After I started my blogging job, a dear blogger friend of mine said that a lot of the time, when people start blogging for other sites, they neglect their own blogs. I made a solemn vow to myself that I’d never, ever let that happen.

And then it totally happened.

When I started blogging for money, I was all concerned that I wouldn’t hit my 5,000 hits per month quota. In February, my posts generated over 400,000 views and set a mom.me record. A few days later, I quit.

Why? Because I can’t fit it in my life anymore. Because I have been over-packing my days for way too long and it’s a foolish way to live. I’ve always struggled with this, but one would think that having twins would get me to slow down. Nope. In fact, I’m not sure my life has ever been fuller…and I’m not just talking about the kids. I mean the stuff outside of parenting.

The other day, a loooongtime friend of mine told me that she was listening to a sermon series on “margin.” She said, “it’s in the margin that God can speak to us and we can heal from the busyness and stress.”

Heal?

Wow. Heal.

That word made me want to cry because it pointed out just how destructive and injurious busyness can be. My overcommitted life has been wounding me. And probably my husband, children, family and friends.

I haven’t listened to the sermon series yet, so maybe I’m just repeating the stuff that the preacher says here, but the very first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the word “margin” is reading. When I was in high school, I always read with a pen and marked up my books like crazy. Even novels. Something I read would spark an idea in my mind, and all of a sudden, I was journaling my silly observations next to the writer’s poems or prose. 



Even now, though I mostly stick to underlining and starring, writing without a pen in my hand feels like panning for gold without…well, the pan.

The margin is where the insight shows up. Where the noticing happens. Where God speaks. The margin is where we make meaning. Where we make sure we don’t miss the beauty, the lessons, the gifts.

So for me, living a life where the words pack the page from edge to edge…isn’t really living.

Was it hard to quit my job with mom.me? Not really. The thing that I loved most about being a contributor was that when people asked me what I did for work, I could tell them that I wrote for money. I was a real writer. Studying writing in college, our professors made it very clear that few of us would ever actually make money by writing. And because I didn’t exactly look like the other writing students – not as quirky or creative – I definitely didn’t expect to be one of the lucky ones who ever got a gig. So letting go of that hurt…but only a little.

The other thing that made it pretty easy to quit? Well, I’m just sort of sick of the mom conversation. It’s too much. And it seems to be getting weirder and weirder all the time because we mom bloggers get desperate for material. The over-thinking is exhausting. And those mommy wars that we all hope our posts will end once and for all? I fear it just fuels them.

My last post for mom.me, one that I actually wrote after I quit, got such scathing comments that it left me with a pit in my stomach for a day and a half. It’s strange what unkind words from people I will never meet can do to my heart. It only served as confirmation that although I do write about motherhood a lot, I don’t want it to define my writing.

Don't get me wrong. I love sharing ideas and sparking conversations. I’m passionate about mothering, about my children, about encouraging other women. I'm passionate about words. But sometimes even good and true words can just add to the noise.

I don't want to be noisy.

The other day, I watched a TED talkby Monica Lewinsky. It's absolutely excellent and so worth your time. My favorite part is toward the very end when she states that we need to "acknowledge the difference between speaking up with intention and speaking up for attention."

Preach, Monica.

A friend recently told me that I'm one of the most intentional people she knows. And coming from her, that means a lot because she's one of the most intentional people I know.

Sometimes that means that we spend ten minutes talking about whether we should talk about something. But for the most part, intentionality brings with it all kinds of good things, so I want to grow that in myself, especially in regards to how I use my time and how I use this space.

I don’t want to blog just to blog, just to stick something in a corner of the internet so I can watch it generate clicks until it becomes totally irrelevant…the next day. I want to write with intentionality and purpose. And for me, that’s really hard to do on someone else’s site, someone else’s deadline and someone else’s dollar.

And it’s especially hard when I can’t talk about Jesus. I run out of inspiration real quick when He can’t be part of the story.

And who deserves my intentionality more than He does? Well…nobody.

One of my pet peeves? Blogging about blogging. Another one of my pet peeves? Posts that lack anything really tangible for the reader to hold onto. So I guess that makes two more solemn vows, broken.

But I wanted you to know where I’m at.


So here I am.  

13 comments:

  1. I have been wondering how on earth you were managing it all, and I really admire you for deciding to take the step back and to shed one layer of obligation, even though it represented something you'd wanted for a long time.

    I can't agree with you about books though- I've never been able to mark up my books or put comments in the margins. I can't even handle post-its!

    Looking forward to hearing more from you in this space.
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Even when you think you're writing about something intangible, you leave me with food for thought. I admire you for being able to step back and realize you weren't following the life you wanted to lead. Thank you for sharing your decision with us. Thank you for being YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Isn't God wonderful? He didn't prevent you from following your dream. He didn't allow you to get into a situation of failure. He gave you a word of healing and said, "Now you choose." What He has for you in the peaceful moments will be worth so much more than what you give up to create them! I'm so looking forward to reading what you write here.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glad you are back ;) Sounds like you most definitely made the right decision!!!! Glad you got that word and following the prompting to quit!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad to have you here. :) Also, I'm not surprised you broke a Mom.me record - your writing speaks to people's souls, and that's a fantastic thing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "And it’s especially hard when I can’t talk about Jesus. I run out of inspiration real quick when He can’t be part of the story." - Amen! Sometimes I look at my blog and I wonder to myself if it turns people off because of how much "Jesus" there is, and then I remember that doesn't matter even a little bit because he is everything.

    So, I have to disagree with you - you did leave something tangible in this blog about blogging haha. That God must be in everything.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really enjoyed reading your posts and always think your writing is spot on, but I can totally understand wanting to step back and make more time for your family. I look forward to continue reading along in this space though as you are able to write.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a difficult choice- I think you chose well, though. Glad to see more of you here. And yes- I often see the mom.me writers and wonder how they keep having more things to say about motherhood, ha. Glad it feels that way on the 'inside,' too!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looking forward to Em writing for Em....and Jesus!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love your posts. I never comment (because I'm too lazy!) but I always read them and think "yes!" Anyhow, I love this one and I love the idea of the destructiveness of business. Totally. And the idea about blogging about something that 500 other women have already blogged about and then Nothing Changes at all...I totally get it. That's kind of why I haven't been blogging, because I just compose blog posts in my head and think how profound they are and then realize that thousands of other women have probably already written that post. So I just...dont.

    Anyhow, I hope YOU keep writing because you truly are a beautiful writer and i love reading it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm too tired at this point of the night to post a long comment, so all I can say is amen. Amen to all your thoughts and AMEN to Jesus :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for sharing! I have read your toys post, the one about praying for the mom of your kids one day spouse. You are speaking to my heart. I am glad you add God and truth.
    So many times moms are afraid to be real, and honest to other moms, but when we hold back and don't share our ups and downs then I feel we are doing a injustice. God wants us to share where we struggle with other believers so they can pray with us and share their struggle too. Satan is the one who wants to make us feel ashamed and fearful to share. Fearing what the lady will think about us or say.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for sharing! I have read your toys post, the one about praying for the mom of your kids one day spouse. You are speaking to my heart. I am glad you add God and truth.
    So many times moms are afraid to be real, and honest to other moms, but when we hold back and don't share our ups and downs then I feel we are doing a injustice. God wants us to share where we struggle with other believers so they can pray with us and share their struggle too. Satan is the one who wants to make us feel ashamed and fearful to share. Fearing what the lady will think about us or say.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...