This tweet, in the last five minutes from my friend @Annette1Hardy cleverly pre-empts what I’m going to say tonight:
@MsAlliance Your year of writing a daily one is nearly up, or will you continue?
— Annette Hardy (@Annette1Hardy) December 30, 2015
It was a year ago today that I started writing daily blog post. I’m not even sure why I set myself this challenge. It was something to do with the discipline of journal-keeping but probably more linked to my general prevarication with blog posts. I am inclined, you see, to let a post chunter away in my brain while I put off writing it. It’s part of a perfection/paralysis mindset which, for my blog at least, I have now lost.
I’m pleased about this. Just opening up my laptop and starting to type a post is liberating. It doesn’t matter whether the post is well- or badly-written, and there have been both types. The most important thing is that it’s written and out there. And I have used my voice.
I was asked recently by a bewildered family member who’s not keen on social media why I keep my blog. Why would I air my most personal feelings to goodness knows whom? I still don’t know the answer to this. Does it stem from a need to express myself? If so, why not write a journal and keep it to myself? Is it about sharing my feelings with people who might be sharing the same feelings, going through the same stuff? Is it hopelessly exhibitionist: do I get a kick out of exposing myself to you all? I don’t know.
I do know, however, that I’ve managed to find something to say on most of these 366 evenings, even if I’m exhausted and can hardly string a sentence together. Sometimes it’s had to be a dull photo. Sometimes it’s uninspired prose. But it’s been from the heart.
At times writing a daily post has been just another chore, and this was particularly true when I was finding it hard to fit in all of my daily obligations to include singing practice for my diploma. I know that I haven’t been able to read or knit or crochet as much with the daily blog obligation and sometimes I’m up until far too late in the night trying to write. Next year I shall try to get to bed earlier: I have aged and the blog, as sleep thief, has played its part.
There have been one or two sticky moments along the way too but I’m not going to dwell further on those if only to save myself from the knowing I-told-you-so looks of people who disapprove of the time I spend on here and on Twitter and on Facebook, connecting with people, telling them how I feel. I hope it’s an exchange and not merely a broadcast. I’ve concluded that it’s impossible to explain the appeal of Twitter etc. to those people. They’ve never wanted or needed to feel a connection so why would they try to understand?
I decided in the last year that it is increasingly impossible to have a reasonable, nuanced debate on social media. It seems to have descended ever more quickly into a tribalist slanging match, and this blog has been useful for expressing my ideas in full. I shall continue to use it in that way, I think, as I might be stepping back from Twitter for a little while, if only to regain my life, my sense of perspective. I take things too seriously – it’s is a prime character flaw of mine – and I find it ever harder to scroll down without feeling bruised. For the sake of my sanity, that has to stop.
I see this blog as an organic, evolving thing. I’ve always written on a whim, gone where the fancy takes me and I shall continue to do this. This might in the future be a food blog; a rant blog; a photoblog; a blog of reviews or an opinion column. Or all of those. Or none. Inspiration might suddenly collar me: I might suddenly get good at photography or share a song. Who knows where life will take me in the next year? Who can tell? But being freed from the obligation of writing something, ANYTHING every day will, I hope, improve the quality of the writing. I’ll still be here, but not quite so regularly.
I’d like to conclude by thanking all of you who subscribe to this blog and comment on here or on Twitter or in real life. That you have stayed with me and carried on reading has been a source of some astonishment to me. You’ve stayed with me and kept me company. Perhaps I’ve kept you company also. There are those of you who have assiduously Liked and Retweeted my daily posts and I’m so grateful for these gestures of support. You know who you are.
That’s about all for tonight. I expect I’ll mark the coming of 2016 in some way or other tomorrow. Who knows how? Until then, let me wish you all a good and peaceful continuation of your Christmas and New Year break (if you’re having one) and joy for your heart.