Blogging: Past, Present and Future

What am I still doing here? Why am I still putting up 4-5 1000+ word posts a week? What do I seem to NEED this space so badly?

I have been asking myself these questions a lot lately. I don’t seem to arrive at any answers.

I’m always revisiting my archives, (which I think gives me a lot of perspective about current problems). Recently I was reading through comments left during the first months of Osita’s life, and I was struck by the fact that almost all of the bloggers who left those comments have stopped read my blog (at least they no longer comment), nor do they still post in their own spaces. They have all moved on in their lives, left behind the pages where they used to sort through their struggles, and the people who supported them there.

I have always wondered what drives people to abandon their blogs. I’m especially curious about the ones who write some random post one day and then just never return again. I cannot fathom doing that. It’s less strange to me that someone would specifically walk away, after an announcement of some kind, but even that feels impossible to me.

What is it in me that draws me back to this place, almost every. single. day? Why do I have find it unfathomable to walk away, when others to so, so easily.

Most women who have babies seem to drift apart from their blogs. Sometimes it happens right after their baby is born. Sometimes it takes months, or years. I’ve watched women who swore they’d keep writing fall silent for three months before popping back up to apologize for disappearing. Generally those women end up walking away for good one day. It happens all the time.

When I rejoined PAIL a while back I mined their blogroll for new writers with kids my age, but found that the majority of the links landed on posts over a month old. Some blogs hadn’t been updated in three or four months. It seems even the mothers of older toddlers and preschoolers are too busy to write much. I don’t think it would be presumptuous to say that a significant number of ALI bloggers eventually stop writing, no matter how they “resolve” their infertility. I would venture to guess that even mothers who didn’t struggle to have their children don’t post much once they have kids (even if they started blogging BECAUSE they had kids).

I’m not writing all this in judgement of women who stop writing. And I’m not saying that everyone does. I follow a good three dozen women who still blog regularly, even after the births of their second children. But even those women don’t blog as compulsively as I do. I would say that 1-3 posts a week is pretty common from the women I read. Only one or two that I follow posts daily like I do.

Clearly I am the aberration here. I am the oddity, the woman who posts constantly when others only write here and there. I am the one who is compelled to put my thoughts out there EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Why is that? Do I need constant acknowledgement? Continual validation? What compels me to keep posting, week after week, day after day, year after year? I’ve been blogging for 4.5 years and in that time I’ve published almost 1300 posts. THIRTEEN HUNDRED. What. the. fuck. is. that. about?!?!?!?!

I don’t know why I’m suddenly asking these questions now. In the past I’ve always wondered why other people STOPPED blogging. Now I’m suddenly turning the tables and wondering why I keep going. I’m especially curious why I keep posting at the volume that I do.

Revisiting those old comments, and realizing that all those women–women I once felt close to, women whose stories I followed, whose children I cared about–have all disappeared into the ether, it makes me incredibly sad. I’m sad that I’ve lost track of them. I’m sad I don’t know how their lives turned out. I’m sad they abandoned their blogs, and in the process, abandoned the readers who followed them. I’m sad they abandoned me.

I assume they are all happier now, that they moved on because they don’t need their spaces anymore, because they don’t need to rehash old truths, reopen old wounds, retell old stories of grief and struggle and loss. Maybe they are still out there, on Facebook and Twitter, keeping in contact with their bloggy friends, the ones that really mattered. Maybe they think about when they used to write. Maybe they don’t.

They must have friends, in real life, the ones who stop blogging. They must have flesh-and-blood friends to take the places of the ones they turned to on-line. Or maybe they always had those friends, and when they finally put IF and/or loss behind them, they find those friends again. They must be creating that camaraderie somewhere else, so they no longer need to weave with written words, those delicate connections between their own blog and the blogs of the women they followed.

When I think about all the women, dozens and dozens of women I cared about that I’ll never hear from again, I feel an emptiness inside. And a fear. Will the women I follow now, the ones that make up my current “community,” the ones that make blogging worthwhile, will they stop blogging some day too? Will they abandon their spaces, and leave me behind in the process.

The reality is yes, they most probably will. And I suppose so will I? I can’t decide which makes me sadder, the thought of some day looking back at my 2014 archives and realizing that all the women who used to comment don’t blog anymore, or the thought of some day not looking at my archives at all, because I won’t be blogging. I’m assuming that one of the other will have to happen, because I can’t see us all doing this indefinitely.

Not even me, the obsessive compulsive blogger, who doesn’t know why she keeps coming back here to write.

Do you ever wonder what happened to the people you used to follow who stopped blogging? Do you ever wonder when you’ll eventually stop writing yourself?

12 responses

  1. I’ve been searching my (sleep deprived) soul to figure out where my blog is going. When I started writing last year, I was in a very different place. Writing helped me get out my feelings and connect with others who understood what I was going through. Now that my baby is here, I don’t want to give it up. But I don’t see it staying the same either. More likely, it will revolve into more of a journal of my experiences parenting my two little boys. Maybe I’ll get some more clarity when I emerge from the newborn fog. And hopefully I’ll have a bit more time to write soon because it’s something that feels like it’s just for me.

    Sorry for the rambling comment. Although I don’t comment often, I’m here reading along!

  2. I am also sad that people who I followed religiously have stopped blogging. Their blog is unfinished when they just stop writing and I wonder what happened to them. So far I have kept blogging because before infertility, I had the same blog to document what was going on in my life. It’s sort of like my online journal that other people read and comment on. I don’t see myself quitting blogging- I enjoy it too much, even though I don’t write as often as I used to.

  3. I also wonder about the women whose who have stopped blogging – much of the time they write and explain that they no longer need the space the way they once did, but sometimes they just disappear. I know for me it’s been a way to ‘meet’ people who get me in the way that many of my IRL friends don’t, simply because I don’t share the same things with them, or they haven’t been through the ‘same’ experiences. If you are a prolific writer now then it is because you need to be, because this is serving a purpose in your life, so don’t question it (unless it becomes a burden!) I’ve always wanted to write more than I do so for me I don’t see myself stopping soon; I try to treat it as a creative outlet as well as a social one.

  4. There was one blogger I’ll always remember, whose pregnancy I followed that suddenly stopped blogging a few months after her daughter’s birth and never responded to my emails (we’d gotten close enough to email each other regularly)…I was always a bit worried that something went wrong.
    Most of the time when I stop blogging for a while (though not the most recent stint) is because I’m too generally depressed/anxious to even get it out….
    I guess when people stop blogging without an explanation, I wonder if its because they are so happy and fulfilled they don’t need the space…or the opposite—that something has happened and they don’t have the energy to go there on-line.
    Even if I were to stop blogging, I don’t think I’d stop reading the blogs I’ve followed and that I comment on regularly (like yours).

  5. I used to never understand those people who suddenly stopped blogging. I was especially annoyed by those who announced their child’s birth and then that was it – suddenly your life is perfect? It’s hard for me to imagine ever really stopping, but I definitely blog less than I used to. Usually when I take a blogging break, it’s just a questions of time. There’s never really a time when I don’t want to write or have nothing to say. I think it’s because I didn’t start writing as a TTC blog but as a whatever’s going on in my life blog. So, that never ends.

    I will say, though, that lately I’ve become part of a couple of very active FB groups that are filling some of the role blogging used to. There’s something addicting about the immediate response and the wide number of people I can reach with a simple question. Plus it’s easier from my phone. But i’m grateful to the friends I’ve met through blogging, and I don’t want to give them up, either.

  6. I think many ALI bloggers who “cross over” really struggle to keep writing within the unwritten rules (at least as I perceive them). It’s hard to “just be grateful” without being too happy or complaining or worry about sounding ungrateful. It’s hard to keep talking when you aren’t sure what to say and how to say it. It’s hard to transition a blog. I keep writing, but usually with a pit in my stomach of things I can’t say. So… I guess I don’t think everyone is skipping in a meadow, but more likely staring at a blinking cursor in their dashboard. At least, that’s where I find myself a lot, though less so since I shelved writing about ALI. Home that makes sense.

  7. After E arrived my blogging changed from “I have to in order to keep my sanity” to “I like to and if i have time for one hobby, this is it.” I can see why people who aren’t drawn to writing and don’t “need” it anymore would walk away, though I don’t understand the just falling off and never posting again thing! I would want to say goodbye to my space and the people who bothered to follow this part of my life. I’m glad you’ve kept going (and your pace of posting so often is impressive!).

  8. I am often envious of your ability to write such eloquent posts every single day- I wish I could do that. Blogging is such therapy for me, but I have a hard time composing more than 2-3 posts a week. I also think it’s because my blog is not anonymous- if it was, I think I would have a lot more to say.

  9. I am often let down by people that just disappear. I get upset like it’s a friend who just stopped calling! I don’t mind if they say dudes I have found my happy ending and I just don’t need to blog but when they disappear it hurts me!! I like to blog but feel for me once a week is
    Appropriate it gets my feelings out without taking over my life. For a while I was relying in URL and not using my IRL. But I still need you guys to fill a void that real life doesn’t fill. But to answer your question YES for sure I wonder!

  10. I think some get into blogging as a project. A project has a beginning and and end. You realize you’re gonna have trouble becoming a parent (the start of the project), you find a Tribe who gets your journey, and ultimately you resolve your trouble one way or another (the end of the project). When the project ends, the blog is at risk of ending, too.

    And some get into blogging as a process. There is a beginning but no set reason to end. You and I and many others fall into this category. You write to process your own stuff, to be part of a community, because writing itself gives you a payoff.

    For me, that explains the discrepancy. Thanks for giving me something to chew on!

  11. Lori, I love that explanation. But even with process, there’s challenges. With a commute and juggling two kids and two schools and laundry every night, I don’t cook new things any more, and that part of my blog doesn’t fit. I love my job, but it’s a 24/7 commitment … I answer email all weekend long, some of it urgent and crisis-related. I make decisions about my evenings: do I want to spend my hour or two to myself reading a book for my book group? writing? reading blogs and commenting? making a shopping list and filling out forms? checking homework? And then, do people really want to read about that shit? I know it would bore me to talk about it. I want to chew on interesting questions, and I probably won’t do that if I’m just going to dump my days online. I miss my blogging community, and I miss writing, but I haven’t figured out how to fit it back into my life, nor how it exactly fits, as a voice, into the life I have now.

  12. You posted this the day before Jaime died and I’ve kept it in my reader ever since, intending to comment. I was actually back into a routine of posting 4-5x/week and loving it until all of this happened, and like you, it boggles my mind that ppl can just walk away from their blogs, and more than that, their blogging friendships. I’m friends with a few bloggers on Twitter/FB now, but it’s not the same depth as when you’re reading about their joys & their sorrows through their blogs.

    That being said, I really like Lori’s explanation above – that makes sense to me. I started blogging pre-ALI just b/c I wanted a place to “write it all out.” Because of that, having kids was never the end of a project…. just another part of my life that I write about.

    I dunno… it’s definitely sad to see how many of my very close blogging friendships have totally disappeared over the past 3-4 years, but I guess that happens with IRL friends too.

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