Originally published on 11/1/2018
“We share practical ways to declutter your home, schedule, and mental space without getting bogged down by perfection… and we believe that baby steps are key to getting there.”
So begins every episode of Edit Your Life, the podcast I’ve been co-hosting for the last three years with my dear friend/Internet unicorn Christine Koh.
Have I been following my own advice? Hrm. Baby steps have never been my strong suit.
Take this blog. I consider parenthacks.com and the 10+-year community, conversation and book that came out of it to be my proudest achievement as a writer. The friendships that began here sustain me to this day.
But as my kids grew and my focus shifted, my day-to-day life evolved beyond this space. So did the conversational and info-gathering tools available to new parents. That’s not a bad or sad thing — it’s a reflection of this blog’s natural lifespan. I feel about this arc as I feel about my own kids’ growth. Kids are meant to outgrow their childhoods. That’s a joyful thing.
What I didn’t notice during this natural evolution was a creeping emptiness. I’m not talking about mourning the loss of parenting little kids (I am so much happier as the parent of teens). I’m talking about how, as I unconsciously shifted my online time to social media platforms, I began to feel more and more lonely.
It’s weird, because social media brought more voices I care about online. Friends from childhood mingled with family members and blogging pals and parents I knew from my kids’ schools.
Social media was fun at first, profound even. I got to share this magical Internet with people who never would have started blogs. But the endless stream of voices coming at me from multiple channels grew into a din. As my social stream spilled into the quiet spaces in my life, I fell out of the habit of staying connected to my friends in other ways. The other day I put down my phone after a “harmless” bout of social media scrolling and realized I hadn’t made a coffee date with a friend in months. I love my friends! I love coffee! What’s wrong with me?
For me, blogging started as a way to write. It unexpectedly became a way to connect. From where I stand now, blogging has the potential to be something even more: a way to share being human. A way to share stories and invite conversation online in a way that doesn’t hollow out life offline.
Blogging offers an almost-quaint alternative to the stream…a feed. There’s no missing something a friend posted because you skipped going online that day. No algorithm deciding which posts you see. What I write will be here waiting for you, whenever you feel like dropping by, even if that’s a month from now. There’s no rush, nothing to miss, nothing to respond to unless you feel like it. This is just a place we can hang out and talk about stuff.
This morning I fired up my old feed reader — how I used to follow all the blogs I loved. It felt like returning to a favorite old coffeehouse! Not surprisingly, most of the blogs I used to follow were silent. You can’t go home again, and I’m not trying to. But I am wandering the old neighborhood to find new places to hang out.
Back to the topic of baby steps: I’ve been meaning to start blogging at ashadornfest.com for a while, but I got stuck fretting about blog templates and navigation bars and … who knows what else. It kept me from blogging even though I’ve had plenty of thoughts I’ve wanted to share over the last couple years. Bogged down by perfection, you might say. :-/
So I’ve decided to follow my own advice. While I get my new blog set up (why is it still so hard??), I’ll write here! (Ashadornfest.com redirects here for now.) I’ve invited all my old blogging pals to start writing again. If you’re intrigued, I hope you’ll give blogging a shot, too. No expectations. No timeline. If you wonder what would I write, start with what you currently post on social media.
If all of this sounds too hard, just leave comments. Comments are what turn blogs into conversations.
You know what? It feels really good to take a baby step.
This blog is archived. Visit me at ashadornfest.com
Christine Koh says
I love you Asha. I need to figure out how to edit my life to do more everyday storytelling…
Asha Dornfest says
You do more everyday storytelling than you know.
I still use a feed reader, and I’ve never stopped loving it! I was using Google reader when they shut it down 5 years ago. It took me several years to find a decent replacement that works well enough for me. I finally did 2-3 years ago, and haven’t quit since!
Asha Dornfest says
I still miss Google Reader, too. It amazes me that they shut it down…people STILL talk about it. What blogs do you read, Hope?
What feed reader do you like Hope? Tell me more!
Getting blog ready to launch this weekend! ???? thanks for the inspirational nudge friend.
I’ve never stopped reading blogs. 🙂 I use Bloglovin (the name is goofy, but it works), and I check in daily and, yep, try to write comments. I’ve never written my own blog, but now that you mention it, I should try. I used to enjoy writing so much (English major alert). Anyway, I love your podcast, but I’ve never stopped being a fan of blogs, so I’m glad you’re back.
Jill Pohl says
I don’t know if I’ll blog again, but I feel exactly the same way. They made me feel connected to the outside world back then, when my world was diapers and sippy cups and very small. I think I preferred my own blog before my IRL world learned about it. At some point I felt self conscious before the eyes of my extended family. I do have new things in life that are worth writing about, and I still enjoy writing, so I’ll give the idea much more thought before dismissing it outright. I will, however, start reading and commenting more.