Who are you on the days you don’t publish a post?
Who are you when activity fills up every crevice of your week and you have not time to dance with a pen?
I’ll tell you what you are–you’re an Unblogger.
Don’t let the negativity of the term fool you. This has nothing to do with UNderacheiver, UNqualified, or UNinteresting.
An Unblogger is someone who embraces time between posts, because waiting is part of the art of writing, and silence will make our words louder. Let me explain:
What Waiting Does To Your Writing
When I want to write a letter to a dear friend, I have two options. One, I can brain dump whatever’s on my mind at the moment, knowing my friend loves me enough that she’ll accept whatever words I have time to write. Or, I can plan for a few days in advance of sitting down to write, collecting anecdotes and quotes, jotting down highlights and “P.S.” material in my journal as I whisk by. When I sit down to write and I have prepared, I bring variety and depth to the letter, not simply whatever thoughts and emotions I have in the moment.
A writer, more than any other artist, is a collector, able to defy time and space and bring together beauty from different days, even different centuries, to present both the question and the conclusion in the same breath, the illness and the remedy, the ugly and the beautiful. No other medium fosters such a juxtaposition of content, delivering the recipient so much dimension in a single moment.
Brain dumps have their place, but a truly memorable epistle involves some time.
My snail-mail-pal embraces the element of time, as well. She writes over the space of days or even weeks, as evidenced by 3 different colors of ink and a postmark much younger than the date on the first page of her letter. A month passes between our letters, but the content is richer for the waiting, fuller for all the life lived between the lines.
I’m realizing the best way to prepare for a blog post is by not writing, by living life fully between posts, resulting in richer, deeper words.
I believe that if we want to truly impact people with our words, we must embrace the art of unblogging.
What Unblogging Looks Like
I’m still reading A Million Little Ways (I told you it was a book to be savored) and recently finished the chapter on waiting.
“Sacred and secret things happen in the waiting. The work is invisible but the result is not.”–Emily Freeman, A Million Little Ways
Her words gave me such peace, and I wanted to share with you how I’m applying them to my art–how waiting applies to blogging.
You may not realize it, but behind the flat, bright front of this blog there has been a lot of striving, folks. A lot of pressure to produce perfection, much effort toward meeting expectations and self-imposed deadlines. Much study of the art and business of blogging, and much application at the expense of sleep and peace of mind.
In the past year, though, the Lord has been gradually focusing my vision for my online space–away from a dazzling little empire that’s a show piece for all the correct blogging practices, to a place where ministry, art, and joy abound–both for those who read, and the one behind the scenes.
What this looks like for you is fewer posts, slower response to comments, and a site redesign that’s gradual, rather than an overnight reveal.
What this looks like for me is days, or even weeks, that I don’t blog. Nights I fall asleep quickly instead of stewing, stewing about this decision or that idea. It’s letting posts sit in drafts till it feels right, not publishing just because my editorial calendar says a post is due. And it’s lots and lots of putting ideas and inspiration for the blog up on the altar–as fast as they come, handing them to the Father to care for them until they are ripe.
That’s the hardest part, you know. Because I’m an idea person–they flow out of me like drool from a baby. You can’t stop it, and it leaves you constantly damp. I have probably 10-15 blog post ideas a day. I used to stress about this feature of my brain, trying to write them all down. Now I let them go–trusting that if its something God wants me to follow through on, He will bring it back to me along with the time required to write it out.
There are days anymore that I don’t look much like a blogger, though I’m more committed than ever to this space. If you don’t see me for a while, know this: I’m just unblogging. Living and writing and praying and reading and embracing the time it takes me to bring you my best. (This post itself took 6 weeks from idea to final draft!)It’s between posts that we grow and learn and are better prepared for the moments of blogging.
The waiting is part of the art.
As an Unblogger, I come to the computer at peace, instead of harried. I come bearing little treasures I found in the waiting. I offer them to you, hoping you, too might catch sight of the beauty that comes from quietness, trusting, and waiting.
Have you neglected the space and time between the words you write? Have you let the pressure to produce result in less than your best, or even burnout? Have you considered it might be better for you, your art, and your readers to celebrate the space between posts? I’d love to hear if you have felt bound to a certain blogging schedule, and if unblogging seems like a way to breath more freely when it comes to your art.