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I used to be a writer…and then I started a blog.

February 7, 2011

Hi friends! Long time, no see!!!

As I noted on Thursday night, this weekend, we headed down to Washington DC to attend the annual AWP conference—Association of Writers and Writing Programs.  I attended my first AWP conference in Chicago in 2004, when I was just a junior in college, serving as an editorial intern for the literary magazine, Crazyhorse.  Since that first year, I’ve attended AWP conferences in Vancouver, Austin, Atlanta…and this year, DC!

This year, over 8,000 people attended AWP, and the conference featured over 350 presentations—readings, lectures, and panel discussions.  On top of all that, there are book signings, receptions, dances (um, yes), and, of course, informal socializing (re: drinking) all day and night.  To me, the best part of AWP is simply seeing old friends—this year, I got to hang out with friends from college and grad school all weekend long.  I caught up with many of my undergraduate and graduate writing professors, and my conversations with them always seemed to lead to one question: “Are you writing?” 

To be honest, I struggled with how to answer this question.  I do consider blog writing to be writing…but at the same time, I know that it isn’t the kind of writing they’re referring to.  I love writing this blog, and I love being a part of the food blog/healthy living community.  But, another unfortunate truth that I’ve had to face lately is that, undeniably, the amount of creative writing that I seem to be getting done has gone downhill.  I certainly don’t think that the blog is totally to blame for this—there’s also the fact that I’m no longer in school.  In grad school, and to some degree, college, my life centered around writing: I attended weekly workshops, taught creative writing classes, lived with other writers, and thought and talked about writing a lot.  A LOT. 

I think a part of me was even a little relieved to get away from that, after graduating from my MFA program and moving to Pennsylvania.  You can have so many drunken discussions about emotional stake and imagery and unreliable speakers before it all starts to sound the same. 

That being said, ever since I stumbled into my first poetry class at College of Charleston 9 years ago, I’ve never not considered myself a writer.  The world of writing is one that I love, for better or worse.  It’s one that I long to be a part of, but have found myself drifting farther and farther away from in recent months.  Going to AWP this year was a lot of fun, but it also served a deeper purpose—I think it helped to reaffirm my commitment to the world of writing.  About a year ago, I allowed my writing drive to fizzle out.  I stopped sending out poems for publication.  Instead of waking up and immediately writing for a few hours, as I always had in grad school, I began to read blogs instead.  At night, instead of reading new books of poetry and fiction, I’d watch tv, usually with my laptop on my lap so that I could comment on blogs and generate a readership.

Again, I’m not blaming my blog for my lack of writing over the past year.  But, it’s undeniable that I’ve allowed the blog to occupy a large portion of my time—and much of that portion used to go to writing. And hopefully, it will start going to writing again.

Now, this isn’t some big “I’m quitting the blog” announcement—you’re not getting rid of me that easily. But, my posts might be a bit fewer and farther between—and that might not necessarily be a bad thing.  I’m going to try to focus on posting fun, delicious recipes—recipes that are worth a post—as opposed to posting religiously twice a day, even if all I’m posting about is a cheese sandwich. 

Whew…this post has gotten long! And there are no food pictures! If you’re still with me at this point, thanks for reading…and I mean that about this post, and ALL of the other posts as well.  Seriously—thanks for reading.  And I hope that you’ll continue to read as I delve back into other ventures with renewed vigor.

And now, if you’ll excuse me…I have poems to write.  :-)  

36 Comments leave one →
  1. Emo permalink
    February 7, 2011 7:27 pm

    I bet this took some courage to write and I applaud you for it. My dream of being on the blog is realized, so I’m cool with it if you quit it. Kidding. I’ll stick with you if you post once a day or once a week.

    • February 7, 2011 10:46 pm

      Thanks, Emo! So glad we got to see y’all this weekend…it only made us even MORE eager for Key West (if that’s possible).

  2. February 7, 2011 7:45 pm

    I had no idea you were a fellow poet! I’d love to see some of your work one day.

    I completely understand the distinction between blog-writing and writing-writing. I started mine mainly as a way to record travels and interesting events, so I don’t feel the same “get readers” pressure that a lot of bloggers do, but I also sometimes feel like it, along with other writing (marketing work and newspaper articles) takes time away from my poetry writing. I’ll still write when I’m feeling particularly inspired, but it can be hard to force myself to write and to send work out when I’m already juggling so many other types of writing.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re giving yourself the time to write-write, and I’ll keep reading no matter how sporadic your posts get!

    • February 7, 2011 10:41 pm

      Poets unite!! I’d love to see some of your work too, poems or otherwise!

      Yeah, I think it’s hard, because sometimes I do feel that pressure to try to “get readers,” but then I think, “Why am I allowing myself to become so concerned with this? Readership will happen if it happens, and if not, no matter anyway. I’m not turning this blog into a career, so why does it matter if one person is reading, or one million?”

  3. February 7, 2011 7:52 pm

    I did something similar a few months ago Anna – I cut back on my blogging to focus more on my other writing projects. And it’s worked! Now if only I could break my addiction to reading/commenting on blogs. 🙂 It’s not looking likelly!

    • February 7, 2011 10:40 pm

      I’m glad to hear that your break lead to a breakthrough! I hope mine has the same effect! And you KNOW I love your writing…I would love to read other stuff that you work on!

  4. February 7, 2011 7:54 pm

    Blogging can definitely be a big time commitment and it makes total sense that you need to step away in order to make space for other passions. Best of luck as you delve back into other parts of your life. I look forward to reading when you come back!

  5. February 7, 2011 9:43 pm

    I absolutely love your writing and I look forward to whatever you plan to do with this blog! I hear ya on the time suck, but sometimes it does take being away from something for a while to discover why you love it in the first place. Good luck with your writing!

    • February 7, 2011 10:39 pm

      Thanks, Sarena! Yeah, taking a break from writing definitely has created the whole “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” scenario– which is good!

  6. February 7, 2011 9:46 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the weekend and blogging is definitely a huge, time-consuming hobby. A lot of my free time has been dedicated to writing and reading other blogs, not a bad thing, but I sometimes feel pressured to maintain the presence in the blog community. Glad you’re not quitting blogging and totally understand throttling back posts a bit. Good luck!

    • February 7, 2011 10:38 pm

      Thanks, Christine! Yep, sometimes when I think about all of the time I spend writing my blog and reading others, I think, “Whoooooa…that is a LOT of time!” Totally worth it, but still…

  7. mindy permalink
    February 7, 2011 10:13 pm

    Good luck Anna! Hopefully you’ll be able to do what I can’t seem to- get over the fear of actually sitting down to write a poem. “The art of losing isn’t hard to master;/ So many things seem filled with with the intent/ to be lost that their loss is no disaster.”

  8. February 7, 2011 11:37 pm

    I completely support your decision! I loved to write in high school, but sometimes I feel like college has dulled my enthusiasm for it. My blog is a way for me to be creative every day, but I have to admit that I no longer journal and write short stories like I did a few years ago. Do what feels right for you- I’ll definitely still be reading no matter how often you post!

  9. February 7, 2011 11:51 pm

    You are a straight up champion for writing as frequently and as consistently as you’ve been doing these last couple of years. Years? Is it possible? So it is completely understandable that you want to scale it back a bit. Nothing wrong with focusing on quality over quantity! (Although you succeeded with both).

    I don’t say this enough, but thanks for this blog, Anna. It brightens my day, and it makes me feel like you guys aren’t quite so far away. Why in the world didn’t I get together with you every week while we were in Lafayette? Anyway, you’re amazing, and your blog is pretty rad, too. Good luck with your writing!

    • February 8, 2011 2:34 am

      Awww, thank you! I know, I think that (and say it to Ryan aloud) all the time too– why didn’t Elyssa and I SEE each other more in Lafayette?!?! Oh well…better late than never!

      • May 16, 2011 11:00 pm

        Thanks for sharing. What a pelsuare to read!

  10. February 8, 2011 12:18 am

    We support you girl, I think following your heart and really doing what you love is the best thing! We will keep reading and cheering you on. I wish Michelle and I could write, we are not writers that is not what we are good at and we have come to terms with that, haha we seem to be better at food, LOL

    Good luck girl you will do great !

    • February 8, 2011 2:34 am

      Aw, thank you! It’s all about figuring what works for you, right?! 🙂

  11. February 8, 2011 12:25 am

    Omg I did NOT see this coming. And as you said, you’re not quitting 🙂 Every time i have ever made a scaling-back announcement on my blog, from commenting on other blogs to scaling down my own post size, ppl think always that it’s a quitting announcement.

    I love that you have realized you want to write, that the blog is cutting into your creative writing time, and that you’re going to be blogging, but more recipe-worthy posts and less chitchatty posts. I totally get that and think that if that’s what you want to do…fabulous! 🙂

  12. February 8, 2011 12:53 am

    Oddly, blogging got me writing again. But I was never the creative fiction writer – I’m a non-fiction girl. After spending so much time writing about the death of a dear friend then 2 years on my thesis, I was so incredibly spent. I felt I had no creativity left. I wrote for my job sure, but that wasn’t fun. Blogging has definitely reinvigorated my love of writing.

    • February 8, 2011 2:33 am

      I totally understand– I felt that reinvigoration SO strongly when I first started blogging…I feel like I’ve lost it a little, and maybe this will be a way (oddly) to get it back!

  13. February 8, 2011 12:54 am

    I think this is a great decision. I know what it’s like to just feel out of words, so to speak, since I’m a reporter (and have a work blog, in addition to brief stories for the web and three stories a week for the print edition) AND I (try) to write Fashionably Fit.

    • February 8, 2011 2:32 am

      Thanks– I know you understand where I’m coming from!!

  14. Tess permalink
    February 8, 2011 12:55 am

    Way to go, Lady! I wish you well! I’ve always loved your poetry.

    • February 8, 2011 2:31 am

      Aww, thanks Tess!! We missed you SO much at AWP– we’re already excited for Chicago!

  15. February 8, 2011 1:27 am

    I think getting back into regular writing is a noble thing. I’m in school and I don’t think I write as much for class as I do for blogging. Then again, most of what I do write tends to be in the wrong language. Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading your select and no doubt mouth-watering recipes whenever you’re inspired.

    • February 8, 2011 2:31 am

      Thanks, Evan– I believe it about writing more on your blog than you do in classes! Blogging is a LOT of writing effort!

  16. mmt permalink
    February 8, 2011 2:08 am

    I heart you. 🙂

  17. Katherine permalink
    February 8, 2011 3:58 am

    Good for you!! lylas 😉

  18. JenATX permalink
    February 8, 2011 4:38 am

    I just read through all the comments & the discussion is very interesting. I’m not a writer (I’m a law student, which basically means I write boring stuff) so I can’t even imagine how one sits down & just -writes-. How do you even come up with ideas to write about? What do you do with the ideas that turn out not to make sense? Its a whole other world that I know nothing about! I hope the creative juices are flowing & you effortlessly re-enter the writing world 🙂

  19. February 8, 2011 7:12 am

    Congrats on making that difficult (but so important!) decision for yourself! I went through a similar “awakening” last year–feeling like I was getting farther and farther away from my dream of becoming a middle school history teacher. So even though I’m still biding my time while my husband finishes school this spring, I have been reading lots and lots of books that are focused on history and education so that I feel better prepared for the day that I am in the classroom! And this, of course, comes at a price–not as much time for reading blogs and watching tv–but if deep down I’m feeling more fulfilled when I go to bed at night then it’s a clear sign that this is the thing that I need to be doing!
    I’m hoping that you sink right into the groove of writing again and gain from it everything that you expect and hope for!

  20. Kelly permalink
    February 8, 2011 2:36 pm

    Good for you, Anna!!! But don’t go too long between posts…I am not sure what I do without your wit and and humor in my life! 🙂

  21. February 8, 2011 11:39 pm

    I like reading posts that are just words sometime. It’s like, if you’ve seen one bowl of oatmeal, you’ve seen them all. But with words, they are always different.

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