Courage courses where it chooses to course.
It could be in voicing your heart or remaining silent. It’s there when you retreat and also when you walk up to the table of strangers and say hello, not knowing what to expect or how your life is about to change forever, potentially. But you do it.
Today’s guest blogger knows courage.
Jillian writes Jillian Loves, and once wrote Finishing is Winning. Like many of us, Jillian loves to write. Like many of us, Jillian struggles to find the time to sit down (or even lean against something) and actually get her fingers on the home keys.
Today, Jillian is here to talk about the reasons she stopped blogging – and reasons she should start again.
Please give her a warm CD welcome. And be sure to check out her blogs – both of them – when you get a chance. Also, in the comments, please share some of your owns struggles and trimphs when it comes to this affliction we call blogging.
Eli asked me many moons ago to do a guest post on his blog. I am the type of person who believes early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable. Except with writing. I can procrastinate on that … well … for a long time!
When I started my first blog, Finishing is Winning, in early 2009, I had been into running and triathlon for about a year. I was interested in writing about my adventures in training and racing and I was genuinely interested in other people’s adventures. I have always loved to write, so I felt creating a blog would be a good way to meet new people, write about my life and keep myself accountable all at the same time. I documented nearly 50 races! I also traveled to Florida to meet up and race with one of my first blog friends, and later to Boston for a whirlwind weekend of blog meet-ups and Boston Marathon spectating! Although I ended that blog chapter a few years ago, I am still in touch with (and still see) many of the people I met during that time.
A while after closing the chapter on Finishing is Winning, I attempted to begin a new blog. It was short-lived and I stopped blogging altogether. As I said, Eli was contacting me about a post, which is what ultimately drove me back into the blog. Really thinking about what he was asking, and then writing it down, sparked something in me. You can now find me at JillianLoves.
3 reasons I stopped blogging
1. Blogging was changing
: Within months of starting Finishing is Winning, I had more than 150 daily blog readers. That number climbed rapidly over the years. I had more than 200 blogs in my own reader! (I kept up religiously with about 50 of them.) Then, something began to change. There was a separation of sorts … some bloggers got really big and some stopped blogging altogether. Perhaps it was the surge in Facebook, or maybe it was just timing, but I felt something change and therefore began to blog less and less. As were many of my most read bloggers. Eventually, when life began to get in the way, the blog began to fall apart as well.
2. I couldn’t be that open
The changes in blogging were coinciding with some pretty major changes in my life as well. I had broken my foot and at the same time going through a terrible breakup. So many of my friends were getting married, having babies and racing at the top of their game. I felt like I had nothing to offer and I wasn’t willing to talk about it. I did end up writing a brutally honest post but I was not in a place where I could share day-to-day or even week- to-week. I retreated in my life, and from the blog.
3. It didn’t feel authentic
Because I couldn’t be that open and I was feeling so low, nothing felt authentic. I was desperately trying to save the blog, so I would hop on every now and then and update; there wasn’t a whole lot to update and it would leave me feeling worse in the end. My whole blog started and revolved around training, racing, running and triathlon and I was so far from all of that life. What was Finishing is Winning if it wasn’t that? I didn’t know, and that is when I knew it just had to end.
3 reasons to start up again
1. I am healed
It has been a few years and I have grown exponentially. I feel fully healed (physically and emotionally) and in a place where I can once again feel free to share my world. I also started JillianLoves as a blog open to all of my life, not just one aspect. That way, I can write about all the things I love (or things I don’t love) without feeling so tied to a theme.
2. I am inspired
In addition to finding my love of running and racing again, I am inspired in different ways now. I want to write about food and wine and books and racing. I also want to write about the things I tend to keep off Facebook. I want to bring awareness to the work I do (and the work that needs to be done) for the homeless in Philadelphia. I want to write about why I think it is grossly irresponsible to defund Planned Parenthood. I want to write about why we need to treat drug addiction like the illness that it is and help those fighting mental health demons. I want to write about why I feel like we can all be better and kinder people if we just listen more and talk less. I find inspiration every day and I am in a place now where I feel ready to begin exploring those thoughts.
3. I missed it
It really is simple. Writing is cathartic for me and has always been an outlet. I missed it. I don’t care if I have three readers or three hundred readers. My words mean something to me and I miss writing them down.
Great, honest and heartfelt post. Thank you Eli. I have been where you have been Jillian. After three years of a previous blog, I stopped. I only recently started a new one. The love of writing in a safe environment called me back. I have left Facebook after nine years. It is not what it once was (just like me, I suppose) and I no longer enjoy it. Deleting my account was freeing in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I even have more energy and capacity for writing. I wish you well in your blogging journey. Eli, I wish you well also. This blogging thing just gets into us, yes? 😊
It is always so nice when others understand where we have been! It really does get into us! I think about deleting FB quite often, but I fear losing touch. Electronics have certainly changed how we communicate. Sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse!
I had the same concerns about losing touch. Then I thought about some more and realized that being in touch is a shared responsibility. How did we do it before FB? Those who regard connection to you will remain connected in other ways. You may find you will do the same. Best wishes with your choices!
We used to keep in touch one call and one letter at a time, Carrie – no social media posts to the masses!
There’s beauty when we pick up a device – but maybe even more so when we put it down.
It’s tough not to do it, Carrie – even at the expense of eating graham crackers, as I’m currently experiencing. #writerproblems
Great interview Eli and interesting hearing Jillian’s thoughts on blogging. Despite all the connections that are made blogging is such an individual and unique journey, for all of us.
It’s parallel and unique, but we’re headed the same general direction, aren’t we Miriam?
We are indeed Eli. How have you been?
I’m good, Miriam. We should catch up by email.
Absolutely. It’s been a while.
Your last paragraph hit me between the eyes, Jillian. I stopped blogging because I was surrounded by those with huge audiences and more to say than I thought I did. But writing helps me think, and feel, and become a better citizen. Thank you for the courage to write this post.
It is weird how we let others get in our heads, causing us to get in our own way!
Write for the audience of one; reach the audience of multitudes.
That courage is in all of us, Elizabeth – I hope you see that!
Excellent post, I am glad Jillian has started blogging again because she has a lot she can teach us about the plight of the homeless. I will check out her blog.
You’ll love it there, Ellen.
“Writing is cathartic for me and has always been an outlet. I missed it. I don’t care if I have three readers or three hundred readers.” Welcome back. I can very much relate to this. I pretty much write for me – because at times I have to. Sounds like your blog’s a winner.
That is just it- sometimes we have to! Thanks 🙂
The words have to be for us first, right Susan? Without that, they’re nothing.
Love the honesty of this post. I find that I’m not intimidated by those who have huge audiences. I’m gaining some new followers who have less than 50, sometimes less than 20 followers. There were days last month when I would sit to write and not be able to come up anything. I could have easily walked away and not blogged again. But I would have missed it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jillian and thanks for hosting her Eli!
Glad you enjoyed this, Eric – it’s about the words, not the stats, isn’t it? That’s the beautiful part.
Exactly. It’s about writing stuff I like to read.
Blogging isn’t for wimps is it 🙂 it can be very time consuming. When you start out and have 5-6 or maybe 10 followers and are following around the same amount, it’s easy to read every post your blogging buddies post, but then one day, you have 100 or 200 or even 431 and suddenly it takes you several hours to read them. Personally, I don’t know how Eli manages 😀
Your honesty is moving Jill and I wish you well with your blogging future. If you love writing, don’t give up 😉
I found it amazing that you ran for a few miles on a broken foot at the end of a marathon Jumping catfish Jill, how did you manage that? I broke a couple of small bones in my foot jumping from one rock to another when hiking years ago and I couldn’t walk one step let alone run. LOL call in the nearby senior scout group to carry me out on a stretcher.
I am far from good at juggling the writing and reading, Lyn. But I will forgo some meals, decent hygiene and even an episode of Seinfeld to get some reading in from my friends with blogs.
Lyn, I have no idea! Truth be told, I didn’t know it was broken at the time…I just knew something was very wrong! The last three miles took me a long time, but there was NO WAY I wasn’t finishing. Almost as soon as I got through the finish, I was unable to walk and by Monday morning, I was in x-ray!