It’s been weeks since my last post. I didn’t intend for so much time to pass between posts, but there were (and are) reasons for this gap.
The first reason is that I really began to struggle with the direction of this blog. Though it was never intended to be purely a blog about travel, that has been a lot of the focus because of its being borne out of travel. I started writing, truly, while I was in Madrid last year, and even many of the pieces I wrote upon returning home dealt explicitly with travel. I found much of my ‘voice’ while traveling, both on the Camino and beyond. Thus, while not explicitly a travel blog, the fact that I am not currently traveling did a lot to hamper my writing.
Along similar lines, when I did write for the blog, too often it was at the expense of any other writing. To be sure, I like writing for this blog. However, I don’t want to write exclusively for this blog. I want to be more than just a blogger; I want to be a writer. I had difficulty keeping up with the weekly Saturday posts because any writing I did that wasn’t specifically for the blog made me feel guilty. This was not a good feeling. Further, it was detrimental to my growth as a writer. As much as I may possess some level of skill with the English language, I still have a long way to go as a writer. The blank page still scares me so much. If I sat down and combated my fear of the blank page and wrote something, to feel guilt about not writing expressly for the blog was counterproductive.
It was also around this time that I started my photography website. Similarly a passion of mine, I began putting in a good amount of time, normally spent here, editing the photos I had and taking new ones. This further diverted my attention away from writing and posting here.
Additionally, considering the amount of time I spent writing and editing, to have such a frustratingly small audience started to get to me. When I said I didn’t really care about writing for a small audience, I wanted so badly for this to be true. This is why I said it. Admittedly, though, I suppose that wasn’t entirely true. Fame is a fickle beast, and though I really don’t actually want to be famous, neither do I want to spend hours writing and editing for so few readers. Unfortunately, though, my desire to reach a larger audience overshadowed the fact that I do have regular readers. Moreover, with diligence and resolve, this audience will potentially grow.
[I do want to be sure to say how grateful I am to those who regularly read my words and support me. Your encouragement and support mean more than I can say. I feel bad about leaving you hanging with nothing and with no explanation. Forgive me.]
This brings me to the amount of time I spent writing and, specifically, editing. To be sure, the editing process is absolutely vital. There is very little worth reading that hasn’t been edited in some way. However, another part of my pause in blogging is due to the copious amounts of time I spent editing. My perfectionism wouldn’t let me post something without being close to 100% satisfied with it. This was both a blessing and a curse. I looked over and corrected each post numerous times over the course of hours, but this prevented me from spending that time writing anything else. It also caused me to censor myself. I allowed myself time, not only to edit the words as I wrote them, but the thoughts themselves. Sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes, though, I maybe went too far. I wasn’t as honest or real as I wanted to be.
So, what comes next for this blog? Where do I go from here? The best I can say is that I’ll write what I feel when I feel it without worrying too much about the overarching direction of the blog as a whole. I’ll do my best to lay aside my perfectionism. I still won’t post anything half-heartedly because I want to keep to the stated goal of writing only that which I deem worth reading. Neither, though, will I read pieces over and over and over again before posting them. This will be a delicate balancing act, but I’ll do my best to walk this tightrope of editing the best I can. What comes is what comes. Conventional blogging wisdom would frown on this, as it advises a blogger to pick a topic and/or direction and stick with it. Granted, I’ve more or less bucked traditional blogging from the outset, so to reject it now would be keeping in step with how I’ve done things here all along. I may ultimately settle on a specific direction. Until then, the direction is “Brett’s Thoughts”.
The result will likely be a slightly less-refined product. I suppose, however, that this keeps more in the spirit of what blogging is. With this more raw and stripped-down process, I’ll fulfill another goal of this page, that of being honest and authentic. For better or worse, shortening my editing time will often give readers a more unfiltered look into my thoughts. My mindset and moods will be more clear. I won’t go out of my way to offend anyone, but I might not hold back to the extent I have in the past. Fair warning.
To use a technological metaphor, this isn’t a hard reset on this blog, necessarily. It’s more of refresh. It’s a ‘Power Off’ before turning back on. I can’t say exactly where this renewed mindset will take me or this blog, but uncertainty is part of the journey.
A pilgrimage is an intensely personal journey, but it is not one that a pilgrim undertakes alone. I don’t want to ‘talk’ into a vacuum. I want to hear other voices, too. What I’m trying to say is, I want feedback! Have I spoken something to you? Is there something you think I should know? Do you have a question about something I said? Please leave a comment below or contact me at Pilgrim.Brett@gmail.com.
Also, follow me on the Pilgrim Shelter Facebook page to stay up to date on any new releases and for information about future posts. Thanks for reading!