I began blogging in 2013 and by 2016 I was burnt out and uninspired and closed up shop. But here I am less than two years later hopping back online and starting to blog again after quitting and I want to share the why of it all.
During college and directly afterward I worked at an art museum. You see, I was an Art History major at university and thought my dream was a career in a museum. In reality, I watched too many rom-coms and liked sitting in dark rooms watching slideshows for college credits. While working at a museum in the Membership Department didn’t end up feeding my soul, I was surrounded by a specific type of person that knew something about food for the soul: artists.
I had a very specific definition of an artist, after years spent studying them and their craft: an artist is someone who can’t help but create. They just cannot help themselves but draw in notebooks, paint canvases, shoot film, doodle, sing, and play the hell out several different instruments. There’s a certain obsessiveness that someone who is passionate about creating “art” has that elevates their interest from hobby to craft.
Or so I thought. I didn’t think I could be an artist, or in more colloquial terms: a creative. I’d always wanted to be someone who couldn’t help themselves. But instead I was hesitant, doubtful, and standing on the sidelines watching people suck the bone marrow out of life. And I was unhappy. I wanted more. I needed more.
That is when I started blogging. WIthout a goal. Without a purpose. With only the need to share.
I never did have faith in my goal. I didn’t think I had it in me. So I kept it safely in “hobby land”. Who was I to try blogging? To call myself a blogger? Who would want to read about me?
And that’s how it went for several years. But the thing is, my “hobby” changed me. Even while I let my inner critic continually tell me I could never truly succeed. I went from sitting in a basement entering checks into a database, to helping people build websites and manage their online content for a living. I can now call myself an expert in website management, and really fucking own it.
So, why did I quit blogging? That is a part of the title of this post, isn’t it? Well, somewhere along the way, I realized I was letting that little voice run the show that didn’t think I could succeed. It paralyzed me in fear, keeping me from sharing and writing. Until the point writing for my blog didn’t come naturally but became forced and inauthentic. Eventually, my website was just a thing I paid $16 per month to keep up.
Though there’s more at the core of it; I stopped blogging because I didn’t believe in myself. I couldn’t find the authenticity in it anymore, and I needed a break from trying to create myself by creating content.
“But wait...” you might be saying, “aren’t I reading this on your blog?” Why yes, yes you are. After a few years of healing and a straight up self-renaissance, I have found that I just can’t help myself. I want to write, I need to write, I can’t help the desire to tap it out on my keyboard and share the pieces of myself that I think are worth sharing.
And with this renewed desire to write again, I find myself more inclined to accept the title, ‘artist.’ I also find that my definition of what an artist is has evolved. I used to think that artists were 100% inspired all of the time, finding inspiration from their blood, creating beautiful masterpieces in their every spare moment. Now I realize that you don’t have to be constantly scratching an itch to be an artist, all you have to do is create.
All it takes to start blogging again after quitting, or anything you’ve ever quit for that matter, is to start again. The smallest of steps count as restarting, not just the big achievements. I started by writing. That’s it. Opening Google Docs and letting words pour across the page. Even without a site to publish them on, I did what I could right then and there and voila, I was a blogger again. Eventually, I hired a designer, got an accountability coach, created a new site taxonomy, built out an editorial calendar and laid a foundation for my new blog to launch.
In order to start blogging again after quitting, I gave myself permission to take myself seriously; to make a plan, believe in myself, set goals and invest in my decision. It felt right which is how I knew it was right. That’s how artists know it’s right. That’s how you’ll know it’s right.