What am I doing?

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What am I doing? I’m so confused.

In 2010, I started this blog to write out and explore my thoughts and feelings related to my marriage and my life. I hoped readers would relate to my stories, and I hoped I would start conversations.

Mid-2011, I began exploring flash fiction. I tapped into my alter egos (the many voices within) and created various stories inspired the group. I started taking part in writing challenges offered by other bloggers. And, I took part in Blogdramedy’s 12 days of BlogFestivus, which I enjoyed greatly.

I liked flexing my fiction-writing muscles; rather, I liked building my fiction-writing muscles. Plus, I enjoyed the challenge of competing with fellow bloggers. I have a competitive spirit, and I like putting myself out there and having my work judged by my peers.

At the start of 2012, I decided I would commit to posting a new picture every day throughout the entire year. I got the idea from Stasha, who fascinates me with her photos.

So began the journey to many places, Monday Menagerie, Monday Listicles, Tuesday Tales, Thursday Threads… and photos.

Before the writing challenges and competitions, before committing to a new photo every day, before all of that stuff, I had a nice blogging routine. I wrote on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mondays and Wednesdays consisted of lingering thoughts on the life and times of me, and Fridays were reserved for fun things like poetry, a compilation of stories and drabbles (very short stories of exactly 100 words).

Influenced by the styles of others, I changed my course. And now … now I am lost.

I admit I have chameleon-like tendencies. That is to say, I try to blend in with the crowd by changing and conforming to my environment. Sometimes the changes are genuine and sometimes the changes are simply to appease and appear like the others.

Curiosity is what fuels my changes. Within the blogosphere, my curiosity explodes, and I find myself trying to be like the published writer sponsoring weekly flash fiction contests. I try to capture the perfect photograph, just like the working professionals. I try playing with exactly 100 words, in hopes of telling a tale as wonderfully as the person who introduced me to drabbles.

As I attempt to be like others, I lose myself. The inspiration wanes, and the writing lessens.

What am I doing?!

Last week I asked the question, “Do I know you?” Turns out, I need to ask myself that question. Do I know me? If I directed that question to a Magic 8-Ball, I am fairly certain the response I would get is “My sources say No.”

While trying to keep up with the rest of the blogosphere, I lost my shtick.
While trying to wear the hats of others, I misplaced my own hats.
While listening to the voices of others, I ignored my own voices.

You may or may not be old enough to remember Bill Bixby and his role in the television show The Incredible Hulk. Day to day, Bill’s character was a mild mannered scientist. During an unfortunate accident, his character’s life changed dramatically. When life was going smoothly, his character was able to maintain self-control, but if someone made him angry … Well, Bill’s character was often heard saying, “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I am angry.”

I could say the same for the voices in my head when I ignore them for too long. “Lenore,” they say. “Don’t ignore us, because it makes us angry. You wouldn’t like it if we were angry.”

As crazy as it sounds, the various hats I have picked up these past several months came with new voices, voices I did not recognize and voices that were not indicative of my core. These new voices began clashing with the original voices and chaos reigned.

I needed to be committed help.

I was not surprised when help came in the form of my voices – my original voices. After several conversations with me, myself, and me, I decided to go back to my own place, a place where I babble, ramble and rant. Thankfully, I’ve learned a lesson or five while exploring the paths of others, and I realize the importance of posts having a clear beginning, middle and end. So, with that in mind, I hope to corral my voices and babble, ramble, and rant with a purpose.

If you were not afraid before today, you should be afraid now. My voices have spoken, and I am no longer confused. I know exactly what I am doing.

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66 thoughts on “What am I doing?

  1. I find myself lost in that same place quite frequently, and not only in writing. I’m many things to many people, often contradictory, and yet always genuinely.

    I was thinking about it on my drive to work this morning, as I shed a weekend of Hippie Cahier and moved into Professional Mode. If ever those worlds collided, whew doggie.

    You’ve expressed it quite well. May I borrow your voice? 😉

    • Thank you, Hippie. I am glad I am not alone in my line of thinking. Though with as many voices as I have, I suppose I am never alone. Because I have many voices. I may be able to loan one to you. Good luck!

  2. You don’t scare me at all. I too find myself getting wrapped up in the link-ups sometimes. Today – I stepped away from Monday Listicles or blogging of ANY kind. WHAT? Too much on my mind. I have one for tomorrow, but only because I wrote it several days ago and I may as well hook up to yeahwrite but I’m always adjusting my blog. I get it.

    • I will probably use this as my Yeah Write post, because my voices are quiet right now. I’m going to enjoy the silence while I have it! (smile)
      I’m glad you get it. And, I’m not surprised you get it. 🙂

  3. I love it that you have stepped back, taken a deep breath of springtime air and asked some tough questions. All part of the journey. Kudos to you for being cognizant of your changing needs.

  4. I’d say your voices are off to a fine start, Lenore! Keep it up, I look forward to reading more.

    I feel the same way sometimes. I like to explore and try new things blogging-wise. But when I just let things flow, I have more fun. “I just gotta be me….and nobody else but me….” (sorry my singing voice is rusty today)

    After last week, I am at the point of blogging burnout. I’m heading into a week off or more and I look forward to it so I can just read and catch up. Clear the mind and chill. It’s going to be 60 degrees here this week so time to spend it outside as much as I can. (Plus, I am fresh outta post ideas…haha!)

    • As long as I don’t go snooping around trying to be like the others, I think I’ll be OK. The big question is … now that I am back to listening to my own voices, will I continue to pull in the readers? Only time will tell.

      You say you are looking at a week or more off, but we followers know you better than you know yourself, Darla. You’ll be back sooner than you think. Your talent cannot be kept quiet. It will break free … In the mean time, enjoy your chill time.

  5. A good babble can turn into sense after a while. You’ve got it. I recognize you with your humor, you the wife, mom, daughter sister, aunt, you with compassion, you who enjoys fun. Yes, you do know exactly what you’re doing.
    Now when I know what I’m doing with Andy…I’ll let you know. Looking for him…maybe today?

          • You’ll be ready by Thursday, Georgette? Pictures and everything?! Wow, I sure hope Andy can keep up with you young whipper’snapper!
            I was going to follow Oma’s style. If you don’t mind, email your write up and photos to me. I create an intro and publish your post on my blog. Then you can either reblog it to your page. Is that OK?

          • OK…will do…I thought I’d do a series, not just one summary, on Thursdays and yes, I will choose to reblog it on my site. Like your “Adventure Girl” series, I thought perhaps we could get an “Adventure Boy” series going. So I’ll do a latest and greatest update, vignettes of his adventures…Rick is helping me…yay!…I need help as March has turned into a very busy month.

      • Oh, I am working on my post. I have had a houseful of company, but am on spring break this week. I will get the photos together and fire off an e-mail with the post and pics in the next day or two. It really was great fun – I just wish I hadn’t been so sick for most of his visit…

        • No worries, K8. Take your time and enjoy your family. We need not post in order of Andy’s visits. Besides, his trip to NZ will take some serious time. If Georgette is going to have hers in a jiffy, I may wait a week or so before I post your tale.

    • Yes, that is the answer, MJ. I am going to write what I want to write, knowing what I write may be different from others. That’s OK. I do want to do what I enjoy… being my own crazed self. 🙂 Thank you for the encouragement, MJ!

    • Thank you, Chris. Staying grounded in my own thoughts is hard for me. I see how others react to posts that I don’t enjoy… still, I try to write similar things figuring if they can do it – why not me? But, it’s not me, and that is what matters. I gotta listen to me.

  6. Hi,
    It is your blog, and you should do what your mind and heart are telling you to do, what you are happy with doing, forget doing things that you really don’t want to do, after awhile it just becomes a burden and you no longer feel happy about your blog. Just be yourself. 🙂

    • You are right about the burden, Mags. The burden was really bearing down on me. I wanted to call myself out, so I could shake it off and return the proper focus. Thank you for your kind words.

  7. Always listen to the voices in your head. Wait — no, that’s probably not the best advice for everyone.

    I have found it interesting to go back and look at some of my old posts and see how my content has changed over time. There used to be a lot of sports posts, but that’s become a less-important thing in my life. Sometimes I feel like I should write more science posts — but those take longer (mostly b/c I try to 2x-check that I’ve got the facts correct).

    These days, I see a lot of drabbles, book reviews, and some travel and around-the-house pieces. I’m okay with that, but sometimes I wish I could find myself more “inspired”.

    • Aside from telling me to eat entire containers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, my voices are pretty sane. They’ve never told me to do anything illegal. Not yet, anyway.
      I suppose our posts reflect our current life – with the current changing with the tides. I don’t mind my posts changing, I just want to make sure the change reflects me and not what my blogging neighbor is doing. For whatever reason, I got lost in the blogs of others. Not influenced by – lost. There’s a difference.

      Thanks for visiting. Please do not stop writing your drabbles.

  8. If it’s any help, Lenore, if I asked you what your mission statement was for your blog, in one sentence, what would that be?

    I forced myself to write one down. Turns out, it allows a good breadth and depth and it keeps me steering in a perfectly straight zig zag. When I get too far off course, I feel it and don’t like it! I just refer back to that original goal – which is as valid today as when I started – and get back to work.

    Quality over quantity is a biggee for me. I don’t care how often I post, I want to feel I achieved my goal.

    • Thank you for the suggestion, Amy. I will heed your advice. My mission statement has changed since I first began blogging. I can’t say as the mission statement will never change again, but I will certainly write it down and add it to the ‘about’ page. I will use it to stay on track. And I agree with you, too – quality over quantity. I need to learn the value in writing nothing at all, when true inspiration doesn’t exist.

      • There have been times, Lenore, when I am awed by my readers ’cause I’ve agonized over why I published something. It’s kind of like being floated when you feel like drowning! We’re certainly a sensitive bunch!

  9. Doesn’t matter ’bout Mumble Monday, Tell-all Tuesday, etc., Lenore. Be true to yourself and the path will be smooth.

    Blessings – Maxi

  10. I’m glad. As much as I enjoyed your Christmas songs and your daily pictures – I don’t hear much from you in them. I sort of liked getting to know you:)

    Good luck! Follow your bliss and take us along for the ride!

  11. Word.
    I have been having a lot of the same thoughts lately and I have just started connecting with other bloggers.
    Not that I don’t enjoy it, but it has definitely taken me off course.
    It’s a delicate balance between participating and learning and losing yourself…
    I am sure you’ll do fine! Look forward to reading more.

    • It’s funny, because I have often shrugged off the word balance, feeling it was unattainable. However, you are exactly right – there is a fine line (balance if you will) between participating and losing yourself. For me, I was going down the road of losing myself. This blog is my sanity, and if I leave myself to be like others, it would set me back so very far.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Kerstin. I appreciate the fact that you ‘get it’.

    • KA it was not an easy task, I assure you. The voices become quite manic at times. I am confident I’ve appeased myself and my voices. Finally, I can get back to my own thing. (smile) Thank you very much for visiting and commenting. I appreciate your words.

  12. The trick is, is to listen to that one strong voice in you. Ignore everything else.

    With blogging, there are so many avenues and paths you can choose. Dabble, but commit only if it feels right. Personally, I just write. If it happens to coincide with a prompt/ linky, I might link up. If only to show support to the host. But I still stay true to my voice.

    • I admire your strength, Allison. I get so carried away with the other voices, which keeps me off track. However, after writing this post, I feel more focused. I think my own voices will reign now. Woo hoo!
      I appreciate you visiting, and I really enjoy your blog.

  13. Babbling rants are good!
    And you know what? I’m feeling a little like a chameleon up here too – like tofu, I take on the flavors of the bloggers around me. It’s all a journey of finding your voice. Glad you have found (one of) yours. (-:

    • A tofu-blogger. I like the comparison, Adrienne. I have a habit of adding a bit too much of other people’s ingredients. (smile) I need to own more of my flavor. Again, excellent comparison. I won’t forget it. Thank you!

  14. I loved listening in on your head figuring out which direction to take. Writing definitely needs to happen at its own pace. Just like any well-formed thought needs to happen organically. (“Just give me a minute!”)

    By the way: I’m not afraid…but I’ll let you know when you scare me!

  15. There are so many interesting things to try here in blog land. One doesn’t know what they can do until they try. I’ve always heard that it doesn’t take long to figure out what you don’t want to do! 🙂 Don’t be afraid to spread your wings. So what if you fall out of the nest? One day you’ll fly!

  16. I really liked this post. It’s well-written, honest and focused. You’ll be okay! All writers have to make forays out into the unknown, then scurry back to their caves to process what they’ve seen. Looking forward to what you come up with next!

    • Hello Louise, thank you for stopping by my neighborhood. I love your blog and seeing pictures of your ‘puppies’.
      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed what I shared. I’m excited to be back on my own track.

  17. I can absolutely relate to this. I’ve felt the same exact way. Lost among others…another small fish in a large pond. I think it’s great that you’re getting back to what makes you you and what makes you happy. That’s what is most important.

    • Yes, yes, yes, Katie. Lost among others, and trying to be like the others. My teenage years are over – I have no business going back to that way of life. (smile) Thanks for visiting. I appreciate the comments.

  18. Ellen and I are super-new to the blogosphere, but I can see the rabbit-hole that you could fall into. I like the movement in this piece. You start out lost and move. . . somewhere else. You are exactly “found” but definitely in a better place.

    I thought of this after I read your piece. The definition of a find is the discovery of something valuable. You are a find indeed. Good luck getting your groove back on. Erin

    • Thank you, Erin. Perhaps, with the help of Ellen, the two of you will keep each other on your genuine path, even if it turns left or right on occasion. I like dabbling in little things here and there, but I found I became obsessed with dabbling in new things, which is how I got lost. I’ll still explore new styles, links, etc., but my main goal is to stick to what I enjoy. Novel idea, eh?

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post and comment. Feedback is always appreciated. And yes – the definition of a find is the discovery of something valuable. I love that.

    • Thank you, Stacey. I hope you have reclaimed your voice. Picking up bits of this and that from others is one thing, but I found ‘the others’ were taking over and influencing me like ivy – English Ivy. That stuff takes over.

  19. Sometimes, though, being a chameleon isn’t a bad thing – even in blogging. I consider my blog to be “niche-less” and write about everything from parenthood to blogging to completely arbitrary things like stink bugs. My tone ranges from humorous to thoughtful to very, very serious. But as long as I write from the heart and stay true to my “voice,” I feel like it works. You know?

    And I loved The Incredible Hulk as a kid. So hear you on “the voices.” I often say that my inner monologue is a mouthy, obnoxious, self-centered bitch. If I ignore her for too long, it’s not pretty. 😉

    • Welcome to my neighborhood, Kristin. I appreciate you stopping by for a visit.
      I agree with you, being a chameleon isn’t a bad thing. Adapting to one’s environment is a skill and an asset. I like your use of ‘niche-less’. That sounds much better than ‘babble’, which is what I tend to do – babble about this, babble about that … 🙂
      My voices are certainly mouthy and obnoxious. I do my best to remind them to whom they are speaking. I mean, I deserve respect! 🙂
      Thanks again for visiting.

  20. This “While trying to keep up with the rest of the blogosphere, I lost my shtick.
    While trying to wear the hats of others, I misplaced my own hats.
    While listening to the voices of others, I ignored my own voices.”…yes, this.

    Well said. It is so vital to remain true to yourself and that ‘original’ voice within. Keep staying true. You’ve got a great voice here, worth listening to.:)

  21. Writing takes you places you would never dare to go yourself, and I’m so glad you found your way back to that place. Hurray to all of our voices! How boring would we all be without them?

    • Welcome, Susan! Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving a note. I wouldn’t know how boring it would be without my voices… though I wouldn’t mind spending a day and finding out. 🙂
      Thank you for your kind words. This post was a bit cathartic for me.

  22. I find myself guilty of the same. Easily influenced by others, especially those who seem to have a faithful following, I read and reread before I press “Post” and think, what am I saying?
    My best posts, the ones I most proud, really seem to be the ones where it’s really me.
    Great post!

    • My sentiments exactly, Jackie. I don’t mind being influenced by others, but when I find myself trying to write in their voice or their style, well – it takes me back. It’s not my writing. Thank you very much for visiting. I am glad you liked my post. It was all me! (smile)

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