I didn’t plan to take such a long hiatus from the blog. As it happens to so many of us, life just got in the way. For me, it was my Master’s program that seemed to just suck all my time and energy. Granted, I could have better managed my time. But after a long day of writing reports, reading and looking at the computer screen, I didn’t feel like writing blog posts and editing photos. There was always tomorrow, or this weekend. Or the plane ride where I can catch up. Then, nothing materialized.
I realize now that I began putting too much pressure on myself over this hobby of mine. As I started learning more about building an audience and marketing online, I brainstormed constantly about what I could do with this blog. Could I monetize it? Should I start an email list? What should I focus the blog on? What’s my niche? Do I want to keep writing about travel but make it more practical for readers? Should I focus on life in Aberdeen and be a resource for expats who live here or plan to move here? Should I just write about expat life, all the hardships and joys, no filter?
With so many options and ideas, I was paralyzed. Paralyzed into not making a decision. Paralyzed by the fear of failure. Fear of setting a goal for this blog and not achieving it. Of looking foolish and like an imposter. I’d browse so many other successful blogs and think, I can’t do that. Then, I would think, I can do that. But do I really want to?
Over time, paralyzed by indecision. Letting other priorities get in the way. Losing the motivation to write. And racking up a number of fun travels and life events that I actually wanted to share, it became too overwhelming. Then entered another question: “where and how do I start again?”
This first blog post back from my hiatus has been on my mind for months now. While driving, in the shower, just waking up in the morning, I’d recite the first few lines. But it would stay there trapped and when I got to the computer, something else would take my attention away. In fact this morning, I awoke in my half slumber with these words running through my consciousness. It was 5:50am and I thought to myself, I should get up and capture this. By my body wouldn’t let me and I wanted the extra hour in bed. But I couldn’t go back to sleep. After breakfast and our morning routine, wasting some time on Facebook and reading through emails, I’ve finally sat down to share these words with you.
It’s been so long now, I’m not sure who will read this blog post. But I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t matter. I care about my readers and hope that my posts inspire, educate and entertain but at this point, I need to reconnect with the real reason I started this blog. That is, it was a way of documenting our live abroad and sharing it with those who care. Trying to make it bigger than that, made me miss out on sharing some wonderful moments and experiences we had this year. My goal is to catch-up on the important stuff that I want to capture and also share as resources so there will be a lot of ‘flashback’ and retrospective posts. I imagine a decade from now, when David and I want to remember what life in Aberdeen was like, we can go through this blog, my online journal. And for those with whom we don’t talk to every day and want to feel connected with us, they can have a glimpse into our life. And perhaps others on this expat journey can say, we can do that too. Or we should do that. Or expat life is pretty great. Or expat life sucks for them too sometimes.
Lastly, this is my outlet. I’ve always loved writing and being creative. I seemed to have forgotten that in the past few months. I struggle with loving to do too many things. With being multi-passionate. And I struggle with wanting to do all the things that are good for me, that you are supposed to do to live a balanced, happy life. It’s a never-ending list. Practicing yoga. Going to Crossfit. Practicing self-care through meditation and with a gratitude journal. I’ve recently started learning to do modern calligraphy and I’m going back to French classes once a week. My volunteer roles on the FIGT communication committee and as newsletter editor for the AWA. My freelancing clients and efforts to build a business as a digital marketer. Plus spending time with friends and David. Trying to read books for book club and then some. Listening to podcasts and running my newly created Expat Podcast Club. Watching all my favourite TV shows and documentaries. Plus, grocery shopping, cooking, household chores, sleeping and relaxing… if I try to fit it all in, then something’s got to give. I still am in search of balance. If I don’t meditate today or forget to write down what I’m grateful for, I’ll try not to beat myself up. If I play too many games of Two Dots instead of using that time to practice calligraphy or doing French homework, it’s okay too sometimes.
And this takes me back to the blog. It is something I want to keep up even if no one reads it. And perhaps I should look at the time away with gratefulness as it allowed me to become clear as to what I want from this blog and what its purpose is. And that might still change. But for now, I will start writing again. And I will share our adventures and beautiful photos. And will enjoy it rather than see it as a burden.
So I guess this means I’m back! And if I proclaim here, given my “obliger” tendency, then it means I’ll do it. So watch this space.
And did you notice? This blog is now on a new URL, www.thesmallsabroad.com.
How do you stay motivated to keep working on the things you love? Is your love of them enough to keep you going all the time?