By Jean Sarauer
What if you didn’t blog? How would you use that time? What would you write if you didn’t write blog posts?
In my seven months of blogging, I’d never once asked myself these questions. And why would I? I loved blogging, and blogging loved me back.
That’s why I was stunned when these questions flooded my mind so soon after this blog crashed a few weeks ago. Suddenly, rather than doing the logical thing–focusing on getting the blog up and running as quickly as possible–I was dancing with the illogical, imagining a life that didn’t include posting and promoting.
It was in this strange, unexpected space that my unfinished creative writing projects called out to me, and for the first time in months, I answered them. Leafing through various drafts of my long-neglected novels and essays, I finally counted the creative costs of my blogging endeavors.
When was the last time I’d gone for a long leisurely walk to unravel the knots in a story line? How long had it been since I’d immersed myself in my characters’ lives while scribbling notes and sipping a steaming latte at my favorite coffee shop?
When I first started blogging, I’d intended it to be one part of my creative life, but somewhere along the way, it consumed me. By the time I got done writing posts, publishing, promoting, and networking, my creative energy was sapped. And with my growing family responsibilities, there simply weren’t enough hours in the day for both blogging and writing novels.
Sitting in stillness, I pictured various scenarios for the future. I could stay on my current path, putting in the long hours required for outcomes that didn’t resonate nearly as deeply with me as they had in the past, or I could choose an unplugged life–living close to nature, sharing precious moments with my elderly parents, and wrapping myself in a cocoon of creative projects.
My decision took a second, if that. Like a dog who snapped a leash, I ran from my digital life like my tail was on fire. A flurry of emails were sent out announcing my intention to step away from blogging. I deactivated Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In and unsubscribed from dozens of blogs and newsletters I hadn’t had time to read in months. Then, I picked up the pieces of myself I’d reclaimed from the online world and hit the road.
True to my vows to live an offline life, I spent the next day soaking up the autumn sun and digging perennial plants to move from my Dad’s farm now that he’s settled into an apartment. It made me smile knowing that these flowers Dad so lovingly planted and shared with others would soon be replanted in my yard for folks to enjoy in the years to come.
And that’s when it hit me. Virgin Blogger Notes could also be transplanted and placed in the care of someone sure to keep it growing and thriving. Deep in my soul, I already knew who the right someone was.
The minute I arrived home that evening, I reached out to Mary Jaksch and asked if she would take over Virgin Blogger Notes. It wasn’t because of her success with Write to Done and Good Life Zen or because of the information and encouragement she provides in the A-List Blogger Club and Bootcamps that I felt so strongly she was the right one to nurture this community. No, the real reason I hoped Mary would agree to take on Virgin Blogger Notes is because she brings a beginner’s mind to everything she does and generously shares what she learns. And that’s what Virgin Blogger Notes is all about.
I’ll leave it to Mary to share her inspiring stories with you. For now, just understand she’s been where you are. She blogged for months with a handful of subscribers, didn’t have enough technical know-how to fill a thimble, and has made plenty of blogging blunders on the road to success. Through it all, she’s had the guts and gumption to keep on going, and the information and inspiration she provides will help keep you going too. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Mary to the Virgin Blogger Notes family.
So now comes the moment I’ve been putting off–the moment where I take off my blogging hat, hang it up, and say goodbye. For the last few months, your struggles have been my struggles, and your dreams have been my dreams. I’ve often whispered your names in God’s ear when I pray and held your faces in my mind when I write. It saddens me beyond words to leave you, even though it’s the right thing to do. I’ll never forget you or this magical time we’ve shared. Be well. Be happy. Live deeply.
With love and gratitude,
Note from Mary Jaksch:
Dear VBN readers, I’m sure you are as sad as I am that Jean is hanging up her blogging hat. She is such an awesome talent – and a wonderful person. I’ve told her that the door to this blog is always open – I’ll welcome her back to her rightful place here on VBN any day! I hope that she will ultimately find her way back to blogging.
I’ll talk to you soon and introduce myself. My claim to fame is that I was a really lousy blogger when I started out. I mean, really lousy. But my blogs have come a long way since then. I look forward to sharing my story with you soon. In the meantime I want to say to Jean ‘thank you’. Thank you creating this blog and creating this wonderful VBN community.
I feel honored (and a little shy) of stepping up to the plate here.
You can check out my blogs here:
I also run the A-List Blogger Club with Leo Babauta.