Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Malaise Post

These are weird times and I don’t know what I’m doing.

Maybe you've noticed that my last several posts have basically been re-postings of other stuff, rather than my customary original, or at least marginally stolen material.

The thing is, I feel like I’m running out of stuff to write about. It seems like I've said everything I can say about any given subject. Because let’s face it; there aren't many new subjects surfacing. Everything in the news seems like we've seen it before.

Republicans and Democrats still disagree on everything and will tear down the country before one accommodates the other. Fox “News” is still manipulating its presentation of current events to obtain and preserve power for conservatives. People are fighting with each other over all the societal issues… abortion, birth control, gay marriage, fracking, drilling, gun control, voting rights, health care, food stamps, censorship, and the Kardashians.

At one point or another, I've covered all of it, multiple times with some. I mean, look at each of those issues and guess which side I come down on. Easy, right?  So commenting on the news has become an exercise in deja vu. Contact the Department of Redundancy Department.

Regarding my own life, nothing’s happening. I get up, go to work, come home, cobble together a post on Tuesdays and Thursdays, watch TV, go to bed. Repeat. While I’m perfectly happy with that routine, there’s not much worth writing about, without getting into the minutiae of the moment. I mean, if I want to do that, I always have Twitter. I don’t want this blog to devolve into nothing but photographic evidence of what I had for dinner every night.

I love to tell stories about my wild past, about family, friends, and whatnot, but by now, I've already told all the best ones. There may still be a few floating around, but none that really excite me to tell.  (And if they don’t even excite me, how can they excite you?)

I've cut way back on sports, mostly because I’m not writing for a primarily Pittsburgh audience anymore, so when I lead with a Steelers or Penguins story, I suspect there’s a lot of, “Oh, more Pittsburgh bullshit. See you next time.” I've even cut out the mojo stuff because even though I’m still actively working the game jersey mojo for every game, I've already done it to death on the blog.  It’s a long running joke, to which I don’t have anything new to add.

I suppose could just claim a Sabbatical and walk away for a while, but I know how that goes. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s not like I’m getting flooded with hits right now; how hard will it be trying to get back even to this level after a prolonged absence?

I look back at old posts and see how I used to get 10-12 comments per post. Now? Three or four. It makes me wonder if I’m doing anything differently, or if people just naturally move on to seek newer and fresher things.

I love the writing, telling stories, entertaining, and interacting that goes with doing a blog. But sometimes that love ebbs and flows, and blogging becomes more of a chore than a reward. I've gone from “Oh boy, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this (issue/story/series),” to “Aw, crap, I need to do a Tuesday post, and I got nuthin.”

Today, I was going to use an idea I literally stole from my fine Buckeye friend, Uncle Crappy. He found a site where you can make a map that shows every state you've been to, and color it accordingly:

Red, for states where you've not spent much time, seen very much, or just passed through.
Amber, for states where you've at least slept, and seen some sights.
Blue, for states you've spent a lot of time in or seen a fair amount of.
Green, for states you've spent a great deal of time in on multiple visits or lived in.
White, for states you've never been in.

So I took 5 minutes and did one, so I could post it here.

Yeah… BFD, as we used to say. What is there to say about it, other than I need to go visit the south-central and northern plains states? And that I need to collect North Carolina for no other reason but to fill in the hole.

Note: Hey Mom and Dad, did we ever hit Maine when we did that big New England vacation back in the mid-70s?

Now here I am, having just produced a post out of my own malaise. I’m in the clear until Thursday and then I’m back in the same boat.

If you’re a blogger, what do you do when you run out of ideas, or you just feel stale? 

More importantly, blogger or not, what would you like for me to write about? If you've read me a while, what is the role you like me in best? Raging politico and cultural whistle-blower? Spinner of old yarns?  Purveyor of the absurd? Music and film critic? Chronicler of personal adventures? Seeker of human truths? Navel-gazing self-analyzer? Joke of the moment jukebox? Feel free to create your own label for whatever it is I do that entertains you.

I’m curious to see if there is a predominant answer. I sure don’t have any.


Mary Ann said...

You always analyze well, good insight and critique. "Cultural whistle blower" is my fave. You always help me clarify my think.
Stories, true or no, are always good. As a favorite poet of mine says, "All memory is fiction."
Be goofy. Off the wall. Outa control. Healthy, healing, helpful stuff.
Just keep on keep'in on. UhHuh!.

Deb K said...

I like raging politico and cultural whistle blower. I also like your stories from your past. Your memory is incredible and the details in your stories make them come alive.

Unapologetically Mundane said...


Sorry, sorry, I'll be cool.

I'm obviously having a terrible time with my blog, too, so I'm not much help, but I will say that I love you as a political blogger. Partly because I almost always agree with you, and partly because you make topics I've been hearing about on the news entertaining.

Deb K said...

Katie, even though I am signed up for email alerts for your blog, I keep going to your page like the OCD person I am, wondering whether I missed the email alert. I've been wondering how you are doing and figured that this is not the most fun experience of your life -- or maybe it is and you want to keep it to yourself. Not that I have any experience with blogging but I have lots of experience with projects/hobbies/activities and experiencing the challenge of staying power. I find that they all have a useful life that after awhile sometimes change is needed. I think blogging must be like that. After awhile the initial thrill and creativity fades and then the question becomes whether you can or want to find the inspiration and motivation to keep doing it, or whether this is no longer how you want to spend your time; whether that is a decision whose time has come or whether you need more time to figure it all out. As a fan to both you and Bluz, I hope you do continue to blog but if you decide not to or to apply your energy elsewhere then I wish you much continued success. I love your sense of humor. I love Bluz's blog and Cassie's blog. Bluz, I recently decided to go to your friend's blog "My toddler is a Supervillain" and I absolutely became hooked on Marcia's writing and read her entire blog from the beginning last week in the evenings when I was in South Dakota (business travel, don't ask). It was what got me through the week in the evenings along with reading your and Cassie's blogs. I guess this reveals how little a life I have and how I spend all of my free time online even though every night I swear I'm going to put away the laptop and read a real book. Yeah, right. So although this comment started out addressed only to Katie, I am also really directing it to you Bluz too if you haven't figured it out. I hope you guys don't think I'm being too presumptuous. Whenever I comment I worry that my comments are off point, irrelevant, silly, stupid, etc. Perhaps by now you've detected a little bit (a LOT) of neurosis; yep, that's me. Enough now.

Anonymous said...

I feel like this is happening to everyone! Everyone is not writing.

If I didn't have baby stuff to write about, my blog would be silent.

Also, I loved Maine. Even if your parents took you, you should go again.

Kernut the Blond said...

My favs are Chronicler of personal adventures, Purveyor of the absurd, and Navel-gazing self-analyzer.

Yes, this malaise happened to me, too, especially since I don't get to travel around as much. I started looking for other things to write about besides my dating dilemmas, and goofy roadside attractions. Another writer I know has a way of finding something to write about every day. (For a long while it was good, but a looooong-running project has taken over and it's not interesting to me.) I think variety is the key. Shock and surprise your readers with something totally outside of your usual repertoire.

As for comments, Blogger has issues with my using any of my accounts, including my Google account, to comment. (If this shows up, I'll be shocked.) They've also slowed down on my own blog.

Kernut the Blond said...

(Just FYI, it took four tries to get the above comment published. They may still be reading you, but unable to comment.)

bluzdude said...

In other words, keep doing everything I’m doing. Of course, as Mother, you have to say that. But then again, as Editor in Chief, you’d tell me if I was slipping.

bluzdude said...

LOL… you’re assuming that what I remember is correct! I like Raging Politico and Cultural Whistle-Blower too… it’s just that I feel like I’ve already said everything I can say. I’m trying to avoid grinding a point into a fine powder.

Of course, maybe I’m incorrectly assuming everyone retains everything I’ve ever written here. In reality, it’s highly likely that my words pass through like jalapeno nachos with cheez-product.

bluzdude said...

First of all, there’s nothing wrong with you running food pictures, because you have a Food Blog! That’s the whole point. Plus, you have considerable taste and expertise. And on your personal blog, you have a bunch of other stuff, so it’s not all food all the time.

I appreciate your words about my political carryings on, because that’s pretty much what I’ve been trying to accomplish. Maybe if politics were more entertaining, more people would understand how freakin’ important it is. The quality of millions of lives hangs in the balance of political decisions.

Please, never worry about your comments. I value all of them; the more the merrier. The whole thing is meant to generate discussion, so on or off topic, who cares? Let the good times roll. I’m always tickled that for whatever reason, someone I’ve never met sees fit to come and visit on a regular basis. It’s kind of mind-blowing.

And I love that one commenter can jump in and try to perk up another, like in a “real” community.

I think you hit the nail on the head about finding inspiration/motivation. It gets hard, especially in the face of evidence of diminishing interest. Maybe it’s just the onset of winter coming, and a general “blah” feeling, that lowers the will to be creative.

Or maybe I just need to start leading a more interesting life.

BTW, (in case you didn’t know) Marcia, who writes “My Toddler is a Supervillain,” is Ginny/PittGirl’s sister, which is how I found her. It’s obvious that writing talent fairly gallops in their family. I’ve often said that PittGirl is the glue that binds my blogging world together. It was from her site that I first found Cassie, Carpetbagger, Red Pen Mama, and many others.

bluzdude said...

Thanks Thoughtsy… that was something else I was going to address. So many of my blog friends have built-in subject matter. You have your first baby on the way. Jessica just had her second. Cassie has her whole army of kids, as well as her philanthropic endeavors. Misty has her kids and her fashion bombs. Val has her certifiable insanity. I follow a bunch of people who write about their families.

When I look at my life, it just doesn’t seem like enough to carry a blog.

Still, I’ve noticed what you’ve noticed. A year ago, it would take me an hour to go through all the new posts on my blogroll. Now? About 15 minutes. Maybe blogs in general have passed their freshness date.

Lord, I hope not. I still feel like I just got here.

And you… baby or not, yours is one of my favorite blogs. Whether it’s a baby, or Pop Tarts, or B-movies, I am endlessly interested in your posts.

bluzdude said...

That’s a very good point. Freakin “Blogger” is messing up a lot of people’s comments.

bluzdude said...

Well, I guess I'm in good company then. Blog traffic seems to be falling all over the place.

I miss your rambling around and going on RV adventures. I wish someone would just cut you a nice fat check, to subsidize your travels. Anyone? Anyone?

injaynesworld said...

I can't count how many times I've felt exactly as you're feeling right now; like all my good stuff is behind me and now what? Lately, I've been writing a lot more short fiction, which I enjoy. Whether or not anyone else does is another matter. Why don't you jump into the Five Sentence Fiction writing boat with me? I bet you'd be good at it. And if that doesn't interest you, have no fear. Something will come along to piss you off and you'll be off and running again. Just stay with us, my friend. Here's the FFS link: http://lilliemcferrin.com/ They post a new prompt every Thursday.

Valerie said...

We all have these moments of "wtf am I doing", but we all get through it. You will find your way!


bluzdude said...

Thanks Val. And I will!

bluzdude said...

You're right. I don't usually have to wait long for something to piss me off. I just hope it's something new.

Anonymous said...

Hey!! I ALSO have certifiable insanity, thank you!! :p

And yeah, it got so bad over here that Thoughtsy had to send an email to see if I was still alive or not. I think we all go through it. Sometimes the ideas come, sometimes you hit a dry spell. I've been dry spelling for quite a while now. I just wrote about my hair being cut. Yeah, it doesn't get much more exciting than that, folks.

Keep doing you. I like the odd stuff, personally. But then again, I'm a bit odd. So there's that.

Unapologetically Mundane said...

Hey, Deb! I've been wanting to blog but never seem to find the time between working on my photography, cooking every day for the first time in my life, going to the gym, seeing friends all of the time, working on my future book, secretly going on dates, and so on and so on. I miss my blogfriends, though, and loved seeing your comment! For the record, it made my day.

bluzdude said...

What? A major hairstyle change is a big deal! With your bangs now, if you grow out the back some more, you’ll look like The New Girl.

But really, if you want to talk insanity, are you really in the same league as Val?

I didn’t think so. But don’t feel bad… no one is.

Jessica R. said...

I have been buried in the deep dark world of screaming children and sleep deprivation, but I am hoping for a great return to the blogging world now that I seem to be slowly getting them into something that looks like a schedule again. Part of my non-commenting has to do with the fact that my iPad and phone both won't let me leave comments. It pretends like it does, but then the comment disappears. And then I forget to get on the computer and comment.

But, I always enjoy your posts, especially your crazy stories and your pictures of your travels - even the ball parks! Keep going!

bluzdude said...

I love your blog because it allows me to keep up with you and your family, almost as if I'm right there around the corner. (Or jetting in from a far-off land, like Cassie.)

I don't know what the deal is with comments... My iPad lets me comment without a hitch, and I haven't had any commenting issues on my PC. But I know that many others do. Just wish I knew why...