In summer 2014, I merged the two blogs that I refer to in this post. In spring 2015, I dropped “Writing Through the Fog” as my official blog name and renamed it to simply “Cheri Lucas Rowlands.” So if you’re reading this for the first time, some of it might not make sense. Still, the idea that design might affect one’s posting routine, or be the source of blogger’s block, remains relevant.
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I started “blogging” again, over at cherilucasrowlands.com. I haven’t been able to do that here, and it’s taken me a while to figure out why. I place “blogging” in quotes because I’m not sure what it means — for myself, at least. This site isn’t really a blog, but rather a cold, empty museum. Every several months, I publish posts as artifacts of my life. High notes, plucked out of my timeline, made public. Meanwhile, the ebb and flow of my life is unshareable; yet these lapses, seemingly mundane, are the most colorful.
I am my most recent post.
As writers on the web, we accept that readers will imagine what they want about us, will reshape their versions of us, based on our last words. And for those of us who don’t post much, the infrequency does not simply mean we do not post enough, but that we slip into limbo and irrelevance — which, to me, is much worse than not existing at all.
I am incomplete.
Over the years, I’ve tried setting posting goals. “Just publish one post a month.” When this didn’t work, I told myself: “Publish shorter posts.” That would make it easier, and remove the pressure of writing longer, thoughtful pieces — yet I only managed to write one.
I’ll write something, only to abandon it after working on it for an entire Saturday. I’ll resurrect a draft in my dashboard but can’t get past the introduction. Or I’ll combine multiple drafts into one but can’t make sense of the fragments, lost in my own fog.
I don’t have the discipline to follow pieces through. And that’s okay.
But there’s something else at work here, as if the blog itself vetoes my work and tells me it’s not fit to publish.
Can I blame the blog for my lack of writing?
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I’ve had the domain cherilucas.com for many years; its first version was a simple website I built with Dreamweaver. I then moved it to WordPress.com and used it as a short-lived photography blog. After I got married, I bought cherilucasrowlands.com as well, and made it a static profile, with links to this blog and social accounts, and forgot about it.
I’ve felt that Writing Through the Fog has turned against me — how I’ve somehow erected a wall between us. It wasn’t until I started to use cherilucasrowlands.com again that I discovered the source of my blogger’s block: this theme. Sure, I love the simplicity and elegance of this theme, Kent. With the menu hidden on the left, and a footer with just a few widgets, the focus is on my writing — and the longer, the better.
I’ve paralyzed myself as a result, and created a visual space that accommodates just one mode — a single version of me. I’ve left little room for experimentation; I’ve promised a certain experience for my readers. Or maybe this is all in my head, and I overthink things.
Maybe I just need to shut up and write.
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These anxieties aside, activating a new theme is like pumping fresh blood through me. On the other blog, I activated the McKinley theme. From there, I started posting again: Quotes from reads I’ve enjoyed. Weekly photo challenge submissions. Bits of writing. Random shit. And those abandoned drafts in my Writing Through the Fog dashboard? They’ve begun to see the light of day.
I remembered what “blogging” was. Is that silly to say? Because honestly, I’d forgotten.
Since I started posting there, I haven’t slowed down. While the process of “starting over” contributes, the new theme has much to do with this, as the design has been freeing — part-Tumblresque with different post formats, encouraging me to publish all kinds of bits. (I’ve discontinued my Tumblr, in fact.)
So it feels like I’ve carved out a space to capture those in-between moments. To expose half-formed ideas and unpolished writing that I’ve inadvertently made unwelcome here. To fill in the gaps. And finally, to let go. I haven’t figured out a name for the blog, and I’m not sure I will. We spend all this time thinking about our “personal brands,” strategies, where we fit in, what we’re all about, and how we can stand out. I like the idea of not naming this new space — of keeping it loose. It reflects more what I’d like it to be. How I simply want to just be.
This doesn’t mean I’m not happy with Writing Through the Fog and its current theme, which still makes sense here. I think, though, I’ve underestimated the power of layout and design, the need to craft a presence across distinct spaces, and my own quirks and insecurities as a writer. These online spaces are mine, and if I’m not inspired, I need to reimagine them — rather than sit and wonder why I can’t write.