A Farewell Of Sorts

Forgive me father (and indeed mother) for I have waffled. It’s been eight years, six months and one week since my first blog post and despite my best intentions I have used foul and blasphemous language on several occasions…

Eight and a half years, that’s a fuckload of time!

Oops. Sorry.

…furthermore I have rarely had much of any substance to say and have mostly relied on word prompts, tricks and a bunch of other stuff to get by.

Sad but true…but it perhaps needs a little more context and explanation around why it matters.

My first ever blog post on The Afrowelshman was entitled A Beginner’s Guide To The Afrowelsh. I wrote it about eighteen months after emigrating to South Africa and it was a quick seven point guide to the odd similarities between Wales and South Africa I had picked up during that time. I had always wanted to write and this whole new-fangled blog thing seemed like a good place to start.

I had bursts of activity and inspiration punctuated with long lulls, but over a five and a half year period I managed to post 155 times garnering an extraordinary (count them, I dare you) eleven followers in the process.

More importantly, during that period I started writing short stories.

From late 2013 to late 2014 I decided it was time to do something a little bit more professional now that I was a veteran of literally several short stories and so the somewhat-pretentiously-stylised-all-in-lower-case nikeveleighdotcom was born.

21 posts. 11 followers (ten of whom came across from The Afrowelshman and I think the other one was my mum).

More importantly, during that period I continued to write short stories.

Exactly two years ago today I launched the very site upon we which we are communicating at this moment. I’ve had a lot of fun. The posts and categories have been fairly eclectic (I think/hope), I’ve met some brilliant people and I’ve discovered some great sites. I’ve posted 178 times in two years (179 if you count this one) and have garnered 202 followers. On average these days I get about a dozen likes per post and have a fantastic core of people who regularly comment and give me encouragement.

More importantly, during this period my short story output, ideas and ambition have all tanked.

It’s not my intention to start sounding like the unnecessary rumblings of a one-man pity-party unicycle on a cobbled road to Miseryville. I’ve written some things on this blog that I’m extremely proud of. But somewhere along the line the immediate dopamine validation of a WordPress like has become more important to me than than the stories.

More importantly, a few people who I care about deeply and whose opinions I care about deeplier have, quite correctly, pointed this out to me.

When I wrote that first blog post I didn’t care if anyone read it. I wrote it because I wanted to and because I thought it was quite funny. When I made the leap to start writing short stories I loved the process. I loved trying to get the idea down into words. I loved writing and rewriting and reading out loud and crossing things out in red pen and honing and polishing and making it the best it could be.

I miss that feeling.

These days, more often than not, I spend hours staring at a blank page and then throw something together so I can post and be validated. It’s ok, it’s only a blog – you don’t need to spend time on it and you can write a story tomorrow…

Am I being hard on myself? Probably. Too hard? Probably not.

I’ve often drawn parallels between writing and running in the past. To put my writing headspace in running terms I’m starting to feel like a man who is capable of marathons settling for a jog in the park.

I think it’s highly unlikely I will stop blogging entirely – it’s a great outlet for me, and whatever my comments might suggest there are a ton of great blogs written by great writers out there and I am in no way trying to diminish or cheapen that. I just know that if I’ve got any ambition as a writer my priorities and approach need to change. The blog needs to augment my writing goals not replace them.

I need to get that love back.

More importantly, I need to hold firm to the belief that I can write, and stop endlessly seeking affirmation.

The irony if I receive no likes or comments on this post will not be lost on me…

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25 thoughts on “A Farewell Of Sorts

  1. While I understand your motivations, I am sad that you might actually leave all the way. But if you aspire to get that love back, and your goals are not being met with this, I’m glad you know what would help. I hope you come around sometimes. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Vic πŸ™‚ I don’t think I’ll ever leave entirely – but if I’m completely honest with myself and look back over 2016, I’ve achieved a lot less in writing terms than I hoped and I’m becoming better and better at finding excuses. And I fully intend to keep supporting the blogs I follow πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Though I haven’t been at it as long as you, I can completely relate to the validation seeking mindset, it’s caused and still causes me to rush out blogs vligs and shorts before they’re perfectly honed. Just to get something out there and approved. Though I think it’s something that true of many people in the social media age. So I completely understand the motivation to take a step back and try and recapture those early feelings of creating for creating a sake. I should know I try to do it myself at least once a month. I’m glad to hear you’re not disappearing entirely though, as I’d miss reading your wordage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers Lee – I think there’s a place for everything and I fully intend to keep adding to this blog. It can be my treat when I’ve been a good boy and worked hard on stories all week! Appreciate all your support and encouragement – and I had a funny feeling you might be able to relate to this particular post.

      Like

  3. I love your blogs but I think you are right, they are quick and easy and then poof you’ve done something and feedback is great. I think it’s time you started on the novel – come on I’m getting ahead of you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly Diane, next you’ll be suggesting I base it on that Stormcrow chap… πŸ™‚

      At present I’m not even sure where to begin in terms of writing a novel…but I’m even more sure that I’m going to regret it if I don’t at least try.

      Thanks for being such a constant reader both here and on LS & the buttery biscuit factory – means a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You darling. I completely understand what you’re trying to say. Writers have an obligation to leave that comfort zone and write their truth. There’s a word for what you have – “integrity.” You are fortunate that your readers are friends and not blank android customers. This means that the support you are receiving right now is encouragement to continue doing what works best for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such a lovely comment – thank you so much. I’m extremely lucky to have a core group of people who comment and encourage, it really does inspire me to work harder. I’ll be dropping by with updates so I can retain a sense of accountability πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read you loud and clear on the need to refill the writer’s tank where sometimes you do need to step away from the keyboard (or blog). Don’t stay away too long, even if it’s to give us updates on your latest toe-stubbing episode of pounding pathways through the mountainsides.

    I sincerely hope you re-find your path again because you have a gift that will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hereby solemnly declare that the next time I get a toe injury, some interesting chafe or a new pair of running socks I will turn it into a blog post πŸ™‚

      Thanks Mel – I definitely won’t be disappearing, just a re-alignment of priorities and with a bit of luck time for both story writing, novel writing and some blogging πŸ™‚ Thank you for always having a positive word for me – means a lot x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Nik, glad you won’t be disappearing entirely as we all enjoy your posts. Do keep us updated if you start a novel, even if it isn’t going to plan. I’m sure we all have much to learn about the process and I’m full of admiration that you are even considering it. Seems too scary for me right now. Good luck 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Becky – I definitely won’t be disappearing, especially after all the lovely, supportive comments (including this one!) I’ve received. Realistically I think the novel idea will be an early 2017 endeavour – but for once that’s practical rather than procrastinating with my parents arriving on Friday for six weeks! Looking forward to seeing where both our writing journeys take us πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. I would be incredibly sorry to see you leave (or just post less), but I can really understand this: for the last few weeks (and maybe a little longer), I’ve been really struggling to find something worthwhile to blog about and my other writing has fallen a bit by the wayside. I’m kind of feeling creatively empty and it’s not a good feeling, so it sucks to hear that you’re experiencing some of the same issues… Especially because I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you through your blog and have really enjoyed your writing! If you ever need someone to proofread your work and dish out some feedback, I’m always around! πŸ™‚ And if you want to chat about first novel teething issues, I know what that’s like :p

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ana – such a lovely comment. Sorry to hear you are also having some frustrating times but I’m sure you’ll come out of any sort of slump soon! I fully intend to remain in the blogosphere so even if I’m writing less posts I’m trying to make sure I keep up to date with the writings and writers I care about such as you! Hopefully we can chat soon about new problems in my life like world building, characters sketches and the joys of a first novel πŸ˜‰ Really appreciate the kind words and encouragement – and I promise I won’t be disappearing entirely πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think a lot of people are in your boat. In the age of social media, MANY of us are addicted to that instantly gratifying *high* of a like – a little shot of ego straight to our bloodstream. I certainly relate to that very strongly. But unlike most people in that boat, you’ve had the courage and the self-insight to state it openly, and you’ve decided to change it, which is such an admirable thing. I love what you said about how your blog should augment your goals, not replace them. I’d love to see great things come to you and your writing, because I think you’re so talented! I’m glad to see you’ll still be around now and then – it would be a VERY sad day if you left WordPress completely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Shannon – you’ve been an absolute superstar in terms of your support and encouragement, and a great example of why the world of blogging has some very good points as well as some bad ones! There’s plenty more to come from me never fear πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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