‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.’ – Anne Lamott.
You may have noticed that lately, I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to my blog. This is despite repeatedly saying I am going to write more, I am going to put up more posts, edit more photos and generally spend more time getting my content out there. Alas, nothing has come of these assertions and I have found myself in a situation where I need to take a step back, reevaluate and decide what is important to me right now. And truthfully? How The Mind Wanders… may have to take a back seat for a couple of months. A brief interlude, if you will. Let me explain.
The reasons I will be consistently writing less in the near future, are threefold. I would like to point out, however, that it is not for lack of content. I have lots of post ideas up my sleeve, including stories from my recent trip to Morocco, my time spent in Israel and Jordan back in March and some day trips and things I’ve done in and around London. No, content is not the issue. Life, it seems, is the issue.
A good worker never blames their tools.
But… I am going to. To an extent. Truthfully? I really really hate writing and editing photos on my current laptop. It’s nearly three years old, it’s super clunky, quite slow, the memory space is practically all gone and I haven’t got the power to operate a good photo editing tool, such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. I have literally thousands of images I need to sort through and edit, but I simply don’t want to because the tools I have for the job are so awful and the whole task seems extremely daunting as a result.
In fairness, this laptop was bought with travel in mind – it is lightweight, compact and has a very small screen, perfect for lugging around the world when I go on trips. But it has reached a point when I need a better laptop to do my writing and coding on, one with a bigger (matte) screen, better memory, bigger RAM and video card and just, you know, one that’s a bit newer. This one I have currently will be perfect for taking travelling with me and watching Netflix on, but I’d like to have a better laptop to return home to where I can code, write and edit photos without any problems.
So, the key tool to any good blogger is partly to blame. I will be investing in an upgrade very soon (well, just as soon as I’ve done my research into which laptop I’d like to get). But the laptop is not the main reason I’m going to be cutting back on my writing for the time being. There are two other very important factors at play.
Time – or lack of it.
Perhaps my ‘lack of time’ is a made-up concept in my mind. It’s quite likely. But whether it’s made-up or not, right now I feel like I am struggling to do everything I want and need to do in the time I have each day, and that’s real.
Because at the moment, not only am I working my full-time job, but I am also in the middle of a month long coding course which is eating into three full Sundays and ten evenings over the space of four weeks. That’s a considerable amount of my spare time taken away from me in one go. I am not complaining – I signed up for this course and I’m finding it really interesting and exciting, but it is a big demand on me right now. On top of the actual course hours, I definitely should be practising code much more as well. I keep finding myself having to decide – do I want to write a blog post or do I want to code. Invariably, I do both for a little while half heartedly and then find myself switching off as tiredness takes over.
And of course, like most people, I do actually enjoy having a social life too. I have lots of friends in London who I like to spend time with. When I’m not at work or coding, I like to see those people and enjoy the life I have here in London. And so, more time is taken from me, just through relaxation and downtime.
I am aware that this all sounds like I’m making excuses. What about the moments that I do have spare – those rare evenings in or quiet Saturday mornings? Well, invariably, it’s sunny outside at the moment, so I’d actually like to get out into the world and enjoy the weather, rather than coop myself up inside like every other day of the week. Or I’m feeling exhausted, so I’d prefer to read or watch TV. Coding and writing both require brain engagement, thought and concentration, and quite frankly, when I have some time when I can do absolutely nothing, I seize the opportunity and do just that – zilch. Maybe I’m not disciplined enough, you be the judge.
And so to the third, and most important reason why I’ll be writing less in the near future. I’ve alluded to it already. Coding.
I’ve been feeling really guilty.
At the moment, I feel like I’m constantly choosing between writing and coding. I love writing – it’s a passion I’ve carried with me since I was twelve years old, and I know it will be with me for the rest of my life. I love my blog – sharing my adventures, my stories and my photos with you. I’ve nurtured it for over five years now, growing it from a tiny blog on Blogger to a slightly less tiny blog with my own hosting and domain name on WordPress. This blog helped to spark my interest in web development and coding, it’s pushed my boundaries and I’ve learnt a lot.
But for a few months now, I’ve felt more and more guilty about my blog. Guilty when I push out posts I’m not entirely happy with just to have some content. Guilty when I’ve put off writing because I’m so tired I literally just want to zone out and think about nothing. Guilty that it’s not been more of a priority. Guilty when I’ve chosen coding over writing. It’s time for me to stop making promises to post more each month before failing to do so, heaping more pressure and consequently more guilt onto myself when I don’t deliver.
So I’ve been reassessing my priorities. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it is time to think about my future.
This means that, right now, as much as it pains me to do it, How The Mind Wanders… will be going on the back burner.
I want to stop feeling guilty when I don’t write. I want to focus on coding at the moment and see if I can build a future around it. I am finding it both challenging and hugely rewarding and I feel passionate about learning as much as I can. Having always struggled with spoken languages, it’s wonderful to finally learn coding languages and find I can actually wrap my head around them. I’m acquiring new skills, trying to see where I might fit into the job market in the future and how I might bring about a career change for myself.
Because yes, web development and coding is something I could see myself getting paid to do and actually enjoying it! It could even be my – dare I say it – dream job. But I have a really long way to go before that. Freeing myself up by taking away the pressure to write allows me get the best possible start and spend more time getting to grips with web development and coding. For those reasons, I need to make the most of this opportunity and make coding my priority right now.
What does this break mean for How The Mind Wanders…?
Well, firstly, it doesn’t actually mean a complete break… I want to continue posting my Monthly Recaps, so you can expect at least one post a month outlining the main events, my highs and lows and some of the most liked images from my Instagram feed. These posts are relatively easy to put together and I like having a little reminder of everything I got up to, so I feel happy about continuing these.
Aside from those recaps, I see myself taking the pressure off for the rest of the summer, at the very least. I have a jam packed July (mostly coding, work and more coding), and my August is already getting busy with social occasions. Any spare time I have I want to practise coding and continue my learning of the basics and fundamentals around web design and development.
At the beginning of September, I am spending a long weekend back in Wales. I will be attending the wedding of an old friend, spending three nights there altogether. I would normally build in some good solid writing time whilst in Wales, but this time I want to code, perhaps even really test myself and try to build my first whole website (or at least make a start!).
I have a trip to Ireland planned for early-mid October. This will be five nights away, mostly by myself, and I always saw this as a writing holiday. During this time, I fully intend to get lots of blog posts written and to sort through all my thousands of photos. I want this to be the time when I get myself into a good position with some great content to start posting again on HTMW. Ultimately, this means that my break from blogging will be for two and a half to three months, all in. I will reassess the situation after my Irish holiday and be sure to update you all!
So this is over and out for the time being. Apart from my Monthly Recaps, this blog will be a little quiet for a while whilst I take my brief interlude.
Cheesy grin, drops mic, exits stage left.