I never really thought I wanted to get back into blogging, but it is a sign of things to come in my creative world. I had a blog a decade or so ago then shifted my focus to my video content. It seems that a similar shift is once more occurring, only this time, the other way around.
I have been wanting to restructure my online presence for some time now. I write, I take photos, I film, I vlog, I am one half of a webseries, I paint, I craft, make jewelry, I bake… the list goes on. For a long while, I could not see the obvious thread that connects everything I do into one intricate web. I branded myself as an author under my pen name and as such felt torn among my many passions. Yes, writing is my profession and the core of my career, but there is also much more that makes me “me,” and most of my loyal followers, or wildlings, have not become so from picking up one of my novels, falling in love, and looking me up online. Instead, many seem to come to me from Happy Hobbit, my vlog, or my social media posting. At some point, they grew curious and picked up one of my books, liked what they read, and stayed. No matter your path to our little community, I am so thankful that you are here.
I ran a poll last year asking my followers what content they would like to see more of from me. The overwhelming result was more vlogs of any kind, just not on writing. I was happy with that result, for I was running out of steam on my author vlog where I shared writing advice, but I didn’t know why. I am still struggling with the direct causes, but I now understand that they are linked to the same reasons I did not immediately pick up the camera and begin filming new vlogs on different subjects.
Was it imposter syndrome? Lack of time? Lack of confidence?
I have asked myself these questions again and again, for I carry the guilt of knowing what my followers want yet being unable to deliver. The nearest I can come to explaining my hesitation to jump back into the word of vlogging is this: it does not bring me fulfillment. Don’t get me wrong. My vlog was a blast at first (anyone else remember “Linda”?) and I found the engagement very enjoyable. At some point, however, it had started to become a chore. My viewers deserve my best efforts, not false enthusiasm for something my heart is no longer invested in. I slowed down then stopped my vlog altogether without ever making a conscious decision. I still stand by that, for I hold to the creed of picking and choosing where I invest my time and energy. If I was not capable of filming with authentic joy and enthusiasm, then I could not expect anyone else to take precious time out of their day to listen to my thoughts on camera.
Another reason I found it increasingly difficult to film was the emotional debris from my personal life. I am facing a challenging chapter in my story. Exerting energy on my ailing loved ones means that I have less for my creativity. Striking this new balance means that I need to be more discerning about where I invest that energy. For a long time, I shamed myself for not having the creative drive in the same way that I did five years ago, for not delivering to my audience what they wanted, and for not being a successful “booktuber.” It has taken a while for me to realize that it all comes down to one simple fact: my life, and myself along with it, have changed.
And that’s ok.
I no longer felt confident and safe enough to share so much of myself with the world. I no longer trusted the strangers who walked through my virtual door. Yes, this is in part due to several negative online stalking incidences, but as someone who has had an online presence of some kind since before YouTube began, I have a decent ability to ignore the trolls. Instead, this was more of a shift within me. I was no longer comfortable holding up aspects of my life or personality for public scrutiny.
I have always been a private person. For years I have struggled to push myself to become something against my nature – a public persona with the energy to give to strangers and receive energy back. While I do love sharing, interacting, educating, meeting readers/fans, etc., and while it does gift me so much emotionally, it is draining energetically. Perhaps it is the introverted side of me that needs to rest but sharing joy and giving to my followers is a delight that also requires me to take a step back and regenerate with some quiet time.
I find nothing more restorative than nature. And that’s when it hit me.
Nature is the common thread to every passion I follow. It influences my writing, my art, my jewelry, my crafts, my photography, and yes, often even my baking. Nature, the great Mother, fuels me endlessly. So long as I can lean into nature, I my creative roots can drink from her plentiful well of inspiration and energy.
As such, I am in the process of restructuring my public presence to celebrate the natural world, which in fairness, I have been subconsciously doing on my social media for a long while before now. While this may not come across as a big change to my followers, it is already making a difference within me.
I am energized again and excited about creating to share with you all once more. I invested my stimulus check into a fancy new camera that I am just beginning to learn how to use. I have (obviously) begun this blog and who knows, may post the occasional vlog with a new aesthetic. I will continue to write my books, help other writers bring their visions to life by story editing their novels, and following wherever my writing path takes me, but for now, most of my projects will be created under the beams of light gifted by nature’s perfectly imperfect hand.
Thank you so much to those of you who have followed me on the journey this far. I can’t wait to see where we all go from here!