Blog housekeeping (shorter posts, sharing, and spiritual talk)

This is a little blogging business post about a couple going on right now with my writing. (And super brief life update at the very bottom.)

Post length and publishing strategies

First, I'm trying something new in how I publish my posts. I've received some feedback from readers on "ideal" post length. The problem is that this ideal length is shorter than necessary for me to fully develop an idea.

I've felt this tension for a while as a blog writer who wants to grow her audience but can't, for the life of her, write the "industry" recommended 500-900 word posts with bullet points and easy takeaways. I let that standard go a long time ago and figured I'd just do my own thing and if I don't attract people here, oh well.

But there are actual readers, not the future ones I want to bring to this site, but those of you reading right now, who find it easier to engage with shorter posts. I totally understand.

I care deeply about your experience here and how you can, or can't, engage with my writing, based on post length. You're busy. I get it.

One of my solutions to this long-post problem is writing series. Which is something I've done for a while. That's a great way to go in-depth on a topic, to explore a lot of nooks and crannies of thought. I try my darndest to keep individual posts in a series to approximately 1,000 words.

But I'm going to try something else for the really long posts that aren't series material. I'm going to break them up. It's not genius or anything. But I just wanted to give you heads up that the next three posts are like that and other future posts will probably be similar.

I don't have a fancy structure set-up for that type of publishing. It will just be a post in three-parts, or two parts. When you get to the end of the first or second post you might be left hanging a bit because there isn't a conclusion but I'll let you know that it's a "multi-post" post.

This is a little more work for me since one long post is easier to publish than three shorter ones. But I hope the effort will pay off in satisfied and engaged readers.

How to share my writing

Speaking of which, if you like what you read here please tell your friends. I love that I have loyal blog readers, it's such a gift. I am the same way about my favorite blogs and that I am on someone else's favorite list is so heartwarming.

I love the readers I have and I'd like to have more :) The bottom of every post has share buttons that are super easy to use. You can email a post link to a friend, you can share on Facebook, you can tweet. Also, I share all my posts on my Renee Tougas: Writer Facebook page and you can share to your Facebook community from those posts if it's easier for you.

About all the spiritual stuff

You've probably noticed I am writing more these days about spiritual stuff. For years I was fairly reticent about my spiritual life because I didn't want to alienate potential readers with lots of religious writing. Also, I have a complicated relationship with my religious beliefs and religious community. I don't always want to identify myself as a Christian. And there are so many types of religious writing that make me cringe, and I don't want to be like that.

I've been writing more about spiritual matters because I'm moving past those fears but also because I write at the edge of my growth curve. And the edge where I am growing the most right now is in my spiritual beliefs and understandings. It's been this way for a few years and the blog is catching up to that reality.

The trick with growing an audience as an "edge writer" is that the edge changes. That there are still readers here who have been with me since I wrote mostly about living in Maine, hanging all our laundry, homeschooling and soapmaking is both surprising and delightful to me. All of those still factor into my life in varying degrees (these days we just visit Maine) but they don't drive my writing.


spring night in Montreal

In my off-blog life I'm in the process of dreaming, discerning, and tentatively charting a path for this next stage of adulthood and I do think that writing, spiritual matters, and building community (or supporting existing communities within organizations, institutions, etc.) will be part of that. I don't see my blog as my career but I see it being a part of that career. I'm exploring that right now, the career options and how blogging might fit. And so the exploration of working in this realm is the edge as much as the content is the edge (ie: talking spiritual stuff).

Either this meets existing readers needs and interests or it doesn't. But I know it meets some of your needs. And I'm thrilled that you follow along.


Right now

I'm publishing this from the morning of day 3 of 6 straight days of driving, rehearsals, and performances for our homeschool co-op production. These are ten to twelve hour days away from home.

I don't write this week, or reflect. I barely think. I don't have a life outside of this drama production.

I wrote this post (and the three coming) last week.

I'm sure some of you know what it's like, late spring/early summer can be such a busy time of year. I wish I had the physical and emotional energy to write about the experience, while in the experience.

It's a real emotional roller coaster ride, wanting (and needing, by virtue of commitment to this group) to be present to all the happenings, and yet desperately wanting to escape for just a moment to catch your breath and to feel like all sense of time, space, and self isn't swirling down a drain of total commitment to a large group of people over which you have no control.


driving to rehearsal, Laurent working on tech stuff, Celine helping my mom with her website

Right now, it's out of my control and I'm all-in for the ride. But that means I'm barely thinking, much less writing.

See you on the other side.

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The warmth of May

The warmth of May

Spring re-orients our linear experience of life (birth, growth, death) to the circular rhythm of the natural world. And in spring I'm reminded that I'm smack dab in the middle of the growing time, a season of life bursting at the seams with creativity and activity.

Filling the infinite

Filling the infinite

We don't like the tension, the not-enoughness, the deficiencies, the complexity, the infinite edge of uncertainty, etc. but those are the very catalysts for moving us towards the thing we seek, even if it's never fully realized.

The embodiment of well-being

The embodiment of well-being

My well-being does not live in a Maine cabin we visit on the weekends. It does not live in our bank account. It doesn't live on a boat in Berkeley. Or reside in that laundromat in Albany. It is not dependent on a future life with less city driving.

The irony of the real me

The irony of the real me

When I feel secure I want to go places. I open myself to adventure. But adventures lead to unknown territory, a certain amount of "leaping out in faith", moving past what you can plan, and all of that feels threatening to my security and stability.

Looking for security

Looking for security

I need to own this part of my story and myself. I feel my best self, my confident self, my most at-ease self with security in general and financial stability, in particular.

The losses we reckon with

The losses we reckon with

Not going to my grandma's funeral was painful. It was a loss to not be with my family during the remembering and celebrating of Grandma's life. Feeling shame, second-guessing my every decision, running down all "what if?" trails of my life doesn't help matters.