When Wholehearted Blogging is Difficult

I have a whole string of posts lined up for this week. Written, ready to be published. Last week that felt so professional, now it just feels phoney.

Blogging with my whole heart is a tricky business.

I made a commitment sometime in the past two years (I looked for the post, I can't find it) to write wholeheartedly. To write the way I live. You can find a double meaning in that last sentence. 

FIMBY has always been a family story blog but there are brief chapters and diversions devoted to how-to type posts. I wonder if I wrote those in search for the type of teaching I really want to do. 

That type of writing works for some, not so much for me. Because the thing I really want to share is my life. Me.

Isn't this strange? My willingness to be so vulnerable in such a public space. On bad days, ok today, I wonder, "What is wrong with me, that I would willingly open myself to this? Why don't I stick to how to make soap?"

But most days this writing feels really good for me. It feels like the work I am supposed to do. It is the writing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Eager to wrangle these thoughts into order. It's the writing that mirrors my photography. Remembering the story, sharing the beauty.

This writing comes unbidden, at all times, and I hasten to jot it down in a journal or Evernote, where it sits until I can fill in the gaps, tease out the meaning, edit a whole lot, and publish. If I publish. So very many of my thoughts I never do publish. I think it's disgustingly vain to think all thoughts are worth publishing. They aren't.

Perhaps today's thoughts aren't even worth publishing.

In the end, I love living my life and I love writing about my life. And I love the paths this public sort of writing has led me on. And I love meeting you, really meeting you - talking to you on the phone, helping you with your homeschooling.

I love that the measure to which I have been vulnerable here - the things I share about our family life and journey - opens up the possibility for certain insights and truths to enter your life. Freedom truths. Joy truths. Learning truths. Relationship truths.

I really do love this. Except when I don't. Like today.

Today is when I want to be a technical writer. A how-to-organize your closet writer (here's all I have to say on the subject: own less clothes).

I have a naturally more vulnerable time in my monthly cycle. I don't dismiss this as a PMS "symptom". I think this extra vulnerability is a check for me to draw inward and take special care of my inner life before my cycle turns outward again. This is also a downtime creatively for me.

I believe this is a natural protection mechanism for women, so we don't overextend ourselves. Draining our creative life energy. Our cycle is not a curse, it's a gift.

This weekend, a perfect storm brewed and what is a sensitive time of month is now super-sensitive. Vulnerability to the max. Oceans of tears. A tsunami of self-doubt. I may also be prone to exaggeration during this time. Hard to say. (I am relieved I still have my sense of humor.)

This is the reality of my inner life, in this moment, and all those posts I wrote, at the peak of my creative wave carry an emotional vibe that does not register right now. And publishing those feels false. I can't do it.

And I think (to add insult to emotional injury), "so, this is what separates amateurs like me from the pros." I am not emotionally detached from this space - and I don't intend to be.

I am raw, on edge, and simply unable to post what is in the queue. And here I was feeling so on top of it all, so professional with a line up of posts ready to go. Oh, the irony.

This may mean there will be deluge of wordy posts in the coming week, once I find solid emotional ground again. I do intend to publish those posts. It may feel like a wave of different sort. Too many words, too fast. I apologize in advance. Maybe you can just ride this with me? Like a little bit of surfing.

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

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  • Sara

    Sara on Jan. 21, 2013, 9:45 p.m.

    I love your mind, the way that you think. Your real-ness is a breath of fresh air on my blog feed. "I think this extra vulnerability is a check for me to draw inward and take special care of my inner life before my cycle turns outward again." That just blew my mind.

    reply

  • Jess

    Jess on Jan. 21, 2013, 9:57 p.m.

    I agree. I come here for your authenticity and honesty. The raw words shared in your moments of vulnerability add depth to the character of you we get to know through your writing. Thank you for being so open and honest.

    reply

  • Christi {Jealous Hands}

    Christi {Jealous Hands} on Jan. 21, 2013, 10:30 p.m.

    Renee, I think your vulnerability & honesty - with yourself & with your readers - is what makes you one of my favorite writers. I love reading here BECAUSE you are emotionally invested here. That is what makes it relevant & enjoyable to me.

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  • Sarah M

    Sarah M on Jan. 21, 2013, 10:43 p.m.

    Out of any of the blogs I read, yours is definitely a favorite because you write differently, more wholeheartedly than others, and what you have to say is very valuable. (And yes, I'm raising my hands because I've been given a more free and joyful outlook on our small home schooling adventure just by listening to your audio.) I appreciate writing about one's passions more than 'how to/DIY" blogs because the passion seeps out into everything that person talks about. I can honestly say I've only ever gone through two blogs archives--yours and Penelope Trunk's ;) I love reading how you value your role as homemaker, mom, homeschooler, and how you use your strengths to guide your life and purpose. I've never though of the monthly cycle that you're talking about, but it's a really interesting concept. I'm sure I go through similar stages but just disregard it and push forward because I don't recognize it as such. I look forward to the coming posts (as I always do), wordy, picture-y, or otherwise. Sarah M

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  • san

    san on Jan. 21, 2013, 11:04 p.m.

    A hug to you Renee. I always enjoy reading your posts and watching the videos. you are very brave to share your vulnerability and i admire you all the more for so doing. take good care of yourself.

    love to you san xx

    ps i am enjoying your pre school podcast

    reply

  • Nicole

    Nicole on Jan. 21, 2013, 11:48 p.m.

    "I love that the measure to which I have been vulnerable here - the things I share about our family life and journey - opens up the possibility for certain insights and truths to enter your life. Freedom truths. Joy truths. Learning truths. Relationship truths." Renee, your writing has brought a ton of "insights and truths" into my life! I love what you write, how you write it, and all the photos that go along with your posts. Thank you for sharing so much with us readers!

    reply

  • Lisa

    Lisa on Jan. 22, 2013, 12:13 a.m.

    Renee - your raw honesty and the way your posts always have a way of getting into my head and making me pause and think is why I keep coming back. I truly enjoy reading your posts, and admire your ability to put these thoughts to paper.

    reply

  • christina

    christina on Jan. 22, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

    Bring it. I can't wait for Fimby overload! I am so thankful for your honesty and for the space you've made here. While I also enjoy bloggers who are more "professional," I do not connect in the same way. I find them to read as detached and less endearing.

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  • Kyndale

    Kyndale on Jan. 22, 2013, 12:35 a.m.

    I want you to be happy Renee. Whatever inspires you to write is what I want to read. To be perfectly honest, I love your old posts about making soap, etc... I hope your week gets better because you are an awesome lady and mama! Love from Nevada!

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  • Kika

    Kika on Jan. 22, 2013, 2:17 a.m.

    Oh my goodness! If I were near you I would hug you (if you'd let me- depends how grouchy you get at this particular time of the month:)) and remind you exactly WHY I believe you are talented and need to continue to share yourself with the world. This is it. Besides, you'd totally suck as a how to organize your closet writer. (ok, I'm asking for trouble - trying to be funny but sure hoping it comes across that way!!!).

    I absolutely relate to how one week I'm cruising along feeling confidant, inspired, with lots of plans for life then all of a sudden I enter THAT lunar phase and everything changes. I want to cancel all plans, hibernate, not answer the phone. At the worst times I can feel that life is against me - everything is wrong - then a few days or so later the switch flips again and I ask myself, "what just happened?". Totally different outlook on life again. I have learned to roll with it -to not make any major life decisions at this time, allow myself cozy and lengthy times of reading and silence (as much as possible, anyways), etc.

    I look forward to your other posts when they make it here. xoxo

    reply

  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on Jan. 22, 2013, 3:55 a.m.

    I was just thinking the same thing last week, also in relation to my moon time (how interesting!)... Why do I need to write about my, the anxiety, depression, migraines, our very personal life here in the blogosphere... Somedays, it feels really right and like you, I love to do so. I feel wave of ideas, get up in the middle of the night to take notes sometimes, but why? I mean, I know people like to read what I have to say, but isn't it a bit ackward to be so vulnerable in front of readers I don't even know...? Thank you for once again putting words in things that were just brewing inside of me... I hope we will have a chance to spend time together when we come back to Quebec this summer... We are actually planing on going to your area for a couple of weeks...

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  • Lacey

    Lacey on Jan. 22, 2013, 4:40 a.m.

    I have read a lot of blog posts. I like this one more than most. It reminds me to be okay with the flat times too, and to live them authentically. I appreciate your candid revelations - and I feel more 'normal' about my own. Bless you.

    reply

  • Jess

    Jess on Jan. 22, 2013, 11:26 a.m.

    I'm a wordy kind of gal. Often times seeking to put my heart into the concrete but finding it difficult to verbalize what can only be found, discovered, nurtured inside. Yet, when I read your thoughts, words... affirmation of simply existing in this beautiful circle of the everyday, I am filled with gratitude.

    Thank you for this beautiful post. The simple way in which the essence of you flows through your words out into each of your readers.

    Full of deep gratitude.

    reply

  • Jenn

    Jenn on Jan. 22, 2013, 5:24 p.m.

    I echo what others have said in the previous comments. I come here precisely because of your candid writing. Life is sometimes those weeks where we feel the need to hold still, listen to our breath and wait for the storm clouds to recede. It seems timely that I read this when I am feeling the same way. Phases of the moon perhaps? Probably just the hormonal roller coaster of being a woman for me. This too shall pass! Thank you Renee!!

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  • Michelle

    Michelle on Jan. 22, 2013, 6:13 p.m.

    I hate fake blogs, which is why I love yours! I really don't care for "professional" blogs these days....they serve a purpose, yes, but I like to relate to bloggers on a more personal level, I guess.

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  • Cath

    Cath on Jan. 22, 2013, 7:02 p.m.

    I love the honesty and commitment you make to your journey. It inspires me every time I read one of your posts. Thank you.

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  • Jennifer

    Jennifer on Jan. 23, 2013, 7:13 a.m.

    Renee, I totally get it. I am "supposed" to be writing away, keeping up the momentum I was building at the end of the year. But I'm not feeling it. It's that time for me, too, and I really appreciate hearing other moms talk about this aspect of womanhood. I never understood that, and felt bad about how I just needed to pull inward for a few days, but now I see it's just a rest and reflection time for the next outward unfurling to come. So I'm going to go to bed now and get my rest, and in a day or two or three I'll be ready again to face the world. And so will you. And we'll all be right here to share your story with you.

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  • Heather

    Heather on Jan. 23, 2013, 3:51 p.m.

    Your blog comforts, inspires and challenges me. I'm very thankful for your willingness to let it be you and the "you" that is always in the process of becoming.

    reply

  • Isabella

    Isabella on Jan. 23, 2013, 6:53 p.m.

    I love reading you blog. I also love writing, yet find myself shy to write on a blog, yet still considering. Thank you for sharing your life and passions with us in this lovely space.

    reply

  • Nova

    Nova on Jan. 24, 2013, 3:58 a.m.

    I too want to thank you for writing your blog, in exactly whichever way you want to write it! I'm one of those young mothers just starting our home educating journey, and wondering if the uncertainty & chaos is ever going to end, and your blog is the only personal blog I read (as opposed to group 'advice' blogs like Simple Homeschool et al) because I love your honesty about how you can't, and don't need to, do it all! I love that the choices that you have made in life have come with financial sacrifices & that you are open about that too. I appreciate you reminding us mothers with littlies that now may not be the season to achieve certain goals. Too many blogs present such a rosy picture of life with endless time, endless energy, and endless money, and whilst that might be totally accurate for the person living it, and I am pleased for them, it doesn't 'help' me as a reader, battling with less than ideal daily issues. Your blog is a little ray of sunshine to remind me that life can be wonderful, without needing to be Perfect.

    And I'd just like to add that your 'Usually, not always' motto has officially become an integral part of my homeschool thinking, over & above the Thomas Jefferson Education 7 Keys :)

    Nova (way over in New Zealand)

    reply

    • renee

      renee on Jan. 24, 2013, 12:27 p.m.

      Nova, Thank you. I appreciate all the comments on this post but being an encouragement to mothers with young children and homeschooling mothers is where my heart beats, outside of our home. And so to hear from you that my blog helps you enjoy YOUR life - your imperfect, never enough time but still beautiful life (hey, that sounds like mine!) is a blessing to me this morning. I struggle with sharing certain parts of the story of my life - the fabulous ups and the difficult downs - the extremes on either end. The downs are actually sometimes easier to write about than the ups, because I don't want to give the false impression that my life is perfect even when it is very wonderful and I am thankful everyday for all the blessings I have. I don't know how to strike the balance of "my life is wonderful, I'm blessed way beyond what I deserve and I love the choices I've made" with "I also have hard days, weeks, and months". After reading your comment I'm thinking I might be striking the right balance by just sharing it all, as it happens. Even if it doesn't fit with my "editorial calendar" (ha, ha!). Usually, not always - I totally needed that reminder today also. I think I may have forgotten my own advice this week. 

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      • Nova

        Nova on Feb. 3, 2013, 7:52 a.m.

        ""my life is wonderful, I'm blessed way beyond what I deserve and I love the choices I've made"" There's that usually, not always again ;)

        I don't usually comment on blogs, but I had been feeling a desire to here for a while, so yay, I'm glad I did it at a good time!

        reply

  • Johanna

    Johanna on Jan. 25, 2013, 2:14 a.m.

    Renee, I needed this. I'm a worn out mama this week, and I feel drained. And yes, it's a cycle too.

    I love my life, but I need to learn to follow my body more. Understand its cycles and waves and be more vulnerable. Recharge more.

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  • Sarah Park

    Sarah Park on Jan. 25, 2013, 9:17 a.m.

    I always believe that in blogging, you put your whole self everytime you write. But this idea isn't as easy as it seems to be. We have other things in mind that divides our attention in writing. We also need to rest and pick ourselves up before we commit into something.

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  • Ashley

    Ashley on Jan. 26, 2013, 12:18 a.m.

    After nursing my youngest non-stop for the last 21 months (and having no period) and then weaning (and now having one again), it's been really shocking to me to re-experience the flow of emotions that does naturally come along with the monthly period. It's so interesting to hear you suggest it has a more practical purpose, and I think you're on to something! I find it interesting that I can feel emotionally on top of the world one day and the next, just absolutely questioning everything about myself. My husband is wonderful to remind me of how valued I am during those days, praise God! My dad once told me when I was in college and having a particularly hormonally emotional day, "Never make major decisions when you're on your period." I think, at the time, I was planning to break up with my now-husband. I have held his advice close at heart, for it is during those times when I do get very strong, yet very questionable ideas about things. I empathize with you on all counts, and like others, encourage you to stay true to yourself and keep on writing those thoughts! It's heartening to know that you have surges of "low" as well as more prolonged surges of "high". You do have a gift, Rene, and are a blessing in so many many ways to countless women out here. I could be wrong, but it seems Satan likes to attack me during those vulnerable moments of the month in attempt to derail me and undermine recent growth or progress. Don't let him do that to you. Hold fast to what you know, and remember who you are. Beloved of Christ and incredibly valued by so many who know you face to face and many who know you through your blog.

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 26, 2013, 12:20 p.m.

      Thanks Ashley. I love the reminder to not make major decisions during this time. This past week I was too emotionally incompacitated to make major decisions but one sure is tempted to say "no more this" or "only this" or some other decision to help me "control the situation". 

      reply

  • Corina

    Corina on Jan. 26, 2013, 3:49 p.m.

    I find that when people show up authentically, I resonate much more deeply with them. Enough of the surface relating, enough of small talk. This is why I love your blog. You show yourself authentically, and I relate to you. And then you throw hormones in the mix, ey? I have come to make peace with my cycle and its up and downs. My hormones have given me three beautiful children, and although my hormones can easily turn me into a bitch from hell, they also make me soft, vulnerable and creative! So thanks for sharing and showing yourself! This is how we women can support each other -showing up open and authentically! Much love and light to you in your "dark time"!

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 26, 2013, 4:02 p.m.

      Thanks Corina! I don't recognize your name here (sorry if you've commented before and I don't remember!) I just visited your family's site and blog. I love what you're doing! We share somewhat similar family visions, only ours is not so much about homesteading and more about adventure. I do love connecting with likeminded families.

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      • Corina

        Corina on Feb. 1, 2013, 1:33 a.m.

        Yes! We seem to have a lot in common! We homestead, but we also LOVE adventure! We spend a lot of our lives outdoors, adventuring. I love that you guys do that, too! Cheers!

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  • rebecca

    rebecca on Jan. 26, 2013, 11:09 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing this reflection. I can relate to it on many levels; you have such a good way of finding words to describe hard topics. Thanks for your openness! I so look forward to reading this blog.

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  • LisaZ

    LisaZ on Jan. 27, 2013, 6:28 p.m.

    Great post, Renee. I'll just chime in with everyone else by saying, I love how you keep it real here. It truly must be what you are called to write, and you have lots of readers to show for it. You do such a great job.

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  • Janet

    Janet on Jan. 27, 2013, 10:53 p.m.

    Love it Renee. I love that you keep it real when it feels so very 'wobbly'. I love your blog and your honesty about your family's journey. Hugs in the depths are important. You should be so proud of what you have built here. I come for your authenticity. It speaks volumes. We're surfing with you!!

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  • Lance

    Lance on Feb. 21, 2013, 11:52 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing this article. I really enjoyed of reading. I wrote a lot, when i lived in the U.S. The main goal was to help student get their deductive essays on time. That how i improved my writing skills)

    reply

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