Focusing where the flow is

flow

I’ve been having a hard time blogging lately. Like, a really hard time. A pulling teeth hard time. Intermittently, it puts me into a panic. Should I be working harder on posts? Spending more time finding cool things to tell you about? Hiring someone to help? Historically, blogging has always been such a priority for me, and typically, it’s come pretty easily. I’ve had slumps before, but this one has felt long and heavy.

I could tell you it’s been hard to find inspiration, which is true, but it doesn’t mean I have been uninspired. The truth is, I’ve been feeling very creative lately. I’ve had several web design projects that have challenged and pushed me to my creative limits, and while exhausting, it’s also been invigorating — I look forward to hitting my desk every morning to work on them.

I could tell you it’s been hard to find the time and energy, and, well, that part certainly is true. In addition to said projects, I have some big, all-consuming, turn-your-life-upside-down things happening over here behind the screen. I’ll share more with you soon (prepare yourself for quite the story time), but let’s just say they involve a moving truck. Recently, it’s felt as if my work is the thing that’s kept me sane, some buoy I can hold onto and anchor me amidst all the other chaos swirling around the rest of my life.

Yeah, when I take a step back, it’s pretty obvious why it’s been hard to blog.

The funny thing I have realized is that when I ignore the guilt and frustration I have around not being able to manage and fix this one tiny part of my life — writing a blog — things fall into place pretty seamlessly. I hit a stride, a flow. When I worry about it too much, it completely derails my day. I can’t tell you how many mornings I have recently spent trying to write a post, only to come up with nothing, feel bad about it, then spend the afternoon working on projects that are both higher priority and more satisfying creatively — though with a slightly panicked pace, because I’ve just wasted hours trying to blog. Worrying about this one thing also seems to be what tips my anxiety over the edge. It’s like I can just barely manage all the other stress, but this blogging conundrum tips the scales and makes everything feel unmanageable, collectively.

All this to say: I’m not quitting blogging. But I am learning that sometimes, when you find your groove, your current, you just have to hop in and float with it. Fighting the current will only exhaust you.

At this exact moment in time, blogging isn’t part of the flow. When I don’t fight the fact that I’ve felt uninspired in this particular space, the clouds part, the guilt lifts, the inspiration arrives, and most importantly, I feel more balanced and like I can get on with my day (and without that painful, worried knot in my stomach). Perhaps in this instance, focusing on the flow is a stop gap, albeit a highly effective and necessary one. I think sometimes in life, deep down we know perfectly well what’s good for us and what makes us feel good. But we ignore it, because we’re stubborn, or feel like a failure if we let go, or just want to feel like we can do it all. I am here to tell you (and myself) to focus where your flow is. If in life something just isn’t working for you at the moment, focus your energy elsewhere — the place that makes you feel productive, inspired, and like you’re home. Energy, like a current, can easily shift, so it’s not as if you can’t or won’t be back again. In the interim, don’t force the pieces that don’t fit. For me, I have faith that the pieces will eventually all come back together again, and I’ll have a new perspective to share when they do.

Do you have anything in your life that you’ve previously tried to force or had a hard time letting go of, only to feel a whole hell of a lot better once you did? What’s a current you’ve been trying to swim against…or swim with?

 

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21 Comments

  1. Janel wrote:

    The way you explain this feeling rings so true. Just acknowledging the mental/emotion block and do wonders for self-acceptance in this type of situation. I have faith that the energy will flow back into your blogging, but even if it doesn’t that’s okay! I think that pouring your all into the projects that do excite you- without the guilt- will only re energize you more.

    25 Feb 2015 · Reply
  2. This is perfectly written and there is so much here that I relate to right now specifically. I have yet to come to terms with my writer’s block and feel peace about it like you have, but this is great inspiration for a place to start. Thanks so much for sharing. xo

    25 Feb 2015 · Reply
  3. This is such a honest post that rings so true for me! I thought that my wedding would be a major focal point for my blog, but when it came time to post, I was having the most difficult time with it. I found myself not checking things off of my to-do list because I did not want to NOT blog about it, but the added stress of taking pictures and writing a post was turning me off. In the end, I needed to let it go & just plan my wedding. And if I end up writing about it later, so be it. Sometimes, you have to just live life and not post it! xo

    25 Feb 2015 · Reply
  4. Joanna wrote:

    Thank you for this, Victoria. I have a huge mountain of guilt (and mountain of work to tackle) when it comes to updating my portfolio, which – while it’s necessary for growing my business – is such a source of stress and cause of big chunks of time being lost that I could have spent creating other things. I know this task needs to stay on my list and get triumphantly crossed off one of these days, but I feel like I can push it out of my mind for now and let other projects take over.

    25 Feb 2015 · Reply
  5. this post resonated with me so, so much. i’ve actually taken an unexpected blog break since around the beginning of January, just because I didn’t have the time, energy, or motivation to put into it. i still plan to dive back in at some point (hopefully soon), but it’s been surprisingly refreshing to come home after a long day of crafting social media and imagery and copy and marketing strategy for my day job and to NOT feel like I should dive into doing all of those same things for my own personal brand too. sometimes embracing that ebb and flow is the best thing in the world.

    25 Feb 2015 · Reply
  6. Dani wrote:

    Love the honesty! They say the best remedy to writer’s block is to take a step back and do something else. I completely agree with this principle. :)

    25 Feb 2015 · Reply
  7. Meg wrote:

    I totally agree with you and this is something I’ve definitely had to learn the hard way. It’s so important to listen to your body and mind and know where to focus your time and energy. If you do it right, there’s less chance of burnout, anxiety, loss of motivation – it’s awesome! I do find it difficult though, sometimes I’ve made a commitment to something and I feel like I can’t focus my energy somewhere else, even if I’m exhausting myself in the process.
    Love this post!

    Meg, Optical Intake

    26 Feb 2015 · Reply
  8. Jessica wrote:

    Take time off and you will be inspired again (hopefully this Spring/Summer!). New seasons bring new ideas. In the meantime, thank you for the beauty and perspective you have brought into many lives!

    26 Feb 2015 · Reply
  9. Alexandra wrote:

    Victoria, my thoughts are with you and I will pray for you! Hang in there, you are doing all of the right things by surrendering and taking care of yourself. I’ve had similar feelings and experiences, and moods and blocks come in waves and cycles. Wait it out and be kind to yourself – you’ve been a huge inspiration for me as a blogger and woman in the digital space, don’t doubt your impact!

    Warm Regards,
    Alexandra
    http://www.littlewildheart.com

    26 Feb 2015 · Reply
  10. Great post! While very new to the blogging world, I have yet to come across those feelings of being uninspired but I am sure they will eventually come. Sometimes we have to go out and look for the inspiration rather than wait for it to come to us.

    http://www.diversastyle.com

    26 Feb 2015 · Reply
  11. So, so good and so, so timely. I have been feeling the same guilt about blogging lately (new year, new rut?) and this was just what i needed to read to get over it. To get over myself. To realize that sometimes you need to step away from something to step forward. Thanks for this, V.

    26 Feb 2015 · Reply
  12. Victoria – I read this on a Saturday night, as I’m writing a blog post and wanted some design inspiration. There is no blog I go to before VictoriaMcGinley.com. You have inspired me countless times, so I hope you take a break and the flow comes back, because so many readers out there love you! xoxo

    28 Feb 2015 · Reply
  13. Raquel wrote:

    I have felt like this about Instagram lately. I used to love IG but now I go on and never feel like posting. I look at all of these beautiful images and I feel uninspired. I feel like the images are fake, filtered and all the same. I also feel compelled to post everyday since I am a blogger but lately I have just been letting it go. I am still very passionate about my site, I am just not feeling like going with the flow.

    1 Mar 2015 · Reply
  14. Befole wrote:

    Always love your post! Wrtting including blogging is not the thing we can succeed in doing when we try hard. Sometimes it may work worse. However we can not just let it go. Or we will choose to give up when it happens to us again.

    2 Mar 2015 · Reply
  15. First, you should know your blog is one of the only blogs I regularly check. To me most blogs have all become the same ad for a different company each week but yours continues to introduce me to new articles, concepts and brands that are inspirational. Second, I know the feeling of not wanting to let something go but thinking maybe it’s for the best. My sisters and I write a small blog and are struggling with the same thing right now. We both work full time and struggle to find the time and effort to put forth to make the blog what we’d like it to be, but at the same time it’s so hard to give up because then we’re also giving up what it could become! Thanks for sharing Victoria.

    4 Mar 2015 · Reply
  16. Pretty Pink Tulips wrote:

    I SO hear you!!! I think we ebb and flow through all phases of our lives, including blogging. Sometimes, the ideas and posts just flow. Other days, it seems as if nothing seems blog worthy.

    I think you’re so right though. Going with the flow instead of against it is the healthiest way to live. Be kind to yourself and focus your energies where you feel the most fulfilled. Everything else will follow!

    ~ Elizabeth

    4 Mar 2015 · Reply
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