on writing forever and being a good Bear citizen
Sometimes I like to imagine my performance in life as a report card, grading myself based on the amount of effort I expend on important activities in my life. I'd probably say I have As in writing/blogging and physical fitness right now, and maybe a B in tutoring. But I'm not doing so hot elsewhere. I'd give myself a C or a D in job searching, a C in reading, and an F in language learning. Recently I've been focusing on my writing at the expense of other important things. And that's no good! Just because writing is good for me doesn't mean I can neglect job hunting or sleep or what have you.
Last week I saw this post about stepping away from blogging pop up on the Discovery feed's most recent posts. I don't follow Lucas's blog, but it always makes me sad when I see people leave Bear, whether they leave for a different platform or simply decide blogging isn't for them. I guess part of this stems from a sort of protectiveness I feel towards the Bear community after spending a year and a half here. Because active blogs on Bear seem to be only a few months old on average, I rarely come across blogs older than mine, and I've gotten the unique privilege of watching pretty much all of my favorite bloggers on the platform join and blossom.
I don't know where I'm going with this. I guess I just want to remind myself and others to be a good citizens of this lovely community. I try my best to post regularly, respond to emails, and reach out to new blogs I see pop up in Discovery with words of encouragement. I know when I first started blogging, getting kind messages from readers really gave me the push to keep going when I otherwise felt like I was shouting into the void. So pay it forward! Pass on the kindness others gave you.
Lucas's post also made me wonder if one day I'll decide to step away from blogging. He mentions that his life has gotten too busy for him to blog. A life in which I'm too busy to blog or even write strikes me as bleak. I can't see how it could possibly be sustainable. Isn't writing part of my identity now? I'm reminded of Visa's post the tavern and the temple, in which he writes:
I always gotta be writing, somewhere. If I don’t write for too long, and if I don’t publish for too long, it starts to take a toll on me. I start to feel sluggish, knotted, frustrated. Sometimes I wonder if this entire thing might be something that I can bypass entirely... could I just slice the knot with some clever thinking? But in all my years of trying – often half-heartedly, sometimes seriously – it’s never quite worked out. So for the most part I have come to accept it as a part of who I am, roughly as unavoidable as needing to eat and sleep.
I remember reading Ray Bradbury talking about his own relationship with his writing in Zen in the Art of Writing (1990):
“But what would happen is that the world would catch up with and try to sicken you. If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy, or both.
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. For writing allows just the proper recipes of truth, life, reality as you are able to eat, drink, and digest without hyperventilating and flopping like a dead fish in your bed.
I have learned, on my journeys, that if I let a day go by without writing, I grow uneasy. Two days and I am in tremor. Three and I suspect lunacy. Four and I might as well be a hog, suffering the flux in a wallow. An hour's writing is tonic. I'm on my feet, running in circles, and yelling for a clean pair of spats.”
It's easy for me to delude myself into thinking that I'm cut from the same cloth, but I haven't always been like this. Twenty-odd years of my life went by when I didn't write regularly and I never noticed anything was missing. I knew I could have written, blogged, or journalled, but for whatever reason, I chose not to. That makes me wonder if one day I'll revert back to my nonwriting ways, natural as it feels now. I hope not! I love this space I've carved out for myself on the tiny internet, the friends I've made, the sense of accomplishment and clarity that comes with writing every single day for weeks on end. I don't want to leave it all behind.