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Spare Room

I am really bloody sick of not enjoying this. All sorts of stupid stuff has been getting on my tits for months and months leading to this blog becoming a steaming pit of neglect. Examples:

  • All the nasty weirdoes who came out of the woodwork post-Bloggie
  • The server being pounded so hard by comment spammers that no real people could leave comments
  • Templates and design that were slick and sweet in 2002 now bloated and buggy behind the scenes
  • The discovery that a whole bunch of people read this site that I didn’t realise read this site (hello Mothership and 5 billion of your friends!)
  • My virtual life being totally outed at work via a large national newspaper and some unfortunate Googling
  • Just being sick of the sound of my own typing, really.

My policy has always been never to blog about blogging and to only write if I have something to say, thus hopefully avoiding sounding like a wanker. But this has backfired on me, because now I worry so much about who and how many are reading and that what I want to say is too rubbish/unfunny/personal/Boring Married Person that I’ve reached the point where I am not writing anything at all.

And since I didn’t want anyone to know I was worried about this, I’ve been sulking and skulking and letting the discontent grow. This blog is like that really messy spare room in your house, crammed with old magazines and boardgames and boxes of funny-smelling clothes that don’t quite fit; the room you know you should do something about but you just shut the door and go watch telly instead.

At this point folk may be wondering, who cares? This is just a blog, you indulgent little twat, and there are people floating around in New Orleans who have real worries. But please just allow me this one moment of contemplation, I haven’t done it much in the past five years.

Blogging for me has never been about Blogging in the traditional sense. Some people fuss over site stats and blogroll politics and inter-blog fights and Technorati rankings and awards. For me the blog just happens to be the medium that came along that let me write the stupid stories. Ever since I was a horrible ginger child I’ve been compelled to write down stuff that happens and share it with people. I grew up and decided the best way to pursue that was with a journalism degree, but of course got a rude shock when I discovered you had to use facts and talk to people and not make shit up when you’re a journalist. So after three miserable years of that, the only writing I did was to invent jobs for my dole form. Then one day in 2000 I found Heather Champ’s site, and wondered what that little Blogger logo was at the bottom of the page. So I signed up and discovered I could write something, press a button then POW, it was out there for the world to see! It was much easier publishing process than the old days, where I would have to write words on bits of paper and ask mum to borrow the stapler so I could staple it all into a book then harrass her, “Read my book! Read my book! Please please please!”. So the whole blogging thing gave me such a rush I actually shivered.

That’s what blogging is about for me, the rush. Yes I have been lucky to gather some readers and that bloody Bloggie and whatnot, but very selfishly I just did it because writing gives me the horn. I love being mid-entry, when there’s just bunches of random sentences all over the page and I have to figure out how to string them all together. Sometimes it’s all formed perfectly in my head and I’m purely transcribing; sometimes I wrestle with it for days, even weeks. Either way, once I hit publish and the little blob of text appears, I just grin to myself and go hee hee hee hee and feel like I’ve smoked something really good.

By now you’re thinking I’m a complete wanker, or you may be disturbed knowing that some silly little story that takes you ten seconds to read is something that leaves me wildly excited like I just saw sexy Ed from Radiohead wearing nowt but a figleaf. But I just wanted to let you know why this blog is important to me so you can understand why I am so bummed that I feel bummed about it lately.

I’m not saying I am some brilliant precious writer type, just simply I like doing it and I feel lost when I’m not. I get frustrated and cranky and hump cushions. This blog is my treasured little place to store funny stuff that happens, so I can remember it or maybe use it for something later on. Yet for the reasons described earlier, I’ve just let it slide and it is making me batty.

Last week I read Rebecca’s Blood interview with the most excellent Dooce. This here bit (my italics) was real a smack in the chops:

“Some days I feel my website writing itself, and those days are so much easier than the days when I sit there grasping for one word or one sentence that will not come out, and I’m like, BOTH ENDS ARE STOPPED UP. I find that the more I write the easier it is to write the next time, and the longer I wait in between posts the more stopped up I become.

Thanks Doctor Heather. The solution is clear, just bloody write. I’m tired of feeling self-conscious and apathetic. I’m tired of pretending I don’t care, and most of all I’m tired of editing the life out of stories or being too afraid to write them in the first place.

To start with, this blog needs a spring clean. I might find it more inviting if the house is in order. I can’t keep waiting for the Fairy Blogmother to come along so I’m getting off my arse and do the geeky crap I’ve been putting off for years. I am tidying up the archives. I am sorting five years of images into folders instead one giant puddle. I am moving to a new server. I am upgrading my Movable Type thingy. I hope to get this all done before we leave for Oz in two weeks time, though that may be a little optismistic.

But when I get back up from Down Under, I am going to try and forget about all the people watching and just learn to enjoy this shit again.

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


32 thoughts on “Spare Room

  1. Will it be green? Remember the green site? was that really a long time ago? it seems like it was only yesterday…

    Sometime it’s nicer to sit around your house once it’s clean and there’s a fresh coat of paint on everyting, and that’s the truth.

  2. Good for you! And, yes, I take breaks but then I get stage fright, or something. Brain freeze.

    You know, I’m sorry you’ve been struggling with it, but you sound more like your old inspired self in this post than you have in a while.

    Your writing will be interesting, because you are interesting and an awesome wordsmith. Lookit me, I managed to almost make my crap husband and chickens sound interesting. Ho ho ho.

  3. Although I know you’re going through the stage fright thing (I think almost every serious blogger has been through it at some stage), I’d just like to mention I’ve been reading your blog for ages, and although I have hardly commented, I do enjoy your postings. Don’t stop blogging, and maybe don’t blog about what you think people /want/ to read, but what you want to write about. Personally, I don’t mind reading about more of the personal life and random posts about “stuff”… Keep it up? Don’t let the passion die.

  4. Great attitude! Always remember that you write for yourself first. *Your fans* are just an added bonus. As for The Others, well, who cares what they think. WE LOVE YOU SHAUNY!!!!!!

  5. shauny. i love reading your blog!!!

    it’s so refreshing and for real. and funny! u know how to laugh at yourself and others without sounding nasty… and i totally agree that you are an awesome wordsmith and not pretentious or a wanker in the least!

    might i also add that i LIKE your little “boring married person” stories and your eavesdropping on the bus stories and your mothership stories, etc, etc… this is why u have so many fans. coz ur just you and it comes off that u do this totally for kicks.

    i hope you find a state of *zen* through this current bout of blogger’s cramp, coz the internet would be a much lonelier place without WNP posts!

  6. Wow. After reading that, I feel quite inspired to clean up this old mess.

    Oh, and when you tackle all the “geeky crap,” could you not change the template? It’s more or less the best of any blog, I think.

  7. I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. Is it writer’s block time again? It seems like a lot of bloggers go through that phase right now.

    Anyways, just be yourself and speak your mind. That’s why people love this blog!

  8. No, I do not think you are a complete wanker.

    This is your blog and while it brings me pleasure you are under no obligation to change it, keep it the same or stop it for the likes of me. It is for your pleasure, that I get some from it pleases me and may please you but hey, seeing a guy in Germany walk past in a Dangermouse t-shirt can have that effect, too.

    I enjoy your writing Shauna, very much. But if you are feeling like you are in a Stephen King’s “Misery” scenario,then things are not good. Sod them all and do what you want.

    BTW – being based in Embra you should be able to attend some Uni courses in creative writing or what not, no? Or stomp down to a couple of publishers and ask them what they want out of a book? Carpe noctum. Best of luck.

  9. sounds a bit like living in the same house as 50 half painted canvases but theytake up more space……………………..
    but anyways, I loves what ya write mate-never fails to bring on a smile:)

  10. Hi Shauna,

    I don’t know how I came across your site years ago but I’ve been coming back ever since. You write for the joy of writing – I read for the joy of appreciating what you write – sometimes even laughing my head off.

    I’ve just come back from a quick trip to Edinburgh and almost expected to see a little plaque on one of the buildings “Shauna – the author of What’s New, Pussycat – lives here” or something to that effect. Almost a disappointment not to find that!

    If blogging becomes too boring or time dependant for you, I hope it’s because “real” life is getting even more enjoyable!

    Your fan,
    Scott F 🙂
    PS: I hope that doesn’t sound too naff!

  11. I know exactly how you feel about writing when writing becomes a chore and doesn’t come easily. I guess one solution to worrying about who’s reading is just to shut off the comments and write for yourself again.

    I don’t have that problem on my blog since the comments are few and far between, but when I start thinking about the numbers and who is or isn’t commenting, I can’t bring myself to write at all. Defeats the purpose.

    I’ve read your blog, off and on, for years. I hope you’ll find the happy medium to allow you to keep going.

  12. I’ve been thinking I was a wanker, too – or in dire need of getting out more. I get the exact same shiver when something just WORKS.

    Thanks for making me feel like I don’t have to get a grip. 😉

  13. Seriously, don’t sweat it. I really enjoy every blog entry you write (yes, even the Boring Married Person ones!)
    You’re the only blog I’ve ever read that can make me laugh on a regular basis; I actually bother to read your archives as I know they’ll be worth the effort.
    I’ve enjoyed the tales of your travels, your family, even just worries like this. Your blog is interesting reading and inspires me to write my own posts better, rather than just type rubbish about What I Did Today, like a 6-year-old at school.
    If you yourself enjoy what you do, it’s worth it. If others do, that’s a bonus. If not, ah well, there are some people you wouldn’t get on with out there in the real world, and these people also have internet access. (Unfortunately!) There is far worse drivel on the ‘Net: your own little corner of well-written prose will not be grudged you by anyone of sound mind and body – and a sense of humour.
    Well done and keep blogging!

  14. Oh! My fine and fabulous friend!

    I have been getting this same grief lately. Mainly because, now I have changed country and therefore privided my blog address to non-blogging friends and relatives as an innocent means of letting them know I am alive (really I thought I had nothing to hide!), I have been accused of being “too personal” and “not aware of myself”.

    For Fbjks sake! I had my worries about giving out my blog address to ‘flesh friends’ in the first place, but then thought to myself “Well I have got nothing to hide so what does it matter? – – The people that know me know me and won’t be in any way shocked – – It’s the same stuff I would tell over a couple of beers at the pub”.

    Turns out that there is nothing you can do. People you know will always have something to say (bless their caring socks) . Their friends are even worse! But this is me and I have nothing to hide.

    So do your best people. I like my blog, am not embarrassed to share my stories and will never let it go. If you don’t like the side of me that writes there then DON’T READ IT! It’s as easy as that!

    But don’t touch my Shauny. She is an inspiration!

    OK – going to go over there now. Sorry Shauna – you touched an ‘owie’. ;D XXXXX

  15. Shauny, You are one of the first blogs I ever stumbled upon, YEARS ago, and yours is the first of only 2 or 3 that I ever went and read the entire archives. You are fun and fabulous and you should try to write what you want and to ignore the idiots (wankers!?? I’m American). I was afraid you were going to announce your retirement or something. So glad you’re going to stay with it.

  16. I like this entry. I’m a fan of writing as well.. I actually took a “Career Test” online to see what career is best suited for me. Kind of cheesy and I know that the online things aren’t going to be the best indicator, or very accurate even… but anyway I scored highest in writing as an interest with arts as a close second. And, I’m going into design as a career (soon) but have always wondered about the writing aspect.. For now, writing journals and such (blogs) suits me just fine!

  17. Yeah! I am glad you are going to start posting more. You were the one who inspired me to start my own blog years ago (which fell in a heap when I became too self conscious about what I was writing).

    I loved the green look! Can’t wait to see the new look…

  18. Hi Shauny,

    I found you through the bloggies site a few weeks ago, and I’m so glad I did. It’s really wonderful writing–funny and true. I suppose it must be strange to be singled out like that, and I’m sorry it’s given you grief. But a really good blog like yours not only makes a lot of people smile, it’s good for the form that is blog. You were singled out because you’re good, and good is inspiring. If we are going to avoid a blogorrhoea blah-maggedon, it will be because very good bloggers like yourself remind us all to do it for the love of writing, not for the look-at-me instinct.

    However, it’s not your job to keep everyone else in line. I hope you find a way to make this a fun personal project again.

    All the best.

  19. Welllll Holy Cow! Good to see you clearing the cobwebs from the brain, the typing fingers, the server, the site, and that little corner of the bedroom that we all avoid!

    I actually stopped checking in on account of having to read that bread-cracks and crumbles bit over and over again. It was getting stale. (whistles)

    Ya know I think you are a “brilliant precious writer type” and look forward to your smart writing. Frankly, I’d like to see it on paper.

    Good to have you back Shauna!

  20. Hi Shauny,

    I am a relatively new reader to WNP, though have read the entire archives. I discovered your blog when ‘The Age’ (Melbourne newspaper) had an article about the Bloggies, and have been an avid reader ever since. I just wanted to know that I love all your entries, and find none of them mundane or boring. It is the humour you bring to every day life that is so endearing and hilarious. I have been a relatively silent reader, but couldn’t keep quiet over your bout of stage fright; I just had to jump and and give some moral support.

  21. Write what you want, it’ll be lovely. Even if it’s not we’ll still all follow you like the lost widdle puppies we are. Because you’re deliciously hot and we looooove you!

  22. thanks grasshoppers.

    i just really needed to vent, man. it’s been brewing for ages. feel a lot better just to have said it out loud.

    i don’t have a redesign in mind, just moving house and cleaning things up and getting jiggy with MT v3.2. My templates are a mess and I still use tables like the olden dayz.

    😀

  23. spud gun,

    calm down.

    go on your tolley bags

    come back refreshed

    and always write like we should all dance,

    like no one is looking

  24. I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now, and have to say that I found your posts about travelling a huge comfort as I embarked on my own journey across the sea. Many a dull day have been filled with the hilarious musings of Shauny.

    I’ve recently started up my own blog…partly to be more of a participant than just an annoying stalker…and I completely agree. JUST WRITE.

  25. Oh god, this mirrors what I went through a few weeks ago when I suddenly realised that people I knew in real life had found the blog. I deliberately don’t tell many of my ‘real’ friends about it because well…..I take photos of cakes and write about it. How weird arse is that?
    So, I took down the photo I had on my profile and stopped mentioning any personal bits and pieces. I had this huge overriding fear that my boyfriend’s ex would find the site and start laughing ‘look at this WEIRDO he’s going out with now. She takes photos of cakes. And, geez, she doesn’t exactly look *thin*, doesn she? Heh’.
    Even thinking about that makes me cringe!
    But, I have largely gotten over it now, although the photo isn’t going back up anytime soon!

  26. Shauna,

    I found your blog about six months ago – the first one I ever came across, and the only one I regularly return to. I love your writing and your take on life. I went through your archives fairly thoroughly and enjoyed every minute of it. I don’t expect anything of you – you don’t have to be funny all the time. Just be you! And keep writing for your own reasons, not for what you think other people want.

  27. Ah Shauna, reading about your disarray made me feel so much better! When I moved back to Melbourne and swapped jobs I was consumed by own self consorship. Sometimes I really hate that many of my friends (and some bits of family) read my blog. I would love to blog the kind of stuff that I love to read on other people’s sites; I love the way dooce.com lets it all (or a lot of it) hang out. I seriously dream of beginning elsewhere so I can type and type and type and type and not have fragments of worry raining down upon me that I have upset someone or completely embaressed myself. It feels so Blah. A spring clean of all that techy stuff is always good though – it’s horrible to begin with, but then it feels sort of cleansing. Which isn’t actually odd at all. D’oh.

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