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Miranda: Letting go, looking up

During the past 15 months, this blog has grown into a beautiful community. Those of you who make yourself known on these “pages” mean quite a lot to me.

As our sisterhood developed, I created a steadfast structure: at least one post every weekday; a contest post every Wednesday; a bi-weekly Friday Breakfast interview; an off-week Friday Open House roundup. I committed to that structure and I met the commitment regardless of how difficult or inconvenient. That’s just my compulsive personality. I know that daily posts and regular features are key elements in any successful blog (and I would not hesitate to call our blog “successful”). How could I settle for less? Not my style.

I love the blog, so it rarely felt like work, unless I was scrabbling to post at 1:00 a.m., or in the weeks when the only bloggers posting were Cathy and I. But I rationalized that this blog’s content is not only dear to my heart, but relevant to my book. I can test ideas, observe what resonates — it all makes sense, right? Yes. Unless I’m blogging about writing my book without ever actually having the time to write it.

During the past year, but especially during the past three months, I wrote off a lot of stress in my life to having an infant along with four older kids, selling a house, buying a house, and moving. But now my infant is 10.5 months old and the real estate dramas are over. Life is settling down. Except that this huge weight on my shoulders has not lifted. There is still more to do than I can accomplish. My interest in pretending to be Superwoman is waning. And who am I kidding? I really CAN’T do it all, and I haven’t been doing it all. Two of my kids are having belated birthday parties this month because I couldn’t manage to plan their parties closer to the actual birthday dates. I missed an important deadline for a special form pertaining to my son’s college financial aid applications. I am frequently late picking someone up or dropping them off.

I have too much on my plate — and I’m the only one to blame. My eyes are bigger than my stomach. This Sunday I experienced an unusually high level of stress as I fretted over when I would get the bills paid and the accounts balanced, when I would find time for the latest round of college financial aid forms, how I would get all the pressing client work done, how I would corral help for folding the Mount Fuji of clean laundry in the hallway, how I would train for my upcoming road race, how I would create those party invitations and get them mail, how I would take care of a few important house projects. It’s all the usual stuff for me, but I no longer seem able to coast through it all on adrenaline and a couple of prayers.

As someone pointed out to me recently, accepting that you “can’t do it all” sometimes means letting go of something that you love. It’s painful. It may sound funny, but that idea was actually novel to me. Why would I let go of something I love? Why should I? But then I thought it through and realized that I really have cut out everything that doesn’t feed me in some way. The junk has already been excised, aside from a few minutes that I spend on Facebook now and then. I used to do the Boston Globe Magazine crossword without fail every Sunday morning (one of my favorite activities) and I haven’t done a single one in nearly a year. I’m too busy taking care of all of other things — and people — clamoring for my attention.

I do want to be able to do things like create hand-made party invitations and make pretzels with the kids. I want to be able to play with the children without struggling with anxiety about all the “stuff” I have to get done. Something has to go, at least for a little while.

You know where this is going, don’t you? I have to step away from the blog. I’ll still be here to moderate the flow of blog posts, and I will post when I feel so moved and have the bandwidth, but I will no longer fret about having at least one post every day. I will no longer be able to sustain the weekly creativity contest or the Breakfast interviews. This makes me sad, because I enjoy those things and I think they’re of value to many of you — but during the more intense weeks, I spend up to 12 hours in blog-related work and that is time that I have to reclaim. I may use that time to write, make something, hang out with the kids, or do nothing. All of those options are important.

I hope that our regular bloggers will continue to post here. Remember that cross-posting is always welcome — if you post something relevant at your own blog, we’d love to see it here too. This blog will now have a more organic, free-form nature. Who knows — maybe that will be even better than the structure that I created.

I welcome all of your feedback, as well as any extra effort you feel like tossing into the ring while I take a breather. I love you guys, and I have every confidence that our connections will perservere.

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jen at mamasmagicstudio #

    Of course I’m very sad to hear that we’ll have less of your lovely company and valuable input — your leadership and involvement in this growing community has been incredible. But I completely understand your need for a breather. I admire your ability to say “enough” and to step back from something you love.

    Thank you, Miranda, for being so willing to give so much of yourself here. Creative Construction has been a wonderful source of inspiration and support for me, and I have faith that it will continue to do so in its more “organic” form as well.

    March 24, 2009
  2. One of the great things about this blog is the journey we’ve all taken together. In the beginning, we were all gung-ho superwomen, trying to do it all, but with each other’s support and friendship, many of us have stepped away from something in order to live a more sane, family-oriented life. It’s fitting that you do the same.

    I echo Jen’s sentiments. This is an important gathering place for all of us.

    March 25, 2009
  3. suzannerevy #

    I’ve enjoyed reading this blog since you requested a Friday breakfast interview, but I understand the need to take back some time. We can all feel a little overwhelmed at times. I’m keeping this blog in my reader… and even if there are fewer posts, I’m sure I will find inspiration in them.

    Thanks and best wishes!

    March 25, 2009
  4. Sometimes letting something go is the very thing it needs in order to thrive. Sometimes letting go of something is the very thing we need in order to thrive.

    Kudos to you for recognizing what you need.

    March 25, 2009
  5. cathy #

    miranda, you have been an awesome mother hen. through your personal diligence on this blog, you have allowed for me to be a bit lazy on navigating the technical side while i thought i was handing you blogs along with others so that you could field when to best post them. i really remained blissfully unaware of how much you were putting into it. i have to say, it is great that you are letting go of control of editing the blogs posted by other than yourself. this is a great time to ‘push us out of the nest’ to do it for ourselves.

    letting go of the contest makes me sad only because it was an easy safety net to keeping on my creative toes. it was fun, but again, you deserve and need to take care of yourself, and i need to take better responsibility in keeping my creative juices flowing.

    I have 2 ‘business’ ideas to keep these things alive here!

    i will still commit to one blog a week here. can we have others commit to the same or similar with a feature or cross-post from a personal blog? we can do the postings ourselves. we can also post more than one on a given day.

    my other idea, regarding the contest: on wednesdays, can we have a word, like before, that we will consider for the following wednesday’s creative post from any of us who wish to keep the creative exercise going? so we would have a handful of posts of creative work to see what others are producing? i really love seeing the variety of responses in form and level of inspiration. i know, for me, just making sure i get something done has netted things others reacted better to than i did as i submitted it. and i have been astounded by others’ work they felt they tossed off, too.

    what does everyone think of that?

    March 25, 2009
  6. Thanks for all the support, you guys. I really appreciate it. (Your wise words are especially soothing, Carmen.)

    Cathy, the only difficulty with your weekly prompt suggestion is that someone needs to collect and post all of the responses. Images can’t be posted in comments, so it has to come through as a blog post, unless you want to limit the prompt responses to words — in which case everyone could respond to a prompt via commenting.

    To get all of the various submissions to look right (i.e., look nice) in the blog post does require a bit of html knowledge. I would never be able to get the line spacing, horizontal rules, and image formatting correct if I didn’t have some html in my toolbox. Not to put you off; you should know it’s just not as simple as pushing a button and everything magically appears. (Hence the time requirement.)

    March 25, 2009
  7. Oh, and Cathy, did I give you the idea that I was no longer going to edit the posts? LOL…I don’t do much, but seeing as I’m an editor by trade I can’t help but clean up a few minor things. I would rather keep on doing that, as it doesn’t take very much time, than not.

    Everyone who currently uploads their blog posts into the CMS and then lets me know there’s a post in queue will continue doing exactly what they’ve always done. I still think there’s a value in moderating the flow of posts so that we don’t have three on one day and then nothing for a week.

    So, you’re not getting rid of me that easily!

    March 25, 2009
  8. cathy #

    lol! ok, i just meant the intensive edit stuff like we discussed in email!

    still need to work out the creativity thing, i guess. it’s one of my favorite aspects of the site. i really look forward to seeing everyone’s submission, especially the visual ones! as a former artist turned writer with a huge visual hunger, it’s what feeds me from week to week.

    March 25, 2009
  9. Well, now I think I should clarify — nothing here ever requires intensive editing; that would be reworking copy and making substantive edits. I don’t do that. Something like replacing all instances of two spaces after a closing period to just one space, well, I wouldn’t call that intensive. Everyone who posts here (save one of you!) enters their blog posts directly in the CMS, so all that I do is a quick once-over, fix any misspellings or spacing/formatting issues, add photos (if sent to me separately), add keywords if not already added, and schedule for publication. All that probably takes not more than five minutes. I can handle that.

    March 25, 2009
  10. cathy #

    that one would be me! i just have to figure out the easy stuff then. still that double space to single space after periods has got to be a drag. if i’d only known! (back of hand to forehead, a la 40’s film noir helplessness)

    March 25, 2009
  11. Kristine #

    Miranda,

    I completely and wholeheartedly support you in your decision to step back from the blog. I commend you on going for what’s important–time for YOU and your family. It’s a lesson we’ve ALL learned recently, I think. Burn that Superwoman costume! It’s extremely liberating. I’ve had to step back from many things this year, which has been hard but also necessarily for my emotional and creative well-being.

    We all know how you are feeling and because of that, this blog will continue to thrive as a community. Hey, we’re all in this together! We need each other.

    I will do my part by posting more. I can’t guarantee that I’ll have something every week, but I will make more of an effort than I’ve done in the past. Regular blogging is good for me. It keeps my fingers going and my mind charged.

    The important thing is that we know this site–and the people who are a part of it–will always be here. And if any of us are missing in action for a few days…well, we all know that it’s because we’re living life (in whatever form) but will be back.

    Big hugs, Miranda.

    March 25, 2009
  12. Liz #

    First of all, thank you Miranda! Community blogs are a lot of work and we appreciate both you and this space you’ve created for us so much.

    Sometimes things must be left on the back burner for awhile & that’s okay. We are all connected here (and on facebook! LOL!) and will keep the community going while you do what you need to do.

    I am so excited for you! Best of luck and keep us updated on your progress – we are all rooting for you!

    March 25, 2009
  13. my world has been a little crazier than usual this week as well, so i’m late to this post, but bless you, miranda, for stepping back and doing what’s best for you. i think the hardest thing for any of us with the superwoman complex to do is to step back and realize that we actually CAN’T do it all…and i think more important to realize is the fact that we DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL! you are an incredibly inspiring leader of our little cc world and have so much to offer, whether you post once a day, once a week, or once a month. thank you for all you do.

    i’ve been drafting a post in my head that looks at being true to yourself. these have all been great comments in this post and i think that one that really rings truest is brittany’s. so many in this group have learned to step back a little and reclaim what’s most important in life, and we’ve had each other’s support and encouragement in doing so. kudos to all of us for that.

    as far as the weekly creativity contest… i’ve been reevaluating my own list of commitments and just made a similar move last week. i let go of the “first coast art spot”, the website i founded that served as a gathering of artists here on the first coast. i looked at what i was putting into it and what i was getting back out of it, and they just frankly didn’t add up, so i notified the artists listed that i was pulling the site, told them i wished them all well, gave them some suggestions for other networking opportunities and went my merry way….feeling a huge weight lift of my shoulders. that said! i know just enough html to be dangerous, but i would be willing to take over the management of the weekly contest. šŸ™‚ it will push me to contribute more entries…i’ve been wanting to take more photographs anyway and they are fairly easy entries for me. let’s chat via email, miranda.

    March 25, 2009
  14. Cathy #

    woo-hoo you hotmail queens! kelly, now i know you are incredibly busy, don’t get yourself into trouble with the offer!

    March 25, 2009
  15. not a worry cathy….i’m the team leader for our north florida craft revolution etsy street team and management of the creativity contest is much similar to management of our team blog….piece of cake. http://etsyteamnfcr.blogspot.com. i don’t have to think! i just have to pop others’ lovely submissions in! whoo hoo!

    March 25, 2009
  16. off to a 2pm meeting, but i’ll check back later…hey, i ate my lunch (a joey jr from moe’s) while riding through a car wash today. multi-tasking at its finest. šŸ™‚

    March 25, 2009
  17. Hmm I’m really late to this but…. You just have to do what is best for you and prioritize your time. It’s why I don’t blog everyday, I just have alot of stuff to do off the computer and I just can’t always get motivated to right a well though out post.

    April 5, 2009

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