Friday, 23 August 2013

Moving On (and Looking Back)

Well. Gosh. Here I am. Five months - that's quite a long time, isn't it? Almost two seasons; long enough to encompass snow and heatwave in our eccentric British climate (I'm pretty sure we had snow in March this year?) Long enough to have celebrated Easter and a birthday, steered two teenagers through the white water rapids of Big Exams (or rather, watched from the bank, hands twisted in helpless anxiety as they steered themselves), had a wonderful time at the RNA Conference, indulged in fancy dress high jinks at our annual family get together, spent a glorious week eating carbohydrate in France, celebrated the results of the teens' exams, and almost written a book. (That last item probably needs expanding upon slightly at some point, possibly even in a post all of its own.) So, though five months is barely a flicker of the pulse of history, you can pack quite a lot into it; enough to make updating your woefully neglected blog feel like the labours of Hercules.
While I may not have been posting, I've certainly been thinking about the blog. (Oh, how wonderful it would be if thoughts translated themselves magically into words on a screen.) (But only if you had a chance to edit them first, of course. Otherwise it could get extremely messy and probably involve lawsuits.) Although I'm deplorably bad at keeping it updated, I am very fond of it; the friends I've made through it and the record it provides of the last six happy and eventful years. (Highs. Lows. Books finished. Books that stubbornly refuse to be written. Heroes. Idols. Being idle. Domestic triumphs and disasters and a smattering of philosophy.) When I started this blog my children were twelve, nine and six, and so it charts the primary school years, of Nativity plays and birthday parties and, in view of the fact that a month from now my eldest will be packing for university, I'm glad to have that record. (While being fully aware that it's of interest only to me, my mum and maybe my husband - if he actually knew where to find it.)
But, but... even having said that, I somehow can't see myself returning to those far-off days of blogging twice or three times a week, and I've been wondering why that is. Maybe I've got lazier, or maybe my life has got duller and less worthy of recording (though a glance back into the archives substantially discredits the likelihood of both theories). What I know for certain is that a day when I blog is usually a day when I don't add much to the wip, and so I often find that I'm stuck in a spiral of blog-neglect guilt versus unmet-wordcount guilt, and that such spirals tend to lead directly to the biscuit tin.
I think the main reason for the gradual falling off of my blog habit can be blamed, like lots of my other shortcomings, on twitter. Many of the staggeringly inconsequential things I used to put on here now find an outlet there and are instantly absorbed into its teeming depths. A quick glance at the list of blogs on my sidebar suggests that perhaps other people are doing the same, and that the gentle art of blogging, like letter-writing and taking afternoon tea, is being lost as technology gives us quicker ways to reach out to each other. One of the things I took away from this year's RNA Conference (in addition to a swanky silver bag bursting with books and chocolate) was the value of sites like Pinterest to authors, so I've revived my early, abandoned Pinterest interest and made a board for my past books (in addition to the three boards of various things I'd made a year or two ago and kept secret, which is probably missing the point somewhat.) I haven't quite got the hang of it all yet but will probably get there, just as the bandwagon rolls out of the station and onto the Next Big Thing. Just in case that happens to be Instagram I'm there too, after some hard sell from the daughters who all love it. I kind of love it, though I feel a bit like I've arrived in my horrific pyjamas at a party full of luscious, pouting adolescents. If anyone else is on there, please let me know and I'll gratefully cling to follow you and try to work out what it's all about.
So there we are. Moving on - to a new era of family life, in which daughter #1's place at the table will be empty *sniff* and onto new arenas for keeping in touch. The blog will definitely not be abandoned, but between appearances here there are other places where I'm likely to be found, dispelling any suspicions that I've given it all up to become a sheep farmer or have quietly expired over draft 392 of my book. (Which is, as I said, a subject for another time...)

So, has anyone else made a brave foray into the worlds of Pinterest or Instagram? Did you love it and linger, or feel bewildered and bolt? I'd love to know your thoughts, and also any tips you might have on what I should do and who I should follow. (And I'd love to see your pins and pictures!)

*A big apology to anyone who read this post when it first went up, when the last paragraph had somehow been replaced by an erroneous link that had gone astray from further up. You see, I thought I was being terribly clever languishing on the sofa and blogging on an ipad mini, but it seems it was just too mini to spot the glaring errors. (Which reminds me, must make an appointment at Specsavers.)*


Maya Blake said...

I'm learning to be brave. The only place I bolt from nowadays is Facebook! I love Pinterest with an unholy love simply because it contains (I kid you not) a GAZILLION pictures of David Gandy!

India said...

Totally with you on Facebook Maya (or should that be NOT on Facebook?) It's always had too much of an intrusive feel about it for me and I've never been tempted. But Pinterest is deffo growing on me. Everything is there, and I keep thinking of more stuff to look for and getting diverted down fascinating little alleyways (I even discovered some boards that managed to make housework seem appealing - what's that all about?) Haven't yet mined the splendid glories of Mr Gandy so will rectify that ASAP - consider yourself followed!

Jane said...

Hello India,
I'm wary to join Pinterest because of the copyright issues and I thought I read they keep your content even after you close your account.

India said...

Hi Jane! (It's just like old times!) I'd heard the same thing about Pinterest and it put me off too. I'm not sure if those early issues have been resolved now, but the addiction is starting to take hold and it might be too late for me to stop, even if I wanted to... (Cute baby animals in knitted garments! Hot men in almost nothing! Endless recipes involving Nutella! How did I manage without all this?)

Rachel Lyndhurst said...

I have zippo idea about Pinterest or Instagram which is unforgiveable with a teenager in the house, I do know. I did find this post very comforting, lovey, as to be honest I'd love to close every single social networking account I have and become a hermit. Almost there!

India said...

I feel at least 95 years old when the teens try, with elaborate patience, to lead me through the complexities of posting something on Instagram, Rach. And I'm not sure it's entirely me; I think the idea is to make everything look gorgeous and glamorous and glossy, which are all visual concepts I struggle with somewhat. But as I also struggle with forming words into a blog post I thought I'd give it a try! I think people don't necessarily want to spend time reading blog posts either these days, so that's another justification for not spending writing time on blogging, but don't you dare disappear from social media altogether you naughty girl! You'd be missed far too much.