When I began my genealogy blog ten years ago, the ‘sphere was fresh, unknown territory. The prospect of reaching an audience, even unidentified, was exhilarating. The possibility of attracting lost relatives and exchanging family records was intoxicating.
Blog posts flowed out regularly.
Comments and followers multiplied.
Cousins-many-times-removed shared stories, tips, maps, and letters.
Until one day I realized that my story cache, specifically Ira Sayles’ tales, didn’t fit a blog post format. And blogging was a chore, not a joy.
Time to reassess. How can Shoots, Roots, and Leaves function as a space of curiosity and joy, that complements the deeper dive I will be doing offline?
Not sure. Yet.
Leave your ideas and requests for future posts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
I have not written much on this blog since my mother died. The daily exercise failed to distract my grieving brain.
Instead I hopped into a genealogical burrow and nosed around through its labyrinth of story lines, tumbling out in previously unknown family territory and time. The research begged for more than a cursory post. I drifted for a while, before I befriended a deadline, and realized how important these “time to stop writing” moments are in the process of developing a story, of finishing thoughts, of discovering what emotional responses to ancestral tales actually mean–to me, today. An article has been published in my local genealogical society’s newsletter. I drafted a 3000 word essay, that still sucks, but is the transformative story before the story, the first baby step in confronting my family’s legacy of enslaving.
Now I return to the blogger community, to embrace daily prompts, tiny deadlines. This community is my channel, the place where my stream of words can bounce up against the research rocks, and rush over and under branches of “what ifs” and “whys”, to sing the past into the present.
Within the last week I read an article about commitment, or rather keeping a commitment. In sum, the author stated that it is easier to practice your craft or hone your skill, develop new habits and deepen your spiritual practice if you commit 100%. No creeping “well, just this once I won’t take my binoculars” or “I’ll get to the writing tomorrow.”
So I am committed to this experiment. If I write every day on this blog or on my work-in-progress Shared Legacy narrative (more on that later), no excuses, will the writer’s block melt? If I take my binoculars or camera everywhere I go, will I spend at least a few minutes mindfully every day? And if I write and deeply look at my world, will I find myself energized and engaged?
What have you, dear reader, decided to commit 100% to? What tricks did you develop to hold yourself accountable?