Stepping off the Treadmill…

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Despite having left full-time work in academia in 2009, I still experience September as a moment for fresh starts. And this year I have come back from my summer holiday to find the surprising thought that I would like to relinquish the discipline I have maintained for nearly 13 years of publishing a blog post every four or five days.

There are a number of interrelated reasons for this, all to do with how this blog interacts with my lived experience.

It has always been the place where I process discoveries, and clarify to myself what I have learned from my various musical adventures. And I am at a moment when I suddenly find I’m not having the intensity of new experiences to generate the regular need to write. Whilst I am – thankfully! – now getting regular opportunities for in-person musicking with my own chorus, the other groups I'd normally work with as a visiting coach are mostly likewise at the point of restarting live rehearsing, so they’re neither quite yet ready for in-person coaching nor wanting to spend time with me on zoom.

I’m still finding ways to make myself useful as an arranger, as a mentor, as an educator, I’m happy to say, though one of the by-products of depth of expertise in these areas is that I’m more often drawing on prior knowledge and experience in these interactions than having to create new understandings in real time. A number of times in recent months I have started writing a blog post only to realise I am rediscovering something I wrote about a few years ago rather than generating a genuinely new (to me) idea. Useful to note in my Thinking Book, but no need to publish repeats.

And as my part of the world is sort of re-opening, I find myself eager for experiences that take me away from my computer. Obviously I enjoy writing, or I wouldn’t have been doing this all these years, but I’ve spent far more time than is healthy in the last 18 months living through that small shiny screen. I have lists of potential writing projects that I could take this moment to develop, but I find I’m more interested right now in hands-on, in-person modes of creative engagement.

The writing projects can wait – if we’re back in lockdown by Christmas I’ll need something to do then…

So, I’m expecting this to become an intermittent, as-and-when kind of blog for the time being. When I need to do some processing, or have some news to share, I’ll pop up and add a post, but I won’t be cranking out the 5-6 per month that has been my norm over the years. I’m reasonably confident I’ll remember how to write when I feel the need to come back to it, but if I find I’m woefully out of practice, that will itself be interesting to discover.

I’m sure you’ll be as grateful for the break as I am – after all you too have had far too much screentime over the pandemic. Wishing you all the best in the seeking-out of such new experiences that are safe and feasible in your part of the world at this stage in the pandemic. See you anon.

Hi Liz. Wow - I can really relate to this! I was in exactly the same place as you a few months ago. Unlike you I have done NO singing groups at all since March 2020 and was running on empty regarding things to say about choirs and singing. However, the break didn't last long! I thought I would be basically stopping the blog entirely, but some new idea always seems to pop up.

Yes, I too often discover that I've written about something years ago, but I usually find that my thinking about it has changed in the meantime. Also, as far as readers are concerned, it's probably new to them as they don't tend to trawl through the whole blog.

I've enjoyed reading your thoughts over the years. Enjoy your computer break and foray into the real world!

Chris

Hi Liz. I can totally relate to this!

I had a similar thought a few months back. I've not run any kind of singing session (online or otherwise) since March 2020. I found that I'd run out of things to write about due to lack of new experiences.

I had a break in December 2020 (thinking it would be a long one), but was back writing weekly in March 2021. It seems that I have a need to write and no end of ideas!

I too find myself revisiting ideas that I've written about several years earlier. But I find that my thinking has usually changed. Also, as far as readers are concerned, they usually have no idea I've written about a subject before and and are coming to it new.

Thanks for all your interesting posts over the years. Enjoy your foray into the real world!

Chris

Hi Chris,
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I was thinking about you as I wrote this post!
lizx

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