the rebirth of slow blogging (and a new direction).

 

“If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas, then slow down. For me, slowing down has been a tremendous source of creativity. It has allowed me to open up — to know that there’s life under the earth and that I have to let it come through me in a new way. Creativity exists in the present moment. You can’t find it anywhere else.”
-Natalie Goldberg

 I’ve shared before my history of blogging – how it began in 2001, the early days before social media and platforms and curation and all the catch phrases that often appear in our inboxes each morning, promising endless Internet fame. And it’s funny how I can look back and see emerging themes and thought processes for every year I’ve been blogging. I hadn’t realized how much this blog has changed until I look at this post in chronological order. And I see it so clearly, the evolution of it all.

And if this is true, if I continually re-invent myself in some small way each year (whether intentionally or not), then I want 2013 to do the same. And in 2013, I want my blog to come full circle. I want to return Design for Mankind to its roots: of thought, of thoughtfulness.

We live in a world of more; this much is obvious. More things, more information. More time-saving tricks we use to find the time to uncover even more time-saving tricks. We live in a world of Pinterest, where visual images shoot out like firehoses of pretty, manifesting themselves in the parts of our brain we reserve for planning elaborate feasts and fetes. We have hundreds of RSS subscriptions to blogs creating amazing tablescapes and Halloween costumes and DIY floor lamps. And we take it all in, bookmarking each project for future use when “someday” is finally today.

Yet friends, I fear that someday will never come. Because there will continually be more to do, to see, to buy. And our someday file will slowly become outdated with a new sea of ideas and thoughts promising to fulfill our lives in ways we never dreamed possible.

I want less. I want less for this site; I want less for my life. I want to return to the days when I didn’t feel the need to “keep up” with the Internet. Where less truly was more, where editorial calendars didn’t exist and the words “I should totally blog this” were never uttered.

I miss the days when blogging itself was my muse. When the simple act of sharing something I stumbled upon was the joy itself, rather than a frenzied race to click link after link in hopes that I’ll have discovered something truly amazing.

There is more noise, and my ears are tired.

This year, one of my personal resolutions is to live a slower, more thoughtful (meaningful?) life. Less travel, more adventure. Less work, more challenges. And I need this to translate into all areas of my life: Less blogging, more learning. Less links, more inspiration. Less projects, more processes.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking time off to enjoy my family, friends and this beautiful holiday season. And when I return in 2013, a new Design for Mankind will be greeting us.

I encourage you to add the site to your RSS feed, as posts will be much more infrequent in this coming year. Instead, they’ll be more heavily curated and story-driven, harking back to my first love: writing. And I am thrilled.

I can’t wait for you to come along. Much love to each of you this holiday season; I wish you many moments of slowness.

XO,
Erin Loechner

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  • Thank you so much, everyone. And Amy, you are spot on:
    “The internet usually pushes “real life” into a box and calls it ugly, but what’s more beautiful than spending quality time with the people you love instead of a silver screen of “more, more, more”?””

    Amen!

  • Oh Erin! Bestill my heart, this post. I’ve had to take quite a few “blog breaks” and I find that happens when I try to have a new blog post, every morning, at the same time, five days a week(the secret for a popular blog, don’t you know ;) ). It just becomes a job and my brain works and works until it’s like a sponge that has completely dried out, with no more water to give away. My blog isn’t growing much and I find that stresses me out more than it should, which also zaps my creativity. I don’t think anyone is going anywhere if I take a few days off and maybe the content and creativity that will come from those days off will grow my blog more than if I keep trying to “keep up with the internet”.

    Thank you for being another voice saying it’s okay, it’s good to take a step back. I’ve been yearning for simplicity in my life. For things to slow down a little. For more deep breaths and calm thoughts and less hurried, frenzied ones. Always inspired, but never taking action on it.

    I hope you don’t mind if I share this link in a future blog post and maybe some quotes. It explains what I’ve needed to say lately, perfectly.

    You’re a beautiful person, sweet Erin! Didn’t get to say hello at Blissdom, but I sure hope I get to meet you someday. Good for you, taking a step back. Hope you have a wonderful, joyful end of the year and a fantastic new year. See you in 2013!

  • @Katy – Of course I don’t mind – and I’m so so happy to hear you’re going to be taking a breath of fresh air, as well. The smog is self-imposed; we can step outside at any time. :) Isn’t that the beautiful part?

  • I just want to say how much I admire your honesty, bravery, and direction. You know I’m a big fan of “less,” in blogging and in life. It takes guts to stay true to yourself when the pace appears to be ever-quickening. I know you will create even more that’s special and true here. I’ll be reading and cheering along with you!

  • Wow. I love you even more now. I completely admire you for addressing this treadmill that is the Internet. Thank you for reminding me to slow down.

  • a friend posted this entry on her facebook feed and i want to tell you how much it resonated. thank you for writing this. as a food writer (and blogger) living in new york, I’m feeling over stimulated by all the media outlets. i’ve been feeling exactly the same way: drained by all this pressure to find what no one is finding or to write something meaningful. sometimes, we all need room and space to retreat and it’s when we give ourselves room to breathe, we create better work. It’s become this very competitive place and started to feel like a chore and not something that is a delight and a treat. Happy holidays to you. Looking forward to reading your blog going forward.

  • as much as i have admired D4MK posts through the years, this post is my favorite of all! “being mindful” is always at the top of my self-improvement lists. in this fast-paced, over-stimulated world, i have to remind myself to be mindful quite often (kind of like reminding yourself to floss more often ; ) ) , but hopefully it is slowly permeating and becoming second-nature to me.
    here is a link with a small list that talks of mindfulness and easy ways to incorporate it into daily life:
    http://zenhabits.net/the-mindfulness-guide-for-the-super-busy-how-to-live-life-to-the-fullest/

  • I can’t thank you enough for your endless support, friends. I feel renewed and ready to welcome 2013 knowing how much you’re welcoming a new direction in your own lives, as well.

    Here’s to a thoughtful new year!

  • Thank you thank you for voicing and putting into action what many of us are feeling. I’ve been down and pouty and generally not very pleasant to be around ( my poor hubby! ) because of issues with my blog post a move to my own domain. In working on correcting some of those issues, I’ve been going back over old blog posts and am surprised at much better some of them seemed than some of what I’ve written lately. It is such a hard line to walk– we all want to be successful, want our stats to be high, reach our goals, etc., but at what cost?

    I hope more bloggers will follow your lead. Less posting, more thoughtfulness and depth when we do. Quality over quantity is never a bad thing! And neither is putting your own happiness and that of your family first.

    Wishing you all the best in 2013! Can’t wait to take this slowed down journey with you!

  • What a great decision Erin. I can’t wait to read the new, slower pieces and take some time out myself :) I can’t keep with everyone’s enormous number of blog posts either. I barely have time to write my own. Rewind! xx

  • Clearly this post resonates with so many…including myself. What does it say about where we have come to that harking back to simpler times seems like a revolutionary idea? Thank you for reminding all of us of the importance of quality, sincerity, and simplicity.

  • Looking forward to hearing your stories. I’m laying aside many things in my plan for slowing down. But following your blog won’t ever be discarded. We’re cheering for you.

  • I’m looking forward to the new Design for Mankind next year. ;) I somehow totally feel the same thing about blogging lately. Have a grand holiday w/ your family! ;)

  • YES! well said. i took a break from blogging after i moved from the east coast to the midwest…really rethinking my relationship with the medium before i jump back in. your post really resonates with me. thank you for sharing!
    ~sara

  • Right on Erin. I think you’ve captured what so many of us have been feeling – and searching for. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 2013. Happy Holidays!

  • WOW!! You hit it! your site will not be ignored as we all need to go back and remember what it was to breath!

    namaste

  • I couldn’t agree more with this post and I’m so happy to hear you’re taking the blog in a direction that resonates more with you right now. I’m sure it will be fabulous. Looking forward to awkwardly coming up and saying hi at Alt. :)

  • What a great insight post, as well as the “Why I blog” one, too.

    It is funny how sometimes you can’t put a word on sentence on an emotion or thought, and sometime you find that sentence elsewhere… In this post. “I want less.”

    When people ask me about my work and business, and if I want it to grow and have an employee sometime and all, I always struggle to explain what I think on the subject. Sure I want it to grow, but growing doesn’t mean “make more money” or “have employees” to me. It just means evolving. I want my work to grow, not my life.

    I usually expect (and receive) the “not very ambitious” look, which always makes me feel like I’ve explained it wrong, because that is not true nor is it what I meant.

    You’re simple sentence “I want less” was in bold. In a typographic way, but also in my brain. I’ve never wanted to go big (and never did), but never could quite explain it properly either. Now, thanks to you, and a little more thinking on my own in the upcoming days/weeks, I think I might be on the right track for the next time someone asks me this question.

    So thanks! :)

  • You know those slow claps that were popular in teen movies in the late 80s/early 90s? I’m giving you one right now. I want to do more experimenting with my blog as well – play around creatively, graphically, and with writing. I started a couple of months ago with my You’re My Obsession column. I got tired of just picking out 5 things to post every Monday without spending time talking about WHY I think they’re so cool or WHY I’m obsessed with them or HOW they relate to me personally or my interests. I was reminded about why I started my blog back in 2009 – to start WRITING again. Now I usually focus on one “obsession” and spend more time with it. I’m looking forward to the next iteration of your wonderful space. :) See you SOON! xoxo

    • LOVE this, Melanie – thank you for your sweet words.

      Thanks for the encouragement, friends! Can’t wait to join you in living mindfully this new year.

  • I have to say, Quality>Quantity for most things in life. You have to know when to slow it down! Happy Holidays!

  • I love this post. At the beginning of the year, I made the drastic decision to shift my food blog into a completely new direction. Turns out, it was the best decision I ever made! I appreciate your desire for thoughtfulness–it makes such a difference. Looking forward to following your posts in 2013!

  • Thank you for sharing your journey. We could all benefit from focusing our energies on more thoughtfulness as you put it. It’s clear that you are making these changes out of love for your family and yourself..and your readers. That’s what will keep us all conning back for more. It’s not easy to make changes such as the ones you’re making–I applaud your courage and foresight. I’m excited to see the in-depth stories. All my best. Cheers!

  • Pingback: Happy Holidays!
  • Very insightful post, particularly how our lives have speeded up and when you accomplish something, 2 more things pop up that need to be done or clicked or looked into. I, too, long for a slower, more meaningful life I, also, “want to return to the days when I didn’t feel the need to “keep up” with the Internet” and I am taking steps to realize it; I am going to hike the Appalachian Trail this year. You’re welcome to come hike with me! Either for a day, a few days, a week or a month! And I’m totally serious. I found your site through your new research editor.

  • Grear article. I am a new blogger and I already feel the pressure of maintaining weekly posts. I took a week out before Christmas to do less pinning and more memory making. I warned my readers blog posts would be slow and guess what, readership surged. Go figure.
    I also found I did a lot with my family and somehow what we did turned into better fresher posts. I have been thinking for a few weeks that I need to be part of a blog with multiple contributors. Ofcourse this means that I may have to give up control, and I like having creative control of my blog. But I guess these challenges will have to be negotiated.
    I look forward to seeing your journey in 2013.

  • Yep, pretty much how I feel. I used to feel bad for not posting, which I came to realise was just silly. My blog it my own space and so I should post as often as I really want to and about what I want to share. I usually take some time between posts as I prefer to really think about what I’m posting rather than just regurgitating anything and everything. Thanks for confirming this for me!

  • Spot on Erin. I think 2013 is going to be the year of ‘simple’. I know I have been feeling completely overwhelmed of being exposed to just too much and the expectations and comparisons that I put on myself. I have had the ‘simple life’ forced on me this year and the minute I step away from it to look at my unread newsletters and RSS feeds the anxiety sets back in immediately. Here’s to 2013 and a quiet year. Sx

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