State of the Blog (Sort Of)

I am being interviewed, and the voice on the phone asks me why I’m not very social on social. It takes me a second to decode his words, or even his intent. Social on social? What?

Is it not part of your strategy? he asks. You know, do you not see it as an essential part of your business plan?

And well, let me just start there, because folks, there’s no business plan here.

I know that’s terribly unpopular to admit. I know it’s not wise to say, that here I am flying by the seat of my pants, just hitting publish when the mood strikes. But I’d be lying if I told you otherwise.

Want to hear something top-notch selfish?

I blog for myself. It’s not a sales funnel, or a secret mission, or one small sliver of my thirty-year-plan. It’s just that I do it every morning because I’ve always done it every morning, and it changes me for the better.

I write daily, in a chilly room with big windows a scratchy wool blanket, space heater at my feet. It is quiet. There is coffee.

And that’s it. I open a new post and I write whatever is on my mind, whatever I want to – or rather, whatever I need to. I write about bruised knees and bruised egos, and I write what I want to remember most about this very season of raising children and raising myself.

I publish perhaps 1% of this, because the lines get blurry when my story edges into someone else’s, and because relevance is less important to me than reverence.

And it’s a gift to publish it, truly. It’s a gift to send it all out into ether and have it returned to me a hundredfold. It’s a gift to read your sweet comments, your kind and encouraging words. It’s a gift, it’s a gift, it’s a gift.

So I suppose I know what this interviewer was getting at. You have much to say, don’t you? So why aren’t you saying it? Why aren’t you playing the game?

And I haven’t uncovered the answer to this yet, not in my morning writing sessions, and certainly not in the span of 15 years online. But I want to, I do.

I offer many excuses: my hands are full. I don’t want the distraction. Twitter can be so loud, Instagram so carbon. Pinterest, a firehose. I quit Facebook ten years ago and found myself weightless again, no longer keeping up with the daily whereabouts of my high school salutatorian, now my mothers’ gynecologist.

I have, in the past, lived through seasons of robust social media usage and I have found those seasons to be the ones in which I am living the least. I have watched people leave the dinner table to get a wide shot of the spread, to post to their networks, to later return and find themselves having missed the passing of the gravy, the salt, an entire conversation.

I will not settle for such. (I’ve always wanted extra salt, after all.)

A few years ago, in a Jaipur tea house, I asked a friend how her culture defines success.

By the health of our relationships, of course, she says, as if it were the obvious answer, as if it were everyone’s answer.

I know that it’s not everyone’s answer, but it’s my answer, and I wish it’s the one I’d given the reporter that day.

Why are you not social on social?
The health of my relationships.

Of course.

I know what he meant now, the reporter. I’m not terribly social on social, no. You will likely not find me producing an Instagram story in which I open my mail, or walk you through my closet, or offer a tour of my hometown. I used to think this was because I was private, which I am. Or because these things were sacred, which they are.

But I think perhaps it’s those things, and also another:

We cannot find each other here.

We cannot find each other in the puppy filters, the self deprecation, the linkbait headlines. We are settling for a smattering of one dimension when we have three available to us, in ourselves and the next door neighbor and the grocer down the street.

If I cannot bring you a casserole when your dog is dying, how social can we be?

I suppose I am writing all of this to say how much I appreciate this quiet room, and how much I treasure the white space available to type longer than 280 characters, to offer something deeper than a hashtag. I am writing this to say how much I appreciate you.

You, who have never asked me to be a “good blogger.” You, who have never demanded an editorial calendar, who have never begged to see the contents of my closet, my junk drawer, my garage. You, who have never requested a giveaway loop, who have never once minded that my kids’ birthday parties come and go with nary a rainbow cake or confetti balloon. You, who consider me as a person, not an influencer portioning my life in the name of content.

You, who are ever-patient with my lack of bullet point lists, or product round-ups, or click-worthy headlines. You, who read these small words despite my lack of brevity, and certainly without want for ramblings. ;)

You, who if a post goes unpublished or a social media platform goes unvisited, have never once suggested I hire help, or scale up, to better manage my “work.”

You, who have never once made this feel like work.

I know this is a time of year in which announcements are often made, changes often outlined. I know it’s proper to shake things up right about now, to start capitalizing on rich SEO terms – keto meal plans and coatigans. I know I should be rounding up the top wallpaper trends to look forward to, or 20 parenting books to add to your arsenal.

I should be using this space for more, it is taught.

And yet: this feels like just enough. You and me and stories, the backbone of our everydays unfettered by fluff. It feels right to assume you need no help from me in determining your daily outfits, or how to care for your fiddleleaf. It feels right to think you’re here for the same reasons I’m here – to shove the rest to the side and return to the basics, or at least to make a crack at it.

And so, here, I suppose the state of this space is the same as it has always been: both mine and yours. I promise to write when I can, to publish what I can, to attempt to learn from the both of it.

Thank you for joining me, coatigans or not.

  • It’s been so long since you published a blog post but this entry is all I ever needed. Thank you. 💜

  • Yours is one of few blogs that I continue to visit- mostly when I need inspiration or a reset in perspective- and today was one of those days. Most of the time when I read something you’ve written, it’s something that I didn’t know that I needed to read- something I didn’t know I needed to hear. So thank you thank you for that and so much more.

  • This post is exactly why this community loves you. Thank you for giving a voice to the words in my heart.

  • Your heart is so beautiful. I will always read the words you write, because I know they are written with care and worth the time.

    I too am in the process of evaluating these habits and the voices I allow to dictate and pressure my routines. This was a timely re-focus. Thank you, friend!

  • Thank you so much for this!!! I am a mom of young children and every time I read something of yours, I leave feeling like I know what my priorities should be. I’ll be honest—I’ve wished you’d write another book or blog more frequently just because I love your writing so much. But I think the way you do things is why we all love you. I actually love the fact that you write every morning but only publish occasionally. I need to get into that habit.

    • I feel the same! I have young kids too and sometimes everything gets so jumbled—and reading your words, Erin, always seems to set it straight. It always reminds me of the best of what blogging, and writing, can be :)

    • Thank you so much, Mary – what a gift to have you as part of this encouraging community. Your words always give me pause and joy!

  • This is so meaty. When words are like treasures, I find that I wish there were more of them. Then, though, I suppose if there were more of them, they might feel more commonplace and less important. I want more from you, and yet I admire and respect you for not giving me more!

    There’s such a duality here. As I ache for a more inspired life, I scramble to be inspired by ingesting others’ content. I come here, and I’m both inspired and convicted! Might it be possible to be inspired more by observing my own comings and goings, and less by others’ observations of their comings and goings? Perhaps choosing to abandon being social on social is, in fact, a big leap of faith. Will I I continue to rely on others to inspire me? No doubt, some can and do inspire me. Or will I intentionally tune them out in favor of inspiring myself!

    You are truly lovely. Thank you for this.

  • This! This is why I follow. I feel no need to check in with your space daily.. No need to shut the windows and hide behind the couch bcuz you’re standing there with loudness and things I don’t need… Just a beautiful space for when I have the time to check in… You’re there. Quiet and peaceful. Maybe something new… Maybe I’ll hit an old archive.. But never once have I been disappointed.

  • This is why this is one of the few blogs I read. One of my very favorites. It feels like I’m reading my best friends diary. Or maybe my own. I spend many hours every day on instagram, with links and products being shoved down my throat. This feels like one of the last few reminders of what I actual aspire to live my life like. To slooooow down. And stop scrolling so much.

  • I love this so much; this is full of true life. Thanks for sharing and the rest that is held in these words, these real, true words.

  • This was lovely. Like others mentioned, I also wish you posted more frequently, sometimes. But I recognize it is out of selfishness, to revel in how your essays help to reset my perspective. The impact, though, is in the relevance, not the frequency. I love how EZ1019 summarized that rather than pay attention to the coming and going of others to learn to live, we should reflect on our own comings and goings. Your blog is like an accountability partner. To stay the course of focusing on our own journeys.

  • “If I cannot bring you a casserole when your dog is dying, how social can we be?” Nailed it. Amen. Thank you.

  • I absolutely love the way you write, and appreciate your authenticity. I know people throw that buzz word around and not everyone likes it plus we don’t necessarily pour everything out to the general public (which probably isn’t wise anyway)…but there is a relatable realness and an almost tangible honesty in all the posts I’ve read from you that makes me go, “yes I want to keep following her” Also, it’s not just that you’re real, your writing gives light and life. I hope my rambling makes sense.

  • Coatigans, I had to google that!!!
    All the rest of your words, I understand really well.
    Your writing always makes me slow down a bit, sit still a bit and make time to read it…
    There is not much content online that I truly read…
    So thank you for sharing your words with us.

  • Thank you for putting these words out, this is why I keep reading your blog; the authenticity keeps me coming back! I aspire to be a good writer; an original just like you <3

  • I love: “The lines get blurry when my story edges into someone else’s, and because relevance is less important to me than reverence.” Thank you fr this words and how they landed in my heart.

  • Thank you again for reminding us to slow down and appreciate what is important. In this fast paced world, we are often caught up in the “More, More” stage. I always consider your writings a break from this pace. It is my chance to stop and savor each word. You give us a gift each time you share your writings. I personally am glad for you that you have chosen to keep the majority of your words for yourself. That gives you something to keep and grow on. It nurtures your soul like your shared words nurture mine. Continue on….

  • And that is why I love your writing. Thank you for reminding us all to be mindful about achieving a balance that works for us. It may look different from day to day, from person to person, but we can have a say in it. Thank you for just writing and allowing us to read words that heal, confirm, and encourage.

  • I just wanted to tell you how happy I was to see your name come up in my emails this morning! I don’t know what a coatigan is but I love reading whatever you want to share!

  • You’re beautiful. Thanks for always sharing your heart and good reminders to search ours.

  • It is enough.
    Frankly, I am a bit tired of influencers, business plans, diet tips, “like to know its” and closet tours. It seems some folks’ daily lives are shared in instagram stories…every day! From the time they wake the kids to date night with the hubs, they are posting… The pressure must be enormous.

  • Exactly this. I took a year or so off from posting and I feel so much better after having read your words. Thank you.

  • It takes quiet courage to open up and share your heart so freely with us Erin. It’s not about the quantity of social posts, books, pictures, it’s about the quality of your words, snap shots of your life captured in a single coffee cup perched on a window ledge.
    Your passion for living your life is quietly contagious, there’s a domino effect – it opens up the hearts of others, myself included, to ditch the cultural expectations and just be me warts and all.
    There is no business plan for life other than living in the moment, sharing our stories, and being the very person each of us are called to be. To be something else is our ego talking – we are not our egos. To be something others want us to be is ‘people pleasing’. Is this how we want to spend our energy?!
    Thank you Erin for modelling how to love your self, your family and friends – such love spills over splashing your readers at just the right moments quenching our thirst for authenticity. I appreciate every drop!

  • So funny that I had a dream about meeting you last night and then I woke to find your post in my inbox. In my dream, all I wanted you to know is that after reading your book, my life has changed. Not because it has actually changed, but because my perspective of it changed. Thank you for your encouragement to slow down and actually take account of what is going on around us. To see that what we have is not only what we need, but also what we actually want!
    Thank you for doing what you do and how you do it!

    • What a beautiful coincidence! (I don’t believe in coincidences.) ;) Thank you so so much for sharing with me. This gives me far more encouragement than you know!

  • Aww love this real post. I struggle with social media so much these days. You and your post are just perfect. Thank you for being real and not showing us everything thing you do all day and your garage. 💚

  • I just adore you because you remain “often enough” rather than overwhelming. Thank you for always being a delight to my inbox and a sparkle in the other platforms where you are present. Thank you for holding quiet space for yourself and others and continually reminding all of us just how good and necessary it is. Love you, sweet Erin!

  • It is an incredible gift to us, to come here to read your words as you share your thoughts. This has always been a safe space for me where I can come to read heart-felt and thoughtful words. It is a place of solace for me. In you, I find a kindred spirit and feel a bit less alone in the world. I leave feeling happier, content, and inspired. <3

    • Thank you SO much, Heidi. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate hearing that this is a safe space for you, as well.

  • 💗 you for exactly everything you’ve written in this post. You’ve been such a good example for me in recent years reminding me that social media was pushing me to spend money on things I didn’t need or want until it appeared over and over in my feed. I’ve recently removed all social media apps and Amazon from my phone and I feel lighter and more centered.
    Participating in the real life before us is so precious thanks for continuing to remind us.

  • 💗 you for exactly everything you’ve written in this post. You’ve been such a good example for me in recent years reminding me that social media was pushing me to spend money on things I didn’t need or want until it appeared over and over in my feed. I’ve recently removed all social media apps and Amazon from my phone and I feel lighter and more centered.
    Participating in the real life before us is so precious thanks for continuing to remind us.

  • I love this Erin! I adore your writing and always look forward to reading your posts however often they pop in my in box. You have a gift – a sweet simple way of stating the real and connecting on all levels. I find myself smiling and nodding enjoying the words you have written and noticing how they connect with me and my simple life. Thank you!

  • I don’t have the right words to explain how deeply meaningful this post is for me, but I hope “thank you, please carry on, I appreciate your words more than I can say” will at least be a (meager) offering for now.

  • Erin, your turn of a phrase gets me every time. “How to care for your fiddleleaf” This made me smile and I had to repeat it again out loud. I love your writing and I love being your neighbor!.
    Thanks for the wave this morning!

  • This. This is what it means to be social. And to share from the heart. This is why I return to your blog. For the reminders…to just live.

  • This is one of my favourite places on the web. I love it here! Keep being you Erin. Sometimes it makes all the difference.

  • Love this bit of insight.
    Anyone asking for your business plan and schedule clearly missed the point.

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