This is not an apology. For whatever reason, I feel it’s important that this not be an apology, because then it would be premised on my not fulfilling some agreement or another. It’s not an apology. Rather, it’s an admission. Or better yet, a confession.
I’m back in school for what shall inshAllah be the final year of my MA program with Johns Hopkins SAIS. I could very well make the excuse that I’m extremely busy, which I am, but that wouldn’t be the entire truth. The core truth is that for a while now I’ve been struggling to (re)find my “voice” in the bevvy of activity that the blog world has become. I’ve been caught in a storm of “should be’s” that was not there before, and since we’re spilling all the truths, many times I’ve contemplated shutting this whole thing (blog) down. Why? I wish I could give a one-sentence response, but it’s complicated. Believe me though, it’s not you (the reader), it’s me.
At the heart of it, it’s a question of motive. When I first started blogging it was a fun hobby; I enjoyed it a lot. On some level it was an escape from the normality of life. In it I discovered a lot about myself, my passions, about people and a whole bevy of other things. It was – and still is – a learning experience. Above all, it was genuine.
Now, not so much. Often times I find myself attempting to blog because I feel a certain level of compulsion – “I really should comment on [insert name] current affair” type thing. And that’s not what I want it to be. Sometimes, I ask myself whether I’ve lost it. The inspiration to write, the skill. Add the various layers of life – school, work, family, friends, faith, all that other stuff – and you can see how complicated it gets.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. Actually, for the most part it’s pretty great! I’m involved in a ton of amazing projects and engaging with great people, but as is the case, there’s the need for balance. There’s also the need for assessment and evaluation, and come to think about it, that’s probably what’s been missing. Five years is a long time to go without some assessment. At the end of the day, quality matters more than quantity.
And so. In many ways, I’m (re)taking my baby steps in this blogging and writing thing. I’m trying to go back to the source of the whys and to redetermine my motivations for doing this. There’s only so much of yourself you can lose before you have to refind yourself. And so, this is not an apology, but rather a confession. A confession that the questions have been a lot more than the answers these days. That I wish I could have octopus arms sometimes and do it all. That maybe I need some space, and maybe, some time.
Alora, this is not to apologize in advance that I might not be consistent with my posts, but rather to confess that I need to better manage my time and to maintain the spirit of writing/blogging out of a genuine desire rather than compulsion. Because really, above all, this blogging thing – or any other function, role, passion one might pursue – is a life thing. And occasionally one has to hang up the mitts – or the pen – and go back to the drawing board. InshAllah, the bounce back will be stronger and realer. That said, I still share interesting stuff and links via twitter, so do follow me if you’re so inclined. Until the next post – in a day, a month, whenever it happens – stay blessed!
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.