At Some Point, You Have to Stop Reading Blogs

I’m a reader. I believe everyone can find value in reading, but I’m not talking about the “everyone-finds-value-in-reading” kind of reader. I’m talking about the lock-myself-in-a-room, stay-up-all-night, read-while-I’m-walking-to-my-coffee-meeting (and-almost-get-hit-by-a-car) kind of reader.

I love everything about reading.

reading
Photo Credit: Stefano Tranchini, Creative Commons

I love getting caught up in a story—so that I almost forget it isn’t my own story, so that I start to feel like I am one of the characters. I love the thrill of new information, new understanding.

I love the practicality of it—a recipe book, a health and fitness book, a business book—they way these books can tangibly and sort of immediately improve my life.

And I guess this is why I fell in love with the blogging world, too, in a way…

It was as if I had this instant and exciting access to all kinds of authors (even those who hadn’t authored books) specializing in all kinds of different subjects, with any manner of unique voices, who spent time sharing their stories and their information in their own creative way.

I learned new recipes, made new friends, got great advice, pondered all of the deliciously beautifut outfits I could be wearing (if I didn’t constantly find myself in jeans and a t-shirt) and home-projects I could be doing (if I wasn’t such a creative disaster when it comes to anything other than writing).

All this to say—it is really easy (and fun) to get wrapped up in.

And yet, here is the problem: At some point, you have to stop reading.

I don’t mean, like, stop reading for good. I’m not talking about putting our books down, or putting our blogs away, or clearing out our readers and never touching them again. What I’m talking about is how, at some point, you have to stop asking, stop researching, stop polling the audience, and start living.

In other words, when it comes to making a big decision—there’s only so much advice you can get before you have to make up your own mind. There’s only so long you can patrol the internet, learning and leaning on the opinions of others, before you have to choose your own perspective.

You have to decide for yourself.

There’s only so much commiserating you can do, only so much learning and reading and gaining insight, before you realize none of that insight does you any good if you don’t do something with it.

At some point each of us have to create something for ourselves.

I forget this so often.

I get so lost in the ideas and creations and opinions and thoughts of others—I forget to create something for myself. I get so stuck consuming what is around me, I forget consuming is not the same as creating; and that, while I am a consumer by culture and training, I am a creator by nature and design.

When I’m not creating, I’m not fully myself.

So my challenge to you (and myself) this weekend is to do something: decide something, build something, go somewhere, try something, experiment. Don’t just sit back and watch TV, or read a book. Don’t ask what everybody else is doing. You don’t need anymore direction or advice.

You’re a creator, for heaven’s sake. When you are creative, this is when you are most yourself.

19 comments on “At Some Point, You Have to Stop Reading Blogs

  1. Thanks so much for this Allison. I can totally relate. I am currently looking into getting into freelance writing. I’ve been reading lots of books, checking out lots of websites of freelance writers and setting up my website. But I find that I’ve been procrastinating over actually getting out there and pitching for clients.

    For me it’s about fear that my work will be rejected. I know that the only way out is to just get out there and create as you say.

    Thanks for the challenge and the reminder!

    • So happy I was out over doing it and reading too many blogs on this Friday night because I found YOU. Balance is a good thing (repeat to self 10x, daily). Thanks for this thoughtful, everyone-is-thinking-no-one-is-writing-about blog post! I will put this into action tomorrow and only go “surfing” after I’ve completed a chapter of my own writing! Blessings! xo

  2. Amen and thank you! I needed to read these words. I know what I need to do and this weekend I will make the decisions I need to make for the next chapter of my life.

    Thanks for this!

  3. This really speaks to me. This morning I started a poem – kind of a playful Friday morning thing. After about 45 minutes of writing it really started speaking to me – then I stopped and went to work.

    This year I’ve written about 65 blog posts – and published none of them. I will – I tell myself – as soon as I find just the right theme, domain name (do I use my name or this other cool domain I bought?), style (is Minimalist still in?), color, and right after I read this other blog post. Sigh….

  4. Wonderfully stated, Allison!

    I was just talking about this exact thing yesterday with a friend. I’ve been in a major phase of soaking up information from others, and now I’m due to act on it.

    I have also been trying out techniques for productivity as suggested by others, with mixed results. I think I need to use the ideas to create a system of my own so that I internalize it and make it more effective.

    Thanks for this.

    -matt

  5. Well said, Allison — well said.

    The interesting thing about your post is that conceptually this isn’t limited to just reading/writing blogs. There’s plenty of areas in our life where we fall victim to over- consumption.

    A great reminder as we head into the weekend and have ample opportunities to be, rather than do.

  6. Thank you for this! I completely agree. We were designed to create and I think through creating (and that can look very different for everyone…you don’t have to paint, or build, or draw) we bring joy, light and hope into the world and ultimately point others towards God.

    Part of the reason this article resonates with me so much right now is because creativity is something we have been exploring at my church, Mosaic, through Erwin McManus’ book “The Artisan Soul” for the past six weeks. It’s a very quick and thought-provoking read…I think you would like it 🙂 [http://www.amazon.com/The-Artisan-Soul-Crafting-Your/dp/0062270273]

    Thank you for the inspiration as always 🙂

  7. Completely agree! I am an avid reader. In fact, I used to read blogs throughout the entire day. I now find myself preferring to dive into a book. The more I think about this it might be because of less distractions. When reading blogs I feel rushed and that I need to quickly read to get to the next one. With a book, I am committed to just that story; no distractions. Sorry, that was me going down a rabbit hole 🙂 But, to your point, I completely agree. I don’t think we really learn anything if we aren’t experiencing. Therefore when we are experiencing we are living. So I think real learning comes from living, not so much reading. But reading I think provides guidance for our living; if that make sense.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!
    #UnlessYouCare

  8. Allison,
    Thanks for the reminder and nudge. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the balance needed as a writer. Reading helps stimulate the creative process of writing, but we need to remember to do the writing!

  9. “When you are creative, this is when you are most yourself.” – Love this line! Great advice. I’m one of those “always gathering” people. I have shelves full of books, lists everywhere, ideas pinned for everything… when do I actually DO these things? THIS WEEKEND. Of course, my first thought is, “I better make another list of actions I’m going to take.” lol

  10. oddly enough, i really needed to read this today to remind myself to stop reading, researching, repeating and go do instead. so i’ll leave it briefly at that. thank you!

  11. Allison,

    So true! Thanks for the nudge to start creating. I have plenty to do.
    -but I’m not going to stop reading your blog, I enjoy it too much.

    Thank you,
    Susan

  12. Wow, Allison! Spot on! I had just written about this yesterday- creating is so good for the mind! It seems so easy to get wrapped up in absorbing that we’re not giving. And there is too much good to do, things to learn and give.

    Thank you for such insight!

  13. Thanks Allison for this kick in the tail! As a small business owner that wears a lot of hats, it’s easy to justify learning more before taking action. This usually leads to a bad case of ‘paralysis by analysis’. I like the quote from Patton that goes something like “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

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