Withdrawing Back to Real Life

One of the problems with writing is that it’s a solitary event. I bring the kids to school, work out, shower, write a blog post, delete 300 emails and read a dozen that are actually important. This is what I do every single day.

It’s not a satisfactory way for me to spend my life. I need more people around me, but I’ve become so accustomed to the quiet that I find I don’t actually want people around, I just think I do.

The folks who understand my work life are the easiest to talk to and certainly I could be out and about every night of the week if I wanted to. The problem is that these aren’t my friends, these are people who would like me to talk about their products. They may enjoy my company and I may enjoy their company but we aren’t co-workers, they’re marketers on a mission to connect with people who read blogs.

I was at an event the other night and ran into one of them. Apparently their new company isn’t all that interested in bloggers and now that marketer isn’t all that interested in me. It felt lonely in the oddest way. Sort of like a retroactive loneliness where a light bulb went on and I recognized that they never really cared about me. To be fair I never really cared about them so I’m guilty of wasting everyone’s most precious resources, time and energy.

I’m trying to unplug a little more and nurture my offline friendships. The women who don’t blog and who have no idea what a Klout score is. I don’t know if I’m still reacting to the Women’s Media Grifter or if this is something that every blogger experiences.

I’m a little anxious about BlogWorld Expo. There’s a facebook group for speakers and everyone seems so excited to get together, to see old friends… I just have this horrible feeling that it will be a room full of people who want to get face time with bloggers with big platforms and there are only two possible outcomes. The first outcome is that I will be ignored, which is actually the most palatable of the two. The second possible outcome is that people will want to talk to me about blogging, which means that I’m back to square one, glad-handing with people who don’t really like me when I could (perhaps should) be spending time with people who actually like me.

I’ve got to figure this thing out.

Facebook Comments


  1. @freshstartgirl

    Hi Jessica, 

    Long time reader, very occassional commenter here.  

    I am not a blogger but I read a number of blogs, yours being among my favourites.  I’ve seen many of the writers I enjoy go through this “withdrawing back to real life” (perfect way to describe it, really) at one time or another.  They tend to post less for a time and come back when they start to feel like they miss it.  

    I enjoy the work you share, both your own content (even when I have a different opinion) and that of others which you feel moved to pass on (if you’ve shared something, I know it’s worth a look.) 

    If you do take a break from all of this, I hope you’ll be back. 

  2. How did I first get to know Jessica Gottlieb? Sure, I guess it was through Social Media Club and then yes, I did take that contract in viral marketing.. 

    I’m sure it must be weird because I feel like I know you so much better than you may know me. I get to read all about your life and if anything, I view you as something of an older sister who is now a mom and talks about family. You help me to realize the value and importance of integrity and that’s why I still try to read your blog (somewhat haphazard consistently I’ll admit) You bring a clear and true voice to common values of decency and simply humanity. 

    Friends? I’d love to be better friends and in being honest.. can someone still be friends and also a fan? I guess I’m really more in the fan/follower category & someone who would like to be better friends. 

  3. Julia Kelly

    Jessica –
    Maybe you are at the intersection of family life, technology and faith…
    Your neighbor’s “return to heaven” and the upcoming “blog thing” are converging in your mind and you’re re-thinking how you spend your most valuable asset – time…
    If you fly into the Philadelphia Airport I will pick you up and you can spend time away from the two virtual worlds – the Internet World and Hollywood World – that you live in sometime and give you the opportunity to talk with one mom and her take on life for a weekend. 
    Your post just seemed to exude your need to be in touch with a Real World…maybe a different Real World then the one that you share with your husband and kids…
    Our family is as real as it gets – husband, three kids, exchange student –
    Maybe this one mom can offer you a bit of a retreat at a time when it seems like you can use one…

  4. I wish I was going to BlogWorld to hear you speak but more because I’d like to give you a hug. The think I love about you is that you are real and witty and snarky but your heart is so damn big.
    Of course people will want to talk to you about blogging…YOU ARE JESSICA GOTTLIEB. I say go with your gut and do what makes you happy. Spend time with those who you actually like and who actually and truly like YOU the person, not you the BLOGGER. Sure smoozing has it’s purpose and it’s place but you’ve never struck me as the type who does things just because it’s expected. Life’s too short to waste time and energy on people and things that don’t make YOU happy! You know what to do.

  5. Hi Jessica,

    Have you thought about mentoring other bloggers, marketers, or mom business owners?  That would be a great way to connect with real people in a real way and use your knowledge and insight!  Not to put more on your plate, but even connecting and making a difference with 1 person and touching base with them once or twice a week could be a way of creating that “”co-worker feeling – one based on gratitude, leadership, and your expertise!

    -Amanda Armstrong

  6. I had the exact same problem when I was consulting and working from home; I wanted a little more stimulation than I got.  Have you ever thought about doing your writing in a shared workspace?  One of those writer grotto type things?  Could be a good way to get a little buzz of energy from being near people without the hassle of working in a real office.

  7. I hope your experience proved to be more positive than you anticipated. I know what you mean about the impersonal nature of meeting people from my days of traveling around the world going from meeting to meeting. I’m now a full time grandma. It was a big decision, big shift and totally worth it. In the meantime, remember there are people who do care about even if they just met you especially because they understand what you’re going through.

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