The annual invoice from WordPress sits in my inbox. It assures me I don’t have to do anything, that my plan will renew automatically, billed to the credit card on file. But I know have to do something. That credit card was 86’ed last summer, when someone skimmed my number and posted $2000 worth of charges in an overnight online shopping spree. There were a couple of runs to a mini-mart somewhere in New Jersey that night, as well. Likely snacks to fuel the freeform larceny. At any rate, should WordPress try to charge the card that end in the digits 0824, it will be sorely disappointed. And I’ll receive another e-missive telling me the attempt failed.

So, the invoice sits there, sandwiched between a recall notice from my local Subaru dealership and an invitation from Shelf Unbound to enter my small press-published novel in their annual literary contest.


My plan was to cancel my WordPress account. After eight years, it seemed time to dismantle this blog. Who blogs anymore, anyway? I have so little time to work on my novel-in-progress, why waste a moment here, strokes on a keyboard that could be, should be, directed toward a word count in Scrivener, churning through plot holes and character development? I took the renewal notice on my defunct credit card as a sign. It was time to leave the blog world behind.


That was three weeks ago. Yesterday morning, in a fit of industry, I caught up on my expense reports, tracked down how much I have left in a long-forgotten HSA, figured out what I need to do to change the beneficiary on my 401(k) (which is strangely far simpler to do than changing the street address associated with my account). I have yet to deal with the car recall or enter that literary contest, but I have decided to keep this blog.


I’ve said goodbye to so much that has brought my writer a sense of clarity and forward momentum since the publication of my first novel in 2016. In two messy, wearying years, I’ve gone from writing full-time, coexisting joyfully with my words, to wondering if I still have the right to call myself a writer because I’m not at it every day. There was a time I published a blog essay every Monday. The more I wrote, the more the words flowed. I had the space in my brain and guts for all the words: the novels-in-progress, freelance editing projects, essays, newsletters, short pieces, classes to take, classes to teach. Now I despair of ever getting back to that sweet spot. I mourn what was.


Perhaps that’s the necessary part of the process to get at what’s newly possible.


I began this blog eight years ago simply to have a place to write that wasn’t a journal, where my words weren’t hidden away. I hadn’t yet begun to write creatively, but the need to release the words was visceral. This hasn’t changed.


Giving up on this blog means giving up yet one more thing that defines me as a writer, one less place where my words fit and mean something, at least to me. I won’t put the pressure on myself to be here in any sort of regular capacity, at least not until the other parts of my writing self get the full attention they deserve, but knowing this space is here, when the mood fits the time available is a comfort. A shout.


noun: renewal; plural noun: renewals
  1. an instance of resuming an activity or state after an interruption.
  2. the action of extending the period of validity of a license, subscription, or contract.
  3. the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken.


16 thoughts on “Renewal

  1. I deal with much the same quandary. Not only that blogging takes so much time – I believe in reciprocal responsibility, much more than many – but also that so few read my blog. So am wondering if I should write only for myself and stop worrying about posting. Social media is said to be the gateway to publication success, but which platform? As I’m not published (yet – have to add the “yet”) what am I doing blogging instead of writing, querying, promoting? Oh yeah – I started to blog as a way of promoting the books that aren’t yet published.

    At any rate, Julie, I really enjoy reading your blog. You are masterful. “The Crows of Beara” is on my next to-be-ordered list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s absolutely overwhelming. This need to promote, to build the platform, just sucks it out of me. I find the things I enjoy-writing reviews on Goodreads, the occasional blog post, Instagram (which, not coincidentally are free and that’s the limit of my promotion budget) and leave the rest- the “Look at Me! Facebooking, the ads, and analytics, to others. The one thing I’d like to have more time for is freelancing- essays and articles, even unpaid- just to be writing- as a way to build the platform.


  2. I’ve been struggling with the same thing with mine. Who blogs anymore? Who reads blogs that aren’t about some marketing thing? And where do I find the time when I’m trying to hard to balancing working wife/motherhood/career with writing a novel draft? There is so little time for anything. I struggle so much with the idea that I am just not good at any of it, because there’s no time to be a specialist.

    But you peg it – the more you write, the more the words flow.

    In any case, I’m glad you’re still writing Chalk the Sun. Yours is one of the good ones.


  3. Dear Julie,
    Firstly I hear you.
    So much in this post resonates with me. And I just wanted to say, I get it.
    Secondly thank you.
    Thank you for your raw honesty and unflinching strength through vulnerability. Thank you for “renewing” this blog. Your words are always a balm to my mind.
    I’ve also dropped off blogging because Life.Chaotic. But there’s something to be said for the space we have on our blogs. There have been numerous times especially over the last two years when I’ve almost given up the blogging ghost but…something stops me each time.
    So I’m relieved and comforted to know that you’ll keep this beautiful digital oasis of your’s. Every time I am here reading your words, it is like a cool drink of water in a hot desert of chaos.
    Sending you your own cool drink of water my friend. 🧜🏻‍♀️


  4. I am glad you have decided to stay with your blog. If it’s a place you enjoy being, that’s all that matters. I am always happy to see a post from you in my inbox.


  5. I’m pleased you’ve decided to allow it to continue to exist, your post made me realise that I’m glad I never took up the option of making my blog name one that requires me to pay, mine is a short form writing space, free from any obligation or demands, it just exists and if keeping wordpress in the title means keeping it free from decisions of whether to continue or not, then that’s fine by me.
    Even without new content your reviews continue to promote other authors and I’m sure result in book purchases, which I understand you may not wish to pay for, but that is a valuable contribution to literature you are making on their behalf. Bonne continuation Julie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s such a beautiful way to think of it, Claire, it’s is been far too long since I’ve shared book reviews here. Nothing gives me greater joy than to celebrate others’ words. And all the amazing souls I’ve met as a result of this space, you among them. I can’t imagine losing those connections… xoxo Julie


  6. Julie, I’m happy to learn you decided to keep this part of your writerly life. This blog is how I discovered you, and yours was one of the first blogs I subscribed to. Little did I know we would someday work together and even meet in person after the publication of your first book, which to this day is one of my favorites. I look forward to reading your words here, no matter the subject or the direction you take it, because I love to view the world through your eyes and your words.

    Liked by 1 person

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