Old School Bloggers
I started keeping a personal blog in July of 2001. That’s almost 14 years ago. And I’ve barely written the last couple of years, and slowed down significantly several years ago. But I’ve been thinking about why that was. And there are a variety of reasons, which may only be interested to people who have gone through this process themselves, but may be interesting to people who are still blogging who were blogging years ago, or maybe even to people who think about blogging. I don’t think my experience or thoughts on this are unique. But I do have them. So here are some of the reasons why I slowed down and mostly stopped writing:
- My job got a lot busier. At one point I often had an entire hour hear and there throughout the day to either read people’s blogs, to follow long chains of random links to read, or to write about what I’d read. That’s rarely the case. Now, if I want to write, I’m likely to do it while I’m at work because I’m at a computer and the other things that could distract me are less interesting and it is during my “lunch hour”. I leave my desk to eat lunch about once a month. I most often eat my lunch while continuing to work. This isn’t very helpful, but I decided I’d rather work through lunch than stay late a while ago. And now I’m at a point where I’d rather force myself to take an occasional personal break and let work carry over to the next day unless it truly can’t be avoided. So, I may be able to write more.
- I wrote a book. It isn’t a great book. It may not even be a good book. There may be a lot of things I’d wished I’d done differently, but I wrote a book. In 4 months. It was a long and stressful and enjoyable and fulfilling summer, and it broke my brain. It’s been five years, and I think I’m finally healing. It was a great experience, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to do it, but it was hard to create and write 300 recipes in a short period of time. It was also hard, at first, to write descriptions that fit either the 150 or 65 word limits. But I got really, really good at it. So good, in fact, that it has felt really, really hard to write more than 65 words on anything since.
- Twitter. I joined Twitter. In the 5 minutes I would force myself to take on occasion, I would be able to catch up with a large handful of friends. Or, I could read one long-winded blogpost. So Twitter matched my reading time. It also matched my attention span since after reading everything I read while writing the cookbook also made it incredibly hard to read long things. Even a newspaper article would have me rolling my eyes with lack of focus 3 paragraphs into it.
- Blogging changed. The people I “came up with” also stopped blogging. Many shut down their sites entirely. While going through an old list of blog links from 2005 or 2006, I was amazed how many now redirect to a site that is obviously squatted on by a spammer. Many others are still up, but have nothing new since 2008, 2010, 2012. It makes me sad. All those people who were influential to me are just gone, disappeared. Although, thankfully, many of them are still a part of my life. We’re friends IRL, or at least on Facebook or Twitter. But the days when I would put up a blogpost and hope that the awesome woman who linked to me one time in 2001 would read it and give me a comment expressing interest are long gone. Our blogging culture has spread out, refocused, changed. And maybe that’s okay.
- It’s hard to write everyday. It really, really is. As an adult, it is hard to spend time on hobbies that seem frivolous. Especially when you know people who lost jobs, partners, friends, opportunities because someone went back and read their blog and changed their opinion of them. This hasn’t happened to me, thankfully. But there are times when I wrote something that was misunderstood (usually because I wrote it in a rush and left out my mental context) by someone I cared about and this resulted in me hurting them. And I don’t like hurting people. So it became harder to write, knowing that if I wasn’t careful, I might hurt the feelings of people I care about. That fear, that still has me feeling reluctant to keep writing.
- Google Reader shut down. This in and of itself is bad. But what was especially bad was that I had a great list of all the people whose blogs I read in there. And I didnt’ follow directions very clearly and I ended up deleting them. I lost an address book of sorts. And recreating it seemed like a good idea for a few minutes, but then became overwhelming. So now I have a Feedly account that I occasionally check in on. But not as often as I could, and mostly because it feels incomplete.
- It is so MUCH easier to just read what other people write. When I started blogging, there was often one story a day that would stick with me, and I’d ponder it and think about it and read different versions of the article or issue and then write my thoughts on it. But now? I read that one article and think, “interesting” and then I think “what else happened?” I’m just not taking the time to ponder. To think deeply. To consider. And, I fear, that it is making me a less considerate person in general. And since I don’t like hurting people I care about, I want this consideration back.
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