So another war is starting, and it feels odd to write about myself while that's happening. But I feel like I owe an explanation of where I've been for the past two months.
They say ("they" always say) that if you love something you shouldn't do it for money, because eventually you will grow to hate it. I think that's a bit strong. Now that I make a living writing I don't hate writing. Far from it. It is fair to say, however, that my relationship with writing has changed. That's not necessarily a bad thing; hell, I've been doing this for 15+ years and if you don't change as a person over 15+ years that's pretty alarming.
The fact is that I'm now writing a ton, in multiple contexts and on multiple projects simultaneously. That has dampened my enthusiasm for what we might call Pleasure Writing, which is what this blog has always been. I still love it. I still have things I want to say that have no other outlet. A lot of times I simply find myself…written out, so to speak. Write for six or eight hours, then sit down and try to start writing something new from scratch and see how far you get. There are only so many sentences you can create in one day before the sentences start being forced and stop making sense.
The other issue at play, and this is an ongoing problem, is that blogging is a dead art form. Social media won. People are down to visiting all of, what, four websites? And anything that isn't channeled through that medium doesn't exist. The result is that, when I do feel "Hey I have an interesting thing to say about this!" it is no longer my first reaction to turn here and write 1000 words about it. That was my first reaction for a long time, but the way people consume information and interact with one another has changed. I can't stop that and it isn't up to me.
I've redirected a lot of my "free" time and energy to Mass for Shut-ins, since podcasts are 1) very fun, as it turns out, and 2) the more contemporary format in which people consume the kind of material, content, energy, and subject matter that was channeled into blogs back in the Aughts. Formats change. Vinyl becomes 8-track becomes cassette becomes CD becomes streaming audio. There are things that each new format adds, and things that are lost with each transition. Again, I can't exercise any control over that evolution. Instead I'm enjoying what the podcast format offers in terms of fun, content, and creative possibilities.
I also moved across the country on Nov. 1 and bought a house for the first time in my life. That transition – moving, getting used to a new place, settling in, keeping up with work – has been…time consuming. That's just a practical reality.
These points add up to a change in the way I utilize this format. I do need to get back to writing here more regularly, for the simple reason that the more I write the better. It's a muscle that requires regular exercise. I also continue to have plenty of things I'd like to write about that do not interest an editor and do not become paid pieces to run somewhere else. Some ideas are going to end up appealing mostly to me, which means the self-publishing format is the ideal outlet for them.
I don't think, given the nature of the change in the way people use the internet, that I will ever get back to posting five long pieces here every week. That era has passed, not just for me personally but for this format overall. However, I also want to do better (for myself and for you) than one sporadic piece per month. A couple times per week is a reasonable goal that shouldn't undermine my efforts in any other area – writing freelance, making a podcast, writing samples for a book proposal, etc. It's easy to make excuses not to do any additional writing, but the bottom line is that I want to and I should. Mea culpa.
Thanks for continuing to read this format, if you do. I don't want it to fall into disuse. I can't keep a format alive single-handedly, but I also do not need anyone else's permission or approval to continue to work in it when I feel the urge to do so and when it suits the point I want to make. It is, ultimately, what we make of it, and I think there is still something for us to make of it.