Monday, March 17, 2008

To blog or not to blog, that 'was' the question

I took a vacation from blogging over the weekend and, frankly, I am happy I did. In fact, by the end of last week I was even pondering the idea of shutting the blog down. I thought the vehicle had passed the two-year mark on March 4 and in that time over 7,500 people have passed through my portals. Some came to stop and chat, some became valued contacts and friends; some just had a look, and some were spamming weasels.

Anyway, I decided I wouldn’t smite the beast. In the first place, I value my ties here and I would simply miss the wit, wisdom and whimsy of so many of you. Secondly, and more professionally than egocentrically, I value my blog. In that I had to get back to the reasons why I began blogging.

Sometimes those reasons get a bit obscured for me, and that is why I have to return to my original motivations. They were:

1) As a long-time newspaper columnist I thoroughly missed the process of writing a regular column, and the blog fulfilled that creative need.

2) In terms of my skill-set, such as it is, blogging limbered me up for my professional writing, and in that it has been invaluable.

3) I wanted to link with other people who were in the same creative place as professionals, freelancers, or hobbyists. I’ve read some mighty fine stuff over the last two years, and a lot of it, even with hobbyists, is decidedly of professional caliber.

4) I wanted to link with people in other parts of the world, and have succeeded in so doing.

5) Finally, I wanted to establish some human links that might, and I say this thoroughly selfishly, help me professionally in terms of remuneration, wider exposure and again, broader contacts. Writers, if they like to eat regularly and pay the mortgage cannot exist in a vacuum.

What I will need to do, however, is get back to my root reasons for indulging this process (and it is a pleasant process and indulgence) and exercise a bit of personal discipline. I know others of you have arrived at this juncture because you have written on the subject.

To a degree my blog had become too time-consuming and it had also become too much of a diversion and an escape into some ether realm. Not that it was detracting from ‘real’ life, because I am a real life person with non-cyber friends and connections that I cherish. But, there were times, especially when I was feeling a bit overburdened with other realities, that blogging became too much of an enticement to pull back, to – in stating the case crudely – ‘fuck the dog’ rather than get on with whatever I had to get on with.

So, rather than retreat from something I value a lot, and to depart from people I also value a lot, I have just set a few ground-rules for myself. I have decided I won’t blog as regularly (as in feeling obligated to just get something posted for fear of missing a day) as I often have; I won’t blog on weekends for the most part: I will endeavor to turn out blogs that are not sloppy in style or process, and I confess I have been guilty of that on occasion.

I’ll see how that works for me.

Oh, and I took the test. I don’t yet qualify as ‘blog addicted.’ Phew.



Blogger thailandchani said...

This is also the conclusion I came to over time. I blog when I have something to say - and I comment when I have something to say. The implications of that are obvious in terms of "hits" - but I'll have to live with that.

There are some days when I have nothing to say - and some days when I don't comment to other people's blogs because I have nothing to say to whatever they said.

And so be it. :)

Glad you're going to stick around. I'm subscribed to your blog, so I won't miss anything regardless of how long you go between posts.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Los Angelista said...

I'm so glad you decided not to shut it down. I'd be so sad if you did, but I can really relate to what you're saying. I've also mostly stopped blogging on the weekends unless something really interesting happens. And I'm not worrying so much about having something new for people to read first thing in the morning. If I don't to it till later, oh well!

11:02 AM  
Blogger Casdok said...

2 years!

I also now dont blog everyday. And its ok!

11:15 AM  
Blogger Jazz said...

Had you decided to shut down, my days would've been much less entertaining.

Glad you're sticking around.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Tai said...

Well, good for you for all the thought put in it.

I don't think anyone can fault for you being in your REAL life!
I'm glad you didn't pull the plug though, 'cus I'm selfish, and I like what you have to say.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Dumdad said...

I'm glad you're not shutting up shop, just changing the opening times.

I've been blogging for a year and I have sometimes had similar thoughts that you've expressed here. It is only too easy to blog everyday about not much in particular.

It always amuses me when a blogger writes a post on why he or she can't think of what to write about. So don't write! But they then proceed to ramble on about nothing in particular. Very talented writers can get away with that; most of us can't.

I'll keep popping into see what you're up to!

12:21 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

I've been thinking of stopping my blog as well. I wonder if there is a timeline to journaling like this. I hope you don't though. And hopefully I won't either ;)

12:58 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Oh my goodness...we're all going through this, aren't we? I know I've been bitching and complaining about the same issues for months now--off and on in my blog--and finally just said screw it.

I'm trying to post on a more regular basis (maybe a few times a week), but about "normal" stuff...even if it's something small, that's okay. Not every post of mine has to be deep and meaningful. I want my blog to be a reflection of who I am, and I'm not always deep and meaningful. LOL. I guess the orignial purpose of my blog was to record my "scattered" thoughts...and I am trying to get back to doing just that.


Anyway, glad you're staying. :)

1:18 PM  
Blogger jmb said...

Phew, I'm glad I'm reading this decision and not bye, it's been fun.

I don't know why one feels one has to blog every day, most regular readers use bloglines or some reader to notify them of new posts so nothing is missed.

I did not realize you were "two". Congratulations.

Your blog has always reminded me of newspaper column, surprise, surprise since you were a columnist. I admire the ability you have to build something entertaining out of some little thing.

So keep it coming but of course real life is more important than blogging and you have to earn your daily bread first.

Anyway keep it up, I say, intermittent or not.

3:19 PM  
Blogger geewits said...

I guess I'm lucky. I've never had the compulsion to "get something up" every day. I just post when I feel like it. I'm glad you decided not to shut it down. Just do like I do and post when you feel like it. You'll enjoy it more.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

Thank you all for all of your fine comments. That makes me happy I made the decision I did. Oh, and Dr. Deb, please don't decide to shut yours down either.

3:35 PM  
Blogger meggie said...

I do so enjoy your posts, so I am glad you have decided not to close it down.
I am posting less, but I am not stressing about it, & don't feel I ever have. Perhaps I just have too much to say??

3:39 PM  
Blogger Dreaming again said...

So glad you didn't give it up!

A couple of years ago, I worked hard to make sure I high hit number, kept my blog contacts interacting ... and followed all the rules for a successful blog; and it took all my attention.

I finally decided that, I blog to write, if someone reads - fine. If not -fine.

I can't be blogging for the whimsy of the blogger counter (that may just be people hitting the next blog button!).

3:57 PM  
Blogger Wenderina said...

I find it amusing that about 24 hours after I created a post about how I was slowing down in March - I became frustrated by the fact that 3/4 of my blog roll was doing the same. (I may not have wanted to write, but I still wanted to read!)

My theory is that everyone is suffering from Spring Fever! Even though my neck of the woods has yet to warm up and sprout some "spring flowers", the body and the psyche feels it.

Glad you're sticking around. I haven't been able to stick to my plan of NO posting, but just knowing that I didn't HAVE to post has already made it a better process. Hope you find the same result.

5:11 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

If you quit I'd have to go over there and kill you.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Big Brother said...

Glad you decided to stick around... :o) Blogging should always take a back seat to real life, especially when you are so busy that you are up to your eyeballs in real life.;o)

6:31 PM  
Blogger Spider Girl said...

I enjoy reading your blog so I'll keep checking back. :)

8:42 PM  
Blogger Echomouse said...

Just coming off a 3 week vacation from blogging, I wholeheartedly agree.

Aiming to do things differently at my blog part of the world as well. We'll see how it goes.

10:18 PM  
Blogger laughingwolf said...

good to know you'll still be around, since i have been unable to read your stuff in the locals, having moved from the west coast some 10 years ago....

6:22 AM  
Blogger heiresschild said...

hi Ian, i could copy this blogpost onto my blog, change some words here and there, and this could be my post exactly. with so many things changing in my life this year, i've had to assess my initial reasons for blogging, etc., etc., etc.

i, too, have decided for similar reasons to continue blogging, but am cutting back to 1-2 posts a week, and visiting just as often.

it's almost 3 yrs since i started blogging, and i'm glad i've grown and changed where i have to re-evaluate certain things. if i was still sitting at my computer 12 hrs a day, i think it might be a little reason for concern. the fact that many of us have to re-evaluate and re-assess, and make changes here and there just means we're growing and evolving as people. and it should be so!!! glad you're continuing on!

7:28 AM  
Blogger Janice Thomson said...

I'm tied to the computer a little more than others because of artwork but I too find it necessary to just close shop for a couple weeks once in a while. At the same time I also reduce the amount of blogs I comment on too otherwise it gets a grip on your life. I think most bloggers feel the same way Ian.

8:28 AM  
Blogger citizen of the world said...

I'm not sure I get the dog sex reference, but I'm glad you're not pulling the plug on your blog juts yet. I'd miss you!

2:22 PM  
Blogger Get Off My Lawn! said...

Pressure over blogging is wrong. Guilt is wrong. Post when you feel like it. If it was numbers you were after, there's not near enough celeb gossip in your writing. Good list of reasons to blog. I'll keep reading.

9:27 PM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

Ian ... SO glad you're going to keep on blogging! I don't get to visit as often as I would like but when I do I'm rewarded with smiles and laughs and GONGS of recognition!

2:51 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Ian, I think I am going through some of the same things myself. I enjoy blogging, but I wonder if it is keeping me from doing something important.

I really like your #2. Probably the reason why I am still blogging.

6:09 AM  
Blogger citizen of the world said...

When you get around to it, you've been tagged.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

I've taken a break from time to time and feel it is essential else it can take your life over. I may do this next week during Easter as my work is busier too and I can't chill out if I worry about blogging, and I do worry about it. But I also really enjoy it too, and the people I meet.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Wenderina said...

2nd comment here: I heard on radio today that there is a feeling that "blogging has finally peaked". Guess we're all feeling it.

5:54 PM  
Blogger dinahmow said...

It seems you blog for the same reasons I (and many others) do.
I don't write every day;I write when I think I have something people migght like to read. And I don't always comment.
And I sure as shootin' don't feel guilty!
So, hears to slightly infrequent but enjoyable exchanges!

7:00 PM  
Blogger SSC said...

I enjoyed reading your blog that I found through Leesa's. I a newly stay at home mom, who feels that I lost a little of myself when doing so. I use to work in Corporate America and now I am no the sidelines waiting for my boyfriend to make up his mind on which coast we are going to live on.

I found entire paragraph profound,Sorry I didn't paste all of it.

To a degree my blog had become too time-consuming and it had also become too much of a diversion and an escape into some ether realm.

6:09 PM  

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