December 21, 2009

A HARBINGER

In order to give you enough time to change your bookmarks, I am announcing now that I am not renewing my tryingtogrok.com domain for 2010.  The old site will still be at tryingtogrok.mu.nu and this one is at tryingtogrok.new.mu.nu.  I have given up on getting Pixy to help me redirect the site, and am letting it lapse.  That gives you readers until the beginning of January to change your links or bookmarks.

And it may portend a bigger change down the road.

I started blogging six years ago, when I was feeling very alone and alienated from my college friend group.  I needed an outlet to speak my own mind and work through what I believed.  I needed somewhere to cash those chips.  Along the way, I met many wonderful people who shared my worldview, or at least enough of it that we had common ground.  My Real Life and my Blog Life started to blend and then tip, and now I'm at the point where I have a mere handful of real life friends and the majority of my connections are with other bloggers or readers.

And I am happy and fulfilled.

And now my blog just doesn't serve as the outlet I once needed it for.  If I want to gripe about taxes or guns or health care, I can pick up the phone and call my blog friends.  Or I can bang out an email to the person I think will grok.  I am no longer alone, and I no longer feel the driving urge to add my two cents to the news, at least not like I did back in 2003.

Being on the internet is my #1 hobby.  I spend more time here than I do knitting each day.  And while I loathe when people act like having a baby will never again allow them to have a moment to themselves, I am not naive enough to think that once I have a newborn in the house, my hobby time won't be drastically reduced.  And frankly, I can't see myself devoting an hour and a half to writing a blog post about Afghanistan, especially not when it only garners two comments from readers.  I feel like I will get more satisfaction out of using that time to call a friend and talk about it instead.  Or just reading to keep up on current events, instead of writing.  Blogging has begun to feel very one-sided to me in recent months, like I'm shouting into a canyon, and it's just probably not going to be at the top of my hobby list anymore.

I also have become increasingly self-aware that I am, as Mary Katharine Ham once said, trying to "avoid being crushed under the weight of [my] own narcissism, banality, and plain old stupidity."  The more time I invest in writing posts and get no or little feedback, the more jaded I become.  And I don't like feeling like my banal little opinions and ideas are worth anyone else's time.  To me, there's nothing more embarrassing than writing a long and time-consuming blog post that I think will set the internet on fire, only to have it sit there with no comments at all.  Except, of course, the embarrassment of realizing that I have put myself on this pedestal where I expect people to actually care what my opinions are. 

It is a narcissistic hobby, and I don't like the person I am when I inwardly grouse that my post on foreign policy obviously deserves more comments than that other blogger's post on her weekend trip to the beach.

I'm starting to feel that I've gotten all the good things out of blogging already and that all that's left for me is the narcissism and crushing banality.

But I hate when bloggers just drift away.  If I'm in, I'm in, and if I'm out, there will be fanfare and a set date and you'll know it.  And I would be out for good, not letting the site sit here so I can randomly post every few months.  I am not making any decisions today, just letting you know that I feel like blogging is bringing me diminishing returns.  And that I am considering ending my run here on this site after baby arrives, for a variety of reasons.

Posted by: Sarah at 09:09 AM | Comments (24) | Add Comment
Post contains 723 words, total size 4 kb.

1 I do hope you continue to blog!  I'm one of those who reads your blog but (almost) never comments.  Not because I don't care about what you've written--I do, and I generally couldn't agree more!  But I'm stealing time to read your and other blogs, and just can't justify taking more time to write a meaningful comment.  Be assured that I do appreciate your writing, and would be very sorry if you quit.  

Posted by: Pat in MN at December 21, 2009 10:53 AM (fkHnE)

2 I've been following your baby bump on the Spouse buzz site, and just found this one.  I'm sure that once the little one arrives you will have your hands full and the only thing you will be wanting in your spare time will be sleep..not going to the computer to let all of us know how tired you are.  One of these days you will look back at this time and wonder how it flew by so fast.  Celebrate the little things and enjoy these moments.

Posted by: Laura, A Military Mom at December 21, 2009 10:56 AM (oLHZ3)

3 A dearth of comments causes every blogger, at one time or another, to consider the benefits of blogicide.  The stranger than fiction part of blogging (at least as far as I've noticed) is that the more banal, trite, ill-conceived, or just plain simple the post, the more comments it garners.

I've written 5,000 word posts that get a couple comments, and I've written a single paragraph that will get 20.  I don't have any idea where the mean is, nor do I understand the formula for what makes a post comment-worthy.  Somtimes I see blogging simply as a solipsistic exercise.  Heck, when I started blogging, it was because I felt I was screaming into the void elsewhere.

Sometimes what I read here just makes me think--and while thinking, I tend not to comment, because I've yet to arrive at a logical (or absurd) conclusion. 

Don't fall victim to the comments left by others.  It isn't vanity or narcissism to enjoy feedback on your thoughts--I think it's one of the reasons humans learned to speak (well, that and the pursuit of women.)  The genius is not in the agreement or disagreement to an opinion or thought that you've had; rather, it lies in the thought itself. 

Posted by: Chuck Z at December 21, 2009 10:56 AM (bMH2g)

4 As someone whose read/comment ratio is near 5000/1, I would like to say that just because you don't receive feedback doesn't mean you haven't had an effect.

I don't want to stray too far, but in response to Chuck Z, I'd say (from my own perspective at least) a long, obviously well-thought-out post on a serious matter seems to require a like response, whereas a post about a "weekend trip to the beach", or a (seemingly) off-the-cuff paragraph is much easier to respond to.  Less hard to follow, so to speak.

Ultimately though, you blog for you not for us.  If you aren't being served by it, then use the time to do something which does benefit you.  I for one would interpret your silent blog as a sign that your life is more fulfilling, now that you are no longer in need of this outlet.  I am much less concerned about what I might lose than what you have gained.

I'll be reading as long as you're writing.

Posted by: Mob at December 21, 2009 11:41 AM (8c34o)

5

Your blog seems to have helped you when you needed it to.  Now you have different priorities.  Still, we, your peripheral virtual friends who have prayed with you over the years, would like to see a baby picture or two once in a while.

My heartfelt best wishes for you and yours this Christmas season, and many more.

Posted by: Glenmore at December 21, 2009 12:31 PM (h/mwe)

6

Sarah, I think you're one of the best and most interesting bloggers out there, and hope you will continue with whatever time allocation makes sense for you.

Also, I'm not sure that "number of commenets" is a good indicator of post quality or reader interest level. Sometimes, a post is just so perfectly crafted that it's difficult to find anything to add...

 

Posted by: david foster at December 21, 2009 01:03 PM (uWlpq)

7 I have been reading your blog every day almost immediately after you started it in 2003. It is one of a handful of blogs that I've been reading for six or more years. You have continuously made me think, even during periods when I haven't commented. I would be very sad to see your blog end.

I agree with the others above about comments. There are many blogs and online columns without comments. The absence of comments doesn't stop those authors from writing. My blog has never had comments. Blogging can serve a number of purposes. For me, it is a challenge to try to express myself intelligibly. I think writing in public requires more care than speaking on the phone or a casual email. That care can lead to a better understanding of your own ideas. More grokking. Which is what this blog has always been about ...

Posted by: Amritas at December 21, 2009 05:53 PM (dWG01)

8 Oh man...Sarah! I am one of those started out as a reader and happily got to meet you and now call my self a friend,even if it is casual one.

You so often express what I am thinking (OR WOULD if I read what you are reading) so beautifully that I often do not feel like I can say anything meaningful,so I don't.....now I feel sort of bad.

Only sort of because I know you know I value this blog.....

Do what you need to do,but TTG  does.. DOES... matter....

Posted by: MaryIndiana at December 21, 2009 07:58 PM (kEAL4)

9

It sounds like this will be too little to late, but here it goes...

I have never posted before, but read your blog almost daily. I found your blog about a year ago, and while I never comment, your posts always make me think long after I have shut the computer.

You and your family come first, so do what you need to do with your blog. But don't let the lack of comments make you think that you are "shouting into a canyon" that is empty. I am in that canyon, listening every time you write.

Stephanie in Nova Scotia

Posted by: Stephanie at December 21, 2009 08:23 PM (ccH8C)

10 Like the other commenters above who mention never commenting, I ... I lurk.  Bad habit, perhaps.  But I remember finding your site in 2003, when my now hubby (and then only internet friend(!)) was deployed in Iraq, and learning more about his life.

You see, I'd made the mistake of not grilling him about every little detail of army and specifically national guard life before he went over, and I was living in Canada, too, so I had very very little idea what was happeningto/for him.  It's much easier to write the promised weekly letter when you know what's happening on the other end and he ... is still not a letter writer.

Since then I've followed along, and sent plenty of good wishes your way, without wanting to interfere.  You were plenty busy already.

So for all those years, thank you.

Posted by: Eowyn at December 21, 2009 08:41 PM (f1QhX)

11

K, Sarah, I have a plan.  I'm going to set you up with permissions on Chuck's blog and I'll post pictures of cute animals and you can post baby pics.  He'll never know what hit him...

If you decide to quit, I'll miss reading your thoughts.  But the cool thing will be knowing that it's what you've decided is right for you and that's all that matters.

Posted by: Code Monkey at December 21, 2009 09:24 PM (GN0tT)

12 Hubby and I read you every day but never comment.  I am a SAHM and love that you keep me up to date on the latest political goings-on without my spending hours on the web.  I understand that your time will no longer be your own and too hope that you will keep us updated!

Posted by: Tracey at December 21, 2009 10:58 PM (x+F0t)

13 Another "I'll be reading as long as you're writing." vote.

I can't remember how it was that I found your blog, but it's been an enjoyable year. I really enjoy your take on politics, I appreciate that you love and support a military man, and have followed your baby journey, heart in throat.

I very rarely comment, as I feel a bit like a party crasher, but read you very regularly.

That said, you have a lot on your plate, and it's only going to get busier for you. If you do continue to blog, I will gratefully read (and perhaps even comment.), but if you do decide to hang it up, I will put my selfishness aside and wish you and yours the absolute best.

Thanks, either way.
Nicki

Posted by: Nicki Magnuson at December 22, 2009 02:51 AM (fqQct)

14

I agree with everything that has been said already. I read you every day. My lack of commenting is often that I feel the effort you have put forth in writing requires some thoughtful research before responding. Or that I agree with what has been said and I could not have put it better. On the occasions I have disagreed I have tried to be more thoughtful in my phrasing than I was at one time.

You are not shouting into an empty canyon. There are a lot of of here who are listening. Reading you has given me strength to stand behind my own opinions out in the real world. My 'real world' includes a set of friends who are 98% liberal Democrats who look at me like I've just carved and eaten a live baby when I say that I'm a conservative. People who dismiss my beliefs by telling me I'm really a Libertarian not a Republican. Yes it's rude of them, but there are people I've known for 20 years or so and that is their way of dealing with how the world has changed and how it has changed us all. It is not worth me arguing at a dinner party (like last week when I thought a friend was literally going to reach across the table and smack me upside the head when I said that I think George Bush has some redeeming qualities as a President and a human being - if looks could kill)

I know that new real life you will have soon is more important than this blog. And I am so happy for you both. But I hope you continue to write. Our country needs the voices of the new Conservatives out there on the web. Your voice has always been thoughtful, reasonable and well researched. Your blog has substance and gravitas. Much needed qualities in a world where most people are more interested in celebrity train wrecks.

I will be reading as long as you continue to write. I hope you continue to do so.

Posted by: Mare at December 22, 2009 07:41 AM (HUa8I)

15 Sarah, I would be sad to see you go. I don't comment often so that I don't end up looking like (being?) some kind of blog stalker--and for some of the reasons others have already mentioned. But I read, and I appreciate the time you put into your posts. They get me thinking, and start discussions in my group of "in real life" friends. I'd miss you.

Posted by: Lucy at December 22, 2009 12:45 PM (YNvUz)

16 Well, I'm gonna put on my big girl pants and wish you well in whatever you decide to do...

That said, my vote is very much that I will keep reading as long as you keep writing. You have provided much insight to me on politics, self-realization, and constancy of purpose. I don't recall how I came upon your blog years back, but I do remember that I was struck by how you were able to tackle tough topics with honesty.  And along the way you have shared humor, despair and joy - what a gift you have given us.

As a commenter who de-lurked some time back, I still find it hard to find comments worth expressing on your best posts. So I slink back to lurking... I do not think you shout into a canyon, but instead, you communicate to the more distant neighbors in your gulch. At least that is what I hope I am.

My best to you always.

Posted by: jck at December 22, 2009 01:14 PM (d6k/G)

17 You were one of my first blog 'friends' when I started blogging, Sarah, like you, in response to a feeling of being alone. . . . I was finishing my dissertation. If my reader showed a new post by you - it was the first one read! I rarely would leave a comment, though, as we hadn't exactly been introduced. Every now and again, though, I would. I know what you mean about comments. . . . One likes to think that the writing isn't just for the feedback. Here's some feedback for you, though: I have greatly valued your insight and the news items I may not have seen otherwise, if not for you! I have also become very fond of you, your husband and your expected daughter. I've cried for you and prayed for you and I hope and pray that you will be blessed in all that you do - and be a blessing to many! (in whatever way seems best to you)

Posted by: prophet at December 22, 2009 02:59 PM (+wPI3)

18 I never comment because I'm technically challenged on this blog site - was worried my email would show up somewhere and I like my privacy.  Whenever I tried and it asked for "Mail" I chickened out.  I don't see email's posted, so I'll de-lurk for this once.

Do what you love and it will sustain you.  If it depletes you, then - in my book, its not worth it.  I know you know that already - I don't mean to preach - just share.

Congratulations on getting pregnant - and am I ever jealous of your ultrasounds.  The Army paid for absolutely none for me - as my kid was born in 1992 and it was not included in routine pregnancies then.  The Army used to not pay for an epidural, either.  Horror stories at FT Bragg.  Now I'm sounding old.  By my second child, I did get one picture - because I had a small complication with my cervix and I qualified as a bit higher risk, I guess.

So, the up side of starting off high risk means, perhaps, cool ultrasounds and what a start to a baby/memory book those are!

Your knitting is adorable.  If you choose to stop posting here, I hope you will continue at SpouseBuzz and you can also show your knitting at Ravelry

Happy knitting and mommyhood to you!

AWIV (Army Wife in Virginia)

Posted by: awiv at December 22, 2009 08:22 PM (Fq5g7)

19 OK, now I feel better about not writing much since Ivan Sigovich was born. =)

I rarely comment anywhere. One of the disadvantages of the web journal format over earlier common methods of online discourse (e.g. the bulletin board system, Usenet newsgroups, discussion fora) is that it tends to isolate us into our own little yards. Sites like LiveJournal combat this tendency by aggregating people into social groups, making it easy to find friends by interest and keep up with their writing, but it's still very isolating at times, especially if (like me) you insist on having an independent, unnetworked blog.

(It should be noted that group blogs such as SpouseBuzz fall somewhere in between--a happy medium?)

Things like RSS readers make it easier to keep up with my sites of interest, but make it that much less interactive, since I'm not even loading the original page.

What was my point?

Oh yeah. You're (obviously) not as isolated as it sometimes feels. But I totally get the idea that there isn't going to be much room or need in your life for this outlet.

I would urge you, however, not to hang up the line entirely. Keep that login and password handy for the occasional cute baby story and/or picture, and just in case the muse whacks you over the head again.

I write once a month, maybe, lately. But I will keep renewing the domain (although I may change systems), in part because I have a small (and occasionally fanatical) following, but mostly because I know I will deploy again in a year or two, and I guarantee I will have things that need saying via unofficial channels.

The baby has dropped something of vital importance outside of the crib. He was repeating "Uh oh" a few moments ago, and has now graduated to soft crying. I'd better go check on that.

Sig

Posted by: Sig at December 23, 2009 12:04 AM (/Mv9b)

20 Sarah - I totally get this. I quit "issues" blogging about two years ago, but when I was blogging, I could spend hours researching and writing a post, meticulously embedding relevant links, etc., only to have one comment. But throw up a dumb photo of a protester outside of Walter Reed and the comments came flying in. That was certainly discouraging. I agree with Chuck that you can't judge a blog, or appreciation for your "work" because yes, often it is work, on the basis of comments. But as a blogger, when you write substantive posts on matters which are important to you, you do enjoy the feedback readers provide. The conversational nature of blogging and the relationship between blogger and reader is interesting, and fun. I'll admit that there are many, many times I miss having a place to cash my chips, but I also understand that life gets hectic, priorities shift and sometimes there's not room for everything we'd like to fit into our lives. You have to do what's best for you and your family. If you hang it up, your voice will truly be missed. You are one of the most thoughtful and intelligent bloggers out there. Whatever you decide, I'm just happy that we're able to see each other several times a year and I can use those opportunities to talk to you about current events. I'll take what I can get.....

Posted by: Andi at December 23, 2009 07:50 AM (KV0dW)

21 Not sure how my paragraph breaks disappeared.....

Posted by: Andi at December 23, 2009 07:52 AM (KV0dW)

22 Hey there.  I've been meaning to call you and stupid life has gotten in the way ; )  So a few things for us to discuss later.  1) let''s talk about your IT needs and what is/is not going on with the redirection 2) your blog kicks ass  3) let's talk about your IT tracking and how much harder it is for even me to remember new.mu.nu not to mention what it would do to your google page rank - should you care 4) don't forget sometimes with a baby in the house the only time to talk/hash out intelligent thoughts are well after the appropriate time to dial up a friend for a chat 5) why do you think there are so many mommy-bloggers in the universe - it's still good to have an outlet and especially one that already feels like a home 6) people are shy! even those who appear extroverted.  Not to mention the fact that it's daunting to jump into a high level political conversation with an expert 7) I still believe in magic.  and fate. 

all said, I fully support any decision you make.  But I encourage you at a minimum, to keep the tryingtogrok domain in your name.  dude.  really.  it's 9.95 or less.  I know you're cheap ; ) but let's chat and I'll give you more reasons why you should. 

Posted by: Lane at December 24, 2009 12:20 AM (PGU9C)

23 Lane -- Well, then I've been doing something wrong for six years, because I pay $30 per year for the domain...

I will call you soon.

Posted by: Sarah at December 24, 2009 08:11 AM (gWUle)

24 Please keep us updated ... and if your email changes I'd love to have it if you do drift away! Trivial or not trivial comments be damned ... your support in both the mil and infertility world has been highly appreciated and valued! You are one of three friends I have met online that can not only understand what I'm going through but have none just the right bits to say to keep me on my feet and from totally destructing on my boy. Thank you again! (And I love the narcissm quote, was watching Julie and Julia movie last night and was totally reminded of that same rant. Was realizing I either needed to buck up with a point to my blog or perhaps shut up all together as well. Interesting jaded point we all come too ... the entire synopsis of your thing.)
:;hugs:: hope to meet you someday!

Posted by: Darla at December 26, 2009 11:10 AM (XvIN7)

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