December 21, 2009
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: Pat in MN at December 21, 2009 10:53 AM (fkHnE)
Posted by: Laura, A Military Mom at December 21, 2009 10:56 AM (oLHZ3)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Posted by: Tracey at December 21, 2009 10:58 PM (x+F0t)
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.
Posted by: Nicki Magnuson at December 22, 2009 02:51 AM (fqQct)
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)
Posted by: Lucy at December 22, 2009 12:45 PM (YNvUz)
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)
Posted by: prophet at December 22, 2009 02:59 PM (+wPI3)
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)
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.
Posted by: Sig at December 23, 2009 12:04 AM (/Mv9b)
Posted by: Andi at December 23, 2009 07:50 AM (KV0dW)
Posted by: Andi at December 23, 2009 07:52 AM (KV0dW)
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)
I will call you soon.
Posted by: Sarah at December 24, 2009 08:11 AM (gWUle)
:;hugs:: hope to meet you someday!
Posted by: Darla at December 26, 2009 11:10 AM (XvIN7)
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