I Get It…Kind Of

I’ve long been a proponent of text heavy, lengthy blog posts. There’s something important to me about the ability to be able to tell a story through words. It’s not just a capability to write — almost anyone can write a blog post — it’s the capability to create a scene and an experience that transports the reader to somewhere else. That somewhere else could be a literal somewhere else as is the case with true story telling. However, that somewhere else could also be a different frame of mind, a different person’s life, or a different life experience.

I’ve participated in some blog projects before. I did NaNoWriMo in both 2011 and 2015, I completed Post A Day in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and I’ve written a handful of guest posts for people over the years. One thing I’ve always made an effort to do in my posts is to limit the amount of additional media in my posts. Whether it was pictures, audio, or video, my goal was to let my words do the talking. My identity both as a write and a blogger was, to a pretty significant extent, defined by my ability to enthrall my reader with nothing more than text on a page. I would have (and still do) argue that I have some skill as a writer. If I couldn’t keep the interest of my readers without needing to resort to gimmicks like audio/visual materials, I was failing as a blogger.

Some famous person[1] was likely once misattributed as saying ‘adapt or die’. While such a sentiment most commonly deals with scientific ideas like evolution, it’s true of the blogging world too. If you can’t find a way to catch the interest of an ever-changing, ever-evolving audience, your content is going to become obsolete[2]. While I will, on occasion, write a post that does well without text or video, the majority of what I write goes unnoticed.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing a lot of watching videos by Hank and John Green. Most of what I’ve been viewing has been part of their Crash Course series[3], though I’ve occasionally moved over to watching their VlogBrothers channel. It’s worth remembering that what is now this.

Started out as this.

In watching one of the many videos I’ve watched recently[4], it dawned on me that video might well be the way to get out of my blogging rut. I’ve written a total of 3 non-NaNoWriMo posts since late September. Not only is this a depressing fact, it makes me feel lazy. What I’d like to do is a series of short, conversational-like videos, a la VlogBrothers, if only because I think the format is sustainable from a staying motivated to do them standpoint. That said, I know full well that if I try the project by myself, it likely won’t last.

As a result, I’m reaching out to you, people who read this blog. Would anyone be interested in doing such a project with me? We can communicate to work out the details, but the basics of what I’m thinking are as follows.

  • Each person does one video a week
  • Said videos must be less than 4 minutes long — unless their education
  • No set topics per say, though we could certainly use each other’s videos to spur ideas/have some commentary
  • If you also blog, we can share said videos on both this blog and yours. If not, I’ll share my videos here and we can put yours here if you want.

That’s really about all I can think of now. If anyone is interested, please let me know.

On Hold

Tuesday, October 20th will mark the one year anniversary of TTW. January of 2016 marks the 11((!)) year anniversary of me blogging. I should really be excited.

I’m not.

I’ve debated shutting down this blog — not to mention completely quitting blogging — for a couple of months now. It’s for a confluence of reasons really.

Readership of my blog has plummeted, both when considering this blog in comparison to my old one and just when considering this blog by itself. Since March of this year, my blog has averaged decreasing in visitors by 5% each month with a similar drop in traffic. This is in spite of a slight (3%) growth traffic from random Google search hits over that same time. People just aren’t caring what I have to say anymore.

To be fair, I’m not sure that I have anything to say anymore. I enjoy my job((At times.)), but it is the most emotionally and psychologically draining company I’ve been at since I was in grad school. The current position I’m in amplifies those feelings even more, especially when considering that I’ve gone 18 months as the only person in my department. I haven’t cared to write consistently since the end of February of this year, or cared at all since mid-July.

I write best in silence…sort of. I can be around other people when I write((I always wrote my grad school papers while at Panera at 7 in the morning.)), but they can’t be people I know. Human interaction is a severe distraction for me when writing, regardless of who it’s from. Throw in the fact that I’ve had a grand total of one weekend since the wedding where I’ve had absolutely nothing to do((My wife has had zero such weekends.)) — a fact that is driving me insane — and I just don’t care to write anymore.

I’ve tried using prompt posts to help me think of ideas. They help sometimes. It’s never for long. I’ve tried reaching out to those who were my best writerly muses in the past, but they’ve all become distant, inconsistent at communication, or both. I’ll ask people on Twitter for ideas, but that rarely nets inspiration. I’m constantly stressed and my head feels cloudy. It’s a saddening reality.

You’d think the prospect of my book coming out would keep me motivated, but I haven’t had a meaningful update from my publisher in months. You’d think reading bloggers I love would help, but many of them have either stopped blogging, changed to topics I don’t care to read about, or become so radical on their opinions that it’s hard to take them seriously. You’d think I could find inspiration in the news, but that’s just as depressing, if not more so, than my very cloudy and tired head.

I’ll keep this blog up for a while. After all, I paid for the year of hosting and I’d still like some platform to market my book on when it does release. That said, I may go quiet for a while. It’s all I can really think of to do at this point.