the death of the blog

If you’re a regular reader here at A Heap of Broken Images (hereafter referred to as AHoBI), you know that I blog in fits. I might blog every day for months straight, and then not at all for just as long. I’ve done this for so long now I feel I need to explain myself. Possibly only to myself, which is fine.

The long periods I go without blogging aren’t the anomaly. Blogging, after all, is a leisure activity, like reading, watching movies, and being nice to people. As a person with a lot of different hobbies – not to mention a full-time job, ten cats, and a lovely The Wife – I’m pretty much busy from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep. Sometimes this busyness can be difficult to detect; to the untrained eye it might look a lot like watching football or playing Skyrim. But in truth there’s a lot of really hard work going on.

The point being that when I have trouble balancing all the things, blogging is one of the first things I drop. The average blog post takes me around an hour to write, which might seem ridiculous given the number of typos in every post(1) and perhaps even the things I blog about.(2) But I’m a very careful writer and, for example, will deliberate for quite some time over just the right word or delete several paragraphs that don’t make my point as effectively or humorously or whateverly as I’d like.(3) So it’s easy not to blog on a given day and use that hour practicing the banjo or bumming around stores with The Wife.

But then…after a while I start to feel guilty about the not-blogging.

Back in the day – say aught-four through about aught-seven – blogging was quite the thing. I read upwards of fifty personal blogs each day and kept up regularly with at least twenty bloggers. Some of them became really good friends of mine over time, even though we’d never “met.” A few of them I did actually meet and lots of really great things come from those meetings and those relationships.

And then Facebook happened. And blogs started to die. Much has been written on this subject and the world certainly doesn’t need me to retell it. But I can explain why I value blogs over Facebook in one sentence: I’ve never had relationships develop because of Facebook like I’ve had because of blogs.

And so I start to feel guilty about not blogging. Partly because I feel I’m dropping out of a few long-term friendships,(4) and partly because some of my “real” friends and family learn as much about my life through my blog as any other way.(5) But in addition to all of that, and to the occasional, though unintentional, guilt-trip from Dave,(6) I feel I owe it to blogging to keep at it.

Facebook has brought me little else other than frustration, paranoia, rage and hurt feelings, whereas blogging has brought me several friends and a few long-term relationships that mean a lot to me. So, yeah, as a person who doesn’t have many friends and for whom relationships are difficult at best, I feel I should ask not what blogging can do for me but what I can do for blogging.

Luckily, the answer is simple: keep blogging.

I try, I really do. Then sometimes I just don’t for a while. But I always come back. Probably to the chagrin of those who hate footnotes.(7)

  1. But I have still never knowingly split an infinitive, unlike the Associated Press, who yesterday on Twitter split one so badly I could hear it crying in shame.
  2. To say nothing of the content, or as I affectionately call it, doggerel.
  3. I don’t always invent words, but when I do I make them adverbs. Ever since Stephen King published his excellent book On Writing there have been loads of writers who believe adverbs to be the most unnecessary of all parts of speech. But I rather like adverbs. My advice to writers: if you want to cull 10% of what you’ve written, look at the instances of the word that that you can get rid of. (I though that that that that that author used with probably unnecessary.) Then look at the instances of the word then that can go. In my experience, you can drop a solid 5% with just those two words. Stop taking it out on adverbs and just clean up your word-choice.
  4. Every time I don’t blog for a while, I learn that someone I wouldn’t expect reads my blog. I apologize expediently and then don’t talk to that person for a while to let them know that if they want to stop reading and/or stop being IRL friends I totally understand.
  5. I don’t use Facebook much, and though I post to Twitter somewhat frequently, it’s mostly just stuff I find funny, rather than actual updates from life. And Tumblr is absolutely perfect for life’s brilliant silliness but for little else.
  6. aka The Last Blog Scout.
  7. But whatever.

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