It’s official: there’s ice on Mars.
Two weeks ago, I announced that I intend to close down this blog on July 20 — one month from today. But, like Frodo standing at the edge of Sammath Naur, looking down into the fires of Mount Doom, I find myself wavering and wondering whether I should "choose to do what I came to do," if you will.
In my June 6 post, I mentioned that Becky had initially suggested an alternative solution to my bloggy dilemma: I could simply "cut back drastically… by maintaining the current blog but committing to do just one post per week." But I explained that I had rejected this idea on the grounds that it "wouldn’t work" (because I’d cheat) and that ultimately, "it wouldn’t be desirable" (because "the Irish Trojan community would die a slow and painful death," waning due to bloggy inactivity rather than "go[ing] out while I’m on top").
In comments on the post, however, several readers endorsed the weekly-blog idea. Bea, for instance, wrote, "I like Becky’s idea of a weekly column of sorts. So what if you spend a
little time every week thinking about the topic and a little time on
research? I think it’s doable, a great outlet and, hey, the WIFE is ok
with this!" Christine also made a compelling case:
Life is about limits and prioritizing and relaxing (oh and a few other things). But if you enjoy having a blog (which I get the feeling you do, as well as your mentioned past blog-like antics), then you really should keep going. Just tweek it. … I LOVE the idea of a weekly column of sorts. Gives you something to ponder (nothing wrong with that) all week AND an outlet! And your loyal fans have something to look forward to! If something is particularly intriguing to you, you can blog more on that topic, but I would hope it would allow you to not feel like a slave to brendanloy.com but still give you the freedom to write and get your ideas out there.
If you have a problem with setting limits, then set some (I personally hate limits) but it’s kinda like you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water … Life (or blogs) don’t have to be all or nothing.
The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come around to the idea that a weekly blog might work, provided that I structure it in such a way as to reduce the temptation to "cheat." The goal would be to create basically the same situation that I described with regard to the photoblog: making the new blog so obviously different from the old that I won’t "be overly tempted to co-opt it" for the old-style "hyperactive" blogging, because doing so "would be so foreign to the nature of the blog itself."
If I can manage that — and if I can prevent my blogging "schedule" from feeling like an obligation or assignment — then I think a weekly blog would be worth doing, and preferable to the alternative of quitting cold turkey. In other words, I am increasingly tempted to declare:
"I will not do this deed. The Blog is mine!" :) But for me, unlike for
Frodo, I think this actually might be the correct decision. (And
hopefully I won’t lose a finger over it!)
For one thing, blogging weekly would be a new challenge, as it would effectively force me to hone a very different writing style: the lengthy, essay-ish, often multi-topic blog post (a la Lileks’s "Bleat"), as opposed to the clipped immediacy of hyperactive blogging, usually about one topic at a time (but many per day). To keep things flowing, interesting, and adequately focused in such a format can be difficult, and trying to become as good at writing in that style as I’ve become in the current format would be a worthwhile endeavor unto itself, methinks.
Furthermore, although my audience would undoubtedly shrink markedly, many of the die-hards would presumably stick around, and that’d be nice; I’d hate to lose touch with the Nadines and kcatnds of the world. :) Also, maintaining a textual blogospheric presence would mean that I won’t have to improvise something — like temporarily co-opting
the photoblog — in the event I’m caught up in breaking news, or otherwise have
a burning desire to share my thoughts on a particular topic with, say,
InstaPundit’s readers. I’d still have a public blog for such things;
I’d just use it less often.
But perhaps most importantly, I’d be following the sage advice of the fourth one:
Make sure that, in addition to dedicating yourself to family, career,
and community, you have at least one important outlet that belongs just
to YOU, and that speaks to you in a way that nothing else does. In my
own life, I have found that kind of independence and release to be
vital, not only for my own personal well-being, but for energizing me
in a way that allows me to give even more to the people I love.
Or, as Alasdair put it, "be careful that you don’t make a void in your Life without having something useful and positive with which to fill said void."
The reality, as I said in my June 6 is post, is that "I’ll still need some way of
expressing myself, of publishing my thoughts to the world, of letting
loose the occasional rant; I’ve always had, and needed, such an outlet,
at least since seventh grade." My original thought was to satisfy this need by way of the photoblog and Flickr, my Pajamas Media hurricane-blogging, and perhaps the occasional Facebook post. But if I’m going to post bloggy rants on Facebook anyway, why not channel that aspect of my creative energy in a more productive direction by still maintaining a public blog, just on a weekly basis? With the right amount of structure and discipline, I think the latter solution is better than the former.
Crucially, the calendar gives me time to do a "trial run" of this weekly blog idea, before the impending changes in our lives. If it works, I can keep doing it; if it fails — whether because I can’t resist the temptation to "cheat," or because the scheduled nature of it (most likely, I would try to blog every Sunday) makes blogging feel less fun and more obligatory, or for some other reason — then I can go back to the original, cold-turkey plan.
I haven’t yet finally decided what to do; I’m going to sleep on it this weekend. But if I do decide to switch (on a trial basis) to a weekly blog format, I will actually move up the date of this blog’s retirement — most likely to June 30 — and start up my weekly blog (which would be a new blog, separate and distinct from this one) in early July. That would give me time to test out the concept and see how it works.
I will, of course, keep y’all informed about what I decide to do. In the mean time, your feedback is much appreciated. One big question for my regulars: do you anticipate that you would continue to regularly read my blog if it were updated only once a week, provided of course that those weekly updates are interesting and worth reading? Also, in terms of keeping the discussion going and the community alive, would it make a difference if I disabled purely anonymous commenting, such that you’d at least need an OpenID account, or perhaps a WordPress.com account, in order to comment?
[Bumped from 12:07 PM to 5:00 PM. -ed.]
Ladies and gentlemen, we have statistical evidence of the Bob Barr effect! A new poll in the blood-red state of Georgia, where the Libertarian nominee is from, shows a dead heat: McCain 44%, Obama 43%, Barr 6%. Wow!
Now, a major grain of salt is called for here. It’s very early, and I seriously, seriously doubt these numbers will ultimately hold up. But this sort of polling data (see also: close races in Alaska, North Carolina) can’t make the McCain people happy. Indeed, I bet they’re getting some serious heartburn from the combination of: 1) the recent state polling numbers generally, which show a definite Obama bounce in red, blue and purple states alike, and 2) the noises Obama is making (backed with action) about competing in states like Texas and Indiana.
With regard to Georgia and point #2, the real issue is that, in light of Obama’s decision to change his mind and reject public financing — a tactical no-brainer, notwithstanding its dubiousness in principle — he can afford to put his (abundant) money where his mouth is, and at least force McCain to waste precious resources in these states.
P.S. His mom’s white! He’s from America! Heh.
Over on my photoblog, I’ve posted pictures from my trip to Phoenix and Denver.
We’re back safe & sound in Knoxville, by the way. Loyette was once again a champion flyer — though I think we’ll be paying for the disruptions to her schedule in the form of weekend fussiness.
SportsPickle’s DJ Gallo writes a handy guide to being a bandwagon fan for ESPN’s Page 2. Money quote: “don’t let [people] anywhere near your car. They might get the wrong impression when they see that your bumper is covered in Red Sox, Yankees, Lakers, Celtics, Cowboys, Patriots, USC football and Duke basketball stickers. As though it’s your fault that you have deep, childhood ties to all those teams!” Heh.
Speaking of which, hey, how ’bout those Cubs? ;)