June 27, 2013 by Daniel
Are you still there?
I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t. I haven’t been a very good writer recently. Writers are passionate, consistent, constantly working to wrangle their abstract thoughts and give them form and shape. Writers don’t take a month and a half off of writing just because they don’t feel like it.
Indeed, what I could do right now is tell you that I’ve been working on tons of things, whip up three or four quick pieces in as many days, and say “see?”. But the truth is that I haven’t been. Other than a few small reviews for other blogs here and there, I haven’t typed a word in almost two months. I’ve still been burning through my stacks, certainly – I’ve definitely knocked a few things off of them since I last posted. And I’ve been thinking deeply about the things that I’ve played, seen, listened to, and read, as it is simply impossible for a person such as myself to not do so. Frankly, though, the thoughts that I have had on these things haven’t felt like they’re worth the effort that binding them into a tightly-wound opinion piece requires.
I suppose this is what happens with extremist projects like this – I’m burning out, is all. The personal relevancy of these stacks is being called into question. They’ve become an obstacle, a weight pressing down on me, preventing me from being able to enjoy recent releases and recommendations that I am now much more interested in. I experience these pieces of media joylessly, too worried about whether I’ll have interesting things to say about them to be able to enjoy them in a visceral, present-minded state.
Truthfully, I was planning to let the blog fizzle out with little more than a slight whimper, hoping that by removing the self-imposed need to write about these things I’d actually be able to enjoy working through them. Two things happened that made me re-think this:
1. I picked up a copy of A.J Jacobs’s new book Drop Dead Healthy. Jacobs is a pretty big influence on this whole project, as he is known for doing self-experiments of his own. To wit, his three major books have involved him attempting to: 1) read through the entire encyclopedia; 2) follow the rules of the Bible as literally as possible; and 3) become the healthiest person in the world. Admittedly, my project, which boils down to “do the stuff that you usually do, but using items from Column A instead of Column B”, is rather less ambitious. But I admire Jacobs’s steadfast dedication to his own personal goals regardless, and once again seeing him suffer the extreme conditions of his own project re-energized me for my own, in a way.
2. I received an email from WordPress warning me that my domain name was about to expire. This gave me some pause. A domain name is cheap – on WordPress, it’s 18 bucks for the year, not exactly a large fee – but I’m a frugal-ish sort of a person, and why spend even that much money if I don’t have to? I’d still have the blog, albeit with a more unwieldy URL, to post on occasionally if necessary. But if I don’t get it, it’s an outright admittance of defeat; it’s essentially me saying that I don’t intend to follow through on this blog in any meaningful way. This notion brought up some sadness in me, and I’m choosing to interpret that feeling to mean that the blog – and indeed writing in general – is still important to me. Thus, I’m keeping the domain name. For now.
Things are not entirely peachy, granted. Much as I do enjoy having a portfolio of writing that I’m reasonably proud of, I’m starting to get somewhat bored of just writing blog posts. The problem is that I feel pretty good when I’m writing more high-concept essays, but those ideas simply don’t come all the time; in fact, they come pretty rarely. And they also take quite a while, which doesn’t lend itself well to what I would hope to be a regularly-updated blog.
I haven’t figured out a good solution for the smaller things, the things that don’t make me think as much, or as grandly. I’d hate to just do some basic reviews; nothing-pieces that speak less to my own actual feelings than the twisted, mostly valueless notion of “objective quality”. So, what then? My Progress Report mini-evaluations are okay, but they only come once a month, and they’re off-the-cuff and vague, with little real critical value other than “I liked this, here’s why”. So what do I do with these things?
I’m looking towards some alternatives to basic cut-and-dry writing, but in short, I’m confused. I don’t know how often I’ll be posting here, or in what form those things will take. All I can say is that I’m not beaten, I still feel a certain need to write down the things that I think, and I hope I haven’t lost the few of you that I had.
There will be a Progress Report summarizing the last three months posted tomorrow. And after that, well, who knows?