Sunday, June 19, 2016

Falling Farther from Just What We Are

Ovid:

I also know that I’m not the only “content creator” who’s struggled with this dilemma. There’s so many of us, all exhausted, all trying to keep up with the internet’s short attention span by constantly reaffirming our presence. But all good things must come to an end, as they say. And I’ll add to that: Anything that doesn’t end isn’t good. So I’m ending this good thing, knowing full well that it may cost me the attention, the respect, and the reassurance of the people I have entertained over the years. But I will make another thing, and hopefully people will like it, and when that thing ends I will make another thing, and another, and another.

Well, I'll certainly miss this particular shtick. Blog years are almost like dog years, aren't they? I'm starting to feel like an old-timer opening a newspaper and turning straight to the obituaries to see which blogs I know that have recently passed on. But he's right. That's the thing with having a shtick and an audience; they quickly start dictating the terms of you how you operate, and before you know it, what was once your passionate hobby has become another job. I'm fortunate that I knew early on that amateur writing for its own sake was enough to sustain me; I never wanted a large readership, and I had no interest in trying to figure out how to monetize my blog. My family and most of my friends have absolutely no idea that I do this. That anonymity and solitude has kept my enjoyment of writing as pure as I could have possibly hoped. As in so many things, Montaigne understood this a long time ago:



For me, as long as there are books and web content that inspire me to think a little more deeply, or at least crack a joke, I can't see ever getting to the point where I think a blog is a creative dead end. The semi-epistolary blogging format works well to keep things evolving slowly without becoming stale. Many of the topics that were interesting to me several years ago are boring to me now. Many of the perspectives I voiced then make me wince with embarrassment now. That's as it should be. If I didn't have the freedom to grow and change like that, if I felt pressure to keep "in character" and keep giving the customers what they want, I would have burnt out a long time ago. To paraphrase Dr. Johnson, when a man is tired of wrestling with his thoughts and setting them down in writing, he's tired of life itself.