Friday, May 28, 2004

Time to lower the expectations, folks.

I've been doing some rethinking of some priorities lately, and I've reluctantly concluded that blogging has been ranked a bit higher than it should be. So that's about to change.

Firstly, I am not closing up shop here. I've invested a lot of time doing this, and I'm pleased with a lot of what has resulted. I've met people, made friendships, and deepened others; I've read books, heard music, and seen films I'd likely have not encountered otherwise. I don't want to lose that by shutting down Byzantium's Shores, and more to the point, I know myself well enough to know that I'm simply too accustomed to having my very own forum to say what I want to say, whether anyone cares or not. That's why I started this blog, and that's why I'll keep it.

But I've noticed -- only gradually -- that blogging has, since I started working at The Store, taken up time that I should be dedicating to the writing that used to be my reason for being but has since been on the back burner for far too long. While I was unemployed (and, before that, working at a job that I couldn't stand), blogging was a tonic of sorts for other issues in my life. Those issues no longer apply, though, and thus where blogging used to be something fun I did to take a breather from cranking out chapters in The Promised King or short stories or the all-too-infrequent essay, since I've returned to work blogging has become the Unquenchable Beast. And almost as bad as my loss of writing time has been the concurrent disappearance of reading time, which is totally unacceptable. The time has come to push the Unquenchable Beast into a cage and impose upon it a strict feeding regimen.

Of course, my longtime readers (and, perhaps, even the newer ones) will know that for me, the highest level of strictness is something along the lines of "kinda-sorta". Basically, I'll be posting here when I feel like it. I assume that I am still likely to "feel like it" fairly often (maybe four or five days a week), but I'm not going to force anything, nor will I allow myself any feelings of guilt if I miss consecutive days. I expect that my posting habits will shift toward the weekends a bit, with Saturdays and Sundays becoming the best days to find me in old form. But no promises there, either.

Do I think that blogging has value? Yes I do, even if I never come close to being the kind of blogger who can have a "pledge week" and pull in donations roughly equal to six times what I currently make at The Store, and even if I do this for three years without ever once receiving a link from Atrios. (Going on two years now, on that score. I've long-since conceded that I am probably not on the side of the political spectrum that is coducive to Instalanches.) Value doesn't exist in nature; something is valuable because someone values it, and I value blogging and what I've done here. My more recent problem is that there are other things I value as well, and it's time to move them up.

UPDATE: Move Over Britney! is not ending, by the way. Just in case anyone is worried on that score.

UPDATE THE SECOND: In what is becoming a weird, and not a little depressing, bit of ritual, I write something clunky that grapples with something only to see Michael Blowhard say it better just minutes later. (Unless he said it first. I only read his post after I wrote the above.) Anyway, here's how he describes his approach to blogging (and, more generally, to life):

Blogging has primarily become a place to meet and swap notes with other people, and thank heavens for that. More selfishly, though, it also gives me a chance to sort out a bit of what I've lived through, and to pass along some observations and stories, and maybe even a few scraps of knowledge. How amazing that a handful of people occasionally seem willing to pay a little attention...I do my best to slip what oddball personal reflections I happen to be gnawing on into what I hope are amusing and informative discussions about what's happening in the culture world generally...Underneath it all, though, is my real drive, the one small bit of good I feel I may still have it in me to do in the world. What I really want to do is seize passersby -- the nice people, the people like the crowd I grew up with, and emphatically not the egomaniacs who inhabit the world I continue to spend most of my life in -- and scream a little something at them.

Yup, what he said.

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