Ten years ago…
- I was a little more than three months shy of being laid off from my first real technical writing job [the week before Christmas].
- I was slowly coming out of a depression that almost ended the things most important to me — including me.
- I was working on the most “me” novel I will ever write. (At least the layoff gave me time to finish that book.)
- I wrote the first Juggling Writer entry.
I’ve mentioned before that when I started The Juggling Writer, I thought, “I will write a blog to help other writers like me.” Granted, I never intended to be a place for advice, but rather, just sharing what worked for me in the hope it helped others.
Still, I used to sometimes write the dreaded “list” entries. I wrote even when I didn’t have much to say. I did what I thought one was supposed to do with a blog. (I mean, I had a LiveJournal for all that more personal stuff…this blog had a purpose!)
I Like the Change
I like the direction The Juggling Writer took along the way, becoming more personal — sometimes, even reflective. And it seems others did, too.
Oh, sure…I still get traffic to those old list entries. I might get more traffic to some of those older entries today, but there’s no indication that people cared for them and started reading what I wrote in the hope of more damn lists.
Blogging is Dead
I keep hearing that blogging is dead. I’ve been blogging since before their were blogs…manually putting up online diary entries in the early 90s and manually archiving them for those interested in reading what I’d written about self-publishing independent comic books. (I’ve always freely shared the things I know.)
Maybe blogging is dead, and some would say this is all futile. Those people, though, are the kinds of people always on the lookout for some magic thing that gets whatever mediocre copied thing they are doing views. Funny thing: I know people with hundreds of thousands of views on things that did nothing for them…other than being able to say hundreds of thousands of people saw a thing they made or wrote. But I know others who wrote something almost no one saw that — if you’re playing the chasing game — had the one right person see the thing barely anybody else did and changed their life.
That’s not my goal with The Juggling Writer. (I’m not sure I’ve ever written anything here worthy of some kind of deal.) Even if only two people read what I write, here, I’d still write it. Even if nobody showed up, I’d write it because there’s a difference in what I do, here, compared to what I write in handwritten journals.
The Next Ten Years
Maybe blogging really will be dead in the next ten years. I’m sure a lot of things we know today will be gone in that time. (After all, as a species, we’re good at helping drive things to extinction.) With the speed at which technology moves, who knows what new thing is a few years off that will chance things like blogs changed things; like YouTube changed things; like social media changed things.
But unless I decide I’ve had enough humanity and am in a position to disconnect from it all and go be quiet in the woods, or unless this technology doesn’t exist then, I intend to keep writing here…for no other reason than I like to.
CM Stewart says
Congratulations on 10 years! 🙂 I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again: You’re the kind of writer who will have wide success (you already have wide success, but it will become wider). And I know you will keep writing, but… keep writing! 🙂
I like this: “Even if nobody showed up, I’d write it because there’s a difference in what I do, here, compared to what I write in handwritten journals.”
Once upon a time, when I was around songwriters, I remember one of them said, “I don’t write because I want to, I write because I have to.”
I used to feel that way, but I lost it. I think the smart phone had damage creativity a bit. You can make notes and audio notes – more list. But to make things really develop, I have to sit with a keyboard and get the “whatever” out. I need to push myself on the effort.
Congrats on the 10 years. You inspire me.
Christopher Gronlund says
As always, thanks, CMS! If nothing else, through writing, I’ve made some cool friendships along the way. I’m glad we’re still in touch 🙂
Christopher Gronlund says
I have friends who have written novels on their phones, but…it’s never worked for me. I love the way they describe how their minds work, how they can see what’s right before them and not need to see so much more like I require when writing.
I have to be able to easily see something hundreds of pages ago…or even a couple paragraphs ago. Just the way my mind works. I do so little when it comes to writing with my phone. Notebooks are always within reach, and if I need to capture something, I write it on a notecard or in a notebook. And then expand when sitting down to write. Or, if it’s a thing for much later, I take a photo of the page(s), tag them in Evernote, and it’s easy to find my way around.
When I write something on this blog, it’s always with an audience in mind. Not necessarily a particular person or kind of person, but I shoot for more clarity than I would in a notebook, where I know what I mean if I write down, “Like that time at the forest preserve when you were nine.” I know what I mean if I write that in a notebook and don’t need to expand on it, but here…I’d have to expand on it for the sake of clarity.
I have many friends [writers, artists, musicians, etc.] who talk about the “I have to,” aspect of what they do. I never doubt it, but I’m someone who writes because I want to. It’s fun to write, record, and produce short stories for Not About Lumberjacks…and there are few more satisfying things in my life than working on novels. But if for some hypothetical reason I could never write again, I’d miss it, but it wouldn’t be an end. I know people who couldn’t exist if they couldn’t do the thing they most love in life.
I suppose I’m lucky in that there are quite a few things I love, and plenty that brings me happiness. If I could never write again, I’d juggle or focus more on music. As much as I love writing — as much as it’s not just a big part of my life and a thing many people who know me associate with me — if someone gave me enough money to live comfortably the rest of my life with Cynthia, I’d take the money and never write again. I’d just get back to being a good juggler and probably much better playing the mandolin 🙂
Thanks for the reply, and I hope you’re able to write regularly soon!
Congratulations! That’s quite an accomplishment, and I love that you’re right just because it’s pretty much true you are. I know you’ll keep doing that and I’m happy that you will.
Paul Lamb says
Sure, blogging it dead — as a pop culture phenomenon. But by that standard, so is poetry, modern art, and Vanilla Ice. Those of us who continue, the core, provide something, if only an outlet for our thoughts, that lasts.
Congratulations on your tenth of a century. Looking forward to another nine more!
Christopher Gronlund says
I’m always amazed by the sweeping statements about certain things. “Blogging is dead!” “Podcasting is saturated!” “Books are dead and buried; long live Netflix…oh, wait, Netflix is dying and the Disney app/streamed service is rising!”
One of my joys each day is waking up and seeing writers like you sharing thoughts. Checking some of the online literary publications/aggregators I follow. Waking up to do the thing I love, whether it pays or not, and then opening a web browser not to look at news or social media and feel like the world is burning, but reading about people who love writing and would still do it as the world burns.
If that’s not a reminder of hope, I’m not sure what is.
Christopher Gronlund says
I don’t write here as much as I once did, but there are still 644 entries people can dig through. But more than that, with a few exceptions early on when I felt like I had to write three entries a week no matter what, most of those entries were things I wanted to write, to touch on thoughts that meant something to me.
If they helped others in any way, all the better!
Lisa Eckstein says
Congrats on the milestone, my blog friend! I just checked and realized I’ve had my blog going for 9 years — I’ll have to remember to celebrate 10 next summer!