(an existential blogging crisis!)
I started this blog to write. To put words to paper every day, as an exercise in self-disciple and improving my writing skill through the medium of endless practice, backed up by review and interaction from readers; to these ends, this blog has been nothing but a success beyond my wildest naff metaphors.
But in many ways, it’s gone too far. This is no longer my chief writing project: in terms of academia, that honour goes to my degree; in terms of fictional prose, that’d be my novel; for poetry, my writing blog; for journalism, Public Pressure and Sportsemic; and for gaming, the greatest of my passions, I have The Game Shelf. However, it is the project that takes up the greatest amount of my time, and is one I feel obliged to contribute towards every day; at this point in my life, the input is greater than the output.
This isn’t to say that this blog, and especially the people who read it and engage with it, are somehow worth ‘less’ to me now than two years ago, but the rest of my life has changed around it. I feel obliged to hammer out a new post every day, regardless of its quality, while there is less motivation to write a new journalistic piece regularly, when I’m better at, would benefit more from, and perhaps enjoy to a greater extent, the latter.
I feel like this blog is a very seventeen-year-old James project, an ambitious attempt to hone a largely theoretical skill through discipline and personal commitment. This blog reflected that strange marriage of the creative and the relentless skills that go into working towards an A-level in English, but my life isn’t about such a singular goal any more. These days, I flit from wanting to be a novelist to a gaming critic, to a game designer, to a poet, and occasionally a punk bassist or rapper; this blog is an island of needless rigidity and obligation in a turbulent sea of ideas and experimentation.
But is there a solution? If I change the posting schedule – say, weekly, instead of daily – there’s still the imposition of an arbitrary schedule, and if I abandon a schedule altogether this blog becomes a totally different beast. Could I scrap the blog altogether, and go in all with the pretentious journalism?
Definitely worth a think.
In the short-term, obviously, nothing will change on the blogging front. It’s good to have some kind of creative obligation like this, especially on days where I can’t think of anything to write about NOFX or the World Karate Federation, because it makes (and has made) writing into my life, rather than a hobby within it. I may have to reconsider the importance of this blog – as it’s no longer my main creative project, I might ease up on the need to write every day – or at least the length and format of my posts to make writing every day easier, but for the time being there won’t be any changes in how I write.
There’ll be lots of changes, however, in the way I approach and think about my writing; and that may be the most important consideration to take away from these 23 months and 600 posts’ worth of words.