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July 06, 2005

The Dark November Of The Blogging Soul

Navel-gazing and self-indulgent, I guess. But I thought I'd mention why my blogging has been, what's the word?, so sucky lately.

1. General Burn-Out. There just comes a point when the go-to references don't even amuse me anymore. Yeah, Whitesnake, Billy Squire, the late, great Frank "The Riddler" Gorshin. How many times can you go to these wells? Well, I'm not sure, but I've gone there too often.

2. A Feeling of Hopelessness for the Site. One also begins to realize that there will be no crazy blog-money, ever, and that sort of diminishes enthusiasm for the project. Yeah, supposedly Pajamas Media will launch soon and we'll get higher ad revenues from a larger pool of advertisers, but I've begun to view that as a pipe dream. Don't get me wrong, I love all my t-shirt advertisers -- or at least the ones that used to advertise here -- but no one's going to even make a decent supplemental income advertising t-shirts.

Even Dusty has now forsaken me.

3. No Forward Momentum. I've used this analogy before (at this point, I've used every analogy before), but an uptick in traffic is like leveling up in a role-playing game (pencil and paper or computer, whatever you fancy). It's fun to increase your stats and buy that +3 Flaming Sword, +5 Double-Damage Vs. Andrew Sullivan you've had your eyes on for oh so long.

But when you're stuck in the 5-7,000 range for months and months and months, and in fact traffic is (deservedly) falling off, slowly but surely, you begin to realize you're going to be a 6th level Rogue forever. Again, it just diminishes one's interest in the deal.

4. What More Is There To Say? There are subjects that animate me and subjects, like the Kelo decision, that frankly don't. I don't feel like talking about the subjects that don't animate me. And I've already said just about everything that's in my little moronbrain about the subjects that do interest me. Even when I write a more substantive piece about some issue or event, I know I'm cribbing a bit from past posts. I'm not quoting, I'm not swiping, it's all new language and all, but it's basically the same general thrust. If it bores me, I have to imagine it bores the hell out of readers, because any writer (even an amateur free-internet-press wannnabe) likes his own stuff better than his audience. If that's not the case, you're too self-critical to churn out copy.

5. Where Did Teh Funnay Go? Not sure. It just went. Humor can come from exuberance and cockiness or anger, and I guess I'm just too blase and bored right now to feel either. Even when I have a half-promising premise for a comedy bit -- I thought it would be cute, pace Brian Williams, to rewrite the Declaration of Independence as if Osama Bin Ladin had wrote it, with lots of references to the Betrayal of Andalusia or whatever the fuck that jerkoff's always on about it, I just say: Nah. Not good enough. It doesn't flow. It would just be hackwork, sweatwork, and readers can see the sweat that goes into a piece.

The funny pieces are the ones that take almost no effort at all. They just come. They almost, as they say, write themselves. The pieces one actually does a lot of work on, really puts effort into, always seem to be sub-par at best.

6. And The Slow News Cycle Ain't Helping Either. Occasionally there's an interesting story, but let's face it, the unending Bolton confirmation process doesn't really make for stellar analytical pieces or humor pieces either.

7. The Internet cough"Radio"cough Show. Lately we've been scrambling for guests Sunday, Monday, and even Tuesday morning. Big-name guests will express some interest and name a date but then never actually confirm. So there's an awful lot of stress leading up to the show, with prep coming in a burst at the last minute, when we finally confirm a guest and know what to ask him.

But this means that about half the week ends up being bad for blogging, as free time is directed elsewhere. And then even Wednesday turns into a half-holiday.

This might change a bit, as we've gotten semi-confirmations from some big name guys -- Hugh Hewitt, Jonah Goldberg, Kenneth Timmerman -- for this month; we may finally have guests in advance enough to not scramble and to actually, get this, have the time to read their books. Getting this guys to confirm in advance would really free up time in the ensuing weeks for just plain blogging, without making a bazillion phone calls to PR people.

Someone, I think Bbeck, suggested guest bloggers on Monday and Tuesday so as not to reduce the number of postings on those days. I sort of resisted the idea -- not because I didn't trust other people; just because I don't think I can just ask someone to guest blog for two days week after week after week -- but I'm starting to think maybe I do need a little help those days.


Anyway, just acknowledging what is probably obvious to most of you guys. I do apologize for the lack of quality on this site of late. I've been through this before; I've had ups and downs, I've had times when blogging was really fun and I felt confident and entertaining in my writing, and times when it was just a grind and I looked at everything I wrote and thought "useless hackery."

Not to tell tales out of school, but I was just talking, briefly, with Allah about this, and similar feelings seem to have caused him to more or less give up blogging. At some point the time and effort needed to do even a half-assed job at this begins to look well out of proportion to any tangible benefits to be gained.

The only thing sustaining me write now is that readers keep coming back, probably out of a sense of either loyalty or force of habit, and I don't want to disappoint them more than necessary. That's the one great thing-- it really is still very flattering that so many people come here to read my stupid moronthoughts. But that good feeling is diminshed by the knowledge that I'm disappointing the readers, and that while they're coming back for now, they won't keep coming back forever if this continues much longer.

So, there it is. Yeahp, I know I've got nothin' at the moment. I do apologize. It's not as if I've consciously decided to begin keeping a crap blog. It just sort of happens from time to time, although this latest blog-funk is lasting longer than previous ones.

Usually I could count on something interesting or fun to break me out of it. Some stupid remark by Sullivan; or a nice juicy Pat O'Brien sex-tape to be leaked just when I needed it most.

I do hope something like that comes along, and fast.


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posted by Ace at 01:55 PM

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