I realized over the holiday break that there were only two posts here for all of 2014, and both of them were purely related to making sure WordPress was happy. There were only five posts the year before that, although at least some of those were more substantial. Pathetic— especially since it isn’t that long ago I advised a colleague that the last thing the world needs is another dead blog. I’m not going to make any promises to be more prolific, but if I’m going to be paying for the domain I might as well use it for something. However, I would like to think about why it is that I’ve been writing less, with an eye towards changing that. I can think of three reasons why I’ve been posting less: laziness, reduced interest, and changes in browsing habits.
Let’s get the easy reason out of the way first. After working all day, dealing with the commute, handling other tasks at home and some minimal amount of exercise, I’m finding the draw of a comfortable spot on the couch, Netflix and a cat on my lap to be pretty inviting. I might goof around on my iPhone or iPad, but don’t often find the energy to do much else.
Related to the above, for whatever reason I don’t seem to have the passion to write down my thoughts that I had a while back. This is a little different from sheer laziness, in that there are often things I am interested in, but it requires overcoming a certain amount of inertia to get a post written. There are multiple elements to this, but I think the two key items are mental organization and logistics. I don’t put a ton of time into structuring posts here, but I like to be able to do something more than a Twitter-level amount of writing. Without the interest to completely follow through on that, I’ll often just skip it. The logistics question ties into the last item, so I’ll deal with it more there.
Historically, my internet reading has always been closely tied to whatever writing I’ve pursued. As far as reading goes, for the last ten years or so I’ve done a combination of web browsing and RSS feed consumption. My writing has always gone through a desktop application or two, depending on the particular topic. As long as all this activity took place on a desktop or laptop, it was easy to switch from one to the other, and I could bang out a quick paragraph or two in reaction to something. However, with the advent of iPhones and iPads, I now find that my reading and writing activities take place in two separate worlds. I still use an RSS reader, but instead of NetNewsWire I’m more likely to use Reeder on iOS. Unfortunately, I still find writing on an iDevice to be a little clunky (and that doesn’t even get into switching between applications and trying to copy/paste URLs and other content). I do have WordPress, so technically can write on my iPhone or iPad, but other than short emails I very rarely do, even with an external keyboard. Because I’m now consuming information when I don’t have a laptop handy and there’s a time lag between consumption and the opportunity to respond, my initial spark of interest often dissipates and I end up not doing anything at all.
AND THE WORLD IS POORER BECAUSE OF IT.
Sorry, a little snark snuck in there, although there might be some hidden truth. After all, why would I be doing this at all if I didn’t think at some level people would benefit from my sharing? Maybe that’s another reason I’ve been quiet of late— a lack of hubris that anyone gives a crap what I have to say.
Having said all that, is there anything I can do? A few thoughts:
- Switch to a different desktop RSS reader. Much as I like it, NetNewsWire 3.x is no longer serving my needs, and version 4 has been in beta for a year and a half. I’m thinking Reeder 2 may be the way to go. This should better sync with my iDevice browsing to give me a jumping off point.
- Keep the laptop closer. This should help with logistics barriers.
- Find the passion, or some other incentive. This is tougher, and might be the thing that keeps me from writing. It’s not like I get paid for any of this, after all.
- Pay more attention to the blog. The two-post count for 2014 came as a surprise to me, clearly because I hadn’t looked at the thing in ages. If I can be more aware of it as a thing to use, it will be more likely to get some love.
Okay, now only one more post and I’ll have equalled last year’s count!