Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Going Dutch...To Think

Blogging, light as a feather in recent times, will be non-existent for a couple of weeks as the Womble takes himself and his family to the Netherlands for what (though I say it myself) is a well-earned holiday. I’ve never been there before, never driven on the right-hand-side of the road before (Mrs Womble on Tour may disagree) and will doubtless take time to become accustomed to the Monopoly-style currency otherwise known as the Euro. All things considered, I’m looking forwards to it.

And while I’m out there, I’m going to have a damn good think about the future of this blog. It’s an enigma, is this blogging business.

I started it, three years ago, simply because I love writing and because I could. It seemed ridiculously easy to do, and, at a time when free speech appeared to be in headlong retreat, courtesy of a foul-tempered and malevolent government, it felt deliciously refreshing to be able to say what I thought, anonymously.

I never really expected to start getting an audience; I had no idea where it came from. I was amazed when people started leaving comments. And when they did, I was hugely touched. And I found that an audience, however small (it never exceeded about 30 a day) changes things. I started writing with them in mind. And I felt guilty if I didn’t post anything for few days. I started to think of them as my customers, and how I’d have let them down if they came here and didn’t find anything new.

On the other hand I’ve never had ambitions for a large readership, and I’ve never pursued one as some have. I’ve tried not to be vain about it. I’m sure I could have attracted more visitors if I’d been more sweary or done more “advertising” but I wanted the blog to keep its own character. Not that I'm knocking people who push harder - part of the appeal of blogging is its rich variety and diversity - it's just not for me.

When I was writing at my most prolific, during a somewhat slow work month at the fag end of 2008, I was writing a post a day, and it was taking ages. And there’s the rub. Blogging does take ages. Even if I’m writing something short, it still takes time: time to find the right words and put them in the right order; time to do the research and find the links; time to read through it and correct all the mistakes (well, OK, not all of them). Even a “quickie” can take an hour, and, as the excellent Constantly Furious observed in his valedictory address a couple of months ago, blogging can start to take over.

With long, long hours at work, a wife who is quite wonderfully understanding but who needs and deserves time and attention, and two adorable children who are reaching the end of the time when they’re prepared to be seen dead with me, causing me to treasure every moment with them, there are many other calls on my time. Blogging takes very much a back seat at times.

In addition to all of which, there seems a little less material about at the moment, now that the Scottish Stalinist has left the Kremlin. It got to stage at one point, as a fellow blogger said to me, that I had run out of rage. Which isn’t a bad thing, of course. And yet…

And yet, I can’t completely put it to bed. Even when I wasn’t writing for months, I couldn’t bring myself to put the “Closed” sign up in the way that many have done. Part of me knew that the urge would return at some point, even if not perhaps with the zeal of days gone by. Sometimes when I’m listening to the news, or just going about my humdrum, day-to-day existence, something will cause my ire to ignite. I’ll be seething, as I was earlier this week when I heard that the Ministry of Justice has passed its own arrogant judgement on Sion Jenkins. And when I get like that, something has to give. I need an outlet. Blogging’s good for the soul at times like that. And writing’s the only vaguely artistic thing I’ve ever been able to do.

So there’s a conundrum for me in all of this. I love writing, and a part of me still wants to produce stuff that people will want to read. I can’t let it consume my life, or even a part of it. But I don’t think I want to stop either. So while I’m away, I’ll write home every day, And I’ll send all my loving to you I’m going to give some serious thought to Womble On Tour, and decide upon its future.


Richard said...

Your comments on why you blog could have been written by me. I don't think I have ever commented on here before, but I have been reading you for about a year, and I have enjoyed it. Sometimes I don't get time or inspiration to write anything either, and I wonder if I am just doing it out of guilt for my 'readership' (and those posts, when I write them, are always the worst). And yet sooner or later I find something I want to say, and I say it.

The great thing about feeds like Google Reader is that a blog can stay on the list, even if nothing is happening. You are on my list, and if you only posted once in three months I'd still get to read it. Have a good holiday, and pick it back up when you feel like it. If you feel like it.

Dick Puddlecote said...

As Richard said, you're never lost on RSS and it would be a shame if you decided to put a lid on it entirely as you write very thoughtfully.

Just post something when you feel like it. However infrequently, it will be seen and enjoyed. :)

work from home said...

Blogging is an opportunity for you if you want to boost your online visibility

Richard said...

Spam, don't you love it?

nuttycow said...

Pah - why write for other people? Write when you want to, about what you want to. Don't stress too much about it.

Have a good holiday :)