Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Blogoholism. Sarah Hepola's confessional piece on her recent decision to shut down a long-running blog prompted fraysters to share their own struggles of addiction. synesthesia offers words of solidarity in admitting it happened to me, too. 4cabbage describes the same painful withdrawal symptoms as being like "quitting smoking or drinking."
TheNate discusses the successive stages of his own detox:
My nine months as a blogaholic ended in August. It was a gradual withdrawal that began with accepting a higher media than myself and ended with me carrying the message to others. I went from constantly rereading my own entries and checking a dozen other blogs daily to never visiting mine and only occasionally visiting a few big-name sites. These days I can occasionally check blogs socially without fear of getting addicted again.
But blogging got me in the habit of writing despite all the associated BS. Free from worrying about regular updates, networking through links, flame wars, coming up with snarky commentary, compulsively checking Technorati and my site meter, I had nothing to worry about but my craft. The pressure to produce was gone; only the energy remained.
Writing became fun again. I began to think creatively again, considering ideas outside the confines of blog entries. After spending a few weeks on a literary binge (or "book bender" - when you do nothing but read and read until you forget what day it is) I charted out a new project.
I went back to spending my free time hunched over a laptop, typing away furiously even though it wasn't even connected to the Internet. I continued to research new ideas just as I did while a blogger, except this time I had all the time I wanted to expand on them without "post or you're toast" being my mantra. Before long I had a new project charted out and exchanged the idea of being a blogger for the dream of being an author.
Last night I typed the last word to the first draft of my novel. I couldn't have written it while I blogged, but I wouldn't have written it if I hadn't blogged at all. Maybe someday I'll go back to blogging, but as far as I'm concerned my old blog is a finished work.
Jeff-MC chimes in with this advice: "The worst thing a writer can do is find ways to be a writer. Every ounce of energy you put into becoming a writer, is an ounce you're not using to write."
According to rundeep, here's the real problem with blogging:
1) It causes the untalented to believe themselves writers with something of interest to say, and;
2) He who blogs is often not reading books, so as to develop the ability which might cure 1) above.
Poindexter unleashes a brutal critique on Hepola's auto-eulogy, calling it
emblematic of what is insufferable about so many blogs, even the sometimes insighful ones: Bloggers tend to spend way to much time focusing on themselves and on the act of blogging.
Whether it's Josh Marshall telling us about his nifty new layout that will be upcoming next month, Andrew Sullivan sharing photos of his adorable dogs, or the guy who does Kos letting us know that he will be doing a book signing in Grand Rapids this Saturday, bloggers, IMO, spend way too much time on self referential blather at the expense of substance. Obviously it is a blogger's prerogative to post whatever they fancy, but they do so at their own peril.
And if Hepola's navel gazing Slate obit (one more thing to write before hunkering down on the book, eh?) is any indication of her online edifice, I'm sure the culture will withstand this loss.
barbaricus, on the other hand, points to the value of blogs when you need deep background on a specific subject.
Far from stifling creative impulses, -badkitty- is grateful that this new media form has forced her to start writing again: