I resisted the lure of the blogging world for a long time, dismissing it as a passing fad or a fuzzy and lazy form of publishing. It was, I believed, a shortcut to something too indistinct to ever mean anything. I didn’t get it. I think I get it now. Four and a half years ago, I had two or three favorite writers. Today I have dozens. Most are bloggers.
In addition to the talent, there has been an unexpected and mutual support system that wouldn’t be possible any other way. I’ve had the privilege to meet three of those bloggers in person, and in each case there was no discomfort, no ice that required breaking, no need for small talk. It was like reuniting with old friends. Such is the power of this immediate and intimate medium.
Blogging has helped me become more disciplined. I always thought I worked hard at writing – editing, revising, polishing, proofreading, and then running through the same cycle, again and again. But blogging pushed me to another level, maybe because getting older has brought with it an enhanced awareness of my own weaknesses. My heart freezes when I spot a typo, or when I just think I do. A clumsy sentence, or even a misplaced comma, gets me out of bed at night. I’ve gone back and made minor changes to old posts that nobody will ever read again.
I’ve also learned how to adhere to self-imposed schedules and deadlines. As a result, I’ve developed a sense of balance that has allowed me to walk with a little more confidence along that fine line between the restraints of time and a desire for perfection. One of my college professors told me that writing can never be flawless, and I finally understand what he meant. As we attempt to translate our tangled thoughts and emotions and arrange them in a kind of order — using nothing more than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation — essential elements are bound to get lost in the process. At some point, we have to decide that we’ve gotten close enough to the goal. I don’t remember what I originally set out to accomplish with this blogging thing, but I’ve rarely felt that I succeeded in getting close enough. Still, it’s as close as I’m going to get, because I have to stop.
This will be my last post.
There are several factors that went into this decision, but the primary one is financial. A lot of people are struggling to earn a living these days, and I’m one of them. And that’s my own fault. For the past three decades, I’ve stubbornly marched myself straight into a corner, ignoring the fact that I lack the educational credentials or the marketable skills to do anything but write. That single-mindedness left me with few options. Now I have to find a way out of that corner, and I suspect the task is going to occupy every one of my fumbling brain cells.
I’d slipped easily into a natural rhythm of publishing a post every eight days. I’ll miss that familiar routine. I’ll miss the long searches for the right word, the right illustration, the right focus.
Most of all, I’ll miss you.
Please know that I’ve cherished every relationship we’ve built, as well as every comment and email we’ve exchanged. Your consistent encouragement has lifted me when I’ve most needed it, and your own boundless gifts have been a treasure to discover. If blogging is a shortcut, you made me glad I took it.