September 23, 2010


If you've been reading my blog for a long time, you can't have failed to notice that my output has dropped off significantly in the past few months. Partly that's a symptom of creeping real-life-itis, and my general lack of spare time between my various jobs and trying to keep some kind of momentum with the novel — but the more I've thought about it lately, the more I think it has to do with an equally creeping frustration with blogs (or my blog, anyway) as a format.

For a start there's the time thing, and not only the "there's not enough hours in the day" part, either, because increasingly the blogging itself is inherently more time-consuming: in the past it was always easy enough to find some ridiculous link I could dash off a few jokes about, but nowadays I find myself having to actually spend time searching for stuff that interests me. Maybe it's because funny links circulate so much faster now, thanks to Facebook in particular, that by the time they reach me I feel like there's no point in blogging about them; maybe it's because so many of the "news" links that pop up on my homepage now are blog posts themselves and have already distilled the story past where it's engaging; or maybe it's because I'm worried about repeating the same sorts of jokes and the same sorts of rants that I've already been making for the past seven years.

And it's that worry about constantly being "fresh", actually, that I think is the most counterproductive thing about the constant march of the internet (as I've complained about before): since "good" blogs have to be updated constantly, bloggers have to either be interminably scouring the web for new material (which, as I said, I don't have time for), or constantly generating new opinions about old material. And frankly, I don't generate drastically new opinions that often. I don't think anyone should, really — certainly my opinions change all the time, but as a sort of gradual process that doesn't lend itself to hourly 140-character summaries.

So with blogging, now, I have a choice between making the same old tired comments about the same old topics all the time, or forcing myself to take new and uninformed stands on those topics just so I have something novel to say about them. Colour me fucking jaded.

The other alternative, of course, is to do what a lot of bloggers resort to — I presume suffering from the same sort of malaise, even if they don't voice it — and scale back my own commentary to make room for insipid "What do you guys think?" paragraphs. You know the ones I mean: the few sentences at the end of a blog post that pose one or two bland rhetorical questions and absolutely refuse to take any sort of ownership of any opinion whatsoever, in the hope that an angry flamer will do it for them. But I refuse to stoop so low: this is my blog, and if I can't fill it up myself I'll be damned if some Googler looking for Colin Farrell's cock is going to do it for me.

There's not a happy ending here. I still enjoy blogging because I still enjoy writing, and CWG hasn't lost its charm for me yet, either — so I don't plan to close up shop any time soon. But I do feel a little like blogging is starting to make itself at odds with good writing, not because it isn't capable of producing great writing, but because the sheer volume of shit that is produced by internet users — and expected by them — is overwhelming that imperative to slow down, and think, and appreciate something that only comes around every week or two (or six). And until I can get a better handle on all that — or until I become a raving demagogue nutbag — I'd prefer, if I don't have anything interesting to say, to not say anything at all.

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