I took a break from reading and writing blog posts this year. Not on purpose. Just a confluence of events that lead me to not log into my GoogleReader and thus not be up on current trnds enough to post anything of my own.
Now that it’s summer and school is out of the way, I figured I’d get back into it. And I’ve learned something. Something very interesting, but also a bit disappointing: As an unpublished writer in the authosphere, the period between becoming involved and having learned what you can learn is very short. It’s the honeymoon phase of being a blog reader. Everything is new and wonderful, and you can’t get enough. There’s always something else to discover.
Right after my discovery of the writerly blog community, I went crazy. I searched all over the web, followed all the links I could find, read every post. And for two years, there was plenty to keep me going. But towards the end of that period, I began to find that very few of the new posts on my favorite blogs were really relevant to me. All the things about reading blogs I had once enjoyed now felt tawdry and dull. I had seen it all before.
I was beyond the point where blogs could be a useful resource to me purely as a writer. There was still plenty of scandal and gossip to entertain me, still reasons enough to hang around, looking at old photos, reliving a few of the best memories. But it wasn’t enough to hold me there. After our little break-up, I would occasionally log into my reader, scroll through a few posts when I had nothing else to do. Once or twice I even spent a few days going through every unread post. But then I would get bored again, and move on to some other, more exciting activity.
And now coming back after more than a year of not reading blogs and articles and writing sites, I find that that still holds true. I tend to scroll past most posts, every now and then opening something interesting in a new tab. But not too many new tabs, because the information isn’t all that new to me anymore. I’ve seen the same posts a hundred times before.
But I want that feeling back. I enjoyed tearing through entire new blogs in a day or two, learning a secret with every scroll. And there’s still stuff I want to learn about, approach in greater depth. But blogs are a somewhat shallow medium. There’s only so much discussion you can have, at least with other people’s blogs. I often feel a bit weird responding with what are essentially entire blogs posts of my own.
For that reason, I hope to be much more active here at the Chimney, but I know it’s going to be rough going. Because one of the primary ways to encourage discussion on your own blog is to contribute to the discussion on someone else’s. And yet I feel like I wasted all my energy for such discussions, and now I find it very hard to come up with anything constructive, because you can only have the same discussion so many times before you have nothing left to say.
I’m a bit curious as to the turnover rate on blog readers. Being back now, I see many of the same commentors on the various blogs I follow that I saw when I first discovered those blogs. I wonder how they’ve managed to stay engaged. Maybe they don’t follow as many blogs as I did. Maybe they stick to one or two, or have other activities and interests that limit their time in the blogosphere. Maybe these topics that I find so passe are still fresh to them. If so, I envy them their interest. I wish I knew where mine has gone.