Cutting back

bothendsAs some of my readers are aware, I have two blogs, this one (SITS) and Limping in the Light (LITL). Keeping up two separate blogs, even as minimalist as these two are, is a significant amount of work, especially if quality is an important consideration in their content, which it is to me anyway. I’ve written about time constraints and priorities in another post, so I won’t bore you with it (again) here.

Combine these blogs and the daily mundane activities of life with attempts to actually write stories to be sold, published, or otherwise used beyond the realm of the blogosphere and there’s a serious conflict. Something’s gotta give. Everything we do represents something we don’t do because that slice of time and energy has become unavailable.

The conflict is illustrated most tangibly blog-wise when I take shortcuts, such as using the same post in both blogs (q.v. here), write skimpy posts (q.v. here), and when I’m late with a post (q.v. what you’re reading now, one day late.) On the whole I’ve maintained an exemplary record, considering the longevity of the blogs. LITL spans over five years and 300 posts while its little brother SITS is comprised of about 70 entries spread over the last 14 months.

Not a bad run, but it’s going to slow to a walk after today.

In order to devote more time to my “job”, i.e. writing – and also to accommodate some other “opportunities” insinuating themselves into my life – I’m cutting back to one post a week total, that is, for both blogs. From today forward, I’ll write a single post per week, the intent being to alternate between the two platforms. The day of the week is TBD. Recommendations welcome.

This eases up the demands on my schedule, but it frees up your time, too.

You’re welcome.

Read or write… or write?

Inspired by a discussion with a fellow writer earlier today, I’m trying to figure out how to do it all.

I’m told that great writers read a lot. Writers also have to write a lot. Whether this is true is, of course, a matter of conjecture.

What isn’t conjecture is that there are only so many hours in a day – 24, by most reckoning – as well as days in a lifetime. In other words, there are boundaries. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that you can’t do everything. Believe me, I’ve tried. Now you don’t have to because I’ve told you and I wouldn’t lie.

Plus, I’m writing this blog.

On top of all that reading and writing (thankfully no ‘rithmetic), there’s life. Life takes up all my time. Even weekends. As one of my heroes wrote, we all have dots we’re committed to connect: pay bills, keep in touch with friends and family, exercise, go to the bathroom, feed ourselves, return calls, clean the house, buy Stuff, fix Stuff, store Stuff, throw away Stuff, pay taxes, fill the gas tank, balance the checkbook. You get it. Somewhere in there we need to pull back and recharge, too.

That list looks really important when it’s staring me down. Like most people, I generally submit to the Tyranny of the Urgent. Everything else – writing included – gets pushed down until it decomposes into compost, stinky and filthy but suitable for planting seeds, one would hope.

So when do I get the real Writing done?

Now.

Why?

flip

We miss you, Flip.

In this post, I want to answer the question, “Why do I write this blog?” To do so, I feel compelled to borrow (a.k.a. steal) a brilliant technique once used by the brilliant, sadly departed, comedian, Flip Wilson.

Remember Flip? He, in the guise of his most popular character, Geraldine, invented the phrases, “The devil made me do it,” and, “What you see is what you get.” Quite a legacy.

So here goes:

“Why do I write this blog?”

I see that as a two part question. First: “Why?”

“Why?” is a question that has plagued mankind since time immemorial. Every philosopher, theologian, statesman, and all who have confronted their own mortality have been confronted with and tried to satisfactorily answer the profound question, “Why?” It’s been debated, sermonized, and written about extensively since man was able to reason, yet no one has ever been able to find a resolution to the eternal “Why?” Given all that has gone before, none of which has borne meaningful fruit, it seems both presumptuous and pointless for this humble writer to add what would amount to a comparatively insignificant contribution to the discourse. Thus, I defer.

The second part: “Do I write this blog?” Yes.


 

That’s a flippant (pun intended) answer to a serious question. Why does anyone write a blog? Many do it for purely mercenary reasons. They desire to build up sufficient following in order to attract advertising dollars and thus, write for a living.

Closely related to those are the dilettantes who want to have their 15 minutes of fame and, when it doesn’t come in the first 15 posts, chuck the whole business.

It’s pure therapy for many. Disgorging whatever thoughts come to mind gives them the healing they need to assuage the frustration daily life dumps on all of us. It doesn’t matter one bit whether anyone reads it.

My two-part answer to that one-part question is, all of the above and none of the above. There’s at least a modicum of truth to each of those for me.

It is sometimes therapeutic, but I do care if people read it.

I am trying to earn a living as a writer, but not by selling advertising. In fact, that’s the last thing on my mind. Building a “platform” is an important step in creating a demand for writers trying to ply their trade. This is how I’m doing it for now.

I’m not looking for fame, but I do want readers and I do want to sell some of my writing. Am I lying to myself?

Besides those schizophrenic answers, there’s the hope that writing on a regular basis will improve my skills at the craft. I have no right (believe it or not, on the first pass, I spelled that “write”) foisting poor or even mediocre writing on an unsuspecting public. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for some very successful writers. I don’t know how they’ve done it, but I applaud their ability to do so and I wouldn’t mind being let in on their secret(s).

Believe it or not, writing just one of these posts can take a few hours. That’s just long enough to develop a thought, but not really long enough to do it justice. I could be using the time to work on one of my other projects – I always have a few on the front burners – or just to relax.

In spite of the fact that, between this and my other blog, Limping in the Light, I’ve written well over 300 posts, I’m constantly questioning my efforts in this quixotic quest. Will something ever come of it? Is it worth it? Is anyone reading this? Should I deep six the whole thing and do something that pays some more tangible benefit to society… in my lifetime? Ultimately, why am I writing this blog?

The questioning continues as I suspect it will as long as I continue. Writing is a lonely calling. Especially if no one’s reading.