Tuesday, December 31, 2013

To Write About Nothing

2013 has not been a great year for this blog.

Several times I made the decision to stop writing but either through inherent inconsistency or perverse stubbornness (not sure which) I recanted and elected to continue.

In the lead up to 2013 my blog had suffered several attacks from work based sources (as a consequence I can no longer write about work issues) and also, most damagingly, was attacked by a close member of my family. A family member who dismissed this blog as self aggrandisement, self-publicity, a fantasy ego trip and bizarrely as a means of fencing memories and feelings that they plainly thought I had no right to air to the anonymous, fake "sycophants" who read every post that I write [I wish].

The aftermath of all this was that I began to question every flowering of inspiration, every issue that motivated me to write, every idea for a post that happened to impinge upon my brain.

I went from writing three posts a week to barely managing to cough up one.

I accept that for some of you that was a positive outcome.

For me it lead to a year when this blog stopped feeling like it was mine. When my voice was muted, censored, diminished. When it was no longer enough for a subject to be close to my heart in order for me to write about it; I had to somehow justify it to these "other voices" that had insidiously invaded my head and presented me with a list of rules and regulations that I had to obey.

It's taken me the best part 2013 to realize that these voices have no right to be in my head and I have no business at all to be listening to them.

In that sense 2013 has been a great year for this blog.

The blogging landscape has changed enormously since I began writing here in 2006. Many wonderful blogs have fallen by the wayside to be replaced by automated shop windows and market stalls. Blogging has become less about sharing the experience of the everyday (and sometimes the unusual) and more about selling product.

Call me a puritan but I believe the only thing that should truly be sold on a blog is the writing. The words. The language. [So do buy my books.]

The disappearance of wonderful bloggers means less wonderful readers around to comment and bolster the spirits of flagging writers. You few who visit here regularly are very definitely diamonds in the rough. I know there are amazing blogs out there but having tried to find them I can tell you it is like searching for a needle in a haystack that is made of straw pretending to be needles.

But I have come to realize that that too doesn't really matter. Chasing a readership is just another way of obeying a voice in one's head that has no right to be there.

So at the end of 2013 and the start of 2014 - at the end of 1000 posts and hopefully at the start of another 1000 - it is time to rededicate this blog.

Not grandly or overly ambitiously. Not fakely or servilely.

But honestly.

To write as I see fit about things that matter to me and mine. To share and not to impose.

If you don't want to be here then - please, in the nicest possibly way - don't be.

But if you want to stay then know that you are most welcome.

Happy 2014 to you all.


RB said...

Sigh! Why do other people get so worked up about blogs? If people don't like your blog or what you write then they should just keep away. But they can't, can they? They have to pop in and check up on you - it just shows how insecure they are.

I am so impressed that you've kept it at, despite everything. I do hope you have managed to reclaim the blog for YOURSELF because that's what a blog should be for and feel that it is a safe and welcoming place where you can write once again.

I don't visit often, because I don't really do blogging, but I do often read via Facebook and I do like to see what you are up to and what you are thinking.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Steve said...

RB: lovely to know you are still around and checking in occasionally! I hope you and yours are well.

Blogs are like miniature copies of Pandora's Box; the wrong sort of people can't resist poking their noses in even though they know they'll inevitably see something that they won't like...

libby said...

Good on'yer Steve...all the best for 2014 x

Steve said...

Libby: and to you too.

London City (mum) said...

All the above.
And *this* is why yours is one of the few blogs I still read, and thoroughly enjoy.

May 2014 be bigger, better and bolder - when it comes!


Gorilla Bananas said...

Ah yes, I remember all the angst you felt at your sibling's complaints. What the hell, you can't please everyone. Is there any problem with work-related stuff now? I thought you'd had a happy ending (no pun intended).

Keith said...

Happy 2014 to you Sir.

Tell it as you see it, and, as Shakespeare said...

" Nothing can go amiss is simpleness and duty tender it."

Okay, maybe not quite relevant to this, but the sentiment is there, ( and I like a chance to show off. )

Looking forward to all you have to say next year.

Clippy Mat said...

Steve, I'm glad you have persevered with your writing. It shows that it's truly what you are meant to do, in spite of a few ups and downs. Here's to a great 2014 for you and for your writing and I hope that I might even pick up the pen myself again one of these days too.

Steve said...

LCM: your positive support is always a boon.

Gorilla Bananas: still labouring under the official secrets act alas...

Keith: always nice to hear from old Bill... a happy 2014 to you too, sir.

Clippy Mat: I hope you do too...! Happy New Year to you!

the fly in the web said...

I know what you mean about the constraints of feeling someone unwelcome over your shoulder...I have members of my husband's family doing just that to see what goes on in our world when a phone call or e mail would be more effective...except their poisonous minds don't work like that.

You keep on saying what you want and if it doesn't suit some people - tough.

I always look forward to your blog ....one of the good ones in a fast declining field of ego trip merchants and people determined to change my life and make some money for themselves on the way.

John Going Gently said...

I for one will Always be staying
Happy new year me old son

Marginalia said...

I also have pangs of parting when bloggers quit the scene. It might be someone simply stopping to write; others announce their decision to cease for whatever reason.

It's very poignant when you come up a "new" blog with an entry date of a year or more ago. The blog's hugely enthusiastic about this and that. And that's that. You start wondering why they stopped. Died? Divorced? In Prison?

We all can't be Samuel Pepys can we?

Steve said...

The fly in the web: the only person's life I am in the market to change is my own... and I wouldn't consider myself an expert on my own life let alone to presume on anybody else's. Always a pleasure to have you here.

John: and to you too, me old mate.

Marginalia: died, divorced, prison... sounds like an old playground game. No wait, I'm thinking of marry, snog, avoid...

The bike shed said...

Oh, I shall stay - and shall probably fluctuate in my own writing just as much. You are right about the change in blogging though - many simply product promoters - or frankly, boring.

Your fame spreads though - as my older kids commandeered the building of Dylan's new lego at Christmas, Jane said - you should take a photo; that 'bloggertropperwhatsit' bloke you read would like to see this!

Happy New Year.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Hats off to you for deciding against being cowed or suppressed Steve. Do we not own the copyright to our own lives? I had a former 'friend' who thought it was his business to tell me when he thought my posts were out of line (ie didn't concur with his opinions/take on life). I told him he should either start his own blog or shut up. Eventually the friendship became unsustainable. Though by then, it had become so uphill, I cannot say I miss it. But it taught me a valuable lesson that whilst it may not be wise to share absolutely everything on a blog, the writer should be the arbitrator, not the reader. As for self-agrandisement, why should writing be any more conceited than baking a cake? If that is one's talent, that is one's talent and most talents which can be shared to entertain or feed should be applauded. Happy New Year to you and yours! Lx

femminismo said...

Fill yer boots? This has got to be some esoteric English expression. What does it mean? Still, I am checking in and so glad I did. Please don't listen to the voices and keep writing. And I loved seeing your Bampap (?) not sure the spelling is correct - and your grandmother. I miss all the oldsters this time of year especially! Cheers - happy new year - and all that. jeanne

Steve said...

The Bike Shed: your wife is right; I would indeed like to see the photos! I have been amazed this Christmas at how many bloggers / Facebookers have received a Lego set this year - and not necessarily merely vicariously via their kids... As for blogging, you will always be welcome, thank you. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Laura: "Do we not own the copyright to our own lives?" - I want that printed on a T-shirt or even tattooed on my forehead... though I might just settle for having it on the banner of this blog. :-)

Jeanne: "Please don't listen to the voices and keep writing" - that's exactly what my doctor says to me each week... with the qualifier that writing is much better than killing people. Apparently I mustn't listen to those voices too... I miss my grandparents very much, but especially at Christmas. A very Happy New Year to you!

Sarah Willis said...

To be true to yourself is the only thing that matters - it doesn't matter what they or anyone thinks or says. Good on you Steve carry on writing....... I haven't forgotten you. All the best for 2014 and beyond.

Steve said...

Sarah: wishing you a very happy 2014 too.

Trish said...

Some great comments from people here. It's such a difficult one, the monetising of a blog. I do hope my reviews that pop up on mine don't put you off reading. You can always skip those ones, I don't mind :-)

Steve said...

Trish: it is a tricky one. The ideal solution though is balance. I'm not averse to making a little money on my blog now and then... and the occasional review, if well written and with bags of personality, on other people's blog do not put me off. Blogs that solely exist as marketing posters for third party companies though... those I hate and won't read. And blogs whose individual voice has been lost in the throes of sponsored post addiction I also steer clear off. It all needs to be balanced. You get the balance right in my opinion hence I am still a fan. ;-)