Writing on the Surface of a Lake

Is it cool if I try and work something out with you here? Okay, cool. Thanks.

I mentioned a few days ago on Twitter that I was considering giving up this blog entirely, and only writing for pay from here on out. The utter lack of attention and/or engagement that this blog gets, in contrast to the effort and love I put into it, has gone from being something I shrug off to something that causes anxiety and (increased) self-doubt. Be still my beating heart, it’s like singing in the wind or writing on the surface of a lake. Why bother anymore?

I’m trying to be easier on myself. I had this whole thing where I’d force myself to write one post every day just to keep up the practice and get into a habit. For a while it was great. I felt like I was accomplishing something, and felt a sense of completion and satisfaction. But, folks, no one was coming to see what I’d made. I’d write long posts and short posts, posts about tech and posts about books and posts about parenting. I’d try cross-posting to Medium. I cultivated connections to Internet-famous people on social media. I even got one of my favorite writers to link back to me and write in semi-response to one of my own posts. But, folks, no one was coming.

Maybe I’m too egotistical. Maybe I’m too wrapped up in some childish need for “fame” or validation from unnamed others. Narcissism, self-absorption, I cop to all of it. But I’m just not one of those people who can build ships in bottles or compose poetry or carve figurines just for the mere pleasure of it. I need an audience.

So I seriously considered just killing this site. I mean, I’d archive the thing and let its contents live on a free Tumblr or WordPress.com site, but no new material. If I’m going to write for no one, I’d write for literally no one, and not post online. Otherwise, I’d write for an audience, and for an outlet (mine or someone else’s) that would pay me for the work. And it is work.

Obviously, I’ve backed away from the nuclear option. But particularly after playing steward to Friendly Atheist last week, which I really ejoyed, I’m even more convinced of the validity of my lament. Add to that the fact that in the past couple weeks I’ve had a medical procedure (I’m fine), got a really bad cold-flu thing, and of course endured the holidays with two small children and a couple of snowstorms, and, well, my energies have been even more drained than usual. And that’s meant almost no posting to Near-Earth Object.

I’m not going to kill the site, but you’ll see less of me here. When I get a general urge to wiggle my fingers over a keyboard, I’ll try and either direct my energies to Friendly Atheist or else toward a personal project (like the “book” I used to be working on) not intended for immediate public view. There will be times, I’m sure, that I’ll really want to just get some writerly thoughts in paragraph form onto the Web that aren’t related to atheism, and then, yeah, I’ll post here. But it won’t be every day.

And the Obcast? I’m rethinking that as well. Mostly in terms of what’s the most fun. I’ve done a bunch of really cool interviews, and I think I’m mostly over that format. The thought of booking more one-on-one episodes fills me with an introvert’s anxiety, and I just don’t need to do that to myself. I do think that when I kick it back on again, it’ll be more along the lines of the panel shows I did in October on Apple and Transformers: The Movie. Group disussion with a familiar cast of my choosing. And I genuinely hope I can find some advertising to fund it.

Look, I love Near-Earth Object. For all of my and its faults and failings, it’s my online identity in its richest possible manifestation. For that reason alone, it should go on. And for the few of you who do come by, I hope you keep doing that. My best hope, actually, is to find a new home for it within an existing outlet or network that would compensate me for the work. I’ll be glad to jump back in to a more full-time, full-tilt Near-Earth Object under that scenario.

Until then, it might get a little dusty here. But I’ll be back every so often to at least drive it around the block a few times.


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