by Suw on December 30, 2005

I keep thinking of blog posts I want to write, but never seem to feel much like writing them. I keep starting them in my head, but they never make it as far as the keyboard, let alone your screen. It's a sort of blogapathy.
Blogging goes in waves. I know this. Every blog has a lifecycle, an ebb and a flow, a to and a fro. The trouble is, not blogging and not reading blogs is making me feel a bit cut off from the world. There's a logic in saying that not having time to read blogs is making it harder to write – we all know that if a writer isn't writing it's because she's a lazy fuckwit not reading. But there's more to this than that.
Some say it's because I'm in love. Actually, the way I feel right now, that ought to be capitalised. I am in Love. But I think blaming T'Other for my blogapathy is unfair and just not right. If anything, he's given me more to blog about – I've seen more films, been to more new places (Paris, Bruges, soon Prague and then Washington (properly this time)), done more fun things* than when I wasn't with T'Other. We talk a lot too, about interesting things, but in general, not about the things I usually blog about.
I certainly don't have writer's block. Like Neil Gaiman, I don't believe in writer's block. The speed with which this post is being typed pretty much conclusively proves that there is no problem regarding the assemblage of words into coherent sentences.
I'm not sure that it's got anything to do with you guys either. I've had a biggish audience for ages, and frankly, although the stats tell me so and people whom I randomly meet at dinner tell me so, I don't believe that there is any more than three men and a dog reading this. So I'm not about to start freaking out because, Oh my gawd! People read me!
Kevin Marks suggests I am suffering from “working for a blog co. syndrome”, where when you suddenly start working for a blogging company you suddenly stop feeling like blogging, because blogging is work and therefore not something you do for fun. It's not that either. I've been working as a blog consultant for the last two years, and frankly, I've had more intensive periods of work-blogging than now and still leisure-blogged. Plus, 2.5 of my days a week is spent working on wikis (not blogs) and the other 5 days is spent working on digital rights (also not blogs) so the actual amount of actual blog-related work I am actually doing is, well, not so much.
I don't think it's stress. Yes, the last six months has been pretty stressful, but, you know, watching my business go nearly bankrupt was a lot more stressful, and I blogged the whole way through that.
Time is an issue, I'll give you that. But even so… usually I can find a second or two to throw something together.
This is more about not really wanting to blog. Not really feeling quite in the mood for it. And yet, it's also more than that. It's not something as fickle as mood.
I think that the reason I'm not writing is because I'm not writing, and I don't mean that in a 'lazy fuckwit' way. Because I've had weeks when I've just been too busy, all the posts I would have written have piled up inside my head, and now they're all jammed up together, higgledypiggledy, and nothing can get out. See, usually, I just open the doors of my head and the words all tumble out and all I have to do is arrange them nicely on the screen so that they make pretty patterns, but because I have this great big dam of unwritten posts, all the words are just getting snagged on one another and they aren't coming out at all. It's not writer's block. It's more like writer's logjam. (Or should that be blogjam?) I just need to dislodge one or two posts, and the rest will flow out like water.
This may or may not cue a nasty bout of blogal diarrhoea. Guess we'll have to see.
* some of them even bloggable

Anonymous December 31, 2005 at 3:51 pm

Suw, Suw, OMG! This is so too bad. It is the first crack, the first flitter, the first flutter of something that inevitably seems to grow larger and larger until you post a final swan-song explanation of why you are going into something called 'hiatus'.
Some bloggers hit 'hiatus' within a month, some exactly a year. You are rare, Suw. You have gone now for years. And it has been a wonderful run. But the world changes. People change. Times change. And … things change.
The first crack in the dam was 'taking time to myself'. Understandable. To be encouraged even. But what follows is a niggling question …. 'why??' 'Why am I even doing this?' 'Why have I spent such a fraction of my mental bandwidth blogging these past years, when I could have been investing those energies elsewhere?'
Before the hiatus malaise spreads further along its seemingly inevitable course, may I suggest one sound reason … ?
We are built … all of us … to live, love, and leave a legacy. Not to live our lives in isolation, but to reach out and connect with others. To love in all the varied ways that love occurs when we connect. You Suw, have been wonderful at sharing yourself. Allowing the other two lads (and the dog) to watch over the course of time and connect on the other side of the blog, with who it must be who is moved to write these words, post these pictures, include these links.
Because there is no one on the planet Suw, except you, who is the exact, unique individual who would have done what you have done. And you have done it so well. You have opened up your life almost Truman-Show-like, to let us know and understand who you are. You have connected. You have loved. You have lived. And you have documented. It has been wonderful, just as you are wonderful.
And, blogging has led to nice things IRL, true? I can think of several. But just as there is a time to sow, a time to harvest, a time to reach out, and a time to pull back, it seems that all good bloggers so eventually to the land of hiatus. In a way, maybe it is not to be seen as a *bad* thing … just as it is not *bad* when a little child grows up. What else would be expected, after all??
But think of the loss to the world if Samuel Pepys had gone into hiatus early on … what would have been lost.
That is how important you are, Suw. You are Pepys-like in the world of cyberspace. You were there. You were part of it. You witnessed it happening. You lived it. And … you reached out, connected, and documented it all. I have loved it. And, I believe, you have been engaged in an act of loving, as well.
So … is this premature? I hope so. I hope you continue to blog as you always have, forever. And yet, I know this: Things change. The great likelihood is that sometime … someday … your posts will become less frequent. Your 'why' question will come up with greater frequency. And finally there it will be. In print. Said to be 'just for a while', but there. Hiatus.
I can't ask you not to go Suw. That is up to you and who you are. But I can tell you, however prematurely, that you and your work have been loved, appreciated, and are of great value. When it happens, please don't delete your blog entirely, but let it stand as a testament for cyberhistorians. This was Suw Charman who brought us this view, this sharing, this explanation of the world through a lens of a unique person. Aren't we fortunate for what she did. We owe her a debt of gratitude.
In the meantime Suw, keep up the good work!
We love ya.

Anonymous December 31, 2005 at 6:03 pm

Huw, Huw, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub.
Oops, sorry there, got a bit carried away, back to my childhood.
Don't worry, this isn't a hiatus post. If anything, it's the post I hope will spur me to writing more over the next few months, despite how busy I know I am going to be. I just needed to unblock the logjam and see if posts start to come flooding out. Whether they do… we'll have to wait.
But thank you for your concern, and your comment, and for all the lovely things you've said. Warms my cockles to hear them.

Anonymous January 2, 2006 at 3:27 am

I find that when I go a while without blogging, I start to feel guilty, which makes it harder to blog, which makes me feel guiltier, until I eventually realize that I blog for me, not for anybody else, and that feeling guilty is silly, at which point, something usually comes to mind to blog about.
In other words, don't worry about it. Blog when you want to blog. When you don't want to blog, don't. No need to force it. Most of us will still be here when you feel like blogging.
Besides, your real life is just getting too good. Given a choice between a full real life and a full blogging life, there's no question which is the right way to go.
Enjoy Prague. It's an incredible city. I've been there twice, in 1993 and 1995. Friends I stayed with in 95 insisted I try the Becherovka, an herbed liqueur. They were right.

Anonymous January 4, 2006 at 11:32 pm

“I keep thinking of blog posts I want to write, but never seem to feel much like writing them. I keep starting them in my head, but they never make it as far as the keyboard, let alone your screen.”
I have the exact same problem — I “write” entries in my head, but when it comes time to sit down and type them, I just lose interest.
I think, for me, what I desire is interaction from whatever small audience I have. When I realize that something I think is worth writing because I'm interested in it … may not be interesting at all to most of my audience, so they won't bother reading it or commenting on it … I lose interest in writing the blog entry, and go on with the rest of my day.
I wonder if others feel the same way. It's a kind of self-censorship around assumptions and suspicions about other people's interests and I need to stop doing it and just write and see what happens, but after a year or two of blogging … I think it might be time for me to just give up and write for myself alone. Then, I think: I could just save time and not write at all.

Anonymous January 5, 2006 at 10:22 am

Same here. I also stopped wanting to blog. I don't even feel guilty about it anymore.

Anonymous January 5, 2006 at 1:53 pm

I must admit, I have found since writing this that it's easier now to blog. I really think I just had a few things stuck in my head that were creating a logjam, but, y'know, blogging isn't the be-all and end-all. And if you don't feel like blogging, then feel free to go do something else. No blogger is in hock to their audience.

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