July 2009

Still alive!

by Suw on July 12, 2009

Dear me, it’s been ages since I last wrote a blog post here. How things have changed since I first started Chocolate and Vodka seven years ago!

Mainly, the problem has been one of time and energy. The last few years seem to have been an almost constant sequence of events and projects that have taken all my attention and left me little time to blog, and even less inclination. I think being on Twitter has rather decreased the desire to write here too – if I have something on my mind I can tell everyone via Twitter and get pretty much instant feedback. In the years BT (Before Twitter), if I got myself some sort of brainworm, it would just wriggle round in my head until I finally found time to get it out into a blog post. Now that happens a lot less often. Mostly, I think to myself “I must blog that some time” and then promptly forget it.

Back then I also had a life that I really wanted to escape from. When I started this blog, I was living on my own in Reading, knew no one there, rarely socialised, and was stressed beyond belief trying to get my business to work. When it failed, I used my blog and my online network of friend to keep me sane. The blog then wasn’t a luxury, it was a necessity. Without it I would have felt intolerably isolated and unhappy.

Then I started consulting, moved to London, started the Open Rights Group, met my husband, got married, moved house twice, and generally got myself so busy that half the time I barely knew which way to turn. My underemployed days were over. And when business wasn’t doing great, I busied myself trying to plump up my client list, and blogging then felt like the ultimate indulgence.

I wonder too if I shouldn’t have kept all my writing here, on Chocolate and Vodka. My other blogs, notably Kits and Mortar, Lost Yod, and Finding Ada could, I suppose, all have lived as categories here, but for some reason that didn’t quite feel right. I wonder if perhaps I shouldn’t amalgamate them, bring them all in under Chocolate and Vodka’s roof and at least then there’d be a bit more blogging going on.

I’m not sure why I create a new site every time I have a new idea. I think part of it is because I worry that those of you who come here to find out about me, or my writing, or whatever it is that draws you here, would be put off by an influx of posts about cats or self-build, or women in tech, or jewellery-making. But even having created, say, Kits and Mortar to be home to my thoughts on moggies and house building, even there I worry that the balance is wrong, and that those who go there for building ideas would be pissed off if I write too much about cats.

To be fair, I did think that Kits and Mortar might become more commercial than it is. Yes, ok, it’s got advertising on it, but I don’t have the time or the wherewithal to really make it work as a pro-blog. I think in the year and a bit it’s been live I’ve earnt probably about 20 quid from the ads, so it’s hardly worth it. And although lots of people told me when I launched it that it was a great niche idea and that I could make a killing, the only thing it killed was time.

Part of the fear of being as much of an intellectual magpie – ooh! shiny! – as I am is that people will view me as a generalist and will think less of me because of it. This is a theme that both Stephanie Troeth and Stephanie Booth have discussed in recent days, and I feel that both of them have hit the nail on the head.

But the truth is that I have always had what might these days be diagnosed as ADD. I don’t think that it’s a disorder – I think it’s just curiosity. I am curious about everything, from what makes cats tick to how to have large windows without wasting huge amounts of energy through them to the jewellery styles favoured by the Elizabethans.

So I find myself seriously considering migrating all the content from all my other blogs to here, and shutting them down. I’m paying quite a bit, yearly, on hosting fees that perhaps I don’t need to. Certainly I’ve given up on the idea that I’m ever going to have time to focus fully on Kits and Mortar or Lost Yod, or even the ill-fated Fruitful Seminars. Finding Ada I’ll probably keep as a separate entity as it may one day grow up to be a bigger organisation than it currently is, but the rest of it really is just me exploring whatever takes my fancy. And what is Chocolate and Vodka for if not for me to take my fancy wherever it wants to go?

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