Not In The Past

Looking forward from 30

Archive for the category “Site News”

Announcement regarding my blogging future

Whoa, so much for getting into the habit of posting everyday with that #365poems exercise.  I still see the value of doing it, but when you go two weeks without a post because of the backlog of poems needed to catch up, and not wanting to come up with a separate post until I did, that just spells trouble.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of my blogging.  These days, I can’t really say it’s been the biggest priority for me anymore.  I’ve been maintaining blogs for over 12 years now; an ever-growing chunk of my life has been documented across multiple platforms and usernames.  I’ve been reading blogs for a while longer.  I’ve connected with a number of awesome people through blogging: writing is how I communicate best and feel I can reveal my true self that gets lost in the awkwardness of face-to-face interactions.  I haven’t really bothered reading blogs in a little while, though, or keeping up with my RSS readers.  Maybe this is due to the pervasiveness and ease of social media, or maybe this is just annoyance at scripts not responding in my browser.

I have three blogs on WordPress right now.  One is an “official site” under my full name that hasn’t been updated in a month.  Another is a sporadically updated “pop culture” blog that’s mostly SNL.  And then there’s this one, which has been sort of a clearinghouse of whatever came to mind.  I also maintain a few Tumblrs but those aren’t so much about the words.  With all these blogs, no wonder my focus is so divided.

I think my blogging is also dividing my focus from getting my writing to a point where I want it to be.  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I should be posting as much of my work online before I get a chance to really fine-tune it.  I also feel like writing for the public at large has become a crutch for me, and an excuse to no longer write personal correspondence aside from cursory, business-like missives.  It’s not that I don’t like blogging; it’s just that I want to be more confident in the direction my writing takes.

I’m going to take a break from blogging online for the next little while.  I also think it’s time to close Not In The Past.

I feel like I’ve hit a wall with my writing online, and painted myself into a corner.  I’m debating whether to delete everything here, make everything private, or allow it to gather dust and spam comments.

I’ll be posting similar messages on the other blogs; I don’t think I’ll delete the other two, especially if one is supposed to be my main footprint online and the other is my most popular site, but I think a break is due.  I haven’t decided what I’ll do once I decide I’m ready to rejoin the blogosphere; I may try to get the blog rolling on my “professional page” or just open a site that I don’t put my name on or publicize (not even in comments).

I’m not disappearing from the internet completely, though.  I’ll still be on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you don’t know my username, send me a message), and you can still e-mail me directly.  I just have a bit of blog fatigue at the moment.

Until we meet again,
Ben

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Blogging hiatus

I’m going to take a month-long break from updating this or any of my other blogs; I have way too much going on in the real world that’s a bigger priority for me than venting on this site.

If anyone wishes to keep in contact with me for the time being, please send an e-mail to bjdwsm [at] gmail [dot] com.

This blog is getting away from me.  I’m at another point where what I’m saying with this blog is less and less what I want to actually communicate.  I blame the benefits of semi-anonymity.

Purpose and Repurpose

I’m trying to think about what I hope to do with the blog I registered with my real name.   I want it to be my “professional” site, one that is a showcase for my writing and photography, without the tendency for solipsism that pervades here.  Not In The Past is more for capturing my feelings and updating people on what’s going on with my life.  I already have another blog for my pop culture stuff.

I’m leaning towards using my domain as a place to write short essays and well-polished reflection.   How does that sound?

New look

As you can probably see (unless you’re just looking through a feed reader), I’ve decided to change the look of the blog a bit.  I did like the old layout at first, but I felt this one looked a little cleaner.  I’m going to be doing a few tweaks to the site’s overall appearance here and there over the next few days.  I think this look has a bit more potential.

I’m also considering renaming the blog.  I do want it to be unabashedly and openly myself, but I think that there might be a better way to do this than just putting my name up there.

Self-censorship

I was informed that some of the stuff I post in my blog entries and five-minute free writes (still haven’t fully figured out whether I need to hyphenate) may come back and bite me, especially when I’m doing a job search.  In response, I have put a disclaimer on the side of my blog about the content I put on here.  People will still jump to their own conclusions about who I am and what kind of character I have, but I want to make it clear that the sloppy spelling and scattershot flashes of my mind in the five-minute free write are meant as an exercise and a publicly accountable document of my own goal of writing every day.  The ideas I have in them may be the basis for future entries or projects, but they are solely to get juices flowing and synapses sparking.  They are outpourings of creativity, and they are mine.  If I become less concerned with getting words out and more into communicating or hiding specific ideas from being made public, that defeats the purpose of the exercise.

I am not going to lie in my blog, though.  I do drink alcohol from time to time.  I get sad.  I get angry.  I think more about the nature of the universe and I question what I have been taught growing up from time to time.  I get frustrated with myself when I get caught in habit.  I can feel blessed to have so many friends one minute, and frustrated that I can’t really find that bridge between myself and them another.  I am not going to pretend to be anything I am not for the sake of others.  This is not a way to live.

I am not going to keep silent on things I think are wrong.  I am a political progressive who gets disgusted every time I see a conservative politician lower themselves to some of the crap they’ve pulled either in debates or in actual policy.  I believe the actions taken against the Occupy movement in so many places were excessive and underhanded, and to dismiss the whole movement as a bunch of tree-hugging hippies who can’t get jobs seems to prove more about the level of control the 1 percent has.  I am concerned about where our world is going.  I am also very outspoken on gay rights issues, and see too many ways that GLBTQ people are diminished through policy and attitudes.  If I feel strongly about something that is going on, I want to be able to speak my mind directly and truthfully.  I am not going to pretend I love the new Conservative crime bill or keep quiet the next time some politician or televangelist says that gay people are destroying the family.  The fact that there are still so many people who think gays don’t deserve a voice or the slightest bit of compassion sickens me to my core.

I am guilty of letting myself not get involved in causes or organizations I believe in because I am worried about what people will think when they see me my association with them.  I dislike that about myself and want the courage to change.  At the same time, I get strident on my Twitter.  I retweet a lot, I reply to others’ posts and I say things that I can’t really elaborate on within the space of 140 characters.  That last line in the previous paragraph?  One of my tweets.  I’m more bold there, maybe to my detriment.  Tweeting feels more in the moment, while at the same time still filtered into a single coherent thought.  What is being careful, though?  Sometimes a thought will come and I have to get it out.

Where do you hold back?  There’s a well-known xkcd comic about this subject, with the conclusion that holding back every little impulse you have for the path of least resistance is not a way to live.  Granted, there are still ways you should still hold back: saying that someone deserves to die is not something I consider letting go.  Badmouthing former employers is never wise.  Constant streams of self-pitying entries are something I don’t really want to let loose on the world either.   At the same time, I really admire bloggers that have been able to share parts of themselves that are not particularly pretty.  Maybe honesty works better when you’re using it to reflect on something from a distance.

How do you decide which feelings are worth sharing with the world?  And what point do you run the danger of letting your audience dictate the content of your blog?  I know of people that may be seeing these words.  I’ve had a few people tell me they’ve read my blog and encouraged me to go forward.  I try to write for myself, but part of me wants to impress some writer, musician or artist who may come across this page.  Part of me wants to make sure I don’t want to imperil myself.  Part of me wants to connect with other bloggers whose writing has struck a chord with me.  At what point does a blog no longer exist as an authentic expression of yourself so much as pandering to what your audience expects?

Taking Requests

I want to make sure I keep in the habit of posting regularly and frequently.  However, I don’t want to eventually have my posts start copying each other or have to resort to what I call “marking time” posts.  I want to make sure I actually have content on here, and a reason for people to keep reading, commenting and sharing.

I want you to suggest something for me to write about.  Any topic.

I want to be able to research your suggested topic first before I build a post around it, and I also want to post whatever I want whenever it hits me instead of queuing my posts up behind an assignment, but if you suggest something, I will eventually write it.  If you have a date tied to your subject, I will do everything to post on that date.

Topic submissions can either be posted as a comment on this post, or sent by e-mail to bjdwsm [at] gmail [dot] com.

Addendum: Topics relating to culture, television, music, arts, literature will be considered, but posted on my supplemental blog Existentialist Weightlifting.

A New Beginning

I love blogging.  I’ve been doing it for 10 years and have been amazed at the community I’ve been able to interact with just by writing about myself and my life.  I remember seeing other people’s blogs and getting this feeling that this was something I could do as well.  I’ve always felt more comfortable expressing myself in writing than any other way, so these blogs let me show off a side of myself that may not really come through immediately in person.

For the longest time, I was at Livejournal, largely for the option to keep my posts friends-only as well as maintain a network of friends who I was connected to on the site.  Since the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as the increased prominence of blogging, I felt I wanted to go into a space that would eventually become more “me”.  I also felt that hiding behind a friends-only filter became a crutch.   The challenge to myself is to write as honestly as I can with the knowledge that anyone can find what I’m writing about, but also resist the urge to devolve into at-length complaining.  I’m also going to eventually work this blog into a professional website.

I set up a few sites here at WordPress already, but I’ve realized for the past year or so I’ve had too many weblogs on the go; this is going to be my main site from hereon.  I’m going to eventually be folding my photoblog and other writing blog into this site and will fully integrate both in the future.

I’ve decided to set up a few ground rules for myself on this site:

  • Anything that’s primarily about pop culture, TV, movies, music or books will be on Existentialist Weightlifting.
  • I am not going to write at length about my work, career, or any job searches.  I may make an occasional remark if there’s news about any big changes, but bad days at work don’t need to be dwelled on in whole paragraphs.  On occasion I may write about personal projects I may be starting up myself.
  • I will make sure I keep constant with my updates.  Focusing on the one site is the best way to make sure of that.

This page is not going to be as it is now, at least visually.  I’m still going to be playing around with the design and the widgets.  I’m going to be adding links to other blogs.  I may even change the name.  But it’s time for me to get serious about blogging again.

Here goes…

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