Friday, January 14, 2011

The Cost of Blogging

There are always trade-offs. I spend a good bit of energy as a teacher and consultant getting my clients to let go of something. To focus on the crucial few at the expense of the often times seductive yet confusing many. It’s the same thing in our personal lives.

I’d prefer to think that I’m more pragmatic than jaundiced. But this I know…you can’t have it all. At least the way consumer marketers, life coaches and self-help book publishers might have you believe. Energy and time and all resource units for that matter—are finite. And as long as there are resource limits, there will be trade-offs whether you make the consciously or whether things just slip or become less optimal as a result of you not “tending” to them.

So what has blogging cost me? What’s become subordinated? This venue wasn’t the first place where during personal time...I dropped off my thoughts. I kept journals. I still keep work journals but they don’t contain one whit of self reflection, loathing, fantasies or memorialization of defining moments. It’s all logistics, to-do lists and meeting notes.
All of these journals are full. There’s a travel journal and there’s a journal of letters written to LFG, beginning when she was eighteen months old. Otherwise it’s just a pile of my overwrought randomosity. I had other full, handwritten books of my thoughts but I destroyed a few volumes many years ago. It scared me when I went back and read the unvarnished truth. My first thought—I wasn't married then—was “what if I die and my mama reads this?” Rupert Hart Davis’ first reaction to reading his uncle Duff Cooper’s diaries was to destroy them.
But then I learned a few things from a friend now deceased. First, you write the truth and you don’t hedge. That’s one of the beauties of chronicling; of writing in a journal (sorry, for some reason, I can’t use journal as a verb). Second, you write when you want to write, not with some disciplined “I’ve gotta write in my journal every day” sort of pressure. When your journal entries are driven by pressure to contribute versus an innate need to “get something out”, the pleasure quickly vanishes.
I enjoyed rediscovering this journal entry…“LFG on the phone—“even though I won’t be with you on Saturday, the book festival is on the Mall with authors of children’s books and grown up books and you might want to go”—lovely” LFG was six years old when she offered me that Saturday option. She knew her daddy well—even back then. I’m thinking that words…written, read and spoken…will always be strong currency for us to spend on each other. 

So I’ve started to miss my journal lately. Maybe I’ll consider writing a journal paragraph or two here and there and just do one or two blog stories a week. Stay tuned. Or not.

ADG, II … Observer

29 comments:

Silk Regimental said...

I'd be interested to know how do you feel about books vs. tech-ish replacements like Kindle?

Nice post - I'm going to by a collar pin this weekend!

ADG said...

Silkie...yes. Let not another week go by without you owning a collar pin. I'm still real mixed on the whole e-book thing. Like someone said the other day..."you can't smell an e-book". LFG got a Nook for Christmas and I was fully supportive. I'm sure I'll come on board with an ipad at some point.

Kathy said...

I always worried somebody would find my diary and read it. Especially one of my brothers. I have no evidence or witnesses to my heart of hearts. Maybe it's safer that way.

I do hope you keep up the public version of your journals. I'd miss you.

Flo said...

"So what has blogging cost me?"

Wait.....before you go on, let me tell you [again] how you've enriched your readers' lives by sharing yourself as you do in this forum. Intelligent humor, astonishing and piercing truthtelling, mirror holding to soften hard hearts, generosity of spirit, kind tolerance to the smartest of smarta** remarks. Soul. Yes, at a price.

Honesttogod, the gifts you give this forum are so rich, so varied. I've always thought we should pay admission. Emptying out one's soul is expensive. Yes, go; get that private journal writing underway.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Hmmm, well I'd miss the daily dose, but perhaps keep a journal and those entries that seem blogworthy get posted?

I know what you mean. Blogging takes a lot of time and effort, even for a born story-teller like you.

LPC said...

As you know, I think you are a wonderful writer. I told my readers so, too, this week. But it's true. Blogging is a lot of work. And you're doing it on top of a full-time work arrangement. Yikes. I think you should feel free to blog only 2-3 times a week. (Notice how I did that? Upped the ante?). Or stop. But you are very good at this and do provide much joy to many. You might want to try taking full weeks off from the blog, say every couple of months. Planned breaks. That's my current strategy and it does help.

Anonymous said...

You will always be "living in the tremor of intent". Whether journaling or blogging. I hope you someday find what it is you are seeking or at least find out why you feel this need..... to seek.

and NO. You do not just write about your daughter and socks.

and one more thing........I thought your blog WAS your journal.

Britt Sudduth said...

ADG - kind request that you not stop posting often. Yours and a few others are the ones I absoutely pick up daily, even when time does not permit.

My high school English teacher made us write a full-page journal entry everyday of my senior year. I saw those notebooks in my old closet at my Dad's house recently. I'm absolutely scared to death to open and see what kind of rubbish I put to paper. Someday my kids are going to have a serious laugh over their old man! I hope I'm around when that happens.

Reggie Darling said...

I say, Maxie, your blog is testament to the fact that it takes work, thought, effort, and drive to create it, write it, and illustrate it. We, your lucky readers, are the richer for it, without requiring anything more than to click upon the link and open it up. Sounds like we have the easy end of that stick. I'll always appreciate reading whatever and whenever you decide to grace us fortunate ones with your brilliance. Thank you.

Kathie Truitt said...

Since I was old enough to pick up a pencil and form structured sentences writing has been as much of a basic human need for me as oxygen. I can't NOT write - believe me, I've tried.

It's frustrating, it's maddening, it's heartbreaking and exhilirating all at once! You can be on "Cloud 9" one day with wonderful reviews, magazine articles and awards, and chopped at the knees the next by that one critic that rips your heart out - the one that absolutely despises you for the very reasons the ones the day before absolutely adored!

I've been writing and speaking professionally since 1987 and you'd think I'd have thicker skin, but....

As I get older I love to see the enthusiasm in the eyes of the younger people striving to carve out a name for themselves - even though I know they'll inevitably ask me for advice because I have none. I have no clue what to tell someone just starting out. Other than 'just do it'.

I thank God every single day that He has allowed me to be successful and make an actual loving at this for as long as I have. I have no other explanation for why I've been so successful at it for so long. I know there are MANY, MANY more talented than this ol' gal - 23 years ago I just happened to get that one lucky break....

Gretchen said...

My first thought when reading was OMG, he's retiring his blog (again?! I'm a newbie from last summer). Yet it appears you're lamenting that your writing mode has changed from private journals to this public blog...or is it a lament that what you choose to write has shifted over time? Like others here, I truly hope you maintain your public irreverence alongside your heartfelt posts. For your own sake, though, dear sir, you may wish to sneak in some private writing. For the soul continues to seek its sun; the deepest parts of you should remain private, as you see fit, but like so many of us, writing is how you make sense of the jumble and tumult inside. There, too, you can continue odd sentences of your various novels brewing within! Just as writers earning their livelihood have various media (novels or such, business writing or speechwriting, poetry), who's to say you can't do a wee bit of blogging and journal keeping? Words are words, wherever they find their shape...and we'll support your leaving us high and dry as you see fit!

Patsy said...

From a different part of the creative spectrum, I completely understand.

It would be helpful to get an extra 4 hours per day. Who do we speak with about that?

ADG said...

Thanks everyone. I appreciate your perspective(s)...and I'm not going anywhere. I just have these transient bouts of angst regarding this blog thing. I never take it too seriously and have no delusions about it being anything other than what it's been all along. Butcept sometimes I wonder if I should spend more time elsewhere.

Kathie Truitt said...

Make a 'loving' out of this? Freudian slip of the tongue maybe? Ahh, never understimate the power of an editor!

Susan said...

I often find myself torn between a complete shut down of the blog and only a "once in awhile post". I lean more toward the complete shut down when I realize I've spent several hours in blog land while I'm still in my pajamas, the house needs cleaning, the dishes need doing, errands up the whazoo still need to be run and I have about 30 minutes before I have to do the daily pick up of 5 kiddos from school. Oh the guilt!
Good thing I work fast and do well under pressure. I lie to myself and say, "That's it, no more blogging."
Then I come across another fabulous blog and I'm become an addict again.

Preppy 101 said...

Re: Your response to comments. Good. Glad you're here - no matter how often.
Yours is one of my favorites.
My writing/blogging cannot hold a candle to yours, but I am an A+ in discernment. xoxo

Silk Regimental said...

Regarding time well spent - you're gifted. Some might think it's all BS - but a journal of one's thoughts and appreciations is nothing trivial. You're reading aren't dumbshits - they're smart folks who --- love you! (believe it or not).

=Pablo

yoga teacher said...

I love your blog! I have no idea how I got here, to a blog ostensibly about traditional men's style, which is not really one of my main interests. At all. But you make us laugh and cry and sometimes argue and it's great fun. We definitely have the easy end of this arrangement. You do all the work. But you often make my day, and I thank you for that.

ps: My diaries made a rather large fire.

Flo said...

"I just have these transient bouts of angst regarding this blog thing...sometimes I wonder if I should spend more time elsewhere."

Elsewhere. Where is that? Has "elsewhere" made its coordinates known to you yet? You have to find it so you can compare There with Here.

Stand back: If I were you, I'd shut down everything to do with reading, prop up on the chaise in those jommies, and watch movies back to back all weekend. Stoli and Fritos all the way.

You gotta plug that energy leak.

ilovelimegreen said...

I actually thought your blog was your journal that you just were open enough to share with those who were interested.

The closest thing to a journal that I've kept are my sketchbooks from art school; every few years, I'll open them and will be blown away by what's in them - the words, the images - not so much the technical aspect of the renderings but the substance and the concepts, what was going on in my head back then. Then the sketchbooks go back on a bookshelf for a few years until I am brave enought to peek into them once again.

Anonymous said...

Find something else to give up as we need your blog. You come at issues in a refreshing and off beat way. So much junk out there and we need your intelligence. You should get a 5 year journal (same page - 5 lines) and just do your daughter one line a day. Wonderful things as you look at the same date for five years and they are structured so you start on any date. You and she will both cherish the changes when you reflect.

Gail, in northern California said...

I'm just selfish enough not to want you, or your little golden-haired girl, to go away for any length of time, but if you did leave us for awhile, would you pour all of your energies into writing the book we all know is in you? And would it contain a chapter for Charlotte, the woman with the beautiful blue eyes?

Don't worry about us...we want you well and free from any sort of stress when away from the demands of your work and while being a great dad, both of which must come first.

Gretchen said...

Agree with the other Max Addicts here...you're in a special league, sir, and Limey had it right, i suspect, that this IS your journal, merely in a new format. Are you feeling angsty because you have "virtual" friends and "only" an ethernet journal to peruse, rather than a handwritten, leather book to hold in your hands? Perhaps shodding your laptop in one of those faux books could help? Remember, as you told us about your Nook purchase for LFG: she's reading, just in a new medium. You're writing, only in a new medium. If it's the virtual nature of us that seems off, say the word and I, for one, and many others, I know, will meet you in Old Town, DC, or elsewhere for cocktails, food, and bon mots/vivants!

Anonymous said...

Hell. Nobody gives THAT bigga shit about what you write here. Same as you, obviously. You wanna whine or you wanna share? Fuck. Take a break. Take a permanent break. Write the fucking book. But I'll tell ya sumpn, Pilgrim......you'll miss the attention.
Quitchyerwhinin' and post about all of that stuff you promised. Wasn't there something about campaign furniture? What was the deal about cars......allards and abarth power? What happened to the Ivy Look? And Lime Greenish and Summer Verbage are still all a flutter in anxiety over your panty raid blog.........whatever, you fleshless mog......

Dare ya to post my comment.

ADG said...

A five year journal. Is there a such thing? That might be the ticket to "feed" what I'm not getting here. And NO this isn't my journal in the same way that a "journal is a journal"...are you freakin' kidding me?

AnonymousTHATbiggashit...did you honestly think I'd not post your comments? I only avoid comments that attack other people. I can take it. 'cause I know that secretly, you worship my ass.

Anonymous said...

Yeah yeah yeah. I'm prostratin' myself right now at the AssDonkeyGringo altar.
(What's a mog?)

Gretchen said...

The 5y journal wont do the feeding. Writing out whatever's got you jacked up will, and that's your business, no one else's. A journal is a journal, it's merely the adjective one uses with it that changes it, and the intensity and satisfaction ascribed to it: work journal, blog journal, personal, deep-in-my-psyche-that-no-one-would/should/could ever see. Just like love: for your daughter, for your mama, for your job, for your books/wardrobe/soon-to-arrive green loafers.

LPC said...

Plus your READERS write well and their comments are fantastic, so there's that.

Robert Grundulis said...

I write in my journal about once a fortnight. It is written for the benefit of my son who will hopefully appreciate it when he gets older.

It also helps me remember what happenef during my latest drunken escapade.

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