This past month I replaced a line of Hi-Fi speakers I've listened to and enjoyed for the past 20 years with a pair of new floor speakers from Klipsch. It's an acknowledgment that my hearing and tastes have changed and it's time to listen to my music through a new stereo system. This recognition of needing to do things differently has become a common theme for me lately. I'm finding the old ways aren't working and perhaps joy can be found again by doing something new. With this theme on change, instead of blogging only when I'm inspired by great ideas or events, I decided to blog every few days as I take part in the 100 Days to Offload challenge.
At the risk of dating myself, I’ve been writing and posting articles online since the 1980s. Back then we didn’t have the Internet but we did have dial-up modems and bulletin board systems (BBS) hosted by computer enthusiasts. When the Internet, blogging, and self-hosted websites became popular in the late 1990's and early 2000’s I was also there. For awhile I hosted a website focused on content management systems that in its peak easily received over 100,000 unique visitors a month.
I've been struggling as of late trying to find the time to write articles for my blog and websites. It's actually caused me some stress to not be writing because there is so much I want to say and share. I always feel that I'm so behind in my writing. This has been an ongoing theme for me but it's not because I don't have the time but instead because I have chosen higher priorities with my time than blogging.
I'm intentionally choosing to experiencing all that I can with my family. I don't want to miss the moments because of the glow of the computer screen in front of me. The crux of the matter, my son is off to college this Fall. I want no regrets that the time we spent as a family and exploring the world was missed because I was at the keyboard and not there at their side.
Blogging has always been a way for me to express myself creatively as I hide away in my home office for "me time". Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Pandemic changed all that with my day job requiring maximum telework which in turn transformed my creative personal space into a remote office that work owned eight hours a day. For my mental and physical health, once those work hours are up I have made the conscious decision to walk away from the computer. I now find it more necessary to find something else to do that doesn't involve screen time. This shift in priorities unfortunately reduced my writing time.
Life has a way of distracting us from our goals. Four years ago when I decided to retire CMS Report, I did so in the hope for opportunity to find a new voice in my online presence. It didn't work out so well. Instead of being more creative in my writings, I spent more time maintaining the nuts and bolts to my websites and publishing other people's articles than I did expressing my own thoughts and ideas. I know for many of you, you find yourself in a similar predicament. Between career, family, and other personal interests we have had too many reasons and made up too many excuses for not writing despite valuing our time spent blogging.
During the summer months the quantity of articles I write and publish are often minimal. I enjoy my summer activities of bicycling, motorcycling, camping, and other family activities too much to sit in front of a computer all summer long. Not being much of a winter outdoorsman and living in South Dakota, the winter months have always been my time for focusing on my personal blog as well as writing some articles for socPub.
Summer is a distraction. While promises of consistent blogging are easy to make here in South Dakota when temperatures are below freezing, the true test of a blogger is spending time in front of the computer when the warm sunny skies of summer are on us. The successful blogger is one that posts consistently and routinely throughout the year. The ideal blogger puts the readers first before himself or herself. Regular readers of my blog already know this but for the record let me state it anyway, I'm not that blogger.
My blog posts were far and few between this past summer. With no regrets, I traded that blogging time for probably the busiest and greatest summer of my lifetime. Weeks of experiences that wouldn't have been seen if I spent the same time with keyboard under my hands instead of a walking stick in my hand.
After nearly eight years of being a Google+ user, the time to say goodbye to the social network is almost here. For those of you that never saw the value of Google+, I don't expect you to fully understand what hardcore users (I'm one of them) will be missing when the platform is no more. I think Mike Elgan's article probably describes Google+ best when he explains it as a place "where smart people gather for long, detailed and interesting conversations" without the streams being "algorithmically filtered" like most social networks.
Following the footsteps of people bigger than me, like Mike Elgen and Dries Buytaert, I've decided to focus this year on my personal blog and spend less time on my other websites and social media networks. This has been a long time coming but probably the straw that broke the camel's back was Google's decision to shutdown my favorite social network, Google+.
Earlier this year, I started a new blog in hopes of me getting back to dedicating more time for my writing. The goal was to write one article a week as I had finally broken free of my burnout from blogging. In the first few months of the blog, I wrote about half a dozen posts but by Spring new articles were no longer being published at Fifty-Two Posts a Year. I once again found the demands of work, family, outdoor hobbies, and managing my other websites were of higher importance. So, time marched on and I now find myself with one more website that started with good intentions but now resembles a ghost town with too few visitors and too little new content.