Without wanting to appear too melodramatic (I know, I know: too late) I’m at a blogging crossroads right now.
Fans of the TV show The West Wing will be familiar with President Jed Bartlet’s catchphrase, “What’s next?” It’s a clean, succinct way to close the door on the past and look forward to what’s to follow.
I thought I’d had my “What’s next?” moment over Christmas. After five years, I’d made the decision to take a hiatus from podcasts. That freed up a huge amount of time and head-space for me to focus on both the blog and new projects.
Or so I thought.
In reality, three months later I’m spending less not more time blogging than before. And I still can’t decide what (if any) projects I want to pursue. It’s a month now since we returned from our 2½-week holiday, during which time I had plenty of time to reflect. Did things become any clearer? No. Has my blogging mojo returned since we got back? No. I’m still plugging away but I’m a long way from firing on all cylinders.
What’s next? I still have no idea.
I’m beginning to wonder if the next stop on my blogging/writing journey is actually a terminus. Is it time to call it a day? After all, I’ve been blogging in various guises for over 11 years. At one point I ran four blogs concurrently, in addition to a full-time job.
Blogging has always been a passion. I love writing; I have done since I was a teenager. But sometimes a passion fades, to be replaced by something else. It’s the natural order of things. Maybe what I’m experiencing right now is the dying of the light. Or perhaps it’s just that the fire needs rekindling.
Either way, I’m not looking for a pity party. Don’t want one; don’t need one. I’ve already accomplished more as a blogger than I ever thought I would.
There’s no question my motivations have changed over the years. At first it was an adventure to prove to myself I could become a better writer. Then it was about establishing my place in the blogging community. I’ve achieved that much. I’m now one of the better known dad bloggers around. I’ve appeared on the radio and spoken twice at blogging conferences. Heck, I even sang at one – a solo performance on stage in front of 500 people. But if you asked me right now why I blog, I couldn’t give you an answer.
And maybe that’s the problem: unclear motivation. I still enjoy writing but I need to work out if the blog is something I’m continuing because I’m motivated to do so or simply because I feel obligated to. Just because I’ve been doing it for 11 years doesn’t mean I should keep going out of force of habit. Sometimes that’s the worst thing you can do. Fear of letting go of routine can stop you from moving on to embrace something new.
If you’re expecting a neat, definitive answer at this point, you’re out of luck. Will I keep going? Probably, but maybe with a different focus. That’s as clear as these muddy waters get just now.
So what’s next? Whatever it is, I need to be sure it is something I can pour my heart and soul into, just as I have done with blogging over the past 11 years. I wish I knew exactly what that was but I’m not going to rush into a decision either. Whatever happens, happens.