A Requiem for the Fallen

I’ve been blogging for over six years.  Which, at this moment, is feeling like multiple lifetimes in the WordPress blogosphere.  In that time, I’ve seen many great and inspired blogs rise and set.  I’ve seen several generations of my part of the interblog community get connected, then one by one wink out as people set their blogs aside.  I’ve been making the blog thing work lately, such as it is, and I’m not planning on going anywhere, but still, with some recent blogs I’ve historically followed now sunsetting, I have grown rather wistful about this hobby.

I can’t say for sure what I was looking for with blogging, when I first started out.  I always used to be big on forums.  That was how I got my online socialization out.  I made some good friends that way.  But, frankly, back in early 2013 when I started this thing up, I didn’t really have the capacity to be keeping up with that.  But I needed to do something.  I was a new father then and I found fatherhood to be incredibly isolating.  I had written articles about video game stuff for a few websites by that point, and was really fulfilled by adding content to this interweb, rather than just being a consumer.  I had always lurked on quite a few blogs, never really joining in the discussions, but reading the posts and watching the videos.  I could do that.  I could have a place of my own, a place to put my thoughts, I place to add to the discussion and take part in this whole market place of ideas.

I wasn’t expecting this whole community thing to be a part of it, getting to engage with other bloggers the way that really drives this whole WordPress network, but that’s been one of the more engaging parts of this whole experience.  Sharing thoughts has kept this whole thing going in times when the engagement just wasn’t enough.  This has never been a well-read blog, but having anyone take the time to absorb these thoughts is a powerful thing, and building a network of people who are all doing that with each other has been wonderful.

But blogging is not a convenient hobby.  It takes time (a lot of it if you want the kind of outreach to build an audience much bigger than what we have here), and energy, and creativity, and frankly, luck to get in with the type of community that we have here.  And it can be at times one that doesn’t fill in what you’re needing on it.  Particularly as time wears on and life shifts around and all of a sudden your priorities aren’t where they once were.  People burn out on blogging.  Or they just decide there’s better uses for their time.  And frankly, if blogging isn’t fulfilling to them, they shouldn’t blog.  There’s little reward to blogging other than personal fulfillment, and the blog itself will get worse when the writer can’t engage with what they’re writing about.

Hell, I was just there last year.  After a while of trying to keep up with the blog while also juggling a full-time job, some extra-curricular community engagement/professional development stuff, going back to school, convalescing from medical issues, and becoming a new father again, like I’m some kind of damned ‘adult’, something had to give, and that ended up being the blog.  I got drawn back into it, largely by the connections built here.  Seriously, new fatherhood is so isolating.  All your old friends get tired of having a screaming demon around all the time, parent groups only really want the mothers around, and it’s really hard to attract women when all your conversation topics are either about video games or child rearing.  So yeah.

I came back, but even now, it’s not easy.  I’ve had to reevaluate what I want from this blog.  Whereas I used to be able to dedicate some time several days a week before wrapping up the five page essay on whatever I felt was a thoughtful observation to be making, now, I’ve been mostly doing one to two page reviews on the games I’ve been playing as a record of my journey through this dumb gaming quest I set myself on years ago.  Both are fulfilling, just in different ways.  And it’s amazing how much my skills have dropped after that six month break.

Whatever, that’s all an aside.  Point is, I connect with fellow bloggers here.  And then given time, they head off in other directions in life.  That’s happened again, and again, and again.  We’ve just lost a few great bloggers who used to be often seen around here.  More will come.  And then they’ll leave as well.  Unless we leave first.

But for now, let’s take some time to remember those with whom we’ve been sharing this experience, only for them to vanish into the aether.  Your Mental Gamings, your Wastelanders, your Writer’s Life for Mes, your Explore Animations, your Paul Michael Egans, your Retrodragons, your Particlebits, and most recently, your Ambigamings and your Otaku Judges.  For that matter, the let’s play channels Super Best Friends Play and retsupurae, which were both super meaningful to me but are now retired.  You guys have made this journey all the better.  I hope your pastures are ever greener.

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13 responses to “A Requiem for the Fallen

  1. Whoa, if you became a father again, no wonder you ended up going away for that long. I was wondering what was up. Congrats!

    It is a shame whenever these people burn out. I know they’re just fine, but it is like losing a friend. This was a very thoughtful post you put together. I started taking my site seriously just before Explore Animations went down, so I thank you for remembering that blog along with the others you mentioned.

    • Hey, thanks. And you know, thank you for being so active on your part. You’re putting a lot of content up, and always commenting and engaging.
      I imagine it takes you quite a bit of work, but it’s always good catching your thoughts.

      Yeah, it really is like losing a friend. I think most of us are pretty sparse with personal details on our blogs, but you still really feel like you get to know people. And then they move on. Can sting a little, even if you know they’re on to something better.

  2. This is both touching and quite sad. Congrats on being a father though – I’m also a father and a huge fan of gaming 🙂 I also feel richer for my interactions on WordPress.

    • Hey, thanks. It’s a balancing act, all those demands on our time, that I don’t think there’s ever a perfect middle ground for. I’m glad the blogging and children and gaming are all going for you, though.

      • It is, thanks 🙂 I just do a personal blog whenever I feel like it, so it’s never been an issue for me. But I certainly struggle with the balance between work life and family life.

  3. Congratulations on being a dad again!

    Also, I very much appreciate the memorial… But you don’t have to bury me quite yet… 😉 -innocent whistling-

    But seriously, this was a very touching piece. You’re right that the stamina and time needed to blog the way we might want to is much different than the stamina and time we might actually have. For me it was hard going from having a lot of time when unemployed/part-time employed to blog, social media, and do all the things to grow the blog, to suddenly having a full-time job and minimal extra time but wanting to maintain the same trajectory. It’s something I’ve had to adjust, and something I’ve had to mentally adjust, which was probably harder.

    At any rate, I agree with Red Metal that the folks here do feel like friends, and it’s one of the reasons that I keep looking back knowing I won’t be away forever (only until June -cough cough-)

    • Ah, oops! Sorry about that. Err, well, when you make your return, we can all be shocked and have it coming even more out of nowhere now.

      Yeah, I know what you mean. There was a time where I was usually able to post twice a week, but I couldn’t keep that sustained. I ended up pulling from some old things I did or showing bits of my other creative works that nobody was ever really engaged with, and I don’t think it made for a better experience here, and wasn’t really helpful for me. I did have to take some time and decide I was ok with a more limited schedule, and adjust my vision for this blog a bit. And that wasn’t with anything near as monumental a shift in schedule as going from unemployment to full-time work. Finding a new normal there, yeah, I can see why that would be so difficult.

      I’m really glad to hear we’ll be seeing more from you in the future. Don’t worry, I’ll keep that secret here.

  4. Congrats! And yeah, I feel the same way. I’ve been off writing a couple of times, especially when things were going really badly for me, but in the end I always have to come back. Not easy, especially when you have a full-time job and other commitments.

    One nice thing about the community here is how open and friendly it is. Totally different from the atmosphere on Twitter, Youtube and Reddit. Even among podcasters drama can get stirred up pretty easily (check out the world of history podcasting for some of that – quite a few prima donnas in that business.)

    • Thank you!

      I remember being a little weirded out actually, that people weren’t like that the rest of the internet here. I remember my time with forums, where it seemed like every place had their certain approved opinions on a given work that was totally serious business. I remember Final Fantasy VII, in particular, seeing people shunned from communities for liking or disliking the game in the wrong place.

      In this blogging network though? I’ve disagreed with people plenty of times. And let them know about it. And we have a good discussion, no feelings are hurt, and we each get the chance to learn something. I’ve started to forget now how unusual that is, compared to other online communities.

  5. Thank you, I’m glad you did this post Aether. Not just because it’s a lovely tribute to the blogger community on WordPress – which it is – but also because with me not checking in with fellow bloggers the way I used to, I hadn’t heard about all these good folks taking hiatuses/departing.

    It takes a hell of a lot of time and effort to manage a successful blog… anyone who has spent a while doing it will know what is required to succeed and grow. A clear blogging focus/hook, frequent compelling content on a regular schedule, replying to comments, meaningfully engaging with other blogs, collaborations. All things I’ve struggled with from day one 😛

    The journey of my blog has been redefining success to something that works for me. I don’t post all that regularly, my engagement with other folks is spotty, my co-writer hasn’t published a single word on my blog in two years(!), my viewing stats are stagnant and audience engagement levels through comments and the like are waaay down.

    There have been moments where I’ve wondered why I should bother anymore. And yet recently I’ve found greater pleasure in blogging for its own sake than I ever did before. I used to blog in an effort to become a better writer, now I use it in an effort to stop being a perfectionist, and to care less. I’d rather gain an audience through being myself than through holding myself to an unsustainable schedule or a rigid content quota. And if that means not having an audience (I suspect it does) then so be it.

    Anyway I don’t mean to rant. I wish you and all the bloggers named here the best in their present and future endeavours on and offline. Here’s to fatherhood, to blogging, and to long healthy lives, God willing!

    • I’m really glad to hear you’re enjoying blogging even more now. Even as you’ve been posting less often, you’ve had some really interesting content there. I’ve enjoyed seeing the unique things you’ve been bringing to the forefront.

      And yeah, if you’re going to make this work, you really need to enjoy blogging for its own sake. If you use blogging as simply a means to an end, well, the end’s not going to be worth the amount of time and energy it requires for most people. If you’re not able to engage with your own content, to be fulfilled by the creation of it, you just can’t be true to yourself and keep it going.

      We could all be playing the game, doing all the tricks to get the eyeballs on our content, but if that doesn’t fulfill us, what’s the point.

      Actually, thanks for your rant here. This was a very thoughtful perspective from you.

  6. I definitely consider my blogging buddies true friends and it’s always sad when they disappear. 😦 Yep. Real life is something I need to focus on more, I think, haha.

    Touching post! Congrats on becoming a dad again.

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