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Lessons Learned During a Week Without Blogging

Like a hairy (but disarmingly handsome) prophet am I come back from the promised land.

In case you didn’t notice, I took last week off from blogging, both reading and writing. I responded to a couple of comments here to avoid being discourteous. Other than that, I put myself on a strict no-blog diet.

Twyla Tharp‘s book The Creative Habit (via 43 Folders) inspired me to swear off blogs for a week. Her examples of voluntary sacrifices that can foster creativity made it clear that blogs were a perfect choice for me.

My conscience had been nagging me that blogging had become an unbalanced part of my life. My daughters often came to me as I sat on the couch reading blogs and asked to read a book or play with me. I (irritated by the distraction) would brush them aside, “Not now. I’m reading. Maybe later?”

How fucking backwards! My time with my daughters is slipping away one minute at a time, and I feel obligated to get my feed reader down to zero unread posts? That is the very definition of having my priorities upside down.

Blogging is great. I love that people the world over are having conversations. I have let that conversation with relative strangers distract from my relationship with the people closest to me. There have been far too many days where I came home from work and spent no meaningful time with my family because I was blogging.

Blogging also provides an easy way to procrastinate while feeling like I’m accomplishing something. I do my duty to stay an informed citizen by reading blogs while I put off all those projects that intimidated me too much to even start them. The blogosphere kindly provided a never ending supply of new blog posts to read. Meanwhile, I left important things undone.

So I took the week off from blogging. I also took a week off from work and spent my time at home. So what did I do with all that time? I read the newspaper. I caught up on my reading (books). I played with the girls. I watched movies. I did a few chores. We took field trips to museums and state parks. I worked on long neglected projects. I relaxed. I remembered what it was like to live in a world without blogs.

I noticed something. The non-blog stuff that I read or watched was well thought out and lucidly presented. I felt rewarded for my time spent with them. I imagine the creators put their creations through at least two drafts before giving me the finished product. Let’s face it. With occasional exceptions, a lot of the blog world barely makes it through one draft. It’s a world full of rough drafts that we dash off and send out with a spellcheck (maybe) and a smile. It’s easy to waste time on this noisy channel trying to separate out the valuable from the dross.

Perhaps I am judging the blogging world too harshly. It is more like a conversation with friends than reading a book or watching a movie. Even so, I think I should spend less time chatting with friends and more time with my girls while they’re still interested in spending time with dear ol’ Dad, more time romancing my wife, and more time accomplishing something meaningful to me.

So now what?

I’ll make a deal with you blog-o-sphere: I’ll keep reading in moderation and put my posts through at least two drafts when it’s appropriate (I sat on this post all week), if you’ll forgive me for not reading everything that comes my way. Once I can read all my blogs in about 30–45 minutes a day, I’m done. Any new kid on the block who has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove will have to bump someone else off my reading list.


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  1. chanson said,

    June 28, 2009 @ 5:36 am

    I know how you feel. I love being motivated to write regularly, but I hate how it cuts into the time I might be spending on other things.

  2. Jonathan said,

    June 28, 2009 @ 6:45 am

    It’s hard to find that balance. So far, so good. All those times that I have an urge to read more blogs, I have to find something else to do with my time. I’m missing some things, but it feels like a good trade off so far.

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