The “blogosphere”, to use a terrible term that hopefully never makes it into the OED, is kind of a graveyard, littered with abandoned websites and barely tended diaries. It’s an odd feeling to follow a random link and stumble onto one of these mausoleums of narcissism. Here you are, reading the thoughts and happenings of an individual who appears to have stopped being interested in their own thoughts and happenings. Like a corpse frozen in the act of mastubating.
And you wonder, why? Why did this person one day just….stop? Were they hit by a bus? Are they dead? In an era of online personas that threaten to be eternal despite the mortality of our bodies, it’s feasible that these sites were abandoned only because their authors shuffled off this coil. But in most cases, the writer didn’t stop breathing — they just stopped writing.
As a sporadic writer myself, I’ve contemplated why I simply stop writing from time to time, and I suspect my reasons are universal:
Shit got real.
Wildlife documentarians occasionally have to put down the camera and run. Sometimes it’s just no longer possible to spend time documenting life because life involves a (metaphorical) charging elephant.
Looking in the mirror got hard.
Writing is a wonderful outlet for reflection and self-analysis But when there are truths about your life or yourself that you don’t want to confront, avoiding writing is a good way to avoid facing those things.
Life got dull.
Correction: You let yourself become a dull person. A slack-jawed drone of post-modern civilization, mindlessly vacillating between obligation and passive entertainment. Creative efforts are well beyond your capability in this state (see also: mild depression).
Readers got interested. And some of them are assholes.
Having a blog is like having a sex tape. Of course it’s meant to be seen. Kind of. Maybe not by so many people. Especially not everyone you know. Writing is a lot easier when the idea of an audience is an abstraction. You start blogging the way people start singing in the shower — it feels good and it’s fun. Singing in the shower would be a lot less fun if you knew your coworkers were listening outside the door. Likewise, blogging becomes a lot less fun when you realize that at happy hour your coworkers are talking shit about things you’ve written. If you’re feeling a little thin-skinned, you may not have the heart to keep putting yourself out there after the sting of judgment.
But I come back to writing because it’s who I am. After I lick the wounds inflicted by life or failure or haters, I pick up my words again. And when I come across a site with an old latest posting date, I feel compassion for its author and hope that page is not the grave of their desire to write but the ashes their future writing rises from.