Starting from scratch
December 20, 2023
The last time I wrote in a personal blog was the 4th of March, 2017. I'm the only one who can tell you that, because sometime between then and now I gated the whole thing, all fourteen or so years of it, and now nobody else has access.
There are a lot of reasons why I did that, mostly that mid-thirties me didn't feel like dealing with what might happen if anyone happened on something puerile or offensive that early-twenties me had written back in the mid-2000s. It was a different time, okay? My frontotemporal lobe wasn't fully developed.
Also, to be honest, it seemed kind of silly to leave the blog online, because that post from March 2017 was one of only 4 I'd written that year, and the previous year I'd written only five. (The year before that I'd become a parent. Go figure.) By the time I switched it off, I think my dad was probably the only person who still checked it regularly. Mostly I got random organic search referrals for "recycling jokes," which is a long story I don't want to get into (not least of all in case it starts happening again).
Still, I missed having the outlet. I missed writing silly little nonsenses on a regular basis. In a lame Millennial mid-Noughties way, blogging had been a huge part of my life for a really long time. I made friends blogging. I got my first professional writing gigs blogging. I picked up women blogging. I enjoyed blogging. One year when I was working at the Edinburgh Fringe, there was a show about blogs (see: lame Millennial mid-Noughties) that gave out badges saying "I ❤️ bloggers". I wore mine so, so happily — even after someone at a bar asked me if I was being ironic.
The thing is, by 2017, blogging no longer really made sense. Culturally, sure, but I would have kept going if that was all it was. Practically, though, I just didn't have the time anymore. A two-year-old, a full-time job, a desperate need to confirm my first novel wasn't a fluke by writing another one. I couldn't spend what little free time I had blogging. I'd never get anything else done.
So I stopped. I stopped writing short fiction too, and all the other little bits and pieces with which I'd cobbled together a career as a freelance writer. I poured it all into another novel.
I'm proud of that second novel too, even if my agent didn't sell it in the end. I'm proud I accomplished what I set out to do. At the time, I was so proud I launched right back into the same thing again, all my creative time into another novel and, when the pandemic hit, swerving and starting on yet another. They've all got legs, or they will do when they're finished.
But wen I sat down to get together all the short stories I published over the years for this new website, I was kind of blown away. A little bereft. Novels are great, but you wait an awful lot of years for a success. At some point, I realised, my writing had become so much about the Next Big Thing that I'd forgotten about the joy of finishing a small one.
So is this the start of a new, prolific period of blogging again? No. Of course not. It's no longer the mid-Noughties, and lame Millennial or not, forty-something me doesn't want to leave a big cybermess for fifty-five something me to clean up. But now that I've gone to the trouble of building myself a proper website — another small success — I might attempt to use it from time to time. In true Millennial fashion, it's more for me than you. But if you want to check in every now and then, please feel free.