Meta Break

Sure, I could tell you that this post is the product of a day lacking inspiration, a day when my morning browsing on the internet failed to yield anything I felt compelled to comment on, but why should I be so negative?

Rather, it’s a good idea, every once in a while, for me to engage in self-reflection, to examine my creative process, to take stock of Fish & Bicycles and consider whether or not I’m moving in the direction of my goals.

I had two primary goals when I started this blog:

  1. To break away from being a purely political blogger, and to write on a wider variety of topics
  2. To continue maintaining a regular writing practice, for the purposes of both personal and creative growth

I’m extremely pleased to be able to reflect back on my accomplishments here, since I started in October 2009, and find that I have been pretty darned successful in meeting those goals.

Of the 169 posts I’ve written in that time, only 12 have been overtly political, and the Tags listed in the right sidebar speak to the variety I’ve managed to achieve.

And while attracting visitors to Fish & Bicycles wasn’t a primary goal — I fully intended to write whether or not anyone ever read the blog — it is a pleasant surprise to take a look at the stats and find that I’m attracting an approximate average of 200 unique views per week.

That said, I do regularly have thoughts about the potential downsides of blogging.

Blogging has become uncomfortably cliché, uncomfortable if only because I probably care too much about that kind of thing. I tend to cringe now when I see references to blogs in the media, because I know that advertising and marketing people are milking the popularity of blogging for all it’s worth, trying to make money off the fad, which sucks when you consider that the vast majority of bloggers make nothing at all from their online ramblings.

Also, two recent, high-profile depictions of bloggers — the film Julie & Julia and an episode of the TV show House — highlighted the challenge that many bloggers face, juggling their blogging and personal lives. I’ve actually struggled with this in the past in two ways.

First, it can be difficult to find a balance between how much time I spend online and how much time I spend on unquestionably more important things like being with my family and friends, or attending to household or other responsibilities. I think everyone who has developed a longstanding creative practice is familiar with the intoxicating effect of being in the flow, under the influence of inspiration, drunk with the pleasure of channeling that inspiration into the production of something you care about, whether it’s visual art, music, dance, knitting, or gardening. It’s hard to press the pause button, because you know that life is predictably loaded with distractions that would love to suck up all of your time and energy.

Second, there’s the question of just how much of your personal life makes it onto the blog. In both Julie & Julia and the episode of House, the bloggers come very close to destroying their relationships with their significant others because they felt that their artistic integrity depended on not censoring themselves, felt that they must share every intimate detail about their lives with their readers. And, while I don’t subscribe to that school of blogging, I do still wrestle with how much my wife or son or friends might like or dislike me writing about them here.

And, on that note, too much self-reflection can stifle, so I’ll wrap this up and go out in the world again, open to the next wave of inspiration.


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