However, circumstances change and, like it or not. we have to do so as well. I knew from the beginning that time was going to be an issue. There have been many occasions when there simply hasn't been time to post at all much less to write posts of the quality I wanted to write. It's interesting how even something like a little blog makes you feel obligated. After all, if people were going to bother coming here, I felt an obligation to have something new for them on a regular basis.
That last sentence holds the key to my decision. First, to grow a blog requires regular posting. It is generally accepted that that means at least two or three posts a week of something more than the "me too" variety and it usually means posting on a daily basis. The second key element is the feeling of obligation. That is just as hard to handle because, once you start feeling you have to do something, it usually stops being enjoyable. Waking up in the morning and saying "Oh shit I have to post something today" is likely a pretty good indicator that it isn't fun anymore.
My business requires 70 to 80 hour weeks from April to June and is only slightly less intense from July to October. Part of that is simply the work of living in the country - something you may have guessed I'm not planning to give up anytime soon (as in ever). In practical terms it means essentially shutting the blog down every spring and trying to reactivate it every fall. That is a situation that is not going to change as long as I live here and work at what I do.
Earlier this spring I had considered pulling the plug completely knowing the cycle I was dealing with. Instead I opted to keep it alive. At the time I said :
This will also give me an opportunity to consider different options for the future. Some of the options I'm looking at are:
1) Continuing to do the same kind of broad based advocacy I have been doing here. This despite increasingly questioning its value and an increasing reluctance to make open ended commitments of significant resources to projects which may or may not produce some vague, unspecified results at some nebulous future time.
2) Narrowing the focus so that I can concentrate on doing more, better posts on fewer subjects.
3) Not blogging at all and focusing on local issues where I can produce more tangible, timely results some time before the crows turn white.
4) Resigning from the position of being 'my brother's keeper' on the grounds that I have had the position quite long enough and it's time to concentrate on things that directly benefit me and mine.
I'm sure the correct option will reveal itself in due time.
It turns out the correct option is none of the above. For the last few weeks I have been talking with other progressive bloggers who are having the same problems. At some point in our blogging careers, all of us have encountered problems juggling work/business demands, family commitments, a desire for a life off the internet and blogging. The end result of this juggling act has been burnouts, reduced posting and consideration of temporary and/or permanent blog closures.
For the last few of weeks, we have been discussing these problems and potential solutions. We have decided that, at least on a temporary basis, the best solution for all of us is a group blog. I will be joining Timmy from Voice in the Wilderness and Jonathan from No More Shall I Roam in a group blog with pogge over at Pogge.ca. We are looking on this as an experimental venture for the next several months and will be keeping our current blogs intact for archival purposes while we work toward making the group blog a permanent situation.
This arrangement has blogging advantages. We know we can work together having done so on previous projects. While also sharing a similar world view for the most part, we approach things in different ways and have different interests. We are hoping that working together will help make us better at what we do.
Even more importantly, this arrangement has personal advantages. We hope that working together will reduce the pressure on each of us and allow us to get back to the enjoyment of blogging while still juggling the rest of our lives.
True North is not going to disappear. I will cross post enough to keep it alive for it's archival value - there are still a lot of search engine hits on items like NAWAPA and BSE. I don't know what the long term future holds for it. Who knows, by fall it might be a gardening blog. Whatever happens, True North will always be important to me. I have written since high school but I had gotten away from it over the last ten years. Starting this blog reminded me of how much I enjoy writing and for that reason it will always be a fond memory.
I know I have occasionally infuriated people by calling things the way I see them (after all Steve Gilliard is my blogfather) but I hope I have also occasionally entertained and educated you as well. There is nothing that will change about my style. It will just be found at a different spot on the dial.
See you around.