Refocusing

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I often spend December reflecting on the year just past, and thinking about how I should spend the next one. And I’ve finally lived long enough that I’m able to look over longer stretches of the past, identifying patterns, deciding which were successful and which weren’t, all as prelude to choosing how to organize the years that remain.

For fifteen years now I’ve mostly devoted this blog to writing on certain topics in a certain way, a sort of thinking out loud in public that was extremely helpful to me … until recently. Now I find that the format (roughly, 1000-2000 words working through an idea that’s somehow new to me) isn’t really suitable for the sort of thinking I’ve been doing this past year. I seem to have reached a point where I have identified the different parts, and now want to spend my time figuring out how they fit together. Publishing first drafts of short essays was a good way of pushing myself to think more deeply as I explored, but now I think I need to treat all that as raw material for one or more efforts to address those ideas as a whole, to spell out the interconnections as I see them and have managed to live them.

I’ll use the same energy that I’ve used to produce these blog posts, but redirected to longer pieces of writing which will need to be reworked in private until they’re worth someone’s time to read. Since doing such writing isn’t yet a habit I’ll need to institute a discipline to help get me there, a fairly simple one: no more blog posts on those topics. Whether I’ll be successful in redirecting that energy is uncertain, but this will help—I really do enjoy writing such things, and denying myself the blog as an outlet for them may help build an urge to spend time doing it privately. We’ll see.

I’m not shutting down this blog. In fact, there is now likely to be more activity here than there has been lately. But the nature of the posts will change. Mostly I plan to offer pointers to things of interest I’ve found elsewhere, with little or no comment. Maybe occasional progress reports. And anything else that seems worthwhile without being a distraction from my private writing.

Just as an example, my next substantial post will be about “where we are right now”. A few months ago someone suggested I write about this, especially with respect to how our thoughts about and experiences with simple living have played out over the past fifteen years. That went on my list, tentatively, in the form of a series of “ten years after” blog posts following up on the simple living series of posts I wrote just as we were moving to our Kentucky farm. Now that sort of rethinking needs to be moved to the private writing project—but the facts of the matter don’t, and so I thought it would be helpful to write a bit (with minimal reflection) about how we do things now.

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