Just Give Me Something to Write With and I’ll Be Happy

A wonderful evening

Dear Ray,

It’s been some time since I’ve written. It’s something that’s been gnawing at me for awhile. My website, my own private piece of cyberspace, has been an untended garden that I’ve been dying to do something with. I’ve left it vacant for far too long.

The website has long been a passion project of mine. I remember before starting the site, I would spend quite a bit of time writing and doing photography. With your suggestions and guidance, I finally starting publishing on the web back in 2002. It was an outlet for whatever was on my mind. Sometimes I would post a picture of something I saw that interested me, sometimes I was political, and sometimes I would just rant about nonsense (which is part of the reason for the name of the website before it even had a name).

It was fun back then. There was no pressure to post. Aside from dealing with someone who’s toes I stepped on (I was quick to find that local celebrities have the thinnest of skins), it was a joy to post (almost) every single day. What made it fun though was the absence of pressure to post something, anything.

As the site grew, I started to cater to specific niches that people enjoyed reading. I started creating podcasts and newsletters for movies and video games. In turn, I was getting movie passes, screener copies, and invites to cover notable events. Considering that the site was and still is a hobby and not a job or source of income, I tried to keep things working at a manageable pace.

However, even though I refused to take any money or parlay the site into something that could become a career, producing material felt like a chore. It started to no longer feel like I was writing or podcasting for myself but because I felt a need to write a specific review or analyze an earnings report.

In 2010, I knew I had a problem. I was about to start my teaching career, but I was given a serious offer to sell out and take on writing full-time (I could have theoretically still worked full-time as a teacher too but I think I would have burned out fairly quickly). It was easy to reject the offer for two reasons: the first was that I wasn’t interested in writing for someone other than myself and the second was I felt even though I was the only one controlling what I wrote, I was still not writing for myself. What was an originally an organic process that came from ideas in my head that I wanted to share turned into something formulaic that wasn’t fun anymore. Writing was frustrating and podcasting was a chore (spending hours editing out ‘ums’ and ‘ers’ was depressing).

Mentally, I had checked out and I stopped. The site went on hiatus for a few months. After the sabbatical, I felt recharged enough to write and podcast again, but I would fall back into the same problems and would take more time off to rest my mind. Moreover, teaching and building my career was my top priority and it felt like the website was causing more mental fatigue than anything else.

During my hiatuses, I would agonize over what to do with my little spot on the Internet. Every year or so, I would get an offer from someone offering to buy one of the domains that I own. Each time, my mind would go all over the place. Even though I was never seriously considering selling anything, I did think about whether I would write again and if it was even worth paying for the domains year after year.

This last break has been the longest. I’ve been thinking long and hard about a lot of things; not just the website but life in general. Lately, it seems like I’m pulled in so many directions that I feel the precious free time that I have left is a scarce resource that I’m in a losing battle to protect. The last few months have been quite rough both personally and professionally. I feel like I’m constantly doing things for everyone else but rarely for myself. It doesn’t help that the same support I’ve shown others hasn’t been reciprocated when I’ve been in need; and that has been soul-crushing. I’m fine though; just fatigued and frustrated. I just think I need to start focusing on a little bit more on myself and my well-being.

I miss writing tremendously. However, I don’t want to write again because I feel I must write. I want to go back to writing and making stuff on my terms rather than I feel like I need to.

So here we are. Another re-launch. But things are going to be a bit different. While I have a couple of ideas in mind for projects that I want to work on, I will most likely keep them close to the chest until I’m ready to hit the publish button. There will be considerably less writing about video games because: I still find talking about that industry tedious and I have little time to play games. Also, at least for now, there won’t be any podcasts. Maybe if I have more time in the future, it’s a possibility, but I think the market is saturated with podcasts, I don’t think another one about any given subject is something the world needs.

My goal though is for my site to once again be a source of enjoyment for me. Since 2002, the website has been a blessing and a curse, fun yet mundane, creative but also robotic. I want to go back to a time where after posting an article, I’d re-read it and give myself a chuckle or a pat on the back for its quality instead an letting out an exhaustive sigh for finally finishing a review that I worked on for weeks.

That being said, movie reviews will be back, but also the stuff that I started writing about in the first place that I eventually replaced with other material. I look forward to writing about things I’m passionate about, local news, and stupid rants. Perhaps I’ll even start publishing photo essays again.

Until the next burnout and re-launch,

–Jamie

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s