Turns out, I really missed blogging. More than I expected I would. Granted, this might be because I never gave myself the chance for the cognitive reorganization required for me to stop regularly thinking about new things I encounter in terms of whether and how a good post could be made from them. I did not give myself this chance, as some of you noticed, because I have been guest-blogging over the last month at a couple of different locations. I've decided to cross-post those posts here, so that when I am an old man who has nothing better to do than review trival things I wrote in my thirties, they will all be in my archives. Rather than reproduce them all to their actual days, I've just posted them all as Xmas morning stocking stuffers. Scroll down if you care.
I do like the idea of resuming posting on New Years' Day. Confession: it's my favorite holiday. I have personally not been much for New Years' resolutions--much less for actually keeping whatever resolutions I do make--but still I love that the calendar provides this day that serves as a point of external annual encouragement to reflect on one's life and to attempt to embark on adjustments. Biographical equilbria are often so strong that anything that offers the possibility of shaking things up, especially in a positive direction, is to be celebrated. Besides, as corny as it might sound, I am ultimately a huge fan of hope, and New Years' Day is all about hope.
What is my hope here? When I went on hiatus, I said blogging had become a bit more of a chore than what I wanted. So my hope, pressing ahead with JFW, is basically to increase the ratio of experiencing "things I like about blogging" to "things I don't like."
What is it that I like about blogging? I like having the outlet. I like being able to have some random thought and being able to put it on display for the world-in-principle-and-a-few-people-in-practice. I think it provides an opportunity to inject a sort of creativity into my day that I was otherwise missing. It's not that being a professor doesn't offer its own (ample) opportunities for creativity, but I'm either a glutton for creativity or there is a mismatch between the creativity I get to exercise in that capacity and whatever it is that I'm doing here. If I had some hobby that was actually art--piano! pottery! painting!--perhaps my blogging impulse would be less.
"Opportunity for creativity" isn't the whole story, though, or else I would just be able to jot down my musings in a notebook and be happy with that. I've wondered a lot about why a notebook seemingly isn't enough for me, especially since I could obviously write with far more candor in a notebook. I do, it seems, like writing for an audience. Apparently, I apparently have a discursive exhibitionist streak. Who would have guessed? I need the idea of readers, at least, while I could probably go quite awhile on delusion alone, known actual readers do, indeed, help propel me along. So there: you are doing me a favor by reading this, as if you did not already realize that.
What don't I like about blogging? If you enjoy blogging, it's easy for it to overstep its boundaries. While other people see their blogs as a much more integral part of Who They Are, personally and professionally, this isn't anything I take that seriously. Really. And that's the way I want it. I do not want this blog to be more than a quite modest part of what I am doing with my life.
I mean this both in terms of the time I spend on this blog and its content. Regarding time, I once had someone opine that in order to have a "successful" blog one must either post multiple times a day (preferably at different times) or must be part of a team blog where this is the cumulative product. Ugh! I don't want any part of that! JFW has no aspirations to be "successful" on those terms. My druthers is to think about success in terms of whether this is something I enjoy doing; as bonus, I'll consider JFW wildly successful if there are two or three people out there who enjoy reading it.
Regarding the content, I keep finding myself fretting that I should really be using my blog to be more of a Public Sociologist, or if not that, at least to be Some Kind of Punditful. When my bloggerly impulses do run in that direction, fine, but I didn't really start into blogging with the image of myself as an emissary bringing sociology to the masses, or as a quasi-op-ed columnist. The better analogy would be that blogging for me is like a cartoon I doodle in my spare time. I have neither the eye nor the fine motor skills to actually be able to draw, but I can type, and so I do this instead. It's a hobby, my own little set of model trains, and one whose content is not usually intended to be any kind of extension of Professional Me.
BTW, I'm going to try to stick to something like a one-or-two-post-per-day model, using the "Save Draft" feature in blogging to help keep content more evenly spread at this pace. And, this post excepted, I am going to keep things short.
BTW-BTW, just because this blog has been on hiatus doesn't mean that it can't win year-end accolades. Take that, Dooce!