June 12, 2010

In or Out?

I started this blog slowly and tentatively, with just a toe in the water. Then, as is my way, I dove right into the deep end, where the water can be coldest. Quite a fitting metaphor, actually, because as I write this, our swimming pool is empty. The water drained out on Wednesday in preparation for re-tiling and re-surfacing, then flowed down a groove in the middle of our alley before hitting the storm drain at the end of the street and disappearing with a loud splash.

My first blog lasted for more than six years. I don't think this one will see six months as currently formatted because my life just isn't interesting enough to sustain it, and because I don't know what I want. Late last summer a restlessness set in and to alleviate it I began to review for Amazon Vine. At the end of 2009 the fate of Publishers Weekly became uncertain, and as December turned into January...then February and March, I panicked. As one reviewer among thousands at Amazon - currently my "new" reviewer rank is 6,071 and my "classic" rank is 5,112, a marked improvement over the past several months - I felt my voice slipping away, even though my reviews for fourteen years at PW have always been anonymous.

It was within this mental framework, then, that I decided to dip my toe back into the online waters in a more tangible fashion. And it satisfied me for a couple of months, particularly my book and work-related posts, but then self-doubt set in. My exposure into the world of retail, while infinitely interesting to me, is likely infinitely interesting only to me. And I began to wonder...should I review this book at Amazon where more people might read it - and buy or stay away from the books reviewed - or here on my blog that nobody reads? The more I asked myself that question, the more depressed I became.

At the start I honestly believed that I could write a blog essentially for myself and that would be enough. But I don't think it is. Then I started to have all these ideas for content to add here, so that I could bring together under one "roof" all sorts of reviews and lists...and then I realized I'd already done that before, at All About Romance. The benefit of blogging for an audience of ten or fifteen is that I can write without feeling a bullseye target on my back, which is how I felt for much of the time I ran AAR. But the flip side is something that becomes more obvious with each passing day: I believe I must be a glory whore, and to write for an audience of fifteen isn't quite the kick I thought it would be.

When I sat down to blog today, I was all set to relate my shift last night at the bookstore, then to search online for a few more reviews to add to my PW reviews page. But as I started to write, I stopped myself. Even though it's been almost a week since I blogged, and taking such a lengthy break in-between is something bloggers are not supposed to do, I need to re-evaluate. If I can find a way to use this "home" online in a meaningful way, I will, but if not, I'll sign on one last time in a day or so and say goodbye to blog number two.



Blythe said...

Laurie, it could be that it's just me, but I like the smaller, more personal blog better.

I think you need to do what makes you happy. But to me, the Laurie of toe in the water seems like a happy person, or at least a happier person than LLB eventually became. I also think there are a lot of blogs out there written for an audience of very few, but that doesn't mean they aren't worthwhile. Just my $.02.

Vicky said...

Toe in the Water is saved as a favorite and I enjoy stopping in. Whether it's AAR or this more personal blog, I enjoy reading your thoughts.

One thing that I find particularly refreshing is your political voice. Living in your neighboring state of Oklahoma and possessing a political stance very similar to yours, I find your voice of political reason in this area of far right insanity quite encouraging.

I'm hoping you stay around and continue to discover just the right mix for your personal blog. It's sure to be unique.

Anne MacFarlane said...

Laurie, I just found you!

I enjoy reading your blogs, where ever and whatever you write about. I find your perspective on books, politics, family, etc. different than anyone else online and I enjoy them.

I do understand though the desire to be heard. And maybe you need something a little more challenging with a bigger more interactive audience?

Whatever you decide, I hope it makes you happy. (and I can find you)

Anne Louise

Rachel said...

I'm actually enjoying writing for the first time in a long time. I know my little posts on BBC's Robin Hood don't have much of an audience, but as long as I can get my thoughts out there, I'm pretty happy.

I was actually kind of surprised you didn't go back to your blog-city blog. I wouldn't be surprised if much of the audience who you felt were hostile have drifted off by now, and you had a lot of content there.

Laurie Gold said...

Thanks for weighing in, guys. I think I'm going to stick at it for a while longer. The thought of re-activating my old blog never occurred to me; I maintain a link here, as I do to AAR, but I'm just not that person anymore.