Getting back to the blog

After a month of inaction (for the most part — five posts in thirty days is pretty slow going by our standards), the Big Bad Blog is going to try to get itself back in action.

We’ve got a mouse, a keyboard, an internet connection, and a new profile picture. So strap on your helmets, folks.

Also, for my museum-loving readers, you should know that BoingBoing is doing a series titled My Favourite Museum Exhibit, which sounds like the sort of thing you might like.

Photo found at LOG. Origin unknown.

A quick note to site members

A long time ago, we clicked the “Anybody Can Register” box in our blog settings. Some of our friends were writing guest blog entries, and it was easier for them to create their own log-ins and then adjust their permissions.

But we have not had a new guest blogger in a very long time, and the function is now mainly — perhaps only — used by spammers who hope to be given some sort of additional access to the site.

So the “Anybody Can Register” functionality is now shut off, and we have undergone a user purge — if I do not know who you are, you no longer have a log-in.

Sorry if you’re real, and you liked having it, but it did not actually do anything in the first place.

A whole new blog for us to share

What’s this? More meta-blogging? You bet.

For the past few weeks, I have not been home. Instead, I have been in Canada for an unfortunately-not-actually-a-vacation. As happens when you are out of the country, Internet access has been sporadic. Which means that less time is spent madly reading and writing blogs, and more time is spent reading, talking, seeing things, taking photos.

And I think some insight, some perspective was gained.

The big insight is that I have been a bit too dedicated to the Big Bad Blog, trying too hard to keep to the schedule I have set for myself.

Between blogging, taking care of Maggie, and working, all my time is occupied. I rarely take photos (outside of Maggie-a-day), I don’t read (other than the search for blog material), I don’t exercise, I don’t go out with friends, and — most importantly — I don’t do anything any more. Museums, shows, festivals, making bad short movies … these things have all fallen out of my life.

Despite having fewer and fewer distractions, each article here at the Big Bad Blog has been receiving less attention. There is less time for composition, editing and rewrites than there was before. It seems that I am constantly running behind schedule — blog articles are too often written hastily, and too seldom edited.

The end result is unhappiness of the end result. It means a lot of quantity, but little of what I consider to be quality.

While in Canada I made a decision not to bother keeping to the usual schedule. The resulting blog posts — Birth Notes from last week is a great example — make me proud of my writing in a manner that I have not felt recently. Birth Notes was written, read, rewritten, edited, re-read, rewritten again, and edited some more. And I am incredibly happy with the end result.

I have no idea if the people reading it like it, though a few people who have left comments clearly do. But the audience is always secondary here at the Big Bad Blog, no matter how closely I might watch the site’s stats. It feels better to do it the right way and feel proud of the end result.

Canada offered perspective beyond the valuation of the process over the deadline. Spending time with family, meeting friends for brunch, visiting a museum. Even small things — visiting a hospital, reading a book before bed — gave me a feeling that my world of Maggie, work and blog had grown sad and small.

There is no slack to cut on the work side of things, and no willingness to reduce the time spent with Maggie … which means that the Big Bad Blog is taking the hit. Less time will be spent on the blog, in order to spend more time on things elsewhere.

The blog will continue, of course, but without schedule or reliable frequency. There will still be multiple articles every (well, most) week(s). The days of nine-articles-a-week are gone. Perhaps even five-a-week is too much. In its place will, we hope, be a more interesting and entertaining blog. A blog where articles are well-thought-out and edited, rather than thrown off the cuff.

The rigorous schedule has, I think, been positive for my writing ability. But it is time to reach for quality, rather than practice.

Wish us luck, and enjoy the ride.

How do I do it?

Something new on the Big Bad Blog, every day, Monday to Friday. How do I do it?

This is not a rhetorical question, or bragging, or the lead-in to an article about how you too can achieve personal life balance.

I know how I do it so far. I wake up early, so I have an hour to spend writing each morning. I make extensive use of the “Schedule” button, which allows me to write articles in advance; it is rare that I post something when I have just finished writing it. On weekends, I usually have a mass reading session (collecting ideas and links), and a mass writing session (getting ahead for the week).

But this is getting harder — particularly the latter part. I’m actually writing this on Sunday. Maggie is napping. She does that.

Maggie is also getting bigger, and my weekend time is rapidly diminishing as a result. When she is awake, she requires more attention than before. So, on the weekend (when I’m home) my reading and writing time is reduced. Doubly, as Karen needs to make use of my availability in order to catch up on those things she no longer has time for during the week.

I’m keeping up for now, but if the trend continues we may not be able to for much longer. First quality will go – if there is any quality there in the first place – then frequency.

The Big Bad Blog isn’t going to close anytime soon. But we wonder how much longer we can maintain business as usual.