That's particularly strange because hardly anyone reads my blog anymore. I started it in December 1995, back when we called them online journals, and it's apparently the third-oldest living blog on the internet. A dubious honor, given that on any given day, perhaps a dozen people will stop by. After sixteen years of almost-daily (and often more-than-daily) updating, you'd think it would have gained more traction. There were times when the readership was much higher, but with Facebook and G+ and Twitter and the rest, blog readership has fractured dramatically. People have a lot more of the internet competing for their attention, and there's little time for the relatively slow pace of blogs.
When I started blogging, there was almost nothing online -- the newsgroups and bulletin boards for topical discussion, and that was about it. So it was relatively easy to find readers. Lots of people linked to my site and blog in the early days of the net, which has translated to a certain visibility that still lingers -- if you google 'Mary Anne', I'm the first hit, which is kind of amazing, considering that these days, I'm a pretty obscure writer who hasn't published much in years -- and aside from that, my life is basically parenting, teaching, and working on my house. If you came by my blog in the last few years, odds were you'd either see a kvetch about how exhausting infants and toddlers were, some photos of home renovation, or a frighteningly long to-do list. It doesn't surprise me at all that most of my blog readers have wandered elsewhere.
I don't think I can re-create the more exciting days of my blog -- when I started, I was a 20-something juggling a complex poly love life, as well as doing a lot of writing and publishing erotica, at a time when that was seriously scandalous. Now -- times have changed. My love life, while still poly, is much calmer than it used to be. And people are far less shocked by it, and by the erotica-writing, than they used to be. I'm not going to gain hordes of readers by talking about sex anytime soon.
And I don't really want to. Even though one of the books I'm working on now is erotic SF, and I'm having a ton of fun with it, I'm at least as interested in the rest of my life -- the parenting, the teaching, the home renovations, and hopefully soon, the gardening. That's what I want to think about, to talk about. And no, I don't think writing more substantial blog entries on those topics is all that likely to draw hordes of slavering blog-fans. If I really wanted to aim for that, I might try to emulate John Scalzi, and try to write smart, funny pieces on politics and/or SF. Now there's a road to fame and fortune!
But I'm not John, and that's not how I roll. (Which is just one reason why he has a movie deal, and I don't. Sigh.) So while I would be happy if more readers found my blog again, I'm wanting to make this change mostly for me. The last four years of small children and house renovation and four moves (!) have been frantic, and a lot of the time, I've just been struggling to keep my head above water. Now, I'm hoping to slow things down a little, and have more time for writing and reflection (ideally not in that order). I'd like to use the blog-space for more introspection, more awareness of the minutiae of my life -- whether that's struggling with how to discipline a stubborn toddler, bracing for the bitterness of a Chicago winter, trying to shape the next stage in an erratic writing career...etc. and so on. I think that'll be more interesting, and of more use, than the frantic to-do lists. For me, and hopefully for at least a few readers.
And now that Facebook and G+ allow for longer posts, at least some of those blog posts will be copied over to those arenas. It's fascinating to me, seeing how different topics get different levels of response in the different social forums. Maybe, for now, most of my readers will be elsewhere, and not at the blog itself. I know some of my fellow bloggers have, over the years, abandoned their own blogs for posting exclusively on Facebook, or Twitter, or what have you. I won't be doing that. For better or for worse, this blog has endured for sixteen years. It is my home on the internet, and after all this time, I am deeply invested in it. I'm interested to see what shape it takes, going forward.
Thanks for coming along for the ride. If I manage to keep this resolution, I think you'll find the results...interesting. :-)