Fairly regular Sunday Roasts aside, things have been a little bit on the quiet side of town around about Bright Meadow for a few months now. There was a time you could be almost guaranteed a new post every other day on top of the Sunday serving. I couldn’t speak to the quality of all those words, but they were there.
Lately though… Not so much with the writing. Why, you have a valid reason to ask?
I think I can split it down into two main reasons. Reason one is the most boring, so I’ll get it out of the way first. Simply put, I’m knackered. Cream crackered from here into the middle of next week. I have no fun reason for being tired, I just am. Work is hectic (as always – I’ve been waiting on a quiet patch for eighteen months now. I think it’s time I faced the fact quiet isn’t something we do very well). Plus I’ve got a few niggling health issues and other stuff batting around in the gloom behind me. Nothing serious or that I really want to talk about right now, but they are there all the same, sulking away, making me have to self-sensor to find the vein of fun this place deserves.
Reason two? Can reason two be slightly less depressing? Well, ok, since you asked so nicely.
Reason two is I think I have reached the “rabbit in headlights, year three, holy smoking mackerel” moment of blogging. There is a stat lurking somewhere about how most blogs make it to three years and then fall off the face of the earth. If someone could dig the source out I would appreciate it, because it is bugging me. Now I’ll be damned if Bright Meadow is going to go the way of the diplodocus but three years does seem to be my natural time for re-evaluating.
So why am I rabbit/headlight-ing it at the moment? Well, Bright Meadow is on the cusp of something. I am not sure what that thing is, but things are ever so slowly starting to happen. My readership – all you lovely, lovely people – is going up week on week by a couple of people each time. I am starting to get emails that are more “we are a valid company/respected person and we would like your opinion on stuff” rather than “ooh Cas, you’re so cool!” (Though a girl can never get tired of the “you’re cool” emails). I am starting, in my own small way, to have a little impact on people.
All of this is heady stuff and more than a little unsettling for someone who is essentially sticking her journal online!
There are other more intangible things going on as well. With all the good stuff comes the slightly less fuzzy fun. Given the people close to me who I know are reading, I am slightly more limited in what I can say, compared to the days my sole readership was Moose if I reminded her that week. It probably wouldn’t be wise, for example, to air dirty family linen out for all and sundry to see, now that my dad, my boss, my friends, potential dates (and possibly my brother, though he has yet to admit it) read on a regular basis. I gave up on anonymity a while ago, so any potential employer googling me is going to hit Bright Meadow, at a minimum, at the third result. I stand by all I have said here but you never know what is going to come back and bite you in the arse.
Then there is the pressure. I do feel a responsibility to keep the words coming and to make sure people have something nice to read and that is starting to be a drag. The Roasts especially take a good two or three hours to write and sometimes lately it has just not been fun. I always said, if nothing else, Bright Meadow was to be fun. Then let us not forget that part of the whole 9rules gig is contributing “regularly” for a given value of regular. I don’t want to be stripped of that leaf now!
I really do have to face it, but this website doesn’t exactly have a purpose beyond “ooh, let’s just write about something today”. Which is great but… Sometimes I think it might be time to re-focus. Re-brand. Re-think where I want to head.
Am I going to “monitize” Bright Meadow with ads? Hell no! The proverbial fluffy kitten stands a better chance than that ever happening. So income stream it most certainly is not.
Am I going to bring in other writers to ease the burden? *shrug* I don’t know. I’m not sure I could find someone to fit or – perhaps more importantly – I’m not sure I could let go! The Boss Lady won’t be surprised at this, but I do so like to be in control…
Is it time Bright Meadow changed direction and became a tech/lit/joke/… blog? Ne-yah. I can’t see it as anything other than what it is right now if I’m being honest. I like the mix of content I’ve got going on. I love the mix of people that are drawn here. I like that one day I can post a book review and the next a scholarly essay on wikis and personality on the web. I think my focus might shift slightly toward the new technologies and fields of research I’m interested in, but that is all.
Simply, is anything going to change, and why am I writing this damn post? I am not sure really. I am just doing what I always do when I have a problem; write it out and try to order my thoughts, see a coherent path through the chaos.
I need to take the pressure off myself and remind myself it is just fun. I need to stop having in the back of my mind “oooh… wouldn’t it be great if I got writing gig out of this” (for example). I need to stop wanting to be internet famous. That will happen on its own if it is going to happen. At the same time I need to fight my inferiority complex and start to believe that, perhaps, I have got something good here after all. That my opinions count. And that I deserve it.
So will things change? Probably not. Most likely not. I expect that I will go on exactly as I have been doing for the past three/four/five/six/seven (depending how you count the archives) years and write whatever the damn-hell I like and keep welcoming people to the party. I fully plan to keep on being star-struck when my internet idols speak to me and ask my opinion. I doubt the day will ever come that I don’t give a giggle of girlish glee when I get a “you’re great, Cas” email.
The day I’m not the blondest brunette on the block? That’s the day I’ll hang up the blogging shoes and not a moment before.
(But I do reserve the right to keep things ticking over for a few more weeks yet. With all things, planning is one thing; making the shiny future happen is quite another all together!)