It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written here.
I intended to step away to try to do some writing for NaNoWriMo again but I did very little. Instead I spent October and November trying to get my head on straight and attempting to get into the holiday season a little earlier than usual. NaNo fell apart, though I still intend to do more writing soon, and the back half of the month fell into heavy Fairfield Lake State Park advocacy after about two months of quiet. I have been writing about all of that over on my On Texas Nature Substack. I guess I should talk a bit more about about Substack since I’m here.
After noticing a lot of newsletter writers and former blog writers move to Substack in the last few years I decided to start one in September 2022 with the intention to create some more focused nature writing there to a different audience. The other bonus for Substack was the option to monetize it with subscriptions if you wanted to go that route, and those with larger followings often do well. And by larger followings, even people with 500 subscribers pull in some money. I had no idea where I was really going with Substack but I knew I wanted a: more of an audience and b: to try tailoring down my writing in some manner. My blog has covered the gamut of topics for its various incarnations the last 21 years. And that’s perfectly fine–I love my blog and I refer to it all the time for things I wrote about a decade ago. But I have been in a rut with writing here for several years and have been trying to figure out how to reinvigorate my approach to sharing things on my blog. That in turn is also affecting how and why I take photos because I have also found myself not interested in editing a lot of photos, but still wanting to take them. A lot of that particular issue is that I tend to reach for my phone more for photos than I do my camera these days, too.
I really like Substack because while it is a newsletter based format, it is also a community. And while there are still a lot of people blogging, the community of bloggers is a fraction of what it used to be. And that was a huge part of writing online, having that community. Now that community is on social media where attention spans are minimal. I’ve considered closing commenting here and just posting into the ether for myself. I’ve considered turning this into a photoblog only. This last idea because I’m growing tired of social media and algorithms and the distraction of always being on a phone to see who posts what and keeping in touch with people. I honestly miss writing a post and sending out into the internet and then going about my life. Or reading a handful of blogs in a feed reader in the morning, making a comment or two, and then moving on. And now there is just so much content everywhere. My brain broke in 2020 because I was no longer able to keep up with the newsletters in my emails or the blog posts I used to read. There was too much information and content.
And so I have become overwhelmed here. I think I’m going to try to post something nearly daily here for December to kick start writing. There are no rules. It might be a few lines, it might be a photo. And in the New Year I will work on reformatting the blog into something more streamlined and will probably start taking certain posts offline. I’m also reconsidering how much to show of Forest these days because as kids get older they are less likely to want to have their photos plastered on their parent’s blog and there’s a lot written about the ethics of sharing photos of your kids online to the world as they age. I have definitely even pulled away from sharing as much of him on social media, too. Don’t worry friends and family, texting photos will always be there!
This has been a very change filled year for me in various ways, some of which I will write about. But as I truly start hitting mid-40s and mid-life there’s just also a shift in how I see myself vs how I have tried to cling to some past identifications of myself—something I’ll probably write about soon.
So, that’s an update with me! I would love to hear thoughts from long time bloggers out there and how you keep motivated and how things are evolving for you.