Tuesday, January 01, 2013

State of the Blog -- Year 8

The state of the blog this year was not particularly good, in fact it was bordering on downright bad.  There were a lot of “from the inbox” posts and, compared to previous years, not as many original posts.  There were several reasons for this. 

From November through June two other issues, one work and one home related, took up a great deal of time and energy.  Both were resolved in a positive fashion but neither are experiences I would ever want to repeat.  (For those wondering – the marriage is fine, one of the kids had a health issue that eventually required surgery.)    I caught my breath over the summer and then fall hit – the busiest time of the school year for parents and a busy time at work.  Political races don’t tend to really heat up until after Labor Day, especially if the primary was uncontested, and campaign often don’t staff up until then.   I tend to be the opposite – if I’m not already following a candidate, it’s too late for me to jump in after September.    There just isn’t enough time, eight weeks until the election, to learn enough or have sufficient exposure, to write good posts.   Since this was a presidential year the information firehose really came on after Labor Day and often just keeping up with email took all of my allotted blogging time.

The Jane household did our part to stimulate the economy this year, with two (or three depending on how you count) major purchases.  So there was very little money available for political events.    House parties were popular this year in area races.  They are great for campaigns – probably less expensive than events at commercial venues.  They are not so good for me, though.  As a general rule I don’t write about events that take place in people’s homes.  I’m sure I’ve done it a few times over the years but only a few.  It just seems rude to go to someone’s house and write about it without announcing one’s intention (or the possibility) of doing so beforehand.  Thus money spent on political events in private homes is kind of a wash.  They are great for getting to know candidates or getting more exposure to candidates, but when money is in short supply they are the first events crossed off my calendar.  Also people tend to be justifiably curious about strangers showing up at their house parties when they don’t live in the district, and I prefer not to answer a lot of questions about who I am and why I am there.

On the other hand I’ve been more directly engaged with civic matters the last two years.  Boots on the ground, nose to the grindstone, not necessarily political but civic, though it has involved working with some elected officials.  I’ve enjoyed that but it also means less time for blogging.   Another rule of thumb is that I don’t write about people when I’m interacting with them via other venues;  there were a couple of people I would have loved to write about (and not in a positive way) but I was sitting in a room with them on a semi-regular basis so that was out.    This foray into the “real” world has been interesting and I can see one or two times when my presence at the table led to something positive but, to be honest, I’m not sure those small victories were worth all the time and effort it took.  The inertial forces at work in any group setting, let alone bureaucratic and institutional ones, are fierce and executing any kind of change requires a level of patience and diligence that I am not sure I possess.   Sitting home at night with my house slippers blogging would likely provide a greater sense of accomplishment, and it would require less travel.  Thus there might be some changes next year.

There you have it.  I’ve been busy, out and about, but not blogging as much as in previous years.  I am hoping for a calmer, or at least less frantic year next year, which hopefully will mean more and better blogging.

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