On Falling Silent
Posted by J Russell
Despite appearances to the contrary on this blog, I haven’t actually stopped writing. I write all the time, in my head. I write a lot for work. I write a fair amount for study. I tweet a little and I write down the odd thought on scraps of paper in various notebooks from time to time. All that is pretty similar, apart from the tweeting, to the state of play when I started this blog over 10 years ago. I was a writer, mainly in my head.
One problem with accumulating extended periods of silence on the page, is that when wanting to start up with the writing again, there are too many places from which to start. Which makes me tend to stop before I’ve started.
The other problem is readers desert you. And, sure, why wouldn’t they!
I mean, who is going to hang around to read someone who no longer writes? That makes no sense at all.
Things have changed so much since I started writing this blog. The world has changed. I’ve changed. Other writers have changed too. Some of them no longer write blogs either. Others have shifted their online output onto Facebook and Twitter and Insta and GodKnowsWhataChat. Apart from Twitter, I have mainly kept my own counsel. Writers are told to build their platform, to maintain an online presence which is probably a good thing, but it’s not just writers who are doing that, is it? It’s just about everyone, including their dogs (and cats). I follow rescue goat kids in knitted outfits in Chile for chrissakes.
So, yeah, this platform building is everywhere. People broadcast to others all over the place at all hours of the day and night, and the rest of us lap it up. I love the internet still, I promise, but just like the deep underwater ocean, it’s become a very noisy place. Why add to that, I think? Why would anyone be interested in what I had to say about anything anyway. Now, if I’d typed that sentence as a status in Facebook (I wouldn’t, but if I had) what an earth would be the upshot? People leaping to reassure me, perhaps, that not at all they really have nothing better to do than scroll through my weepings and wailings about life, liking and hearting and shedding tears of online empathy on the way.
And who wants that?
I still have things to say and I am going to practice them a little on here and see how it goes, but in a way it would be good to return to the anonymity I started this blog with, when I wrote under a pseudonym and didn’t do platforms or presence or tweeting and Facebook was barely a thing. There’s nothing stopping me doing that of course, from slipping back under the radar and writing what I really want to. And maybe I will.