Let’s be honest.  Most blogs shine when they have a real focus.  Most RPG blogs are just that: RPG blogs.  Perhaps they post interesting-and-random-but-related tidbits every now and then.  Ink Nouveau is a great pen ‘n’ blog that sticks to its mission with commendable zeal.  Some of my classmates, like Carey Pietsch and Steph Su, keep up sketchblogs and book review blogs and keep a tight focus.  Sure, there’s the occasional post about happiness, but part of what garners a loyal crowd of readers is keeping that laser-tight focus on your blog’s mission statement.

Why do I bring this up?  In a month’s time, my contract with Dreamhost is set to expire.  I bought my original hosting plan with a ridiculously cheap deal, something like $12/year for unlimited storage and bandwidth.  Over the past two years, I’ve tried to run a webcomic/sketchblog and a personal blog that morphed into an RPG blog.  I’ve had a whole lot of fun doing each of the above.  I’ve read some great game products, interviewed cool people, and engaged in some excellent dialogue with others in the blogosphere.  Unfortunately, I fear that the time for this blog has come to an end.

To be honest, I’m not sure why this blog is around any more.  My first blog, an utter embarrassment hosted on Blogger, was really just an experiment to see if I could make my voice heard on the web.  Surprise!  It worked.  I don’t know if anyone actually read it, but I could certainly publish with a click of a button.  This blog was more of an effort to see what I could do with a server.  Turns out I could learn some HTML and CSS.  It also turns out that I’m not very good at web design, but somehow I’ll just have to live with myself.  Now, two years later, I’ve experienced blogger drift.

Some people manage to make a living by writing about their opinions day in and day out.  We call them politicians, or, charitably, op-ed contributors.  Some people even manage to maintain a blog of random, awesome stuff.  Look at Boing Boing or Tom Scott.  They do really neat stuff and rarely fail to usually surprise us almost completely.

But, again, let’s be honest.  Writing the ridiculous amount of stuff that shows up on Boing Boing requires work.  First, you’ve got to have an idea.  I’d be curious to see how many ideas are tossed in the bin by Mark & Co. for every one that makes it out to the thousands of readers who visit the site every day.  Second, you’ve got to research your idea.  You can’t write a good news piece, interview, expose, or what have you without doing some basic research.  Then you’ve got to do some in-depth research.  Blogging may look like random, serendipitious fun, but the best stuff, the stuff that makes you add a site to your news feeds, is founded on some basic journalistic principles, like research.  Third, you’ve got to write your idea.  And fourth, you’ve got to edit your idea.  Those last two take only a pair of sentences between them, but in reality they can take hours to days.

And now I come round again to the reason why I’m assaulting your eyeballs today.  Blogging is fun, but it also requires a time commitment.  To build the sort of loyal, involved readership that I want requires a regular schedule and at least a couple of hours per week spent researching, writing, and editing (to say nothing of interacting with other, like-minded bloggers).  I do not think I can invest that kind of time every week.  That is not to say that I have done so in the past.  This blog is not Boing Boing.  This is not meant to be Boing Boing.  But I would like it to be a place of focus, a place where readers may reliably find new and exciting pieces of quality amateur journalism.  Whether it’s roleplaying games, writing instruments, speculative fiction, comics, or the state of professional journalism today, I want my blog to have a reason for being and I want every post to contribute meaningfully to that purpose.

For now, I shall think more about why I like to write and what I like to write about.  When my Dreamhost plan lapses, I may transplant the blog to another (free) host.  At the very least, I shall keep the domain name and an archive of the content from this blog.  Maintaining a self-hosted blog is no longer an option for me, but I plan to continue my online presence.  I have found in the past that eliminating commitments, even if they exist only in my head, is a liberating experience.  Sometimes it pays to reevaluate what you do and why you do it.  I’ve noticed my blogger drift and have decided that the time for reevaluation is now.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I love blogging, and that I love interacting with readers and other bloggers.  So, to all my readers and subscribers, whoever you may be, thank you.  I appreciate the time that you’ve invested in this blog over the past few years.  I don’t intend to disappear, but in a month this blog will likely not be what it was.  I hope it will be better.

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