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Back after a month away from blogging

A great story of the British Broadcasting Corporation in television’s infancy is that as the war broke out, television operations were suspended. That was on Sept. 1, 1939; a presenter was speaking on camera when word came down and the telecast was cut short.

It wasn’t until June 7, 1946, that the BBC resumed telecasting. The same presenter appeared on camera and began with, “Now, as I was saying when I was so rudely interrupted…”

And with that, my fall interruption is over. I’m back on the blog.

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Although I didn’t publish, I did write some blog posts. I had shot several cameras during September and I didn’t want to forget my impressions of them. So when the film came back from the processor I wrote up those reviews right away. Also, I worked on this post little by little all through October, and I wrote a couple other posts because the words came to me and I didn’t want to lose them.

But I did put the time to non-blog use: I completed a new book of my photography, which I’ll announce on Monday. Hint: Éire dubh bán.

I also took up journaling. I’ve had some challenging things to sort out and I do it best when I write out my thoughts and feelings. It put me back in touch with some creative energy I’d been overlooking while I’ve been so busy with Operation Thin the Herd and keeping my publishing schedule going. I’m sure I’ll rework some of those journal entries into posts and share them with you.

But at no time was the blog far from my thoughts. Even on hiatus, I checked my stats, thought of topics I could write about, and made photographs I intend to share with you.

The blog had become a treadmill. It’s a lot of work to post six days a week! I started that schedule several years ago because I wanted to practice daily writing and I knew publishing pressure would help me stick with it. But I kept that schedule well beyond the point daily writing had become a solid habit.

But pageviews went way up with my frequent posting, and that was addicting. A part of me really wants to be Somebody Well Known And Loved, and rising pageviews felt like lottery tickets to stardom.

My pageviews dropped by a third while I wasn’t publishing. It was a shock, as new posts generate far less than a third of this blog’s daily pageviews. New posts must create an energy that brings readers to the archives. Ceasing to post was like abandoning a house — shortly, the gutters start to fall, mice get in, the roof leaks, and after a while it’s easy to see the deterioration from the street.

But like neighbors checking in on that homeowner they haven’t seen for a while, a few of you told me how much you missed the blog. It reminded me that good neighbors are better than celebrity any day.

To try to fill that gap for you, I started sharing old posts on the blog’s Facebook page and on Twitter every day. It put me back in contact with some work I love from long ago, and let many of you read them for the first time. This gave me the idea for another book, which I’ve also been working on during my break — a collection of stories and essays from this blog. I know that many of you didn’t read this blog in its early days; those stories will be new to you and I think you’ll enjoy them. I have much more work to do on this book. If I’m lucky, I’ll publish it before Christmas.

My break reminded me that while I’ll never be famous from blogging, I’ve built something valuable here that I want to keep. I feel so fortunate that anybody at all wants to read what I think and look at my photographs. After all, I’m just an ordinary middle-aged man from Indiana.

But it’s time for me to stop posting things just to fill an open slot. If I don’t have something to say or show that’s I think will be interesting or valuable to you and me, I won’t post.

And with that, I’m back. Posts are queued for the next couple weeks, starting tomorrow with my roundup of blog posts I enjoyed this week, and then Monday with the official debut of my new book.

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46 thoughts on “Back after a month away from blogging

  1. Well welcome back Mr Grey! You were missed, it’s true.

    Interesting to hear about your stats, yes I’m sure you’re right that whilst the new posts don’t get all the views, they do generate the buzz and lure people (and search engines) into the blog to explore further.

    Your plan for writing and publishing sounds very solid. Personally I feel it’s much better to write less often (but still fairly regularly) and make the posts as interesting and authentic as possible, rather than write just for the sake of filling a hole in an arbitrary schedule. Quality over quantity.

    Good to have you back.

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  2. I was not one of those neighbors who checked in with you, but that was only out of the desire to give you your space. Rest assured that you were missed.

    In fact my heart sank a bit yesterday when there was no post. Yes, I went back and confirmed that you had said that November 1st might be the day. But I thought that a “Dude, where’s the blog?” email might not be a good idea. Yesterday. Trust me, it might have come to that. 😁

    Glad you’re back!

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  3. Christopher May says:

    This was a pleasant surprise when I looked through my e-mail this morning. Reading Down the Road is always a nice way to start my day. Glad to see you back, Jim!

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  4. jon campo says:

    Welcome back Jim, sounds like a healthy break. I missed your blog anyway. At least I kept up with you on Flickr. The less said about that the better I guess.

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    • Thank you Jon! Nice to be missed. Yeah, Flickr is a preview of this blog’s next 3-4 weeks. And at least I’ve been a Pro user for 10 years so I’m not terribly affected by the recent changes.

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  5. Heide says:

    Yay! I was so happy to see your post show up in my reader, Jim — I really did miss you! Rest assured that even if you’re not (yet) world-famous, you are DEFINITELY Somebody Well Known And Loved. Now … as you were saying … ?

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  6. I haven’t been blogging much lately either, and then the other day I decided I wanted to start blogging everyday for a few months. As I was thinking about this and scrolling through my WordPress feed I’d realized you hadn’t been blogging either and I was wondering where you were. Glad you are back!

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  7. Christopher Smith says:

    Welcome back Jim I was beginning to get withdrawal system without my daily fix of “Down the Road” nice to see you back rejuvenated and refreshed.

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  8. Greg Clawson says:

    Welcome back Jim!. Your blog is the only the only one I read on a daily basis. Even though it was photography that first brought me to your blog, I have loved your storytelling and your transparency is rare and a valuable commodity in this day and age. You were missed!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. TBM3FAN says:

    Since I had been all through the archives before I ever made my first comment I simply was going to wait out your month as specified. You had other things to do and so did I. I saw you made a comment on my car at Curbside where I am still working on four stories at the moment. I also managed to repair two Exaktas in the past month.

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