this post is titled Laika for some reason

When I started my blog almost ten years ago, I made a dedicated effort to write something new every day. I figured that it was good practice for me as a level zero writer, and I also knew that the only way to keep readers engaged was by providing new content all the time.

As the years rolled by, I had to force myself to take breaks, even when I was writing multiple weekly and monthly columns, because I had fallen in love with writing, and I really enjoyed interacting with readers in comments.

But as the years rolled by, I changed. My family changed. My work changed. The world changed, man. You've changed! You used to be cool! What happened to you?

Um. Sorry.

A lot of things changed, and so did the way I wrote about them. The biggest change for me was watching my kids grow up and move out on their own. As they became teenagers and then young adults, I felt less and less comfortable writing about them. It felt okay when they were little, and I was writing about becoming a dad and the experiences I had raising them, but as they got older and made friends who read about them on my blog, I began to feel like it was an invasion of their privacy to write about them. And also, honestly, teenagers can be total dicks to their parents, impossible to deal with, and their existence is, as far as I am concerned, conclusive proof that we never master time travel. Because if we did, I'm pretty sure all parents would travel back in time and make sure they never hooked up at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance.

My career changed, too. Namely: I had one again. Writing about the struggle to find work was more comfortable and interesting to me than writing about how great it is to have the work. It's also damn hard to write about things I work on when they don't make it to the audience for a year or more, and we now live in an era when studios and networks explicitly forbid us from blogging, flickring, twittering and otherwise talking about our work. I'm lucky that the shows I work on are mostly willing to leave me to my own judgment, but I still play it safe rather than risk spoiling something through my own carelessness.

The world changed. The way we communicate online changed. Where I once had a blog, I now have a Twitter and a Tumblr and a podcast and a YouTube and Reddit and Flickr and and and and and like and such as. What used to turn into a 1500 word post on my blog is now a link on Tumblr, a picture on Twitter, and then nothing at all on my blog, because I've lost the need to write about it.

I'm not sure what happens next. I still love to write, though, and I still love interacting with readers. I still love telling stories. I've been writing more and more fiction, because I don't feel weird writing about people and places I've made up, but I stopped writing regular columns because I began to get really sick of the sound of my own voice.

I used to write every day, and I looked forward to it. I kept my eyes and my ears and my soul open because I never knew when something was going to crash into my life that would make a good story. I'd like to find a way to get back to that, but I think things have changed so much, it's not really possible to change them back again.

79 thoughts on “this post is titled Laika for some reason”

  1. Weird. Laika is the name I was going to give the main character in a story I have yet to write, only she was going to be a whale. It came to me in a dream! *true story*

  2. I think the writing is more of a mental discipline for yourself, write to keep your mind active. Would that be another point of view on writing or blogging?

  3. Don’t the writers with the most “issues” do the most writing? If there’s less to write about, that could be a good sign, maybe?

  4. Sir, your writing proves it’s quality not quantity. Regardless of the amount of posts you make in a month, you continue to produce compelling pieces of reading. I for one, would love to read more of your blogs, but completely understand where you’re coming from.
    All I ask is that you keep writing when you can, and keep producing such high quality pieces of work.
    Thanks,
    Kyle

  5. speaking of your podcast… *nudge*
    can I suggest doing a segment where you sit down and chat w/ some of these awesome people you’ve been getting to work with lately?

  6. Hey, ten years on, if you hadn’t changed / switched gears somehow, people would be complaining about THAT.
    Do what you love, do what you want, want to do what you do, it’s what led me and so many others to start reading your blog in the first place.

  7. Wil… I for one don’t get tired of the sound of your voice! Ever since I started reading your blog back in the day, it has always been a Very Good Day when there was a new posting from you. I’ve felt a kinship with you as you converse with us about being a dad.
    It’s kind of funny that you are now the age that I was when you were acting in Next Generation. (Yes, I’m that old.) Mid-30’s is when I made the life for myself that I enjoy today. You’ve done the same thing.
    I really like it that a blog that started out as your musings turned into the instrument that led to you rediscovering your craft.
    Short-form (tweets!) entries are all well and good, but the long conversations with you are what’s special. Don’t worry about the Sound of Your Voice. It’s still spot-on.

  8. I hear Laika, I see a cute puppy dog being flung out into space with no chance of ever returning home :( Don’t get flung out into the great beyond, Wil! We’ll miss you!!

  9. as a journalist, I understand completely. I’ve held the job I currently have now for almost three years, and the things I used to get excited about doing (blogging, editing, etc) are more chorelike than ever before. I’m still looking for a way to bring back the passion I once had for non-work writing.

  10. I now have the song “Laika” by Moxy Fruvous stuck in my head. Thanks, Wil… no wait, really thanks! It’s a great song. Do you know it? If not, you’d probably really like it. It’s… delightfully off-beat. In fact, check out the whole Bargainville album. It’s aged remarkably well. I still think that “Gulf War Song” is just as poignant and applicable as when it was written (about the first Gulf War). And if you need more incentive, there’s an awesome version of the Spiderman theme song, too!

  11. I find that Twitter had an almost immediate affect on my blogging. Rather than writing a full post about random things, I’d just shove them into 140 characters…sometimes running into 280. So blog posts were restricted to the few things I really needed to expound upon.
    But it seems to me that we have a certain amount of writing within us. And if you are using yours in fiction, there will naturally be less left for blogging. Of course, some people are more prolific than others and they can write and write and write and write. They are not the norm, though.
    Also, whether writing fiction, or writing in your blog, you are mostly writing in your own voice. So it would stand to reason that spending more time writing fiction would take you that much closer to the point where you are tired of your own voice. Howsomever…
    …as a commenter above mentioned, we do not get tired of your voice. We also are not seeing your fictional works as they progress through their various stages, we only see them when they are done. So we are far, far away from the point where we would even begin to get tired of your voice.
    And, finally, I love hearing about the moments when you stop and reflect upon how lucky you are to be doing work you love, and have a family you love. A whole lot us tend not to count our blessings that way because we are too caught up in what’s wrong in our lives, and we end up taking the good stuff for granted.
    Remember that time you messed up the Rock Band marathon? Or was it Guitar Hero? I forget, but that wasn’t the important thing anyway. You were so upset over it, but your son pointed out that it was only a game and he’d really enjoyed spending that time with you. When you talk about the good stuff in your life, it reminds me to be grateful for the good stuff in mine.
    And when you talk about bad stuff, like the TSA assholes, you provide a voice for those of us whose complaints don’t have the exposure that yours does. As bad as that experience was for you, there were thousands of us who felt better that you had brought so much light to a situation that makes us feel vulnerable and helpless.
    So I sincerely hope that this is not actually goodbye. We have you in our feedreaders, post whenever you feel like about whatever you want. We’ll be here waiting for it.

  12. What used to turn into a 1500 word post on my blog is now a link on Tumblr, a picture on Twitter, and then nothing at all on my blog, because I’ve lost the need to write about it.

    Yes. This. I have found that Twitter has largely replaced my writing. I’m not sure how I feel about this or where I go from here, but it is nonetheless a truth. Hm…
    I’d like to find a way to get back to that, but I think things have changed so much, it’s not really possible to change them back again.
    I’m with you, Wil. I’m with you. Hm…

  13. This song is ending, but the story never ends.

    Your writing might evolve, but it won’t end. We’ll keep reading if you keep writing, in whatever format or style.

  14. Wil.
    I feel you should only blog when you want to. There’s no need for an every day entry just because you feel you have to. It’s like you once said a few years ago. If you are interested in what you are talking about, then the readers will also find that interesting. I still love your blog just as much as I did nearly 10 years ago!

  15. Maybe if you feel you are questioning your blogging, you should refresh yourself by doing something completely different for a change. Maybe a RFB session?

  16. it isn’t about changing it back to the way it used to be wil… but you know that already..
    you’ve made this journey so many times and in so many different ways before… why should the forum in which we read/write be any different?
    all things have to adapt in order to survive… the written word is no different… it is just as alive, and just as deserving of life, as any other living thing or art form… maybe its time for you to figure out how writing is going to morph for you…?

  17. Wil, I’ve always enjoyed your blog; to me it’s really interesting to read your thoughts about whatever it is you’re writing about, as you have both writing skills and interesting opinions.
    That being said, I’m not much for these fancy Web 2.0 doohickeys like Twitter and Tumblr. Twitter posts are fragments of thoughts with no room for explanation, elaboration, description, all the other fancy writer-y things that you’re quite good at. While I totally support you in the future if you do decide to stop blogging entirely, I have to say that it’s a shame. Your fleshed-out, expanded thoughts are much more interesting than 140 character tidbits.

  18. The world has changed. Technology has changed. Where you might be running into a slight fallacy is in the notion that the way things are right now won’t change. Maybe you’ll never feel the need to blog about your life again. Maybe you will. We move in and out of different phases of our lives. It’s not necessarily a linear progression of static–>change–>static–>more change.
    I know that I started reading your blog somewhere between December of 2001 and February of 2002. If you never move back into a phase where you use this platform to write about your life, then it was a joy and an honor to watch this journey of yours over the last decade.

  19. “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you know there is no going back?” – Frodo Baggins (Third Age 3019)

  20. Reading some of the comments here gives me the impression that some readers think this may be the end. Maybe you have reached a point now in which you’ve evolved beyond your blog. I hope you do indeed keep a presence here on your website. Your stories have given me so much amusement and entertainment over the last decade. From a personal point of view, you and your blog entries made me rediscover conventions, and that has started me on a whole new adventure in my own life.
    It has been a total privilege watching your career develope and succeed over the years. Long may it continue!

  21. Perhaps it’s just that your life is busy and right now, you’re busy living it. It’s a lot easier to blog when you’re at loose ends, or when you don’t have much going on, which is completely ironic because… what on earth would you have to blog about? So much easier to get into that writing groove when you know you have a block of completely uninterrupted time to do it in.
    When you have a moment to catch your breath and be able to think… you’ll know what to do. And what to write. And where. And when.

  22. Good luck in coming to some sort of understanding, Wil, and finding new passion for writing, if you want. I’m just glad I’ve had the pleasure of reading your words, and I’m sure that will continue. Here or elsewhere.
    I’ve been writing about the same places, people and projects for many years now. Time for a change, yes. I totally get that.

  23. It sounds as if you are trying to find balance. The changes in your life have made the daily writing of your blog feel unnecessary. Take your time. Change your blog, or stop blogging, as you see fit. Your fans understand. We really do. You owe us nothing, and we want the best for you. I am sure that you will find your balance, one way or another. You don’t have to do this alone. Talk to other successful bloggers who, like you, have busy lives outside blogging (such as Neil Gaiman or John Scalzi). I suspect that they will say “cut back”. Blogging should be a joy not a chore.

  24. The great thing about RSS is that I don’t actually care how often you write: when you do write, it shows up in my feed and I get to enjoy your perspective on the world. And I do enjoy it. Your gratitude posts are some of the nicest things that show up in my online world — I wish that there were a lot more people (or that I knew where they were) who wrote so simply about the pleasures of being alive and being loved. If those posts only happen once every two weeks — cool, works for me. It still means that once every two weeks I will get to be reminded that life is good. Write when you feel like you want to share!

  25. Hi Wil. I’ve been reading your blog for about 8 years. It’s the only one I read with any consistency. Your writing is a part of my daily life. I think that’s pretty cool, no?

  26. It seems to me that the proliferation of online outlets for writing is a good thing. Rather than having just one blog, now you can have a microblog (Twitter) for short posts, a miniblog (Tumblr) for somewhat longer posts and photos and such, and a regular blog for long-form writing. And since we can follow you in all three places (plus Reddit and Flickr and so forth), it’s all good.

  27. Having been a reader for most of the decadeish that you’ve been blogging I’ve seen you go through this a couple of times before so I recognize the “I need to be in my own head for a while” post :) I also recognize that you might possibly be revisiting a fear that you need to start Saying Things or you’ll lose us/be wasting time. So, for the record: You won’t. :) But remember: keeping us happy isn’t your priority. Keeping YOURSELF happy is the priority.
    Also, as a reader for most of the decadeish that you’ve been blogging I am, again, freakin’ AMAZED that you somehow always manage to blog about the exact same things that are going on in my own head. It’s just weird. But in a good way. :)
    *HUGS* If you were here in PDX and we actually knew each other well enough for it, I’d totally buy you a box of Vegan Voodoo Doughnuts. Those always help!

  28. Well whatever all of these changes bring, I will always look forward to reading whatever tidbits you share here. Fact is – even though some of the super geek bits go over my head sometimes – this is the only online community that I interact with on a semi-regular basis. In the early days of the internets I had email penpals all over the world…roamed the dark dungeons of the IRC Undernet and was very involved in discussion forums (and served as a moderator for several large groups). After more than a decade of learning that most of the people online are mostly dicks most of the time – I got burned out almost to the point of no return. No more forums, no more pen pals…and since I have an online business that requires me to stay plugged in for work stuff – I cherish my time away greatly. I lasted a week on Facebook…haven’t had a text service for about 5 years and change my email address often enough that most of the people I don’t want to talk to can’t get a hold of me anyway. ;)
    That being said, I really enjoy this little corner of the interwebz. Very mellow, interesting things to read about and I’ve learned a lot even as I prefer to lurk most of the time.
    So, I say, change smange! I like to embrace it – and take advantage of wherever it leads. :)

  29. I think that maybe finding out what is next is what life is all about. There are a million stories of people who thought they knew what was coming next only to have life choose something else for them.
    Live, create, and be Happy.

  30. “I’m not sure what happens next.”
    I am.
    You will use your voice in a way that speaks to an ocean of people.
    You will do so in a way that doesn’t take you away from your family or your career, any more than it has to.
    You will continue to matter to people you know and people whom you’ve never met.
    And I, for one, thank you for that.
    Thanks, Wil.

  31. I feel that Twitter will never replace the real, substantial content that you do on this website. Well, I certainly *hope* that you never reduce your viewpoints down to a one-sentence ‘soundbite’, anyway. You’ve done some excellent work here, and I’ve been reading your writing (and have bought your books) over the last ten years or so. It sort of troubles me to read that you don’t enjoy writing as much about your more recent successes, as your past struggles. I’ve actually enjoyed the change. In any case, hopefully you will get past this crossroads of sorts in your development as a writer.

  32. Even if it’s not every day, if you post it, it’s usually worth reading. It also gives us really busy people a chance to see the sun outside, or perhaps to catch another awesome author’s blog.

  33. I agree that the internet has changed, and so has this blog’s purpose, but don’t go quitting on us now ;) You’ll keep finding new things to do with it, I’m sure.

  34. Hi, Wil,
    I have really enjoyed watching you move from mostly writing about things that bothered you to writing about things you enjoy. Why should writing about what’s good feel less important and valuable than writing about struggles? Maybe only because we live in a news-saturated world, and because pessimism is more popular than optimism? I’m not sure that focusing on the negative is a habit that really serves our world.
    I do wish you the best in whatever ways you find to write in the future. (Which is now! :-) )
    Anna Paradox

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