Sailors once feared a stretch of the ocean they called the Doldrums. The doldrums was a place of extremes. Violent storms could strike without warning, as winds converged in this particular place with special vehemence. Then, just as suddenly as they appeared, the storms could vanish, leaving a ship 'becalmed'- drifting aimlessly under a murderous sun with no friendly trade winds to nudge it out of the zone.
The similarity to blogging is clear.
As I approach four years of blogging I find I have wandered into the doldrums. I am becalmed in the fierce urgency of nowhere. Unlike the sailors of yesteryear I'm not equipped with star charts and sextants and a final destination; I can't shade my eyes with one hand and point in a specific direction with the other.
Navigation has never been my strong suit, and maybe that's my whole problem.
Knowing what I already think- having a single destination in mind- has never been enough for me. It's merely a starting-place. From there I zigzag all over the virtual map, looking up this and reading that, tracking down bit after piece and always wondering what else there is to examine. Then, at some point, I force myself to stop looking and start collating. I try to pull what I have found together and say something coherent about it. I've been known to spend weeks on this "process."
It doesn't make for successful blogging.
If mainstream media lives by the 24-hour news cycle, online media lives by the nanosecond news cycle. Step aside for too long and the piece you lovingly crafted becomes irrelevant.
If a 1,000-word post appears on a blog and nobody reads it, does it still use pixels?
This is a long and overly fancy way of publicly admitting that I realize I'm ill-suited to what I'm doing. I guess you could say that I've been mis-using the medium. I'm my own albatross.
And that is what I have to say this Wednesday afternoon, drifting in the digital doldrums, imagining too many different shorelines to point my boat in one single direction.
But at least I have a post up in under two weeks.