Music Blogger Symposium
6. A lot of music bloggers tend to start out with a lot of energy, then drop out altogether. You have kept at this for a while--what keeps you going, and are you ever tempted to just throw in the towel?
Right now, in fact! I often feel like I could throw in the towel. Whenever "real life" intervenes and you remember that you have shit to do. I'm lucky I'm pretty well obsessed and after a while get antsy without writing, plus I weaseled my way into a verifiable "niche" (yer Fergies and Parises and Ashlees) that's relatively sparsely covered--at least how I cover it. But that kind of commitment doesn't leave room for more reasonable, less hysterical people to blog all the time, especially in such a saturated field. I know I was "brought up" in online criticism thinking it was a privilege just to be published somewhere, or to have something to say in a place anyone could conceivably read it; it's still a shock if I get paid for anything. But it also makes blogging a low priority when it comes time to pay the rent, or do something that might facilitate the rent getting paid. I didn't realize that until this year, which was my first year out of some kind of academic setting (and I went ahead and remedied that by getting my ass to grad school).
When I started, one veteran blogger said, "I predict you'll go at it crazy for six months and then suddenly stop. I've seen it so many times before". That was five years ago! There's been a few points where I've thought of giving up, but not because I've lost interest--indeed at any given point I've usually got at least a dozen things I'd like to post about but just haven't got round to. No, it's because I've been stretched thin, due to work and life commitments. Having a second child put a time crunch on inessential activities of all sorts, and blogging is at the top of that list. But at this point I can't imagine ever completely stopping, not unless there was some really drastic change in my life circumstances. It is such a useful and enjoyable outlet for writing that is unpublishable in all other formats, but has some kind of value or pleasure factor both for the writer and the reader. Having a blog as an outlet has made me a lot more productive in terms of ideas, even if a high proportion of them never make it to the web. Just knowing it is there provokes me to muse about stuff, think things through.
Yes! Because I'm blogging full-time for VH1, by the end of the day, my brain is often zapped. Sometimes, I just want to zone out, or, you know, take in some pop culture, which I'm supposed to be commenting on, and not think about this other thing that I have going on that's basically a glorified hobby. But those thoughts go away as quickly as they creep up, because I know that I owe everything to my blog. It has, in the most basic sense, improved my quality of life, via the exposure and opportunities it has offered. Sometimes, I feel like I'm working for it--like, mining pop-culture for something, anything to put a unique, hopefully uniquely packaged, spin on. But you know, ultimately, I'm happy to give back to that which has given me so much. And, really, like I said above, I'm so creatively fulfilled that it's worth doing just to stay that way.
As I said, Zoilus helps keep me in touch with the U.S. and British criticism worlds in a way that I'd find hard to replicate. But the main thing that keeps me going is actually the Toronto following--it fills a role in the local scene that seems to be a bit unique, and it has generated in its own discursive community-within-a-community that I feel very pleasurably responsible for. Sometimes it gets difficult to keep the energy and especially the time available for the site, but I find it hard to imagine killing it off as long as that function remained intact. I get a lot of very gratifying in-person response out and about in the city, often from complete strangers.
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