the quiet, moon-coloured voices are slipping into dark silence

I've been keeping a weblog for ten years now. I've truly considered it a blessing in my life, not the least because of the friendships it's brought me. There have been times along the way when I've thought of stopping, but have always found reasons to continue on.

And yet here I am again, once more asking myself how and where I want to be online. Fewer people than ever are reading blogs, other than those which have always been popular; the small, moonspun, shy voices are slipping into silence.




It seems these days most everyone is at instagram. Some cling to facebook although that is fading away too, I believe. My favourite bloggers write only intermittently. Picture-based platforms dominate the field.  I've watched blogposts and e-magazine articles shrink in size over the years as people become less inclined to focus for long, to the point where a tweet or facebook post is what many erstwhile bloggers are reduced to. We have begun communicating increasingly with images via electronic devices. Many teenagers talk of how hard they find it to hold an extended conversation with friends. As a writer and a lover of words, this worries me. What is happening to our patience, our discernment, our listening for poetry?

And yet, I find it a struggle myself to speak on in the growing quiet. I will always want to write, given any chance, so I'm not announcing my own silence. But I have been considering different ways I might move on from blogging. Instagram is complicated by not having a smartphone. Facebook is only ever going to be a subsidiary for me. Pinterest may have some potential for microblogging. And I'm seriously thinking about instituting a "newsletter", so that my writing goes directly to the email of those who want to read it - a more intimate, heartfelt way to connect, maybe. I want to write more stories that weave through ordinary things; I want to find a safer vessel for the various pieces of magic I gather up from earth and night along my ways. And yet ...

I may change the look here frequently, but deep change is a slow, dream-soaked thing for me.

31 comments:

  1. Yes, sarah, yes. I wholly agree. After 17 years blogging on various platforms, I have also radically shifted how I share online. But I don't think (for me) the answer is instagram. I do not agree with the policies. For that matter, I disagree with the policies of most of the "sharing" apps. I think blogs are slowing down because they're not mobile friendly. I tried commenting here 4 times on a mobile before having to come to a computer to answer this because it's important for me to do so. It's the incompatibility of blogs with mobile devices that is leading people elsewhere to the easy "like" places... Forgive me, my mind is amiss tonight.

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    1. Nothing to forgive, I believe you are right, this is exactly the issues - blogs do not work well with mobile phones. And almost everyone I know does the majority of their internetting on their phone or tablet.

      I don't really like instagram myself - I don't like the fakeness of it.

      Thank you so very much for making such an effort to leave this comment. I truly appreciate it :-)

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    2. I vow to dedicate myself more to these encounters because they truly are the essence of community.

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  2. I still love reading half a dozen favourite blogs, the wordier the better... all the blogging platforms are trying hard to keep it together with the various mobile devices but it takes time top get it "right", gotta keep dancin' with the changes
    PS don't have a mobile phone or tablet just an aging iMac that has had two brain transplants but will go to confuser heaven in the not too faraway

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    1. please excuse the typo... time "to" not time "top"

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  3. I'm actually a new reader of yours, found you through Terri Windling. I've been blogging about 8 years, maybe 10, no longer sure. I've moved from blog to blog. The one blog I had going for awhile, I had to shutter due to IRL stuff.

    Yet I'm getting ready to launch a new one in late May. I don't think blogs are done for. And while I hope I don't end up a lone voice on the internet, I also doubt I'll ever leave blogging completely, even if Instagram and YouTube actually make more sense for me to focus on. (As someone who is a wanna-be illustrator/animator.)

    I've been waiting to launch my new space to comment on people's blogs much, mostly because I've been worried that I'll miss my opportunity to introduce myself to them properly, with a proper space for them to go to. It feels sort of like ghosting. I'm here, but in the between of reincarnating. I'm still settling on a name, so I haven't even known how to sign.

    But I want to pipe up that I do love your words & didn't want to leave this post silently, without giving an acknowledgement of the time & care spent by you on this space. No matter what you decide to do, please know that I have drunk your words in, and been the better for them.

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  5. Thank you everyone. I do intend to keep blogging, but I have been contemplating whether my blog should remain the centreplace of my internet doings, or if another should take that place, leaving my blog as one chamber to the side for longer writing. I appreciate so very much what you all have written :-)

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  6. I will always appreciate your writing and your blog. I don't get around to commenting as much as I'd like, but please know that I'm reading and that your words and images are a blessing to me.

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  7. You have many devoted readers here, I for one... granted I recently found you.
    But I understand your concerns. I love words, but seldom write more than a few. I try to speak through my photography. The important part of all this is to stay true to oneself. Not always easy. I often think to please. Shouldn't matter, but it does.
    Please continue your blog, I love it so.

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  8. Haven't yet read the other comments, but I wanted to say; how are we going to keep the things alive that we love unless we stubbornly plod along ignoring the crowd? I for one would certainly miss your words in my online world. If blogs were banned overnight I wouldn't turn to FB or Instagram, I'd turn off my computer.

    The answer to fewer books being read is NOT to shut down libraries. It'll come round again, I'm certain. Facebook is a mayfly, and when it withers, we'll be here. Your thoughts push me to make an effort and write more, not less.

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  9. Thank you all for your lovely comments. I will keep blogging, I promise. I have questioned whether it should be an ancilliary to something else - eg, a newsletter or instagram. But all afternoon I have tried to think about it and not had much inspiration. I think I will probably always be a blog-girl at heart. Maybe I should just hold this corner :-)

    I also want to say that I hope no one thought I was fishing for comments or compliments, although I appreciate so much all your responses. It's the middle of the night here now, so this will have to be my reply until a more civilised hour in the morning .. :-)

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  10. This time ‘nodding quietly’ feels as not enough. I am so happy you decided to continue blogging. The thought ‘fishing for compliments’ didn’t enter my mind. Much more, I experience what you have been writing about blogging lately as a – really appreciated – sincere way of sharing ‘a slow question’. I too find our world becoming increasingly loud,impatient I'd say. The few bloggers I follow are offering me a quiet albeit thought provoking kind haven.
    The more I think of your words the more a question comes to the surface. Could you say more about what communicating through a newsletter would bring to you that blogging doesn't seem to do now or anymore? And most of all: when I'd see you as 'giver' and myself as 'receiver' how would/could that relationship be or maybe become more reciprocal. And is that what you are looking for? or is it a different kind of writing you seek to explore in a different medium? One question I said... well they all came after the first one... and if this is too much answer here and you'd like to I can send you my emailaddress.

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    1. Interesting questions. I love my readership and don't really ask anything from them, I am happy with comments etc. But numbers have diminished and although we shouldn't care about that, I am not just blogging here, I'm also hoping to support my little "fundraising projects" and any future ones - which is not the primary aim of this blog, and I don't think I have monetized my blog, but I do count it in my considerations. It always feels so gauche and lower-class to want more readers. :-) Its not so much about the audience being relatively small but that it is steadily shrinking, which indicates I am doing something wrong.

      A newsletter would feel like a safer container to delve more deeply into mythic, intimate kinds of writing, but then again I read yesterday that people only spend 50 seconds reading newsletters, and I know I myself skim them or don't even open them, so I'm not sure if it is right for me after all. Anything "extra" I do will mainly be for the purpose of directing people here, anyway.

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    2. Me piping up again here! :) Just to add my two cents that in my experience instagram is actually dreadful at driving people to my work! I think it is great for getting people to buy THINGS, products, but stories-- not so much. It's actually rather funny. I think it's the attention span thing, and the fact that you are skimming through a feed... For me my newsletter, on the other hand, is really quite effective. I think whether or not people open it depends entirely on the content and how you present it, and I have a feeling you would create a brilliant newsletter. If you aren't already, I'd sign up for Kings Road Apothecary and One Willow Apothecaries newsletters-- they are both brilliant examples of newsletters that I ALWAYS open, because they contain such generous reflections or recipes or plant monographs, as well as links to products. Anyhow, just some thoughts based on my experience! x S

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  11. Although I've been reading blogs for a long time, my own little baby-blog has been in existence for only a matter of weeks. I don't do a lot with other platforms because I think they are all just too much. I keep a facebook account to keep up with family and a few friends and I rather like Pintrest, but I can't even try to keep up with much else.
    Blogging to me, is still the place of voices and stories. There are a few that I follow daily and a few others that I return to periodically, but all in all I love the closer contact that they offer. Others have voiced this same concern but for me, I have great hopes for the blogging community.
    I'm glad you're not stopping, Sarah. There is so much soul in your words. I would miss them greatly.

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  12. I love wordy blogs, pictures are great if it's a more arty blogger. but words -ah words they paint a picture much brighter and much more memorable for me than pictures. Even though my blog has always had some art or photos in its my words I need to get out of my head and on paper. It's hard at the moment with the terminal cancer worries but when I can't post then people like yourself keep me in the now, their words whisper a gentle spell of magic to uplift. Thank you

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  13. Thank you all so much. I want to go through and answer each of your personally but the demands of the real-world day are calling me. Please know I read all your words and appreciated them greatly and feel uplifted :-)

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  14. Bless. I hope you continue to write even if it feels as if yours is the only prolific blog left. (If you do a newsletter I would sign up for it, too.) Your words have stirred things in me. I think of how often I visit Bloglovin hoping to find new articles from some of my favorite follows. I’ve also noticed how so many have gone still & infrequent. I myself blog much less than I used to. There are a few reasons why, although I’m in a season now of trying to get my writing back. Thank you for the thought-evoking post. Always grateful for your sacred voice.

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  15. Yours is the blog voice that started me reading blogs, yours is the blog voice that started me blog writing, yours is still the one blog that I turn to when I turn on the computer. I appreciate the discipline it takes to maintain and post on a blog, (I struggle greatly) and I am in awe at the wonderful words that constantly evolve and evoke here still speaking to my soul. Interestingly, I have seen some older bloggers restarting afresh when they have been quiet for so long, and I wonder if others feel the tide creeping back. It is a lovely format for words and connections, and my heart still stirs every time I visit. I am grasping for deeper words than thanks and gratitude... I'm sure you have the perfect one ...

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  16. Sarah, I am so happy you have decided to keep on blogging. I do so love your posts. Your blog, Lesley's, and a small handful of others, are those I visit for peace, a little magic, and soulfulness. Days may go by between visits, because I do not like to rush through your writing. So, I wait until life allows me time to sit and read peacefully and thoughtfully, and then I catch up. To have you slip away would be such a loss. Love to you.

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  17. Hi Sarah, your blog posts are the ones I read all the way through, as you have a natural way with words and the world. You speak the truth, it has a power and speed of its own. I wander through your previous posts (writings) and it's like dipping into warming , healing waters. So very grateful. Thank you.

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  18. i hope that you will keep doing your blog. if you wanted to add another platform to promote your fund-raising or publishing, i would think instagram might work for that. it has a wide, multi-age readership (viewership?), is super easy for people to add to their "following" list, and your ability to post the image would allow a sort of targeting of potential followers. blogs are harder...one happens upon them whist reading something else, or snags upon them in a chance way traversing the meandering paths of the internet. one chances upon things on instagram too, but there is the suggestions feature, and the way people use it seems to lend itself to broadening.

    i don't think blogging is dying; but i do get a sense that a great deal of it has become very commercial, very slick. a symptom of our world, i'm afraid. no matter. just keep on being you.

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  19. I agree with you, although I do love visual-based blogs too. Your writing is poetry and hope you continue to write - even if it's not here on your blog.

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  20. Seems like you have so much love for what you do here, Sarah! It is a gift and such an important corner to hold down in my opinion. As someone who (kicking and screaming) took the plunge, borrowed a cast-off ipad from her father, and got Instagram in order to help her business, I'd recommend NOT going that route. Honestly, I've hated it pretty much every day I've used it. No offense to instagram users, but I find that it cultivates a kind of egoism and short attention span that I really, really dislike. I say this from my own honest experience. It triggers parts of me that I do not really want to feed, whereas blogs still feel like the pace of essays, the pace we should be reading things on the internet. Another issue I have with instagram is that, like Facebook, your content ends up in a random feed with so many other things that even if everything posted is meaningful, together they become a kind of wash. I have pretty vehement feelings about it as you can see and am transitioning out of any kind of regular use at the moment. When I really check in with what works for me (and my nervous system) in terms of social media use, it seems to just be my blog (and newsletter). About once or twice a month! Well, these are just my opinions and my experiences, but know that while instagram has a certain seduction, I think places like pinterest and this blog have the capacity for so much more depth and story. Blessings on all your endeavors and whatever you decide to do! Obviously you know what is best for you and I think we all trust you and your wisdom inherently :) xo

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    1. Thank you, this is good advice. I really appreciate your honest evaluation. I love using imagery to create story, which is why I enjoy pinterest, but I am very unsure about creating a story from my own life. That worked fine when my family was younger, the storying infact enriched the living. But now, it feels rather inauthentic. "Egoism and short attention span" - yes, these. And I agree about the mixed wash of images in feeds. So thank you again, much food for thought here.

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  21. Long long comment just got eaten, sigh. My fault, clicked the wrong button. Will try to rewrite it later. Rats.

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  22. Just finding this beautiful conversation going on...the same one that has been going on in my own heart. I think this is a threshold time with all sorts of online questions and from many of the comments here, there are alot of us are lingering there, uncertain...at least, that is what I am doing. Looking forward to continuing explore it together. Sometimes I feel we are on the cusp of a lovely understanding about how to best go about it, and sometimes it all feels like a great muddle. xo

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  23. I have not been by for such a long time to visit here. I am one who has entered into a silent place...but it is with a heart that was yearning for it. I have moved into a different direction with my life...one of cultivating Quiet Living. I am on Instagram but in a quiet way. I do not follow many and keep my circle of communication small. The peace that I have found in letting go of so much of the ways of this world has been enlightening and I am experiencing a freedom to truly be myself. Though, it is an unknown road that I am traveling but I am attentive to learn and grow. My personal relationships have gone deeper and for that I am so grateful(and encouraged). I will continue to listen to the inner stirrings of my soul. I hope that you will always follow yours. Do not grow weary. You will know what to do. xx Kerrie

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  24. Hi Sarah! Thank you for coming by and leaving a few words. It prompted me to come by and return the visit, and I enjoyed a a wee bit of catching up which led me to this post. I have read through the comments on this thread with great interest as it is impossible not to notice the vast change that is taking place in the blogging community.

    Your readers are all so articulate and people of deep thought and feeling. What a haven you have here for them. I am in an especially active place in my life right now. More doing than creating. But life swings back and forth that way. I am visiting blogs less and at present posting less as well. Mine is a matter of less time. But I miss the qualitative difference in the way it once was! I selfishly want everyone else to maintain what I, myself am unable to do at present.

    Thanks for opening up this dialogue about the state of the blog. I've been comforted by the shared thoughts.

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