I’ve been gnawing over the pros and cons of closing comments on my blog for some time – since December, actually, about the time God’s War was getting ready to launch. I knew that books getting out in the world meant new potential readers on all of my social sites. Every time my circle of potential readers widened, my urge to post would lessen.
I’ve been neglecting to write the sort of gritty, TMI blogging that I’d actual built the original Brutal Women blog around for some time now. Some of that had to do with the constant conversation management I had to do when I posted on feminist topics. When people ask me how it’s possible to deal with one-star reviews of my book, I ask them how many death threats and threats of sexual assault they’ve received. This blog has a long history of insighting both nasty comments and outright death threats, many of which I simply didn’t talk about because I figured they came with the territory when you had a feminist blog (ask any feminist blogger, and she’ll likely pull out a slew of death and sexual threats from “fans”). Funny how much that kind of behavior simply became the norm.
In the end, it wasn’t so much the threats (the “delete” button is your friend), it was simply the thought of the intensive comment and conversation management I would have to do if I posted a strong, thoughtful opinion here. It’s one thing to unfollow me because I RT an article about how safe abortion is. It’s quite another to read something like this here. Most people feel the need to respond – violently, angrily, emotionally (and in long form!) – and managing that conversation is exhausting.
A lot of this lack of spoons comes from the fact that 5 years ago, after just a couple of years of great blog posts, I got sick. . Being sick sucks. My dad says “sick” isn’t the right word, but trust me, when you’re up at 2 a.m. jabbing yourself with your fourth or six syringe full of drugs for the day just so you can keep on breathing, it sure does feel like being sick. It’s just a sickness that never gets better.
After sorting out the Life Crazy that ensured in the wake of my illness, I spent a good deal of time focused totally inward. I realized life was short, and I needed to focus on building a life instead of hating it so much. I also realized that my energy no longer felt so passionate and limitless. I needed to focus on just one or two really important things, and focus everything I possibly could on those. I only had so many spoons now, and I had to use them wisely.
So I got a good job, a few other good jobs, found a fantastic partner, bought a big red house, and adopted a couple of wonderful dogs. I also finally published a book, and now here I am getting ready for the launch of the next one. I spent a lot of time doing all the things that needed doing, and neglected the things that just didn’t seem important, like raging against my life and venting steam to the masses.
But here’s the thing.
As the books finally stumbled toward publication, as social networks change and get bigger and move and I tenuously kept up with them through clickity-clacking 140 characters at a time, I knew that by going silent, I was not only cutting myself off from the crazy death threat people and exhausting trolls but also the people who absolutely loved this blog and the wild stuff that went on here – whether it was talking about boxing or books, there were some things I could share here that really did change people’s lives. I have the fan mail to prove that (not as much as the junk mail, but fan mail nonetheless).
I have tried repeatedly to come back to blogging as my world changed, but ultimately the form had lost something for me, or perhaps it was that I was different, or… and in December I remember Toby Buckell’s post about shutting on comments on his blog (for similar sorts of “not enough spoons” reasons). I hated the whole idea of doing something like that, but in subsequent follow-up posts he noted how much he and how it had inspired him to write more posts there. After so many months (a couple years now, really), of sporadic posts, I thought, “Well, shit, yanno, it’s worth a shot.”
Now, after surviving a rather harsh winter but here on the other side still kickin’ (and still selling a few books, apparently), I figure it’s time I gave it one last shot. Cause if turning off comments doesn’t promote more blogging on my part, I don’t know that blogging is going to be in my future, and I recognize that it’s still a valuable platform.
So comments are coming down on the blog, but the blog’s not going dark. Never really going dark, no more than I did.
It’s my hope that this will help free up some of my spoons for some more thoughtful posts, something more than 140 characters of Star Trek live-blogging after one too many beers.
One can always hope.