I’m asked a lot of questions in the blogging classes I teach for The Loft Literary Center, but one I’m rarely asked is, “How do I know when it’s time to shut down my blog?” It is perhaps the toughest question to answer. It’s also critical.
If you just go by software registrations, there are millions upon millions of live blogs. But how many of those are alive? How many feature frequent, thought-provoking posts that engage readers? Not many. Why?
Because it’s damned hard to do.
I speak from experience. I launched my first blog in 1994, before the term “blog” existed. Since that time I’ve contributed to or run six blogs, with The Artist’s Road being the latest. I launched on October 23rd, 2010, mere weeks after concluding a cross-country road-trip. Since then I’ve added more than 400 posts and gained nearly 15,000 subscribers. That’s a good run.
But it’s time to shut it down.
Why? For several reasons:
- It’s met its public goal. This is a critical, oft-overlooked aspect of blogging. Your blog must have a reason for existing. In my launch post I promised to share creativity lessons from artists I interviewed on that just-completed road trip as well as other highlights. I have done so at great length in many posts, but the most succinct encapsulation of that trip is the memoir that grew out of it, Committed: A Memoir of the Artist’s Road.
- It’s met my personal goal. I would on occasion share on this blog that I was keeping it, in part, to hold myself accountable publicly to my commitment to stay on the art-committed path. Well, in the last four-and-a-half years I have completed an MFA, written and seen published a memoir and some personal essays, and am now at work on a proposal for a new nonfiction book. The blog has served its purpose.
- It’s proving too difficult to keep fresh. A blog that isn’t updated regularly with fresh content isn’t worth reading, or writing. Now there isn’t a magic number on how many posts one should do per week or month (although that is the question I am most asked by students), but I know I’m not posting enough, and haven’t for at least a year. I have too many other pressing commitments in my life, and that isn’t going to change.
- It’s not the only means of communication. Suspending a blog doesn’t mean you have to depart from the Internet. I still have a fairly active Twitter account as well as Goodreads, and I can make better use of my Facebook author page.
- It’s just simply time. It’s been a good run. Better to go out on top (or near it) than slowly drift into obsolescence. Four-plus years in Internet time is an eternity!
Now there are a lot of useful resources on this site. Summaries of lectures on writing and creativity. Guest posts by authors and bloggers and instructors. And a few other amusements as well. They will continue to have value, so…
I intend to keep this blog “live,” just not updated.
It’s been a fun ride. It’s also been a highly valuable experience. I truly believe that Committed was made possible in large extent due to the support and encouragement I received from Artist’s Road readers. And I cherish how many remarkable people I’ve connected with through this blog, with whom I can continue to keep in touch via other social media.
Let me conclude by encouraging everyone who reads this post to be true to your creative spirit, in whatever way moves you. Good luck!