Friday, September 21, 2012

On the Possibility of Scaling Back

For various reasons I have been thinking a lot about the blog this week, specifically how I continue to follow this schedule of posting at least once every weekday. Have been doing so for quite a long time now (since the start of 2008, if you can believe that), and for the last year or more I’ve been thinking off and on about the possibility of scaling back.

I updated the archive pages this week, which is perhaps what started my thoughts going down this road. If you look down the right-hand column you’ll see those five sections -- On the Street, The Rumble, Shots in the Dark, High Society, and By the Book. I’ve created pages for each that link to all of the posts belonging to each category.

It might sound strange coming from someone who has written so many friggin’ posts, but I’ve always thought quantity a poor substitute for quality. While I’m proud of most of those posts, I know overall it is much better to produce one solid piece of writing than several so-so ones.

That would be one reason among several for posting less. Sort of like being more judicious with hand selection -- one has a better chance at doing well those times one does play than is the case when playing every hand. If I posted, say, two or three times a week rather than five, chances would increase that the quality of each post would improve. I’d choose fewer and probably better/more interesting topics upon which to write (I’d be playing better hands). And I’d have more mental energy to devote per post, too (I’d be playing hands better).

A couple of other reasons for posting less spring to mind. One has to do with the fact that the whole culture of personal blogs has changed considerably, especially over the last year or so. I’ve written about this before, but many of the bloggers have moved on, choosing Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr or Instagram or FourSquare or Pinterest or other avenues via which to communicate and/or interact.

I started the blog initially because I like to write. Very quickly it became a way of interacting with others, kind of an introduction into a great community of readers and writers. But now it’s become... well, a more isolated-seeming activity. I’m not talking about having fewer readers (that’s not the case), but just recognizing that something has changed about the community that has altered the place personal blogs have within it.

Perhaps more than anything it was the loss of online poker for us Americans that fragmented the community to which I’m referring. A lot of us aren’t really playing poker with each other anymore. Or on the same sites, anyway. I think having that common point of reference is important, and perhaps what potentially can make a blog like this one more than just a series of broadcasted op-ed pieces about the poker world.

As a freelancer, I’m also having to think about the bottom line and how much time I can afford to devote to the blog, time that necessarily takes away from the pursuit of for-pay writing opportunities. While I certainly don’t believe I deserve payment for anything I’ve ever posted here, I sometimes think of a sentiment once expressed by a fellow freelancer long ago -- something about it being hard to expect to be paid for something you’re willing to give away for free.

The blog has definitely helped me land a number of writing opportunities. There’s no doubt about that. But sometimes I feel like it’s prevented me from landing some, too, if that makes sense.

I haven’t decided to scale back just yet. Indeed, there’s something a little daunting about actually going ahead and altering a routine such as the one I have followed here on Hard-Boiled Poker for so many years. It’s like I’ve been playing so long and employing a style with which I’ve grown very comfortable, thus making it hard to change gears and do something differently.

We’ll see. Have a feeling I’ll be continuing to check off those boxes every weekday for the near future, anyhow.

Have a good weekend, all. I’m sure I’ll see you Monday.

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Blogger bastinptc said...

Odd that you haven't received any comments on this post. But then again, one learns that feedback is rarely forthcoming. However, when someone with your chops talks about scaling back, a little stroking is surely in order.

Quality isn't really an issue with your blog, Shamus. You have a very readable style, make cogent points about the issues within the poker culture, and add enough worldly wisdom to the mix to make you one of the best, any day of the week, let alone five of seven. If anything, you're wasting your talent on us schmoes.

Go ahead and cut back. You most likely won't loose readership. I've dropped a lot of bloggers off of my reading list. Not you. Ever since 2008. I dare say most others feel the same.

9/22/2012 2:30 AM  
Blogger Stock said...

Completely understand your consideration of a cut back. Be assured that your writing is welcomed be it every day or once a year.

Regarding the blogosphere and it's's downhill. For instance, the aimless writing of ND's new blog is another example of empty calories served up by the Master Of The Obvious or Irrelevant.

9/22/2012 10:02 PM  

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