Monday, November 7, 2011

The end of Peter Writes



You guys, you guys. I have important – and somber news – to announce. Today, November 8th, 2011, one hundred forty-six days after this blog opened for business, its doors will close (though they may be left open just a crack so the winter winds can occasionally rearrange the papers). It’s been a good run: 150+ posts, 5,000+ unique visitors, 25,000+ page views, and an unexpected symbiosis and synergy with my offline life.

I started this blog to become a better writer. After 120,000 words – about how I learned to play guitar, my relationship with alcoholJasjitSleep No More, Love and Other Drugs, tipsy writing, subway storiesmy Yale janitor, my first crush, a summer at a publishing company, my first Friday night in Manila, and an MLK essay – I have become a better writer. My voice is more self-assured, more nuanced. Big words ease into the prose, instead of sticking out. Transitions between ideas just flow better.

But my mantra of self-improvement, especially with regards to writing, is centered around change. When comfort sets in, so does complacency. It would be easy – and I’d be happy – writing 800 word posts daily about counter-intuitive insights and dramatic stories. But there's only so much the medium can convey. Quality clashes with quantity. Beholden to the blog, I don't have the flexibility to spend a day vomit drafting,  or crafting one great sentence. I could just publish whatever I accomplished, as a means of – you guessed it, accountability – but that seems like a lackluster compromise.

So I’m taking my writing offline. Accountability will have to be derived from within, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s not like there are a dearth of projects: I’m attempting to write a novel (though I’m fast coming to realize that, holy shit, I don’t actually know anything about the world); I’m submitting non-fiction and personal essays to online publications; I’m a mercenary for an e-book publisher. I’m also dancing around poetry. I’m sure there will be more.

A month ago, I asked one of my favorite writers for advice. He took a look at my blog and responded, “Publishing a blog post every day is probably the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Instead, work on your best idea for a couple weeks, get it perfect and then send it out.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s a scaling up of priorities: I’m moving from daily posts to a few people to monthly posts for thousands. The inherent risk, of course, is that what I write won't be published anywhere, but that's the uncertainty built into the enterprise. Better get used to it. I wouldn’t give up this blogging experience for anything in the world, but now’s the time to move on.

Check back here every few weeks or so. I might continue to publish weekly updates, and maybe, when I’m inspired just to write, a short story or narrative of my past. And if you’re ever wondering what I’m doing, day-to-day, just email me!

Finally: a shout out to everyone who’s been a regular reader. You guys know who you are; thanks for the kind words and encouragement during this journey. Like I mentioned in my last Yale Daily News column, the world is wide, wide open. It's time to go exploring. Stay in touch,

-peter

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  2. When I had my blog 5 years ago, I saw the visitor count escalate and fall and took it too seriously. When it escalated, I felt more pressure to write something good and not offend anyone. When the visitor count fell, I felt like no one wanted to hear what I said and became depressed.

    After a while I became frustrated because I wanted to rant about people but were afraid of people figuring out who I was ranting about or people judging me. I didn't want to feel vulnerable to everyone anymore.

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