My best friend died on June 11th, 2022. She was a cat, and she had been my best friend for almost 19 years.
On the day she died, I had had plans to write a post debunking Answers in Genesis’ articles about Homo floresiensis. I didn’t.
After it happened, I took a break from blogging for a few weeks. I had planned to take a three-week break, but on the third week, Roe was overturned. (June wasn’t a good month for me.) I ended my break early to write a short post showing my readers and community that I am here and not going anywhere. That I am standing in solidarity no matter what.
But that break, after 300 consecutive weekly blog posts, showed me something that I hadn’t thought was possible for five and a half years of blogging. I can miss a week and the world will not end. My followers will not demand the details on where I’ve been, and more importantly, you even came back and read my posts after my break. Nobody forgot about me.
So when I went out of town at the end of July, I realized I could just take the weekend off. I didn’t have to stress about having a blog post completed ahead of time on top of packing. It was a huge relief.
I’ve always loved blogging, and subconsciously subscribed to the idea that “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I choose not to make money from blogging, because the joy I get from it is a reward in and of itself, but taking these weeks off has made me understand that it is still work.
I announced last week that I just started a new job. In fact, I started a dream job as the designer for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. (And it’s a great example of the fact that a job you love is still labor.) The main reason I left my last job was because I never had enough work to do. I worked from home (and still do), so if I didn’t have any assignments, I simply didn’t work. No one knew and no one cared.
People in my life rightly expressed envy that I had such a light workload. I did spend almost 800 hours in the past two and a half years playing either Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley, but most of the time when I had no work to do, I would research and write blog posts. My three longest blog posts combined contain over 24,000 words.
The time commitment
When I wrote 10 Lies Answers in Genesis Tells About Lucy in June of 2021, I took an entire week of vacation time to stay at my desk and research and write. That blog post alone must have been 40 hours of work.
My longest post, Why I Can No Longer Support Brenda Marie Davies from March 2022, (which is about to outnumber 30 Books Every Atheists Should Read as my most-viewed post) took me three days from morning to night. I spent probably 30 hours on it, not including originally watching the relevant videos and reading the posts.
Finally, my relatively lesser-known Was Tammy Faye a Good Person? from April 2022 took months, spread out. I read two books and watched several videos and documentaries for it. When it came time to write, I took full days I should have spent working to write it.
I simply don’t have the time for projects like this anymore. If I were to spend five eight-hour days on a single blog post, I would have to take that out of my total allotted time for blogging on weekends. In other words, that would mean going four weeks without a blog post before a big post like that.
(6/19/23 update: Irony of ironies, I unintentionally wrote a 20,000-word post on the podcast The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling over the course of February, March, and April of 2023 while planning and designing AU’s first ever Summit for Religious Freedom. That post eclipsed my post on Brenda Davies which is approximately 10,000 words long.)
Why I write
I started blogging as an outlet to vent about being an atheist in a Christian environment as well as to discover what I believe. (When I started, I had no concerns about the time commitment. My posts were short so I would write whenever I had time.) After that era, for the past few years I have been doing overviews of things like MLMs, astrology, and personality tests. I would refute Answers in Genesis and the LCMS, and generally spend a lot of time talking about Carl Sagan. More recently I have pivoted to talking more about social issues, especially abortion and how the atheist community falls short on social justice.
I think it’s obvious that I’m passionate about these topics. But on the weeks when I didn’t have some brilliant point to add to the discourse, I’d often search for anything to say just to have a blog post out, or when I couldn’t produce even that, I would post a compilation of my favorite quotes from a book.
Taking those weeks off made me realize that I simply don’t have to do this. If I don’t have an idea, I don’t have to write. It will be okay.
Furthermore, blogging has always been my way of trying to do my part to make the world a better place. It was my avenue for making my voice heard and making a difference. Not that my blog was simply a means to an end, but I’ve been lucky enough that this blog led me to OnlySky and AU, where I can have more of an influence than I can simply blogging.
Why I’m slowing down
Answers in Genesis is always going to post stupid articles. There will always be racist white atheist men thinking they are progressive when they’re not. And Brenda Marie Davies is going to continue to make videos claiming she’s being unjustly canceled. (Thanks for the views, by the way.) But I don’t have to make a post about them every time. It’s okay if I don’t.
I’m not going to stop blogging. I never want to stop blogging. But I am blogging less. Losing a loved one makes you re-evaluate what’s important in your life, and blog posts that I write just to say that I wrote something are not important. I haven’t told anyone on here, but this post and the end of my public Instagram account were also the result of the loss of a family cat.
It brings me joy and satisfaction to put out a post that I worked on, especially when I believe it’s something that really needed to be said. The best posts are usually ideas that come to me during conversations, when my mind wanders, or when a book or video gives me a great epiphany. The great blog posts are not forced. When I have those epiphanies, I will write. When it’s forced, I will not waste your time.
What I will continue to do is write book reviews. I’ve loved that over the years my book reviews have become more frequent, and my book collection has not stopped growing or changing. A huge reason I want to write less frequently is so that I have more time to actually read the books, which in turn can help me to post more book reviews and less fluff.
If you tend to read only my “original” posts and not book reviews, I urge you to give them a try. I always make it so that you don’t have to have read the book to appreciate the post. In fact, I usually summarize them so that people who wouldn’t otherwise read these nonfiction masterpieces can still gain an understanding of their theses. The best books always make me think, and my posts involve me reflecting on what I’ve learned, rather than simply sharing whether I liked the book or not.
I love this blog, and I’m glad so many people have loved it as well. I’m immensely grateful that it’s led me to so many incredible opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. While I’m scaling back after almost six years, I can’t wait to see where we go next.