2018 is proving - by accident or design - to be a year of changes. With my 66th birthday less than a week away, I'm getting ever older, and it becomes important to focus on what matters most to me. That has prompted a series of rethinks on what I do with my time.
This blog started in February 2009 in a crisis situation, with my Mum's death, and great personal changes looming. It was a channel through which I could explore what lay ahead. It satisfied an urge to write. But it was always personal. I did play with wider subjects, but that sometimes got me into trouble with the people I mentioned in my posts. I found that embarrassing. And also discouraging: I was coming up against the problem any writer faces from time to time - destructive feedback. Perhaps I'm too sensitive, but it hurt. It didn't happen often, but each negative consequence made me decide that it was best to keep well away from certain subjects. Eventually, I arrived at the present position, where the blog is hardly more than 'Lucy's Adventures', illustrated with the same kind of photos that you can see in quantity on my Flickr site.
And that is most of the problem nowadays: the blog and the Flickr site overlap far too much. The blog has in large measure become 'Flickr with words added' - and I question the effort put into writing all those words, when the pictures posted on Flickr often say it all. I know many prefer reading about what I get up to instead of looking at pictures, but I do pictures best, and always have done. And the Flickr site far outstrips the blog in popularity. It's clearly where I should be concentrating my efforts.
I still like the idea of blogging, and I haven't run out of things to say, but it's too time-consuming. The time has come to stop writing regularly for it.
I'm not going to take the blog down, but I have already deleted all of my past blog posts up to the end of 2014. And I will next look very critically at the posts already written in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Some will stay available to read. Most will be deleted.
I have, of course, an archived copy of every post I ever wrote, preserved in a long, long series of Word documents. No part of this essentially autobiographical record will disappear from my personal records. But most of it won't be available online from now on.
I suppose I will never now reach that one million figure for viewings! The total stands at 914,790 as I write this. But chasing a big readership has ceased to matter.
Will there be new posts in the future? Perhaps, maybe, I don't know. Google will doubtless remove the blog after a while, if I fail to put up any posts. If I decide that, truly, I'm writing for absolutely nobody's benefit except my own, and possibly a handful of friends who swap texts and emails with me, and see me from time to time anyway, then I may quit entirely.
Even now I feel rather sad about bringing my blogging project almost to a close. It has had a very long run, and plenty of success, and (I know) was a help and support for a few people. It also put me in touch with several readers who have become firm friends, and also a very distant cousin who didn't know that my part of the family existed. One or two complete strangers got in touch too, and for a while we had an agreeable exchange. But brushes with academics, media folk and the odd bigot introduced a sour note. It's so easy to give offence with the words you write! It's in my hands to put a stop to it, by not blogging and not giving them a chance to air their assumed superiority, or their malcontent. They can take their bad attitudes elsewhere.
I'm not at all finished with writing. Every day I make practical notes on this or that. But I don't think 'creative writing' is my forte. I most like getting behind the wheel of Fiona, and going off somewhere, and taking photos of what I see. That's the thing I love doing.
If anybody wants to keep tabs on me in the future, then my Flickr site is the best place to visit. The latest pictures - which always include shots of myself - are in the Photostream, or they can be seen according to subject in one or other of the Albums. Here's the direct link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lucymelford/.
Same day sequel
Well, that's 2018 'purged'. Twenty-four posts deleted, but forty retained. Now that wasn't too much of a slaughter, was it?
Next: 2017, 2016, and 2015. It's easiest to work back in time, making a note of the post titles to be deleted, and then doing that in one go from the Posts list. I deleted everything up to 2014 that way. (It wasn't worth keeping such old posts in the public eye, as they didn't reflect my contemporary life sufficiently)
My friend Angie has already expressed heartfelt regret at the idea that I may not blog again. So I've paused, and stopped the Quit Blogging Juggernaut in its tracks. I won't stop writing. But I will have to give blogging less of my time. I'm thinking now that I will cut back to two posts a week, or eight each month. That's two good posts per week, well-written, and well-illustrated if the subject calls for it.
And so the proud 'Lucy Melford' name won't disappear from the blogging world after all.