Monday, January 04, 2010

Los Endos

I've come to a conclusion.

After more than six years and 3100 posts, I've decided that the Ranch has run its course. In short, this will be the last post I make here. I'll leave the blog itself up as an archive (and a collection of useful links), but the lights will go dark after this post, so to speak.

What's brought me to this decision? I blame jedi jawa.

OK, that's not really fair or accurate, but I couldn't resist the parting shot. Last month he blogged about the "ultimate blog question" - why do you do it? Among the answers he sussed out was the "I blog for myself" theory. That's the one to which I've always subscribed. I've never had a counter at the Ranch to measure readership. Outside of a comment, here or in the real world, I've got no way of knowing how many folks are reading, if any.

When I started the Ranch back in 2004, I did it for myself as a creative outlet. It was someplace where I could come and write about anything that struck my fancy. I'm lucky because I get to write for a living (gotta' crank out a couple of briefs this week!), but the scope of that work is kind of limited. Besides, making stuff up out of whole cloth is discouraged, to say the least, not to mention sarcastic broadsides. So the Ranch was a nice parallel to my professional writing.

At that time, the blog was the only outlet like that I had. In the past six years, things have changed considerably.

For one thing, I've started writing fiction with some regularity, if not necessarily any great skill. There's a finished novel manuscript on my kitchen table in need of editing along with another half-finished one on my laptop. That's not to mention the handful of short pieces in various stages of polish and the dozens of ideas I've got bounding around my brain. I want the time and energy to see those projects through.

For another thing, I'm much more musical than I was back in 2004. For "real" music I get to join jedi jawa and toot my clarinet in the Kanawha Valley Community Band. On the home front, I can deploy a growing amount of hardware to make all sorts of noises to annoy and entertain. It's a different kind of energy, yes, but just as creative as the writing stuff. I want more time and energy for those things, too.

So, going back to the "why I blog?" question, my answer has always been selfish - because it's a fun creative outlet. Now that I've got other creative outlets making demands on my time, the blogging just doesn't seem as much fun anymore. It's not that blogging takes so much time, but it blows a hole in every day and drains some of the enthusiasm I have for doing anything other than watching TV when I get home from work. Call them psychic opportunity costs. Shifting those from blogging to other things meshes better with the particular whims of my current life.

Simply put, all things run their course and the Ranch has run its. Thanks to everybody who has read, commented, and linked back here over the years. I appreciate all of it.

And now, the appropriate musical sendoff . . .