“We can’t be afraid of moving on.”
As I write this, I’m watching actor/comedian/musician Donald Glover talk about, essentially, the world of possibilities that lies ahead of us. It’s definitely striking a chord in me, and maybe giving me the extra kick in the ass I need to explain-to those of you that are still around to listen- what’s been happening with Popblerd for the past several months.
As you may or may not have noticed-there hasn’t been a new post on Popblerd in a week. It’s the longest the site’s gone without a post in history for a non-technical reason. The silence is by design. I mentioned to the site’s Facebook and Twitter fans that we were going to go on a bit of a break. That’s still true. I don’t intend on writing much in the immediate future. The rest of the site staff has been informed of the change, and some have already moved on to other (hopefully greener) pastures. Others are concentrating on their own sites and blogs as an outlet for their creativity. There are some good folks in that crew, good writers in addition to good people, and I urge you to seek them out. I thank everyone for their contributions over the past four years, and wish them all the best.
As it stands, right now, Popblerd is a one-man show. It may stay that way, it may not. I think I’ve learned at this point that there are certain things you should probably not decisively close the door on.
I can’t remember what my original intent for the site was, but in the beginning it was just me-a place for my voice. As the site became more successful, it became a place for different, divergent voices. Which is cool-but for me, it became kind of a job. Because the more voices that are added or want to be added, the more having to manage those voices comes into play. Management is not fun for a lot of people-myself included. I certainly don’t look back fondly at my years managing retail-and those folks were getting paid. There hasn’t been a penny generated in revenue for us, which leaves not a lot of incentive unless you’re a diehard. When there’s not the promise of a paycheck (or beaucoup site traffic,) people will only fall in lock-step with you if they want to. And there’s really nothing you can do about it. Having to pull people back in line-or maintain a line in the first place-is hard fucking work. And might not be worth it, even. After a while, I certainly didn’t think it was.
Granted, that hard work is less tedious or annoying when things are running smoothly. However, when there’s a crack in the armor, things really come to a head. Resentment builds, communication suffers, maybe you see things through a different lens. Maybe they see things through a different lens. There have been many times, particularly over the past year, when I’ve thought of making drastic changes, but I’ve held off for various reasons. Maybe it was my frame of mind talking more than it was me, myself doing the talking. I’ve gone through quite a bit of personal upheaval in the past year and I wasn’t always sure if I was in the right head space to be making decisions. Maybe I was afraid of being seen as a flake, someone that starts stuff that they can’t finish. I don’t know whether those were the legitimate perceptions some that were “in the know” held, but I do know that it’s what I thought the perception was, and things just built up and built up until I got the point where I was like “I can’t take it anymore!”
Something had to give, and I probably should’ve just pulled the trigger when I first felt strongly about it. Trusted my own judgment and not given a damn what anyone else thought. The longer you wait to be honest, the bigger a mess you make when you finally are. At least, that’s the way I see it.
From a content standpoint, Popblerd was kind of stuck in a rut, and maybe we’d gone as far as we could with the framework of the site as it was. We certainly weren’t gaining new fans…things were just kind of a mess, and the only way out of the mess was to put an end to it. I can’t say I’m terribly interested in most new music, and I didn’t really want to become a nostalgia site (which was the alternative.) The site wasn’t really fresh and I certainly wasn’t fresh. The staleness I felt in my own writing was indicative of not only the lack of interest, but of feeling like I had to write things (and do them on a schedule) as opposed to wanting to. Not to say there isn’t a time and place for deadlines, but I personally think I’m a much more engaging and interesting writer when I’m not under the gun. And I’d like to underscore that those deadlines were largely self-inflicted. I’m not placing the blame on anyone else for feeling the way I did.
I’m trying hard (maybe too hard) to underscore the fact that there’s no placing of any blame for the current state of affairs on anyone but me. No disrespect or shade to anyone on the former staff. Who knows? You might even see some of them return in the future. But the way things were? Fuck that. We could all be doing bigger, better, more productive and more constructive things. I’m sure anyone who manages any kind of organization in any form can understand when things just…don’t…work. They (largely) weren’t working. And I’m not trying to manage a staff ever again. Unless I get paid-and handsomely-for doing so. Attempting to build a bigger, better, faster, stronger version of something that was already in existence wasn’t the wisest move in the long run. Yes, I’m being deliberately vague.
So, what’s next? I don’t know. This space isn’t going anywhere. At the very least, between now and the beginning of 2014, there will still be podcasts. There’ll be at least 4 recorded before the end of the year. One will probably be up in the next 24 hours.
Even a week of not having to manage, to not think about “oh man, there’s no posts scheduled for today so I have to use my lunch break to punch something out” has put me in a better frame of mind. I
probably definitely need more time to decompress, and while I still feel strongly about writing about pop culture, I can’t say I feel strongly about writing about anything specifically. At least not at the current time. So I’ll wait until I do. My hope is that there’ll still be people that want to read what I have to write when the motivation comes back, but even if there aren’t (and if I can allow myself a cocky moment, I know there will be–even if it isn’t as many people as I’d like there to be!) then I’ll still be here doing what I do. Whatever that is.
For the time being, it’s nice to be flying without a net. Fearlessly. And alone–for now.
Popblerd’s not dead. But he needs a long, rejuvenating nap. Or, perhaps, a trip into the Witness Protection Program.
In other words, I’m moving on. Moving backward and forward. But probably not moving away.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned.