A little over three years ago, a close childhood friend contacted me because their cousin (Evan) was looking for another writer to become a regular contributor on a blog called Culture War Reporters. I jumped at the chance and, after a very serious interview with Evan and Gordon, became a regular contributor here at CWR.
I’m feeling more than a little nostalgic rereading some of those early posts and conversations with my co-writers. It’s even making me question my decision to stop writing for the blog. Despite my second thoughts and feelings of nostalgia, I’ve considered stepping down for some time now, and I’d like to share a few reasons why I feel the time is right.
1. I haven’t been dedicating the time needed to create quality posts
When I first started writing for CWR, I was so excited and nervous about my first blogging opportunity that I would write my post early in the week and return to them throughout the week to do more editing. Luckily, I was also a full-time student, so I was already spending several hours a day at my computer screen writing. It was a welcome break to stop working on homework and spend a few hours writing about whatever topic I was particularly interested in that week.
This year my schedule began to shift. I was only in school part-time and began balancing several other jobs on the side. While I still enjoyed taking time to write for CWR, I was spending much less time at my laptop and it took a conscious effort to remember to get my posts up on time. The week would often slip by and I’d wind up writing last minute, which inevitably meant lower quality writing and less time spent researching my topic. I’ve come to realize that writing just hasn’t been on the top of my priority list, and, consequently, I haven’t produced the quality of content I want to put out into the world.
2. Other passions are drawing my attention
I’ve always loved to write, and I suspect that I always will. But lately, I haven’t felt nearly as passionate about writing as I’ve felt about some of my other interests. This summer I’ve had several opportunities to teach programs or courses that took up a large portion of my time. This September, I’m going to be starting the teaching post-degree program. As I feel myself getting more and more excited about this new career direction, I can also imagine myself spending less and less time writing (especially while I continue to work on the side). Rather than produce lower quality content, I’d rather take time off from blogging until I once again feel passionate enough about my writing to spend the time needed to produce quality content.
3. I keep feeling drawn towards topics where my voice is not the one that needs to be heard
Here at CWR we have always spent a good deal of time discussing issues around race, gender, and sexuality. As a female blogger, I’ve spend a good portion of my time discussing feminism and the issues that effect me personally. Over the past few years my opinions have evolved before your eyes, and I’m constantly recognizing new opportunities to learn. One of the topics I’ve been particularly drawn to recently is the need for intersectional feminism, and a better conversation around racial struggles in general.
The thing is, I’m white. While I’m always open to join in the discussion, I’m just not sure that my opinion needs to be featured. I’m also not sure if I always have the vocabulary and life experience needed to discuss these issues. I’d rather open up the opportunity for writers of colour to share their perspective than attempt to explain a situation I’ve never experienced first hand.
While those three reasons have been a large part of my decision to step down from the blog, I’ve also had a fair bit of time to reflect on why I’m so glad I got to be a part of it for the last three years.
1. It taught me how to be disciplined with my writing practice
I have never been a particularly disciplined person. For a large portion of my education I was driven only by the pressure of a deadline. It was only in the last few years I finally learned how essential the editing and rewriting phase is to every essay and article. This blog (along with my undergrad studies) provoked me to learn better writing practices. It also forced me to meet a weekly deadline with my writing. This came in really handy when I was working on my honours thesis (something I chipped away on every week, rather than scrambling to write at the end of the semester). I hope this skill will also benefit me if/when I look to pursue writing or blogging again, sometime in the future.
2. It opened up a variety of important conversations both online and in my daily life
My opinions on social issues have shifted greatly during the last three years. Here on the blog, I’ve discussed these topics as I went through the process of learning about them. Because I have sharing my thoughts on LGBT rights and racial discrimination (for example) so publicly, it’s opened up really amazing conversations on the blog and in private with people who were looking for someone to talk to. Even when these conversations have been with individuals with a much different opinion, it has opened up an opportunity to discuss and share why I’ve changed my views. It’s also been a valuable experience for me to make a public stand in support for friends and loved ones who have felt isolated and/or judged based on their skin colour or sexual orientation.
It’s more than a little sad for me to say goodbye, but the fact that it took me over a month to even finish writing this post (due to a family emergency) has reminded me that it really is time to go. Thanks so much for those of you who engaged in discussion with me, and thanks especially to my co-writers Evan and Gordon. It’s been a slice.