Ages ago, I’ve read (on Twitter, because is there anything else to read?!) a thread about the state of media. The person in question explained how journalism has changed. Social media, not publications, break the news. We all know about the battle for clicks that can perpetuate outrage, but also generate clicks that are essential to keeping online publications alive. But what readers are starved of are pieces that are analytical, in-depth, unique. It’s not about who’s the first anymore – in the age of fake news, it’s about the angle, plus ol’ good fact checks became more important than ever. On one hand, it’s not groundbreaking because it refers to the basic rules of working as a journalist. On the other hand, however…
It made me think about my own blogging output.
Maybe I want to be a little more selective about things I write. I don’t enjoy rewriting press releases as much as profiling interesting people and reviewing films, books and exhibitions in-depth. And I sure enjoy writing stories. And this is what I want to do, without dreading the thought of sitting down over the keyboard and putting words together. I want it to be better: I don’t have the reach of the big publications (and several of the major publications have closed their doors this year, strapped of cash by disruption and various pivots to things – the list is so long that I’d probably have ridiculed it if anyone had dared to give me a lecture on the state of the publishing industry a year ago), I can’t always battle through the week to find the time and energy, and it seems I’ve been overcomplicating things for myself a little, so quality articles are the only thing that can make a difference. Maybe I’ve lost some of my cheery illusions, too. Don’t grow up, it’s a trap.
Now, I might be a little disillusioned, but I also believe that people still want to read – I can do my best and write things that I’d enjoy reading. That’ll make at least one person happy, and maybe someone out there will also find it nice. We’ll wait and see.
A clever person once said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a definition of insanity. Recently, I slowly started to make my way out of a massive mess, and I’ve reached a tipping point that forced me to take action. In the meantime, I’ve done an awful lot of thinking. But it brought me to the most peculiar of outcomes: in the times when you’re surrounded by thoughts – social media and all that, you know my regular complaints – it just feels good not to have to have thoughts and opinions about things from time to time. During this little break, I reminded myself that I could just do things (watch films, read books, go to an exhibition and even pick up a TV series – that comes from Miss Katarzyna “Psychedelly” Kwasniewska who is a person with an attention span of a goldfish when it comes to watching series: believe it or not, I’ve only ever finished watching two…) because they made me happy and/or relaxed and/or allowed me to learn something new, not because “I need content”.
I’ve also stripped myself of any remaining time to just… live? You can try and work all day every day and fight your demons on top of it, but the outcomes aren’t pretty. I dislike the entire “hustle for the sake of it” mythology, so it just feels irrational I’ve been trying to fit myself into that box even when it became apparent it’s not sustainable long-term. I don’t make a profit, so I can’t pay writers to contribute. I find asking people to write for free unethical, plus I had some first-hand experience of being stuck in such a model as a student, which sucks. I don’t want to perpetuate it. Put your money (or the lack of it) where your mouth is, right?
Also, I know I need to learn to be radical about some of the shifts in my life to push it forward, and make sure that I stay happy and healthy in the process. Here’s a start.
Beside Magazine has been a labour of love, but over the past few months, it became apparent that it’s a bigger feat than I can handle on my own. It got me into cool places and gave the experiences that made me a better person. But it’s difficult to give up something that once meant so much to you, that you’ve been holding onto so dearly for such a long time, so I pushed on. I’m not a quitter, after all, am I? But then, my consistency suffered. And I’m honestly surprised how I managed to put anything out there.
This is why I’m scaling down. I’m not giving up on writing – just fixing some stuff in the meantime. That’s been long overdue.
And that calls for changes.