December 2, 2013

Blogging Loses An Important Voice

For the last three years, 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (And Staying There) has anchored the top of  my blogroll.  Portland resident, Galen Pearl, produces this extremely well-written blog. It has become an important part of my routine.

Regular readers know that my wife and I have visited Portland twice in the last two years, primarily to spend time with new blogging friends. While we have fallen in love with the area, they were the reason behind both trips. 

A few days ago Galen e-mailed me that she was shutting down her blog. I knew this day would come. She had taken a long break this past summer. During our time in Portland Galen and I talked about blogging and her feelings about the place of 10 steps in her life. She was ready to move on to something else. Even so, to read the final post from her was sad. I will miss her writing and insights into the human condition. While she is still on Facebook, that is not the same venue for her style of introspection.

What a casual reader may not know is the amazing life she has really is the stuff of a tremendous biography or TV movie. Betty and I find her charming, loving, intelligent, and caring - all the things you look for in a friend. We have no doubt she would move heaven and earth to help us, and vice versa.

Her decision, which I support fully, made me think about the nature of blogging. It really is kind of an odd creature: neither story or poem, not really newsy, sometimes very personal and sometimes simply informative. In short, a blog is shaped by the person producing it. There is no box that contains all blogs. Each is unique in some way.

Maybe that is what keeps folks blogging and others reading the results. Every time a blogger hits the "publish" button he or she is opening up a side of themselves to the world. The feedback may be supportive, or it may be cruel and rude. One never knows but every blogger takes that risk.

After a time, as Galen notes, the words simply fail to come. Everything inside the blogger that needs to be said, has been. The blogger feels dry and overexposed, with the daily deadline a chore rather than a joy. And, once the joy of blogging is gone, the blog needs to stop.

The blogging fraternity of writers will miss Galen's skill and dedication to her craft. But, we all understand and will reach the same point at some point.

Be well, my friend, and continue to contribute to the world in your unique way.


  1. I'm sorry to hear this. I wasn't a faithful follower of Galen's, like you were, but she always wrote from the heart. I do understand reaching that point, though. I've posted less this year than before, and I question often what I'm going to write about next. What do you suppose the average life span of a blog is? I haven't a clue.
    Good luck Galen in all you do! Thanks for a lovely tribute, Bob.

    1. I can't find any reliable figures on the average life span of a blog, though I have read in several places that the majority of blogs never make it longer than 30 days. Based on the number of blogs I check to see if they contain interesting, well-written content, many that make it past a month seem to die out in a year or two, or reduce postings to once every 2-3 months, which makes them too sporadic to build traffic or serve a reading niche.

      Since a blog, versus a web site, is generally a personal diary of sorts, I imagine they have a natural life span. You, Galen, and I have been around about the same length of time. How long I will continue is a good question.

      Galen just e-mailed me that this is the first time in her life when she has no clearly defined goals. I doubt that will last very long.

    2. First of all, thank you Bob for this lovely and loving post. I'm so humbly honored and touched. And thanks, Barbara, for the good wishes.

      I also wanted to chime in on the question Barbara raised about the natural lifespan of a blog. I spent a little time today going back to some blogs that caught my attention when I first started. Some are still going strong. One has closed after being quite active and well known for ten years. Some have dwindled to sporadic posts with long intervals between them.

      We bloggers all decide as we go along what we want from blogging and what we are willing to invest in it. For me, it was sort of like the process I went through when I retired. I loved my job, but towards the end I felt like I was coasting and that my attention was being drawn in a different direction. Same with the blogging. I has fed my spirit in some deep and lasting ways, but in recent months I have felt drawn elsewhere. Seemed like it was only right for me to walk my talk and honor the inner nudges. We'll see where it leads!

  2. I discovered Galen not too long ago and was so impressed that I stayed up to the wee hours reading her old posts and even found an interview on youtube and various other posts she has made on other blogs. She has a unique talent. When I read something by her, I read it over and over and it touches me in the same way that some music does. I will miss her blog and although I never met her personally, I will miss the connection that I feel.

  3. I, too, only discovered Galen's blog fairly recently -- a few months ago -- and I enjoyed her unique voice and approach to life. Even though I hardly knew her, I'll miss her. Maybe we all meet in blogging heaven!

  4. I thought about creating a blog but have problems with subject matter. Unless it's fairly specific and revolving around something like yours, Bob (retirement), I wouldn't want to start writing about personal things. I've read blogs over the last 5 or 6 years and many really don't go anywhere or the author is ranting about something. There's enough strife and discontent in the world and I don't need anymore, thank you. At the moment I'm keeping up with RV Sue and this blog. Both have something to do with the RV lifestyle of which I am a wanna-be but can't get my wife to go for at the moment. I guess if I started a blog it would be about traveling around the country. Boring? But in my opinion, a good blog must have insight and not be just about personal experiences although that's part of it. Oh heck, I enjoy this one, Bob, that's enough for me for now.

    1. Thank you, Dewey. I try to maintain a balance between practical and personal. Too much of one or the other and the blog loses its direction.

      I will have a post soon about our planned RV trip for next summer and a few photos of some decorating touches Betty has added to our RV. Right now it is parked on the side yard, covered with a tarp, and looking like it would like to be on the road somewhere. I can relate!