Oh, Felak, Where Art Thou??
I mentioned a while ago that I was "overhauling" my LiveJournal, and this is the start of it. I haven't been happy with my existence on LJ for about a year now. I've alternated with different ideas about how to fix what I saw wrong with my journal without ever coming to a solution that I liked. The problem is multi-fold. I don't expect everyone to care, so I'll put the rest under the cut for those who do.
When I created my journal, I intended it to be just that: a journal. A place for personal thoughts and memories, rants and rambles. I put my first stabs at Silmfic in it because I was too scared to put it anywhere more public than that. (Yes, I know that a journal is just as public as an archive, but it is still a space that I primarily control, and it felt safer then. I could delete all of the horrible comments I was so certain that I was going to get.) Then, about four months later, something happened: people started reading my journal, friending me, and commenting. I'll admit that it was heady. I'm a writer, and I like for my public stuff to be read. I liked even more the level of discussion on my stories and meta posts. But it was also still a journal.
Three purposes to this single space has proven problematic for me because, when I write these different posts, in my own mind there exists a proper way to respond and a way to respond that is out of line. Increasingly, I have had people approach my "journal" posts--those written for personal reasons and often half-baked--with the same spirited debate that they approach my stories and meta posts. For a while, I found myself growing increasingly resentful of this, and writing in my journal was less fun. Then I realized: It was my fault! I had allowed my journal to evolve in this way, and by encouraging debate on my stories and my meta and then expecting people to understand that a personal rant was more the product of a bad day and a case of PMS than anything my logical mind truly entertained and should be treated as the diary scrawl I'd intended it to be was unfair and unrealistic.
Yet I need all three spaces. I need my journal to record my personal thoughts and experiences. But I love the conversation that LJ allows in the comments on stories. Just as valuable as the insights and concrit you all have so graciously given me over the years has been the conversations that evolved that really had little or nothing to do with the story itself except in the tangential sense. And I really enjoy meta and discussion and debate. But having all in one place is no longer practical.
Secondly, I will admit that I am still disquieted by LJ's actions last year. Even as I feel too committed to this journal (and the friends I've made here) to pull up roots entirely, I'm no longer eager to bring new eyeballs to this site. Once upon a time, I encouraged friends--online and offline--to set up journals so that we could keep in touch. I think that at least ten people on my flist are here directly because of me. This was before LJ had ads, much less took on the role of decency police. I loved this site and wanted to bring others to it. Now, this is not the case. I am a paid member because I feel it is the lesser of two evils: I am giving money to the site, yes, but I'd rather do this than earn LJ money through the ads they can sell, thus increasing the weight behind corporate sponsors versus customers. I certainly don't want to bring eyeballs to the site that don't have accounts and are registering page clicks that LJ can use to sell more ads for more money. I really don't want to bring more unpaid accounts so that LJ gets these clicks on a regular basis.
So with all of this whirling in my head, I just haven't enjoyed LJ lately. So I thought I'd take some time off to see how it felt. There have been plenty of times where I've thought, "Oh! This would make a great LJ entry!" ... but I've resisted. I've missed my friends. I hope that none of you think you are to blame, so I thought it was time I explained myself to those used to multiple entries each week wondering why it suddenly dropped to nothing.
But perpetual silence is not the answer. I have been able to keep myself busy with Back to Middle-earth Month and SCA, but I am a writer. I cannot stay silent forever.
So, this is what I've decided to do.
I am going to keep this journal. However, it will revert back to being a journal, circa August 2005. ;) It will be mostly personal accounts and probably not all that interesting to a lot of people, unless you have a penchant for tales of midnight escapes involving large spiders in the bathroom and "fundies in their undies" and thousands of pictures of my dogs.
I will continue posting my original fiction here under friend-lock for those who are interested because I have no place else to put it.
I'm not sure about fanfic. I haven't put any fanfic up here in a while. Now, it goes first to SWG and then, if I have time, I put it here. This is not because I am not satisfied with the comments and conversation I get here. It remains the best out of any place I post my work. But if I expect SWG to be a fairly active community where one can be guaranteed to find a handful of new stories each week, then I must take the lead in putting my own work there. So this takes priority, right now. Additionally, all of my Silmarillion stories will be found ...
... on my website! I have been talking about starting a personal website for some time now. I even, once upon a time, started a stylesheet and some graphics. Well, I'm going through with it at last. I hope to start the stylesheet this week.
On my website I will have a blog. This is where all of my opinion pieces of Tolkien, writing, and fandom will go. I love this kind of writing, but it tends to be incendiary. I have no problem with that, but it does create a culture that treats debate as the norm, and this isn't the healthiest environment in which to maintain a personal journal. If there is interest, I can post a monthly recap (comments disabled) here with links to what I post to my blog. I will have RSS on the blog, and everyone will be able to comment.
(I even have a name picked out, but that is a secret except to Bobby! ;)
And I won't be bringing as many eyeballs to LiveJournal. These are the sorts of pieces that draw significant audiences, not my personal journal entries or even my stories (now that these stories are, by and large, available on SWG, where page clicks indicate that they are being read). When choosing whether to take my personal journal elsewhere or my meta posts, I will admit that this was a major motivating factor. LJ, our love affair is over. I don't think that there is anything this organization can do at this point to regain my former enthusiasm for their services. I'd love to be proven wrong in this, but I'm not holding my breath.
So these are my plans. Depending on how things go, they should be taking real shape in about a month. I need to rewrite my LJ userinfo, and then I'll start writing here again, as a personal journal.
I'm sorry if this is disappointing to some of you, but I've given this a lot of thought, and it's what I think I need to do.