I was asked while I was at Comic Con whether I find it more difficult to write and maintain Whatever these days, because of all the other work I do and also because profile seems to have been raised a bit recently. It’s a fair question, so I thought I would delve into it briefly here in public and let you know what I gave as the answer.
(Be aware that the following has me acknowledging that there are people in the world who see me as something of a special snowflake, which is an inherently obnoxious admission in a world where one must be at least superficially humble about this crap. Don’t worry, I have a pretty good idea where I am on the fame food chain (i.e., sardine level). It’s still a level where the above question is not an unreasonable one.)
1. As regards all the other work I do, no, it’s not a problem. I’m busy right now but I’ve been busier. I do plan to take a month off in August to focus on non-blog stuff, but I’ve taken breaks around here before, for reasons ranging from work to technical issues (the involuntary nearly-two-months-off stretch in the summer of ’07 stands out for that phenomenon), so that in itself is not terribly unusual. To be blunt about it, the taking the time off plan relates less to the amount of work I have than it does with my time management, i.e., if I had managed to keep track of what I was doing, I wouldn’t have take time off to focus on the paid stuff. This is not unusual for me, alas. My excuse this year is coming off of six weeks of travel and overestimating my ability to do anything else but travel in that period. I’m sure in the future I will have some other, similarly entirely rational excuse for my sloth.
Be that as it may, it’s nice to be busy and being busy often means I write a little more on the blog, because perversely, writing on the blog is often a bit of a recreation for me from work. It’s the “busman’s holiday” principle of things.
I will say that there are times when I will time writing about an issue I know is contentious for when I have the ability to deal with the fallout, i.e., when I have time to keep track of the comment thread and wield the Mallet of Loving Correction. But I’ve been doing that for a while now anyway.
2. In terms of profile being raised, I don’t see it as much of a problem either, although I am aware recently of, how to put this, becoming a slightly larger target for people’s ire. As in, regardless of what I write about, there’s now a slightly higher chance that someone will call me out for being smug and/or obnoxious and/or grandstanding and/or being a pawn of whatever group they think I am a pawn for and/or being clueless and/or being some sort of “-ist” and so on.
On that score I don’t know that there’s much to be done; as a general rule I try not to be an ass online, but it’s also true that when you comment on anything, from controversial topics to the topics you can’t possibly imagine are controversial to anyone but apparently are for some people, someone will find your particular position on it asstastic. If that person has a point (and from time to time they do), then I try to learn from it moving forward. If they don’t, then I shrug and move on anyway.
There’s also a slightly higher chance that if I comment on something someone has written about me or my work on a blog, and point to it from here, that someone will accuse me of unleashing my minions to hound and silence that person, or such. The idea there being that you are all my hounds of war, crouching for employment, etc. I see this as fundamentally silly, but then again, I did just ask all y’all to shame some thief with one-star reviews, so maybe it’s not so silly after all. In this case I’ll just fall back on the Spider-Man Maxim (“with great power comes great responsibility”), and otherwise trust that you people are smart enough not to go off and be assjacks just because you think that’s what I would want.