An August Hemi-Demi-Semi Hiatus
Posted on August 6, 2018 Posted by John Scalzi 36 Comments
So, I don’t know if you know this, but next month will mark the 20th anniversary of the existence of Whatever. This is a fact that among other things is causing me both practical and existential reflection on what this place is, and what it means to me, and what is the best way to keep doing it moving forward, particularly in an age where “blogs” are not the center of online gravity that they used to be. To be clear, the site isn’t going anywhere — I’m not thinking of shutting it down or not writing here or such. But I am doing a serious think about what I want this place to be, for me, and for others.
Also, this August I’m traveling quite a bit — to San Jose for Worldcon 76, where The Collapsing Empire is a finalist for the Hugo, and then the weekend after that to Albuquerque, where Mary Robinette Kowal and I are Guests of Honor at Bubonicon. So for two weeks this month I am entirely out of pocket with travel and events and seeing in the real world people that I like spending time with. This isn’t a bad thing! But it does have an effect on my online presence.
Also also, in a larger sense it’s time for me to have a think about my overall time management — how to balance things I like doing and things I have to do and the things I want to do, along with the day-to-day aspects of, you know, actual life. The last couple of years have not been great for how I allot my days and energy, which is also not great because the last couple of years have been some of my busiest. It’s great to be busy as a writer! But not so much when you’re exhausting yourself because you’re not working efficiently with your time.
All of which explain why I’m declaring the rest of August to be a Hemi-Demi-Semi Hiatus month. I’m gonna take a step back for some introspection and reorganization, followed by a bunch of travel, followed by a smidgen more introspection and reorganization before we dive into September.
What does this hemi-demi-semi hiatus mean for you, the Whatever reader?
* No Big Idea pieces for the rest of August (my workflow for these pieces is a key thing I need to work on);
* Not a huge number of thinky pieces from me. I expect mostly to post updatery (Worldcon/Bubonicon schedules, book-related stuff) and pictures of sunsets and cats. I’ll post other stuff if the mood strikes me, but I’m not expecting the mood to strike me much.
* Athena will be continuing her internship and posting, but is also winding down her presence (she goes back to school this month). Enjoy her thoughts here while you can!
I’m not calling it an official hiatus mostly because I have enough going on that it doesn’t make sense to go away completely, but I also don’t want y’all to worry if you don’t see me posting a lot here between now and September. So: hemi-demi-semi hiatus. It’ll be relaxed around here in August, basically.
And now, to end on a high note: Smudge.
I look upon this as a good thing. Everyone needs a break every now and then. My August is also a bit of a break from me, as I’ve decided to do more web work this month instead of writing. Whatever it is about August that sends people into “wind-down” mode, it seems to be hitting us all! Enjoy your time off! (And I just finished reading Mary’s The Calculating Stars and it was brilliant!)
I keep expecting “hemi-demi-semi-” to end in “-Buscemi,” for some reason.
You could probably save time by posting pictures of cats in sunsets. Just throwing that out there.
I, for one, look forward to seeing what your next steps for “Whatever” look like! I will miss your thoughtful longer pieces here over the next month, but sunsets and cats? I love them, and look forward to seeing them around here! Also, I hope your time off isn’t just productive, but also enjoyable.
I hope you are able to combine the introspection and the fantastic travel plans!
My $.02: I never read the Big Idea pieces. I’m happy for you and Athena that she has been a summer intern, but I’ve almost entirely skipped her posts (I come here for you). I enjoy your sunsets a bit; I like your animal photos a lot; I always enjoy when you celebrate your family in text or photos. But as I said, I come here for you, and your thinky pieces are a big part of the reason.
Sounds like a good idea … and there is always Random Whatever :) (I use it when I feel deprived).
Happy hemi-demi-semi hiatus.
Also, Salute ferroagosto….the traditional Italian month when no one is off on vacation and good luck getting Italian motorcycle parts or anything else. Learned to roll with it and enjoy the month of la dolche vita. Good for you.
love the cat! It’s wowles!
Enjoy your break, everyone deserves one. Posting to offer a plea – please don’t increase your Twitter presence at the expense of this blog. I don’t use Twitter, won’t start using Twitter, and would hate to not benefit from your thoughts and humor any longer.
August is a good time to take a break. I have a hypothesis that the urge to do this is at least partially due to the structure of the school year. After 12 to 20 years of knowing that the new year starts in September, it’s the psychological equivalent of the end-of-the-year lull.
What a sweet-faced kitty Smudge is!
@ bskinn: No, no! The proper ending for “hemi-demi-semi-” is “quaver”. :-)
Approve of August breaks on general principles. We are not able to have one; we are trying to get the 2nd floor office space to look like an actual conference room and not Fibber McGee’s closet. This involves much cleaning and construction work, as the long-time tenants who subleased it made kind of a mess.
Blogging seems to be pretty much over, at least in terms of the sole proprietor variety. Which is a shame. Seems to have been replaced with the various walled garden social media sites that I don’t participate in. You’ve seemed to mostly moved on to Twitter yourself. No point in keeping this site around for nostalgia’s sake.
Lol, no, Miles. I don’t hang my permanent online hat anywhere I don’t own. When I started twenty years ago, AOL, Geocities and Angelfire were the big sites. Ten years ago it was Myspace and Livejournal. If you think Twitter and Facebook are permanent features in the online landscape, ask those other sites how their permanence worked out for them. I’ll be keeping this site for certain. The question is how best to use it.
August is a slow-down month in the UK as well – lots of people on holiday before the schools start again in Sept. And because the schools are off, of course it’s a very expensive time for a holiday as the travel companies jack the prices up. Parliament is away as well but that doesn’t stop certain politicians putting their feet where their mouths are. (Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn – I’m looking at you).
Congratulations! 20 years of producing just about anything, especially a site as frequently entertaining and thought-provoking as this one, is quite an accomplishment. Whatever is near the top of my Daily Websites bookmarks folder (have bookmarks gone the way of blogs?), and I don’t expect that to change, even if the site does. Enjoy your well-deserved break.
I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of kitten!
I’m joking, of course.
We’ll miss you- bye bye- have fun! As long as there are kitty pics, we’re good. Glad to see Smudge is fitting in well!
“* Not a huge number of thinky pieces from me. I expect mostly to post updatery (Worldcon/Bubonicon schedules, book-related stuff) and pictures of sunsets and cats. I’ll post other stuff if the mood strikes me, but I’m not expecting the mood to strike me much.”
How is any of that different from the way things have been with Whatever in recent months?
Looking forward to seeing you at WorldCon and in Scottsdale. Should we plan on an In & Out Burger trip in Scottsdale? I know you and Mary will enjoy Bubonicon. I thought about going this year, but then it would seem that I was stalking the two of you….
No Big Ideas? Cool! Maybe I can save some money for WorldCon (where I will no doubt be buying books. Sigh…) Cats and sunsets are always good, and you are building a clowder of amazingly photogenic cats. (Autocorrect wanted that to be “chowder of cats” – yuck!)
August seems to be the Sunday of the year, so a hiat-esque makes sense. See you on the flip side!
Have good travel and friend time, and good thinky and resting time.
That picture of Smudge is sooooooooooo cute. I crave a kitten, but the four grown cats who live with me (and who all were kittens once) would stage a revolution. If only they could stay kittens for a couple of years.
My votes for the future of the blog (purely motivated my self-interest):
Cats and sunsets = yay. Always. I like the view from a hotel window too.
Political posts = yay because it’s psychologically helpful to see a relatively loud (and cis white male) voice saying sensible things in an articulate manner (but I understand the toll on your psyche is huge so I suspect these will be rare)
Big Idea = MUCH yay (not just because I was featured one time, which meant a lot to me as a small press author, but because I discover SO many awesome new authors this way… and it’s clear from my kindle recommendations that a lot of other readers do to, since I see other Big Idea books recommended every time I look). I hope there’s a sustainable way for you to continue.
I miss your regular movie reviews.
Caveat: I’m not paying you, and I do understand that. I appreciate all the free labour you do.
I completely get the need to rethink the use of a blog in this day and age when real life and business obligations press and when the benefits of online interaction are more instantaneous and, frankly, productive from a business perspective.
I also hate it. Almost all the old writer/actor blogs I used to love are either completely gone or are a shadow of what they once were… Whatever being one of the few exceptions (even though it’s obviously and necessarily changed too). I miss the (relatively compared to social media interactions) long form thoughtfulness of the old blogverse.
Also, I’m super old.
Understandable, although I’ll miss the Big Idea posts (though god knows I have enough of a book backlog already to not need more suggestions).
See you in San Jose.
Love the Smudge pix. Pure Concentrated Cuteness!
Here’s another data point for the blog in whatever form suits Whatever. I hate Twitter and I do follow your links from this blogs site sometimes. But I don’t use it and I doubt I ever will.
If you perhaps give yourself a schedule, like Paul Krugman! Every Thursday! Or something. Maybe that would work.
I enjoy your comments on writing, politics, SF fandom, the publishing business, just everything. I read some Big Ideas but not all.
Thank you for being here. I don’t have a Facebook, either… blogging never died for me. It’s just changed forms.
Good luck with the writing and enjoy whatever break you get and the wonderful cons. I need to go back to a con some year soon.
John, when did you start working for the CDT?
Technically, I think a hemi-demi-semi-hiatus would mean you post 7/8 as much as you normally do…
Smudge totally looks like he’s plotting how to take over Athena’s internship and start posting his own entries. Just a thought.
::And now, to end on a high note: Smudge.::
I see your Smudge – and Raise You Tammy’s new Teen-Age Guy Something!
Cat therapy is wonderfully restorative. Just sayin’.
I love the blog – I guess I’m old enough to prefer blogs, too (ha ha, yeah, I’m 47, so “I guess” should be out of that sentence by now). I will be here for the blog, though, in whatever form it may take on moving forward.
Oh, but, when in Albuquerque, eat at Sadie’s, and if you get to Santa Fe you MUST check out Meow Wolf…
Congratulations on 20 years!
I’m glad to read that you’re planning to keep Whatever going. There are three author blogs that I’ve read consistently for years, and this is one. I enjoy your photos lighthearted observations and your thinky bits. Thank you for that.
I check in here daily and appreciate whatever I find (accidental pun, sorry). I’ve found Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar has really thoughtful, insightful and helpful posts about time management, productivity, money management and balancing all the stuff in life that’s important. He’s got a daily email you can sign up for.
Enjoy your hiatus! You deserve it!
Smudge is such a convenient under-monitor size! Except for the ears. They seem to be growing up faster than the rest of him.