This was an interesting year for the Whatever, in my opinion. It was a pretty good year for Athena Scalzi content in the eight months she was blogging regularly, and a very good year for Big Idea features. It was a middlin’ year for me, though. I wrote some very good work here this year, but I wrote less of it — this was a year heavy on short bits, cat pictures and other fillers than it was on longer, more thoughtful pieces.
I can think of some reasons for this, but most of them devolve to the same culprit: Burnout from the last few years, and recovery thereof. I think it’s fair to say that I had a breaking point of some sort in the last month of 2020 and the first month of 2021, as did a lot of other people. When the change of administration happened, the rush of relief I felt channeled first into getting Kaiju written on a very tight schedule, and then into writing up the third Dispatcher installment, and then mostly just… resting my brain, honestly. In point of fact, what I needed for most of 2021 was down time. I’m lucky to have the luxury to take that time, and I did.
As a result, the one writing thing that is contingent on my doing it between pay copy — the Whatever — got less of my attention than it usually does. I don’t feel particularly bad about that fact, mind you, and even if I did it wouldn’t change the fact that I needed to curate my brain cycles a little more heavily in 2021 than I had in years previous. This web site is free! You get what you pay for! And you get whatever I decide to give! That said, it wasn’t really until the latter part of this year that it solidified in my thoughts what I was doing, and wasn’t doing, here in 2021.
One reason I noticed it is that in the last month, I’ve been feeling (slightly!) more ambitious about what I’m doing here on the site. A slow year is fine, and I needed it. But my brain is feeling at least a little more recharged, and now — 2022 willing, cross fingers, knock on wood — I have some plans to do more writing on the site in the coming year. And a desire to do so, which is actually important. This will need to be balanced with the need to write pay copy and tend to some other projects (hey, did you see that The Dispatcher got optioned?), but I’m feeling optimistic. We’ll see!
(As an incidental side quest to writing a bit more here, I’d also like to bump up visits; 2021 visits were down slightly from 2020, although about equal to 2019. Some of that comes from writing a bit less, and Athena stepping away from regularly contributing in August. Some of it is the continual struggle of any site away from the current social media standard bearers. The online experience is highly centralized these days. This is not really a complaint, since I do perfectly well on Twitter and through my public Facebook page. But I would be happy to convert some of those folks to folks who visit here from time to time as well.)
It’s nice to feel a bit ambitious for this site again, and hopefully it’ll be fun writing here in the new year. Thank you, as always, for coming along for the ride, whatever the ride is at any one time.