Dear friend,

you may have heard of the WeblogPoMo2024 external link initiative. I have great admiration for people who are taking part in it! To publish a post every day for 31 days in a row feels such a big commitment to me.

But it hasn’t always been like that. Back in the time of my first blog (circa 2002), writing a post per day was the norm. Inspiration was not lacking. And I even had time and ideas to experiment with creative ways to surprise my readers.

So, what has changed?

The go-to answer is: I don’t have enough free time. But is it really the case? To be honest, at this very moment, I don’t have many more commitments than I had twenty years ago. Life’s path brought me to a different country, and a demanding job, but no particular responsibility towards other people. Still, it’s true that the passing of the years has an effect on the availability of time to be creative.

For instance, it is undeniable that age is a factor. When at 9.30 pm my brain just wants to stop being active and by 10.30 pm my eyelids become heavy, I realise that I really don’t have as much free time as I used to. And being older and having a not-really-anonymous blog bring a higher degree of self-consciousness, which stifles the freedom to express myself on such a platform and brings me to second and third thoughts about what I have written or would/will write.

And how technology has evolved is another factor. Twenty years ago we didn’t have so many ‘on demand’ opportunities: no smartphones, no streaming services, no podcasts. Now, even if I don’t spend a lot of time on social networks, or playing games, or watching YouTube videos, at any given moment there are countless opportunity to ‘absorb’ information, a much easier choice than stopping and organising one’s own thoughts.

And it’s true that today we can take a picture at any moment, and we can write while we’re on public transport, but I feel like publishing - if one has privacy concerns or just doesn’t want to feed the data-hungry monsters - requires so much more time: removing metadata from photos, making sure that the markdown syntax is correct, rebuilding and synchronising the static website are operations that for sure can be optimised and automated, but… I’m not there yet.

So, in one way or the other, time is part of the problem.

But, reflecting on this month’s Indie Web Carnival external link theme, I have identified the real issue: I no longer have a creative environment.

My physical creative environment has been drained by living in a small apartment in a city. Twenty years ago, from my pc desk I could see the pre-alpine hills outside my window; now, I see the closed curtains of the window of the building opposite.

But, equally important, back then I quickly found my virtual creative environment: the vibrant social environment of the enthusiastic emerging blogging community. With a couple of posts, and by commenting on other blogs, it was easy to make yourself known and find your readers. And there was a joy in opening yourself to them and getting to know them.

Today, I miss that too. I know that a very active world-wide blogging community still exists out there, and I have plenty of Safari tabs open on posts where nice people encourage their readers to claim their own independent space on the web, and they volunteer to read their blogs, suggest topics and reassure that a blog post doesn’t need to be perfect.

But, like everything else, I have the impression that even just connecting to other people has become more difficult. Because everybody has had to build a protective fence to discourage spammers and suspicious characters. So instead of comments we have emails, or forms, or social network accounts to write to. That’s the way to survive online today, no doubt. But it creates friction in an interaction that used to be spontaneous.

It’s just a matter of adapting to the new way, I suppose. And, while I can’t afford a big house in the countryside and I can’t retire to get more free time, I can try and make the effort to connect more with the new blogosphere. I will.

This post started as a comment on the WeblogPoMo2024 external link initiative, but ended up being inspired by May 2024’s IndieWeb Carnival external link , dealing with the theme ‘Creative environments external link ’. Way to be topical!