May 27, 2014

Back to the Grind

Keep up and blog on
Keep up and blog on (Photo credit: futureshape)
It used to seem like I had a similar experience whenever I took a break from blogging. I'd miss it initially, forget about it after a few days, and return with an adjusted perspective. I have since learned that every break is different, and I never quite know what to expect. The one constant seems to be that getting away from blogging every now and then is good for me. I've never been good about taking breaks when I need them, and I've long known that I need to take more of them. This latest one falls into the much-needed category, and find myself somewhat ambivalent about coming back at this moment.

I have decided that my key problem when it comes to blogging is that of balance. I have a tendency to devote too much of my time and mental energy to blogging. I don't mean that I spend too much time writing; I spend too much time thinking about the topics about which I write before I sit down to write. This tendency seems to creep up on me very slowly so that I don't perceive it is becoming problematic until it is too late. And it always becomes problematic in the same way: other things suffer because too much of my focus is going to atheist stuff. This inevitably leads me to feel overwhelmed because I am not doing some of what I need to in other areas.

If I am right about this tendency, it reminds me why breaks are important and why I really do need to do a better job of using them. Regular breaks seem to help me recalibrate and restore a more healthy balance. Not only can I use them to get some other things accomplished, but they help me readjust my priorities.

In addition to taking more regular breaks, I think I may also try to post a bit less frequently. I think this might help me maintain some balance going forward. I used to push myself to post every day and realized that this was not feasible. I then scaled back to 4 posts a week, usually Monday through Thursday, which makes sense given that traffic usually drops considerably on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It will take me a while to decide on an optimal number, but I'm thinking that shooting for more like 2-3 posts a week might be worth a shot.

While I was away, I found myself thinking about all the various factions in the atheist community. There are camps that call on atheists to work with religious moderates in service to their communities, and there are camps that call on atheists to be strong anti-theists who reject anything the religious have to offer. There are camps that seek to restrict atheist activism almost entirely to protecting separation of church and state, and there are camps that wish to replace much of this focus with one on a particular form of social justice that centers around gender feminism. So many camps with so many different views of what the secular community should be. And the more I consider them, the more I realize that I do not feel a particularly strong connection to any of them. I think that nearly all of them raise some good points with which I agree and nearly all of them miss something.

Freethought, at least for me, means that I am free to support the parts of any particular camp I value without supporting the parts I don't care for and without needing to align myself with the particular camp. I can criticize something one camp is doing without insisting that none of what they do has merit, and I can promote something another camp does without having to embrace everything they do. I realize that some people don't like this; it often seems that nobody likes this. Some are determined to achieve a sort of ideological purity or promote a particular dogma; others just want to classify me as being part of some particular camp. But I am not going to be deterred by this. I will determine my path, not them.