Reactivate

“And so our story begins…”

Fable II (2008)

“…again.”

– – –

After months of hesitation and indecision, I recently decided to reactivate Dischordant Forms. While I’ve chosen to go ahead with this, I don’t have a great idea as to how it will go. I didn’t even have a first post (except this reintroduction) ready to go, but then Lou Reed passed away, and I decided to share some thoughts on that last week. The two posts I wrote ended up preempting – and upstaging – this one, in a big way. 

All I can say is… wow. Many thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands, who liked those posts and Freshly Pressed the second one. The result has been that I got more views, reads, likes, follows, and comments from that post than from anything I’d ever previously posted here! I’ve been blogging at WordPress in one one shape or another for over four years, never once daring to hope I could have the privilege of being Freshly Pressed, and the feedback has been awesome! Thanks to everyone who read and commented and so on – I can’t begin to express how fun it has been seeing everyone.

One of the great things about being viewed so many times is that I’ve been introduced to a bunch of great blogs in return. I’ve checked out many of the bloggers whose names have shown up in my Notifications tab, and that’s been fun as well. My reader is growing, and I couldn’t be happier about it!

At any rate, I started this post before Lou Reed passed, and so here it is, edited slightly in light of the fact that it’s now almost two weeks old…

– – –

Although I already have a (different) blog, I occasionally struggle with the topical constraints inherent in a topic-specific blog. From time to time, I feel the urge to write about a topic that doesn’t fit within the confines of that blog’s content. Usually, that potential post is never realized, sits rotting in the Draft folder, or is soon trashed. Additionally, there have been several instances recently where I’ve refrained from voicing opinions on that blog (or its corresponding Twitter account) out of a desire to “not rock the boat” within the community that that blog is a part of. This blog, being entirely separated from that one, represents an opportunity to speak my mind without reservation, outside that community.

While I’m technically reactivating an old blog after more than twenty months of dormancy, I plan on going about it differently – in essence, treating it in some ways as if it’s a new blog. And by that, I mean that, unlike my previous blogs, I’m not promising myself, or anyone else, anything.

Furthermore, I’m not chasing anything this time. In this incarnation of Dischordant Forms, I’m going to eschew certain methods I’ve usually used to promote my posts and “rack up page views.” With experience, I’ve learned that attempting to emulate certain aspects of others’ blogs, or otherwise trying to make this blog appear cooler than it really is – things I’ve done poorly in the past – ultimately leaves me feeling dissatisfied.

In the past, I’ve taken to Twitter and Facebook to spread the word, but I don’t think I’ll be doing this with Dischordant Forms, at least for the time being. I’m also not going to pretend I’m some decent photographer, since I’m not; this doesn’t mean there will be no photos, but I won’t be bludgeoning readers with expansive sets of recent photos. I’m going without Tag and Category clouds, extensive blog rolls, Recent Comment feeds, and other such widgets. I’ve changed the layout and look of the blog to be much more sparse and basic than it was before. The aesthetic will likely be a living work-in-progress, but I’d ultimately like to keep extraneous information from overwhelming the sidebar.

There are probably few, if any, outside my family who remember this blog from the old days, and I don’t have a problem with that. In fact, it’s actually a good thing in the context of reawakening the blog after so long and treating it as a new one. There are a couple of reasons for doing this / feeling this way:

  1. I really like the blog’s name. I’m also generally bad at naming things, so, with that in mind, this one seems to be a keeper. But…
  2. I would like a lot of what I wrote in the past to be forgotten.

In mid-2012, I set the entire blog to “private,” and left it so until July of this year. During that time, whenever I revisited it, I found myself dismayed by many of my posts. For a while, I accepted that as something akin to “not liking the sound of one’s own voice,” but more recently I’ve come to understand that many of my posts were simply filler, and/or just poorly written or otherwise flawed, which is why I found myself dissatisfied with them, and with the blog as a whole. As such, over the past several days I’ve re-revisited almost all of them, setting roughly half of them to “private” – which is why it now looks like it’s been two years since I posted last, prior to last week’s posts.

In the process of looking over those old posts, I discovered several “I’m in a rut” posts that detailed my struggles to blog consistently with quality and diversity of topic. Interspersed with these were several articles about sports – most of which I’ve hidden for either lack of substance or poor reasoning – and video game design (also something I’m not very qualified to comment on in many cases). I understand that cutting large swaths of previous work from the public record is probably unorthodox, but cutting superfluous drivel made me feel better, so it is what it is.

Anyway, what I realized through that process is that there are things that haven’t and likely won’t change about my writing: I will learn as I write, and write as I learn. The naivete displayed in several of my older posts is cringe-worthy at times, but I can’t promise that that will entirely disappear. The truth of the matter is that I am a person with many interests, but no mastery over any particular skill or subject. As such, it’s likely that this blog will continue to accurately reflect that amateurism; it is my hope that it will reflect growth as well.

I have left some of the “better” legacy posts public, but I don’t intend to reference them much in the future. They’re generally harmless, but they don’t interest me much anymore, in and of themselves. However, they’re some of the better examples of my writing on this blog and its predecessor, for what that’s worth. The huge gap between posts in 2011 and 2013 sort of creates its own dividing line, and I’m fairly satisfied with that.

There is absolutely nothing concrete in the queue for the near future. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have any goals for this blog; on the contrary: there are, in fact, clear goals: 1) for this blog to be a canvas on which to continue to improve my writing; 2) for me to be myself in my writing, rather than trying to follow the leads of other bloggers.

When I made my first couple of blogs, I did so in the rough image of other bloggers that I admired. As a blogging novice, this had its merits, but it also became stifling and uncomfortable, “square peg/round hole”-like. While I certainly made efforts to express myself, and those were genuine efforts, they were also misguided to some degree. I’d like to correct that to whatever extent I can during this go-round.

There is the potential for positive growth as a writer about different subjects here at this blog. How much I take advantage of that depends on many things, with the primary factors being my own drive, ethic, and imagination.

I will probably write too much about music in general, and certain artists (*ahem*) in particular. I will probably write amateurishly about sports… and, occasionally, about video games. I tend to get into streaks with certain topics, but I’m feeling some self acceptance in that regard.

In closing, this blog has no format (other than that I tend to write long posts…). It is not comprised of the writings of an expert on anything, or of anyone particularly talented. It’s just a blog, and a blogger striving to better his writing.

– – –

Thanks for reading this post by Russ at Dischordant Forms. [2014 edit: I actually did make a Twitter account after all… you can follow me at @DischordantRuss.] Comments are welcome!

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