5 Reasons Why I’m Ending The Artist’s Road Blog

I’m asked a lot of questions in the blogging classes I teach for The Loft Literary Center, but one I’m rarely asked is, “How do I know when it’s time to shut down my blog?” It is perhaps the toughest question to answer. It’s also critical.

If you just go by software registrations, there are millions upon millions of live blogs. But how many of those are alive? How many feature frequent, thought-provoking posts that engage readers? Not many. Why?

Because it’s damned hard to do.

Those of you who were with me from the beginning may remember that this was the banner of my original blog; I took it while driving across Wyoming on my cross-country road trip.

Those of you who were with me from the beginning may remember that this was the original banner of this blog; I took the photo while driving across Wyoming on my cross-country road trip.

I speak from experience. I launched my first blog in 1994, before the term “blog” existed. Since that time I’ve contributed to or run six blogs, with The Artist’s Road being the latest. I launched on October 23rd, 2010, mere weeks after concluding a cross-country road-trip. Since then I’ve added more than 400 posts and gained nearly 15,000 subscribers. That’s a good run.

But it’s time to shut it down.

Why? For several reasons:

  1. It’s met its public goal. This is a critical, oft-overlooked aspect of blogging. Your blog must have a reason for existing. In my launch post I promised to share creativity lessons from artists I interviewed on that just-completed road trip as well as other highlights. I have done so at great length in many posts, but the most succinct encapsulation of that trip is the memoir that grew out of it, Committed: A Memoir of the Artist’s Road.
  2. It’s met my personal goal. I would on occasion share on this blog that I was keeping it, in part, to hold myself accountable publicly to my commitment to stay on the art-committed path. Well, in the last four-and-a-half years I have completed an MFA, written and seen published a memoir and some personal essays, and am now at work on a proposal for a new nonfiction book. The blog has served its purpose.
  3. It’s proving too difficult to keep fresh. A blog that isn’t updated regularly with fresh content isn’t worth reading, or writing. Now there isn’t a magic number on how many posts one should do per week or month (although that is the question I am most asked by students), but I know I’m not posting enough, and haven’t for at least a year. I have too many other pressing commitments in my life, and that isn’t going to change.
  4. It’s not the only means of communication. Suspending a blog doesn’t mean you have to depart from the Internet. I still have a fairly active Twitter account as well as Goodreads, and I can make better use of my Facebook author page.
  5. It’s just simply time. It’s been a good run. Better to go out on top (or near it) than slowly drift into obsolescence. Four-plus years in Internet time is an eternity!
Is it just me, or does Joel Achenbach want to eat me?

Some of you may remember the (mis)adventures of a cantankerous gent named Mr. Bacon. He migrated beyond this blog to many others. Here he appears about to be eaten by author/journalist/historian Joel Achenbach at the National Book Festival.

Now there are a lot of useful resources on this site. Summaries of lectures on writing and creativity. Guest posts by authors and bloggers and instructors. And a few other amusements as well. They will continue to have value, so…

I intend to keep this blog “live,” just not updated.

It’s been a fun ride. It’s also been a highly valuable experience. I truly believe that Committed was made possible in large extent due to the support and encouragement I received from Artist’s Road readers. And I cherish how many remarkable people I’ve connected with through this blog, with whom I can continue to keep in touch via other social media.

Let me conclude by encouraging everyone who reads this post to be true to your creative spirit, in whatever way moves you. Good luck!

About Patrick Ross

I'm the author of Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road.

49 Responses to “5 Reasons Why I’m Ending The Artist’s Road Blog”

  1. *squeals in horror* Noooooo! Say it isn’t so, Patrick!

    Okay, I’ve had some time to calm down now. I get it, I really do. I have a blog too, and you’re right, sometimes it is a case of just trying to fit it in between a tonne of other commitments, and you worry that you’re not posting often enough and if you try and be more disciplined about it something else that’s equally or even more important has to suffer…. so I wish you well and would like to say a huge thanks for the pleasure you’ve given with this blog. I am already following you on Twitter and I’m sure I can track you down on Goodreads too.

    (I may also attempt to do… whatever needs to be done to sort of bookmark you or whatever it is on Facebook, but as I may have mentioned before I have Advanced Facebook Phobia.)

    So I guess this isn’t goodbye, it’s errmmm… Hasta la vista baby? (I’m not doing it in the Schwarzennegger voice, by the way. That would be weird.)

    • Wendy, you’re the best! Thanks for this. And yes, it isn’t a goodbye, just a close of one channel of communication. Thank you for being a reader and supporter.

  2. Wow, Patrick big news! The Artist’s Road is one of the few blogs that I’ve read consistently for many years. I know it’s not easy to keep going and I’ve appreciated all the thought provoking and eloquently stated issues you have presented – and enjoyed following your path. Which in so many ways is our path too! Inspiring, fascinating topics and great writing that will be missed.

    Please keep up us informed about your new book and where we could find more of your writing that inevitably will sprout.

  3. Sue Spencer Mitchell Reply April 14, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Congratulations, Patrick, on creating and sustaining this wonderful blog. I, too, met some treasured people here and so enjoyed your insights and the discussions that followed. It stands as a work of art itself, and like any work of art, there’s a point where you feel “as finished as you’ll ever be.” I think you will love the feeling of lightness letting go of the blog will provide you. I know I did, and I had nowhere near the commitment to my blog that you’ve had to yours. I definitely hope to stay in touch. Onward!

    • Oh, we’ll definitely remain in touch! Thank you for the kind words. I like the thought of this as a complete, stand-alone work, not unlike COMMITTED. This, of course, has been significantly advanced by insightful comments like yours over the years.

  4. Congratulations Patrick!

    You’ve had such a great run, and I hope we all get to stay in touch and continue reading your writing. I haven’t been commenting lately, but I’ve been reading: your blog has stayed true to its mission and useful to its readers right up to the end. This is an awesome accomplishment. With 400 posts (assuming 500 words a post, which is conservative), that’s 200,000 words! In the last five years, you’ve really written three books!

    As I’ve mentioned before, I discovered your blog at a time when I was confused about my creative priorities. In fits and starts, and with your inspiration and others, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m creating work that I’m proud of every day.

    Thank you for everything!

    • Corey, this means a lot. I know you also set out on a path toward an art-committed life, and it’s good to hear my blog helped provide some inspiration on that point.

      Thanks for the math! In all honesty, my posts should be about 500 words, but I’m usually more like 800 or so. At 400 posts, that is 320,000 words. Ack! COMMITTED is, I believe, around 80,000 words, so it’s like four memoirs! And don’t forget that some posts really lit up in the comments section, and commenters here rarely just say “I like this post!” but provide thoughtful (and lengthy) comments of their own. Oh my, that’s a lot of words…

      • I love it! I’m sure one day you’ll look back at the archives and all this writing will be used in an awesome new project–not to mention serve as an inspirational archive for all us long-time readers and new Googlers who stumble upon it.

        I’m going to miss seeing The Artist’s Road in my inbox!

  5. Tennessee Bar Journal Reply April 14, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Hey Patrick, You know better than anyone what and when is best, but do know that people read your blog and benefit from it! COMMITTED was super and very helpful for me as i work on a memoir. Your blog and book have been an inspiration for me.

    Take care and good luck in all that you do. I will watch for you on the other social media outlets!

    Suzanne Robertson
    (Whoops, this looks like it’s going to post from my work account, Tennessee Bar Journal — oh well!)

  6. Patrick! Amigo. You will be missed. You’ve been my e-buddy for as long I’ve been blogging. And your decision is a sobering one, and a wise one. Is my own blog getting tired, I ask myself. Indeed, I’m re-inventing it…or else. In any event, I too will follow you on Twitter. May we meet some day at some book fair… I would love that. Warm regards and all the best and now let’s back to writing!

    • I like what you’ve done/are doing with your blog. I also know you have a lot of wisdom still to impart, so I hope you keep it going. I’m also hoping that not blogging will free up more time for me to visit others’ blogs, including yours!

      I’d also like to thank you once again for being one of my most frequent, and thoughtful, commenters.

  7. Well, Patrick, although my heart hurts at the thought of never reading your blog posts again, I am also proud of you for making this decision.

    It takes courage to shut down a much-loved blog, but we shall continue cheering for you on Facebook and Twitter – I have already liked your Author Page #HUGSS

    I hope you start another blog soon😉

    Much love
    Kitto

    • Thanks, Kitto! You’ve been truly supportive.

      Well, if things keep going as they have, there will be other writings of mine out there in other capacities. I wouldn’t be surprised if I start another blog; I’ve blogged more than not during the last 20+ years. But I’m going to enjoy a bit of time on my other writing projects right now!

  8. Sad to hear, but do understand. You’ll be missed, Patrick. I’ve enjoyed your blog. Hopefully see you around Twitter now and then.

  9. Bon voyage, Patrick. I’ve seen a number of fine blogs go into graceful retirement this year – a testament to the amount of time and thought it takes to create good and worthwhile content. Bravo for having such standards, and I’m sure I’ll see you around the interwebby sea anyway. For now, good luck!
    And did I ever try to persuade you to guest on The Undercover Soundtrack? If you use music as part of your creative process, there’s a space for you. Especially as you now have a blog-shaped chunk of time in your schedule…

    • Roz, I love what you do online and you know I like to retweet you, so we’ll stay connected.

      Thanks for mentioning the Undercover Soundtrack. I don’t think we had talked about that, but let me mull on that and I’ll be in touch. I never said I wouldn’t guest post on others’ sites!🙂

  10. They say it’s best to go out when you’re at the top of your game. And you’re definitely doing that, Patrick. Congratulations on such a successful run with your blog and book launch. There are many more creative adventures yet to come for you, I’m sure.

  11. Best of luck Patrick; I’ve faded into oblivion. My husband’s illness and passing took up my time, but I’m back writing; forgotten how to use wordpress; any good learning sites out there; you are on my FB list; I wish you and your family exceedingly good days! with admiration, esther

    • Esther, I have so valued your contributions to the comments on this site. And I’ve said it before, but my sympathies for your husband’s passing. I’m glad you’re writing again; think of yourself as another Joan Didion.

  12. Oh, Patrick, I definitely got a lump in my throat when I opened up your post in my email box this morning and read about your decision to close down The Artist’s Road. I think many of us creatives who gather and converse here with you at ‘the hut’ owe you such a big debt of gratitude and thanks. Thank you for the superlative content, for the encouragement, for giving so openly and generously of your time, experiences, and knowledge to help fellow creatives remain committed to their path. I agree wholeheartedly with you that you have entirely succeeded in what you set out to do here oh, and then some!), and I just know there will be greater and greater accomplishments we will help you celebrate in the near future (on Twitter, Facebook, email, other blogs and social media portals…). Big supportive hugs to you.

    • The hut! You’re the one keeping that metaphor alive!🙂

      I’m hard-pressed to think of people who have been more supportive of me on this art-committed road, and you are a talented creative in your own right, which has made your support that much more valuable. Thank you for these kind words.

  13. Wow, Patrick…
    I guess we’re at a fork in the road. (Pun intended!) I have always enjoyed the variety of posts that made up this blog. I’ve learned a lot here and have really enjoyed watching the evolution of project to memoir over the years. I’m sad to see it end. It is bold and courageous to admit that it’s time to let go and move on.

    I am not convinced of the viability of FB pages and I admit I’m an inconsistent Twitterer, so I’m going to make sure I’m on that newsletter list! I don’t miss the next leg of the journey. You have made quite a few friends here that will outlive this blog, myself included. Our paths will continue to cross, for sure!

    Best of luck and stay in touch!

  14. THANK YOU, PATRICK–for all that you have given to the community of writers and other artists. A particularly heartfelt thanks for keeping the site “live”–it is an incomparable resource and I am so very grateful to be able to access it. I often feel after reading it that I’ve just spent a few minutes sitting with you in the “library” at La Mad! Good memories. You are high on the list of people that I respect; I tend to avoid social media but I might have to lift my moratorium and check out your pages.

    All the best,
    Kathryn

    • Ah, La Mad! Good times.

      I am really grateful for this comment, Kathryn, and to hear from you again. Let’s find a chance to reconnect at La Mad again. (I’ll email you about that.) Your words mean a great deal to me.

  15. Hey Patrick,

    Glad I saw your tweet about this. As a reader who has been with you since the beginning, I’m sorry to see you go. But I also totally understand your reasoning, and it makes me feel better knowing that all your wonderful content will still be available. Sounds like you have a lot of other wonderful things going on, so good luck with them. I know I’ll see you on Twitter!

    xo
    Charlotte

  16. Thanks for everything, Patrick! Here’s to the future!

  17. Oh, I’m sorry to read this. But I do understand, and I hope you won’t disappear from everywhere online so we can keep in touch! You’ve been such a huge help to so many writers and creatives — including me. I’m glad you’re keeping your archives up. I wish you the very best of luck in your future endeavors, Patrick, and I hope to see you around.

  18. Thank you for all your insightful posts. I do understand about other commitments and find myself in the same dilemma. I’ve have moved to post once a week on my personal blog site because of time constraints. Best to you Patrick and continued success.

    • Thanks! Yes, I’ve been at about one a week for the last year or so. I think that’s a fine schedule; my concern was I didn’t feel I was bringing enough fresh insight to each one, but I’m glad you found the blog of value!

  19. Patrick, Although I rarely comment, I have very much enjoyed your blog. It has been an important message for me over these last couple of years. I always appreciate your thought provoking posts, your sharing of your struggles to keep creativity incorporated into your life, and your support to all of us in this endeavor.

    I purchased your book and absolutely recommend it! Thank you for sharing your journey. Best to you in all you do!

  20. You’ve more than earned it, Patrick. I shut down my own blog almost 2 years ago and I’ve never looked back. Hope to see you on Twitter and Facebook!

  21. I left for Europe right after AWP, so I’m just catching up. While I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, I appreciate your explanation about why you’re shutting it down. It’s really useful to see your thinking. Thanks!

    • Thank you, Ellen, I’m glad you found the reasoning of value. I likely will incorporate it into a future blogging class if I teach one; the class I’m teaching in June is on memoir writing.

      I hope AWP went well for you, and you had a great time in Europe!

  22. Patrick, this was a very inspirational post, written with great spirit. Congratulations on achieving your objectives with this blog! That’s no small feat. I was also touched by your ability to feel and know it was over, and to let go, even though that would require a public announcement. Times when I’ve hung onto something that was over made it more difficult or painful. I believe identifying when to let go and taking the plunge is a real skill in life.

    And, yes! This blog will remain as a resource as long as the Internet exists. I just sent a link for your Residency tag to a friend whose daughter will be starting her MFA in September. If she reads it, I know she’ll derive great value from your writing.

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