Andrew Sullivan decides to quit blogging

One of my big influencers in blogging has decided to quit after 15 years.

One of the things I’ve always tried to do at the Dish is to be up-front with readers. This sometimes means grotesque over-sharing; sometimes it means I write imprudent arguments I have to withdraw; sometimes it just means a monthly update on our revenues and subscriptions; and sometimes I stumble onto something actually interesting. But when you write every day for readers for years and years, as I’ve done, there’s not much left to hide. And that’s why, before our annual auto-renewals, I want to let you know I’ve decided to stop blogging in the near future.

Why? Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.

The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.

I want to spend some real time with my parents, while I still have them, with my husband, who is too often a ‘blog-widow’, my sister and brother, my niece and nephews, and rekindle the friendships that I have simply had to let wither because I’m always tied to the blog. And I want to stay healthy. I’ve had increasing health challenges these past few years. They’re not HIV-related; my doctor tells me they’re simply a result of fifteen years of daily, hourly, always-on-deadline stress. These past few weeks were particularly rough – and finally forced me to get real.

I can really understand the space he has got himself into.

Blogging, contrary to what some say is actually very, very difficult, and as you climb up the rankings and gather an audience the pressures build even more.

My blogging efforts will turn ten years old this year. I haven’t yet turned my mind to organising an event, and quite simply it is because I just don’t have the time to do it.

But what Andrew Sullivan says is true…as a blogger you are always on, there is never a break, the rush of blogging never stops even when you are out hunting, or fishing…the desire to connect and see what is happening is strong.

But even in the depths of Dirty Politics I never have wanted to quit. There are some aspects of what I do that I am contemplating quitting, simply because I don’t enjoy them anymore, or the challenge of it has gone. I will inform those people who will be affected in due course.

I have some big challenges this year, some exciting new ventures that I want to get just right before launching them, and I have a few points to prove in the media space. I really want to launch those now, but discretion is the better part of valour and so patience and planning will prevent piss poor execution of those plans. I ask for patience from readers on that front, when it comes it will be worth it.

But Andrew Sullivan does address something that I need to be looking at and that is burn out…I’ve come close a couple of times…and I look to Art, Travel and Lifestyle blogger David Farrar for some inspiration there. He has found the time to take some breaks…perhaps I need to do that too…except I won’t be shooting pictures of where I’ve been I’ll be shooting animals.

It is true that at times, like Sullivan, I have made my best friend, and loving wife a blog widow. That is something we have moved to address and one of those actions was moving to a new location that is restful, peaceful and filled with love and happiness rather than the misery that we have both lived through the last 7 years or so. So far it is paying dividends. We have more balance back in our lives.

Andrew Sullivan has been a big influence on my blogging even though I don’t agree with him in many respects, the thing is he built a strong loyal audience with his diligence and his forthright honesty about his life. I too have shared many aspects of my life, some of which is held against me, especially my battles with depression, but I wouldn’t ever do anything different. Some of these issues require strong voices.

For me Andrew Sullivan quitting blogging will leave a big hole…but life goes on and so does blogging.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • bart jackson

    I hope you new project is a full on News website & I hope its soon Cam. Maybe its the new year & wanting a new broom but I can no longer stomach breakfast news. Ive never been really annoyed by an attractive woman before but every time Ali Pugh opens her ditzy mouth with her inane drivel that’s supposed to pass as intelligent comment …. ARRGGH! Of course there is the herald to get a real news fix every morning (cue derisive laughter) So what does one do? It would be great to start the day with some intelligent, accurate, cohesive current events in the morning and I’m prepared to pay to subscribe. The carrot has been dangled long enough so in the immortal words of boxing ref Mills Lane …. “lets get it on!”

    • spanishbride

      Are you following Freed on Facebook for updates?

    • bart jackson

      No I’m not. tried facebook for a week and got inundated with friend requests from people I didnt want to talk to so got rid of it.

  • murrayirwin

    Hmmm. Blogging inevitably requires you to reveal a lot about yourself – because you are expressing opinion. And if a blog is successful, it is because it expresses strong opinion. It’s because you have something to say – and the courage to say it. That encourages public scrutiny. Then there is no-where to hide. So it’s both a privilege and a responsibility to be a blogger. And inevitably burn-out occurs. Thank God Cam, you have both something to say, and huge energy to start with.

  • CheesyEarWax

    Totally agree with you that blogging is very difficult. Working in IT i remember when Blogs/Blogging were buzzwords and the CEO of the company I was at started a blog internally, to show technology leadership and set an example. The blog was nothing more than the usual stuff we get via email. Rest assured the blog didn’t last long.

  • Jimmie

    Also I guess SB has taken up the old saying – if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.

    I reckon (especially as FREED kicks into gear) that you need to schedule regular time off for yourself Cam. Whether its one day a week, or every 2nd weekend or something similar.

    Completely turn off for the day – leave the blog and FREED in capable hands and go do some water skiing or hunting or what ever. Maybe sometimes take the ball and chain along with you – helps keep the family together.

    I guarantee that any dramas that occur during your absence will be dealt with appropriately by your offsiders and the commenting community.

    It never ceases to amaze me when dpf has a day (or week, or month) off his general debate still attracts 2-300 comments (mostly snapping dogs growling at each other!)

    Almost like the absence of the blogger is hardly noticed by the commentators.

  • El Diablo

    Andrew Sullivans blog was the first blog I started reading regularly and got me interested in the new medium. Unfortunately I found his views changing a lot over time. He started off being very sensible and I agreed with him on most things. But then the issue of gay marriage became his one big issue and overtook everything else. Anyone who wasn’t on his side of that debate became his enemy, which basically meant he became far too much of a leftie for my liking, even endorsing John Kerry for president. Oh well, good luck to him. Hopefully his next book will do better than his previous effort which bombed dismally.