After long deliberation, I have decided to bring this personal blog to an end.
I first started it nearly ten years ago in the infancy of learning to become a freelance writer and after my family and I moved to Bangladesh. The blog was the result of writing advice to start one as a practical way to learn the trade of using words and finding your own ‘voice’. In this, the blog was most successful. I cut my teeth on the game here and learned at least something of what works and what doesn’t.
But, success comes at a price. I work at least 50 hours a week now juggling commercial writing, book writing, educational work and philanthropic concerns – and this blog simply doesn’t get the attention it requires.
Partly, this is because the site was always intended to be as eclectic as my own interests are. This was perfect when living in Bangladesh where I wanted to bring attention to the country, people, culture, beauty and problems. My product was ‘me’ and I could throw in all my other interests too.
But now, the frightening fact is that we’ve been living back in the UK for as long as we lived out in Bangladesh. Much though I continue to visit 2-3 times a year and keep all the my relationships with people out there, I also have new concerns. You can’t live in the UK and not find yourself affected by Brexit. My kids have grown up now and are just leaving compulsory education. I am ten years older and I’ve published bestseller books and have a worldwide audience. Bucket-list goals have been ticked off. Life has moved on.
I’ve made attempts to steer the blog in other directions but the title just doesn’t fit now. I realise I need to write to specialist interests rather than a general audience who will only be interested in a particular fraction of what I write about. Everything I write interests someone but not everyone, and that needs to change.
So, it’s time for Ken to stop ‘thinking aloud’ and, instead, concentrate on new avenues. One, for instance, is that I’ve never allowed religious topics to be discussed here – largely on grounds of respect for a culture dominated by faith issues, but also for reasons of safety and security. This was why I also gave nicknames to my family members and why I write with a pseudonym even to this day. But the implications of both faith and atheism are ones which drive me (and you may have picked up on this with some of my more recent posts) but this, I feel, needs a separate site. There are other interests too though – travel, education, crime…and so on.
The aim then is to formally end this blog here, and in a couple of months archive the site completely. Much of the material is already being prepped for inclusion in modified form for my long-awaited (and way, way, WAY too late) book about our adventures in Bangladesh. In the summer I hope to produce several new sites specialising in different interests (and will be open to other contributors). Perhaps you’ll find me again then on one of them? Before that though, there are three nearly-complete book manuscripts which need finishing off…
A rather lovely side-effect of writing this blog to practise my skills was the finding of, at the time, a huge blogging community. I’ve seen blogs rise to massive audience members and participation only to fall again and blink out of existence and blogging, in general, just isn’t as popular as it once was. I think that’s a shame.
But then I’ve noticed that the world’s fad with friendship and communication has now come to an end too – at least for now. When I left for Bangladesh in 2008, Facebook was a lifesaver. The days when you had to leave all your former friends behind were over. As I made new friendships in Asia, I kept and even strengthened older friendships from the West. Indeed, I found people I’d lost years ago and they’ve remained in my life ever since. But now, there seems a reluctance to communicate in the social media world. Yes, the arguments and trolling continue unabated – I never liked those – but the idea that you could be friends with someone you’ve never met, on the other side of the world and, one day, meet and be best of friends – that interest seems gone. That seems very sad to me.
In the blogging world I made many, many friends with whom I communicated privately, got to know, got to be part of their lives and, eventually, met and became IRL friends. Some have continued. Some, just as happens with our natural IRL friendships, ended in harsh words, violent disagreements and – that disease of the modern virtual world – blocking. Some of these breakdowns really hurt and they have certainly wearied me. But many have continued and enriched my life. Just earlier this year I stayed with a lovely blogging friend in the Philippines and I fell in love with her kind heart, loving family and her beautiful country. Such moments make life worth living and I treasure good memories of meetings like this even if those relationships have eventually come to an end.
Despite my sadness that social media seems to have given up on friendship, and the blogging world is no longer one of mass comradeship and excitement, I have to confess, I’ve caught something of the malady myself. My youthful enthusiasm for meeting new people, discovering new lives and learning new ways of thinking and being, has waned. I feel tired and only really able to give time and energy to those who actively seek it back. I can’t chase people any longer and I’m more comfortable in my own company. Perhaps this is me, after nearly six years, finally getting used to being British again and adjusting to no longer being Bangladeshi? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the writing in my head still needs to come out and, when I’m not doing it commercially for editors and clients, I will be getting it out there on other platforms. Just not this one.
So, thank you, all of you, who have followed me on this journey, given me encouragement, engaged in my writings, taken the time to befriend me or just taken time to get to know me a little. It’s been an epic ten years and I’ve loved every minute of it.