Just so we’re clear from the get-go…I’m not quitting the site.

§ April 12th, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, does mike ever shut up § 32 Comments

So at work, we had some kind of insane virus end up on one of the store computers which took me more time than I really cared to spend trying to clean out the system and make sure the damned thing was gone. And then, a day or two later, I had yet another computerized brouhaha at home which required hours of maintenance and reinstalls and such, and I’m pretty sure that’s when I hit my breaking point and said “screw it, I’m tired of staring at computer screens.” And that’s when my vacation from the Internet began.

Yeah, I know, a whole three days, wooo, big deal. But for someone who’s been obsessing about updating his website daily for about 8 1/3 years, it did feel like kind of a big deal, at least to me. And while I was avoiding computer usage at home, I actually was feeling a tad…anxious, maybe? Upset? …Whatever it was, there was certainly an undercurrent of something bothering me regarding not updating the site, even at the same time I was realizing that I needed to step away from it just a bit.

It wasn’t just computer problems that drove me into my mini-sabbatical. There’s a hint in my last regular post where I mentioned that I was nodding off at the computer working on my post for the next day. …I’ve done that more than once over the years, given that my available free time to work on the site is generally in the evenings, prior to going to bed. Sometimes, when I have an idea for a post all ready to go, it doesn’t take much time at all to put it together, and I get it all done right quick and I’m off to dreamland.

However, sometimes I find myself just sitting there, looking at the screen, no idea what I’m going to write or post, and it takes forever to come up with something, and instead of sleeping, or maybe reading something, or just plain relaxing, I’m agonizing over what to put up on my site for the next day. And that’s not something I really can do any more.

I used the word “obsessing” above, and that’s not an inaccurate description of how I was treating this website of mine. I was obsessed with making sure I had a post. Every. Single. Day. whether I really had anything to say or not, and the only way I was going to break myself of the habit was forcing myself to not post for a few days. And it should probably come as no shock to you that, more than a few times during my break, I thought to myself “well, maybe I can write up a few posts and backdate them for the days I missed to keep my streak.” …Yeah, I know.

I’ve said before, early on, that my need to post every day was generated by a recommendation I read somewhere about regularly updating your site, so that readers will come to expect new content and maintain your traffic. I really did have this fear that if I skipped a day all my readers would dry up and my site would just wither and die. …It’s a bit heartening and sobering to see that my site’s traffic didn’t take a hit at all during my brief break, probably because 1) three days isn’t really enough to make a difference, 2) people were still popping in to see if I’d returned yet, and 3) people finding my site via Google searches for dirty pics and nekkid celebrities don’t care if I update or not. (For you #3 folks, sorry, this is all I’ve really got for you.)

Of course, the other side of the argument is that posting too much will discourage and drive away readers, and…well, I don’t think there was much danger of that happening here.

In typical Progressive Ruin fashion, that was a long row to hoe for me basically to tell you: I’m not going to be on a strict daily schedule anymore. Forcing myself to post every day doesn’t do me any favors, and I’m sure it doesn’t do most of you any as well. Does that mean I’ll never post every day for an entire week? No, of course not. Does that mean I might only post one day a week? …Unlikely, but it could happen, depending on outside forces, life demands, and maybe when Grand Theft Auto V comes out.

And of course it doesn’t mean that from now on, because of the occasional extra time between posts, every new entry on my site will be some in-depth, thoughtful essay on the subtle symbolism of the color yellow in Justice League Dark. It may just be something silly. (Well, sillier.) I’ll post when I feel like it…not because I have to, but because I want to. It’ll increase my enjoyment of the site, and hopefully it’ll increase yours as well.

I like doing this site. I don’t want it to be a chore. And I want to keep it going. And I like interacting with all you folks. But I also want an evening or three, or four, during the week where I don’t need to think about feeding the beast.

Anyway, that was a lot to read, and if you made it this far, thanks for putting up with me. I apologize for just up and disappearing for a couple of days, but I hope you understand. And, as I’ve said before…I promise, if the day should ever come when I actually quit the site, I won’t leave you hanging. If I’m able (and not, you know, unfortunately deceased or something), I’ll tell you folks when the site is done.

It’s not done yet.

I’ll see you all…well, on Saturday, I think. Yeah, Saturday.

32 Responses to “Just so we’re clear from the get-go…I’m not quitting the site.”

  • kate says:

    I think I’ve commented all of once, here.

    Anyway. I remember when you said that, about posting every day. And you’ve also made it clear it was feeling sort of obsessoid. And I don’t know you from Adam, but it made me feel low-level worried about you. (Not in a stalkery kind of way, just in a ‘this person is a human being, and lets some of his emotions show’ kind of way.)

    So! As a fairly consistent reader of the site, let me just say I /far far/ prefer reading things you enjoy posting and enjoy writing, and thank you for making this decision. And I’ll look forward to your next post. On Saturday or so.

  • Skinslip says:

    I am all for you being a happier, less stressed grumblemonster. I enjoy reading your site on a semi-regular basis and sometimes you can tell when you are struggling through a post. It happens to us all. I had the same problem with my movie reviews on my site. It felt like a chore to have to watch some awful piece of crap film and then write a review about it. Anyways, looking forward to the next post as usual.

  • FxHx says:

    Well, Michael, you finally hit that point. LOL So why don’t you occasionally have some of your talented friends write stuff for Progressive Ruin? I, for one, would love to hear from Aaron or even Corey. Hell, even a grudge match between the two. Just a thought.

    Oh, and because I think you would care and such, there is probably gonna be a Fangboy show for The Current Wife’s birthday in July. But, shhhhh, don’t tell anybody. It is a secret. LOL

  • Tim O'Neil says:

    I believe you will find that giving yourself the freedom to update whenever and whatever you please will rejuvenate your enthusiasm for the blog. I don’t post every day or even – heh! – every week, but I enjoy it when I do and I like the sensation of putting up stuff I’m interested in doing and not just crap because I feel the need to fill space and draw hits.

  • Sean Murphy says:

    Good for you in recognizing what you needed to do to be happy. I check your site 3 or 4 times a week because I enjoy your slice of life view and expect to keep doing so no matter what your posting schedule. I’d much rather have new content on a more irregular basis than hear that the site is done.

  • Interstate Shogun says:

    I’ve been a longtime reader here, starting with your “Behind the Counter” column on another site and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Posting when you feel like it and/or have something to say is much better than killing your interest by making it into a chore. We will not abandon you, Mike Sterling!
    I also second the vote for a guest poster here and there.

  • Johanna says:

    Good for you! I would rather see less from you than have you burn out and lose this site altogether, because it’s always insightful and entertaining. Thank you for providing it to us for so long.

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    I have never understood the need for blogs or any other websites to have fresh new content every day. As the blogger, it does tempt you to just throw something up every day.

    As a reader, who obviously websites other than this one, I never have enough free time to read everything I want anyway. I would sooner drop a blog due to meaningless content overload than sporadic good material.

    Tim’s blog is a good example of one I might not read if it was just filled up with junk every day. But I can check it every once in a while and read a good post, and if I can’t get to it for a while I won’t just fall behind and say “screw it” and delete it from my bookmarks.

  • Walaka says:

    Mikester: seconding all the supportive remarks here, and adding that with RSS feeds, I think the disappointment-there’s-no-new-content-today-I’m-gonna-leave syndrome might be diminishing anyway. My little googly thingamabob will tell me when you have posted (I hear it might be Saturday or so) and I’ll be back to read it. Rinse and repeat. Thanks and good luck.

  • Lodo says:

    Just wanted to say that i like your site and will keep doing so wether you post new stuff everyday or once a week. Just go with what you feel like writing for the moment.

  • That Guy says:

    Srsly? Not posting every day? That’s it, I’m outta here.

  • David Norman says:

    Mike, I don’t think that someone who has posted daily for over 8 years has anything to explain to anyone. You’ve earned the trust and respect of your readers (and I count myself as one of the faithful readers), so as one I’d like to say that you have my permission to post whenever you want to post.

  • adam says:

    I get it. It was the pressure to do the daily grind that killed “Comics Make No Sense.” Now, whenever I think about starting it back up, it makes me feel like I’m about to drink something that once gave me a hangover. Do what it takes to keep it fun! :-)

  • Bear says:

    I’m a long-time fan of your blog and I will definitely keep reading, no matter what. I’m glad you’re not shutting the site down and a less regular schedule is fine by me.

    (Er, not that you live or die by my approval, I’m just sayin’.)

  • swamp mark says:

    Maybe you should give it up for good,Mike.Just think of the business it would generate for the store if we all had to visit your shop every morning to find out what’s on your mind!
    It would have been nice for a little warning,though.I was getting pretty worried and it looks like I wasn’t alone.All of us readers might come to your site for very different reasons (mine are pretty obvious) but one thing we seem to agree on is that your health and happiness are what’s most important.So enjoy your breaks,my friend,and know that we’ll be waiting.

  • Kyle says:

    Mike, I read your site at work each day while I’m eating lunch. I just wanted you to know how much joy you bring to the middle of my work day.

    Any posting you do will be greatly appreciated whatever frequency it occurs!

  • Anonymous says:

    WHAT?!?! Cal Ripken played 2,131st STRAIGHT games over 17 YEARS! You don’t expect me to believe that writing a blog is harder than playing baseball? I quit your site, jerk.

    (Hopefully my sarcasm and humor came across…)

    Seriously, tho: be healthy, pal. Take a night or 4 off. Most (if not all) of us will be here when you get back. Except those people looking for porn.

  • BBayliss says:

    WHAT?!?! Cal Ripken played 2,131st STRAIGHT games over 17 YEARS! You don’t expect me to believe that writing a blog is harder than playing baseball? I quit your site, jerk.

    (Hopefully my sarcasm and humor came across…)

    Seriously, tho: be healthy, pal. Take a night or 4 off. Most (if not all) of us will be here when you get back. Except those people looking for porn.

  • Totally understand Mister Mike! I eagerly await your posts at whatever speed you sling them at us!

  • philip says:

    I will still obsessively check your site every day in anticipation of a new post. I have been a fan of your site since… three employers ago and I will take my Progressive Ruin bookmark with me wherever I go.

  • chasdom says:

    Thank you Mike. No matter how often you post, I will always stop here to read it.

  • Andrew Leal says:

    I love you Mike, in the purely platonic, passive internet comics reader way. I actually have assorted vintage comic-style Sesame Street art and stuff to send your way, and a clip from the 1970s showing the comic racks at Mr. Hooper’s store (several DC titles but I couldn’t ID them all). I’d been saving them for ages (my own laziness) and will pass along when you feel better.

    Sluggo Saturdays have forever changed my life for the better, to say nothing of some of the great weird cards, ads, End of Civilization, animation-related posts, and of course, your status as Swamp Thing’s Best Friend.

    And I’ve read about your assorted health and computer travails so I’m glad you’ve decided to adjust your focus accordingly.

    Well, okay, I’ll link this (I’m an admin on Muppet Wiki):

    And that one 1979 “Incredible Hulk” episode where Ferrigno passed by a Herry Monster doll:

    And also a Snuffleupagus (far left, lower corner):

    And one more, though I know this is getting spammy:

    (Because the best way I can show love and admiration is through Muppet-related links).

  • Casey says:

    I check your site every day and will continue to do so, so you won’t lose my hit. You’ve provided me with so much free entertainment over the years, it seems impossible in retrospect. This has to be my favorite blog, and a few breaks-even extended breaks- between posts won’t change that.

  • CW says:

    Mike, I’ll be sticking around so long as you continue with the dirty pics and nekkid celebrities. ;)

  • Casie says:

    We want a happy Mike more than anything!
    ANYTIME you post ANYTHING…it’s an absolute pleasure & treat.
    I’m a big fan of this site, but I’m a bigger fan of Mike Sterling.

  • "O" the Humanatee! says:

    Mike, you’re raping my childhood!

    Seriously, you’re more than entitled to go easier on yourself. If that means fewer posts and happier Mike, I’m all for it.

    Waitasec – did you say there’s dirty pictures on the interwebs?!?! I might be looking at your site a little bit less in the future….

  • Scott Phillips says:

    You are a MONSTER, Mikester.

  • C. Elam says:

    I identify with this. I most recently found myself getting so obsessed with Tumblr that I not only had to back way, but make a new account to force myself into a little sanity in how I was using it. It’s funny how these things can sort of creep up on you when you least expect it.

    Your streak had to end eventually, so I’m glad it was by your own choosing. You’re a capital guy and this is a terrific blog. I’ll keep reading as long as you keep posting!

  • Kevin Tam says:

    Hey Mike, I really appreciate the blog, and I really appreciate your earnestness here. Thanks for putting it up, and I’ll stay tuned.

  • Adam Ford says:

    what everyone said, mike. even the jokes i don’t understand. do it the way it makes you happy. your posts are worth the wait.

  • MrJM says:

    At the risk of speaking for the whole class: We want a grumpy(ish) but happy(ish) Mike and the only way to be sure we get it is for you to keep yourself healthy(ish).

    To that end, we’ll take our Mike where and when we can get it.

    — MrJM

  • Roger Green says:

    In all seriousness, you were one of the blogging icons I’ve followed over the past nearly 7 years I’ve been blogging; came to you via Hembeck. Every day, just like you, though I wouldn’t have made it without being able to post ahead of time. I was away all last week, and wrote NOTHING, yet posted every day.

    You’re on my blog roll (yes, I know, how quaint) so if/when you post, I’ll read it.

    My own obsession with posting over 2500 days straight is more from the fear of inertia. A body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest tends to stay at rest. If I stopped writing, I’d stop writing. In any case, I’ve already decided that, come my 10th anniversary in 2015, I’ll go to 4-5 days/week. But now it’s a challenge. The good news is that I haven’t run out of content; it may not be aces every day, but i keep slugging away.

    I’d recommend 4 days/week for you, and one can be Sluggo, which will allow for birthdays, anniversaries, and your regular features – takes me a couple days just to get through all the Diamond catalog stuff, so that would definitely be a time you could wait a couple days before the next post.