I know some people think I write too frequently or that my posts are too lengthy. Perhaps some of PPFA’s 196 email subscribers are a little annoyed by the recent flourish of pre-Iowa activity. Perhaps PPFA posts are now treated as spam by people too polite to unsubscribe. Perhaps some people think it impossible that one person can be an effective teacher, parent, and husband all while having a hobby.
If you find yourself described in that opening paragraph, please know that I don’t hold it against you. I get it. I know the feeling of loading an online article, scrolling to see the length, then giving up on it. I do it, too. It’s okay. There are only so many minutes in the day. Proceed with a clear conscience knowing that I agree with you.
But for those who have stuck with me, and particularly those who have spread the word, you have my bottomless gratitude. Even if you just decide to read one in every three posts or something, that’s so many! I’m endlessly appreciative. Though I’m losing steam and will need a break soon, I really enjoy doing this. I think it’s important that people find time for a hobby alongside the daily grind of life. You might knit, you might read a bunch of books, you might work out, you might practice a language or instrument, you might fix cars, whatever. Hopefully you build something that’s uniquely yours, showing your life doesn’t fully belong to the relentless, 24/7 cycle that society seemingly demands of us. It’s nice if we find that something.
For me, I like to find an hour a day or so to sit down and write about politics or history. On weekdays, I can usually cobble together an hour before, during, and after work. On weekends, it’s that hour before my house wakes up and demands Daddy’s time. I’m fortunate to have a lot of thoughts in my head and fingers fast enough to get them down without ever needing to really stop. In that hour, my keyboard clatters more often than not.
Importantly, I feel like I’m better at writing now than I was four years ago, when I was better than I was four years before that. Without practicing the skill, I’d be the same writer I was in my early 20s — and believe me, that was not good writing. I don’t regret the time I’ve taken to hone the craft, even if doesn’t earn me anything tangible like money or fame. Most hobbies are done for one’s self, not others.
Still, even with this intrinsic motivation, it’s been such an honor to hear from people who really do read many or all posts. I know it’s just a fraction of my subscribers, but it’s meaningful and motivating nonetheless. Most of the time I don’t think I deserve it, but every once in a while I write this perfect sentence, or unearth this revealing piece of information, or nail a prediction, or re-frame an issue, or make what I think is a convincing argument, and I’m glad that it’s going out into the world, that some people will read it and that they might learn from it, even if they disagree. It doesn’t feel like a waste of time to, you know, try.
So thank you. I can’t say it enough.
That being said, it can at times to be hard to find the motivation to keep going, and the recent, rapid posting schedule has contributed to creating one of those times. Moving forward, I expect a concentrated stretch of posts before stepping back. Nearest term, we’re looking at:
- Tomorrow, I’ll be joining other publications in making an official, Saturday-before-an-election, PPFA endorsement.
- On Sunday, I’ll try to predict the crazy Iowa caucuses.
- On Monday, I’ll try to predict the winner of the crazy Democratic Primary before those Iowans start voting that evening.
- And on Tuesday, I’ll likely have a response to Monday night’s Iowa results, including how they’ll affect the race heading into New Hampshire.
Four days in a row! I know. It’s hard to keep up. But for those who try, you have my sincerest thanks.