Why I Quit the Trixie Update

There were a million reasons I quit the blog 4 months ago. Here’s a handful.

I had grown completely tired of the site. I wasn’t interested in writing about baby data anymore. I was interested in writing my baby data software and working as an User Interface (UI) designer. I had different creative needs and I felt completely trapped by the scope of the blog. That kept me from being excited about working on it.

I worried about diluting existing content. As a blogger, I didn’t post every little thing that popped in my head and I certainly didn’t post on a daily basis (except photos). I was lucky to write a 2-3 stories a month. But I was very happy with the quality of the stories I wrote. Many had accompanying graphics, and almost all turned over in my head for a while before posting. They were all refined pieces (except some of the really early stuff) and that high standard became a disincentive for me to write more stories (unless I thought the story was going to be really, really, really good). It was hard to overcome that feeling.

I wasn’t able to experiment anymore. The stories on the Trixie Update had become so finished and tied to a very specific narrative (new parents raising a human baby) that I couldn’t try new writing or directions.

Trixie started fighting me tooth and nail on the photography. It was probably a stage and had nothing to do with the site, but without the TPODs there wasn’t anything new on the site. Trying to get a photo became a coercive activity and I really didn’t enjoy being in that position, so I quit. After I stopped the blog, I didn’t take any pictures for 2 months and enjoyed the break immensely. Now, however, the bug is back. I’m looking to sell my current camera and upgrade.

There was too much of a disconnect between the way I felt and what I posted on the site. I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid writing anything personal on the site. My goal had always be to simply observe. There’s plenty of hard data which some many consider personal (diaper counts, anyone?), but there’s not any emotional revelations. I got to the point that I was tired of posting and tired of not being able to say I was tired of posting.

Some old RSI (repetitive stress injury) issues started to flare up again. This was a show-stopper. The last thing I wanted to do was spend extra time photoshopping a TPOD if my arms were hurting at the end of the day. This is a completely manageable condition, and I’m doing 99% better now. Of course I wish I didn’t have it at all, but I will say that it’s forced me to work smarter over the years. It also helped me kick the Starcraft habit back in 2002.

A lot of these reasons are now resolved. My goal is to have fun writing and stop worrying. I also feel recharged to a certain degree. I add that qualifier because I’m also exhausted from my job, parenting and running my own business, but I feel pretty good about everything and glad to be back in the saddle. Incidentally, all of the above issues can be bullet-pointed as impediments to creativity. I want to flesh out some of these ideas here the future.

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15 Responses to Why I Quit the Trixie Update

  1. Susan says:

    I just wanted to say welcome back…I’m a retired mom of 5 grown sons – no daughters at all – not even granddaughters (yet).
    Watching Trixie grow has been a true joy, please keep up the excellent work! She is a beautiful child.

  2. Justin Watt says:

    So, are you still going to call it “The Trixie Update”?

  3. Nicole R. says:

    Very interesting — these recent posts, and this one in particular, are among your most personal and confessional. While I always admired your detached scientific voice, and your consistent use of it, I see how limiting it must have been — a blog isn’t a book, with a fixed narrative and style, where you can complete it and just move on to something different.

    Also, I found your point about “diluting existing content” intriguing. There are many strong stories in the TTU archives, so I can see that you wouldn’t want to bury them beneath newer work which might be of more transient interest. So how to clearly present the stories of permanent value while still keeping a lively, flexible current blog? Sounds like a design challenge.

    Glad you’re back, by the way. I knew you were still around because I use Trixie Tracker, but I missed TTU. I’m interested to see what you’ll make of it this time around!

  4. Melanie says:

    Personally, I’m just glad your back. No matter what it is you’re writing about!

  5. shawn says:

    regarding justins comment, i was thinking the same thing. It almost seems (as much a I hate to say and I am sure you would hate to hear it) that you need a new venue. A diffrent space then the one TTU is in. Just a thought…

  6. Ashley says:

    I’m glad you’re back, as I’ve always enjoyed the baby data, TPODS, AND your writing.

  7. benmac says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    1) I agree. I need a new blog space. I probably oughta dust off artshare.com

    2) Nicole: Thanks for your comments. I think you hit the nail on the head and said it much better than I could have. A blog is not a book, but I think I was treating it as such. I really appreciate that.

  8. Tom N. says:

    I agree that you could (should?) open a new blog if you want to keep current postings about random stuff in your life separate from the “humans raising a baby” stories of the first few years of TTU.

  9. Judy says:

    Welcome back, Ben. Welcome back.

  10. Jen says:

    Everything you say makes sense Ben. It makes my heart happy to see you back.

  11. hannah says:

    OMG – you’re back!!!!!! I had no idea – I need to sign up for one of those fancy blog notifier things you speak of. No pressure, but this is so exciting. Blogging is hard work! So happy to see you posting and the beautiful, as always, pictures of Trixie. Hope to see you soon!

  12. kim says:

    Welcome back…..your New Zealand fans are sure glad to see you posting again. Hope you are all well, take care Kim

  13. Jeff says:

    Ben:

    I’m not sure you need to start a new site (or resurrect an even older one) to continue to write what you WANT to write.

    The truth is that your blog, like any other growing and developing entity, must grow to survive. You realized that it wasn’t … and stopped short of killing it. After some time to reflect, you’re now back, and the blog will now grow.

    Put another way, the blog was a potted plant. The blog got as big as it could and strained against the pot. It got tired of pushing and stopped. You transplanted it into a bigger pot. It is now free to grow and become anything else it can become.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that this transformation is normal for any living/breathing thing, your blog included. You don’t have to move into some OTHER thing – this is just natural evolution for THIS thing. 🙂

    ~J

  14. benmac says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I can appreciate the fact that things either grow or die. There’s not much middle ground. Trying to put things on hold usually doesn’t even work because entropy will always step in. I like the comment – Thanks!

    I still don’t know what my next step is. I started bloggin again without a plan in order to avoid putting it off. I’m still thinking about what the writing space(s) should be.

  15. Valerie says:

    I’m so glad you’re back! Imagine my surprise after not checking for a few months (in which I had another baby and realized I needed to get the Tracker) and found you had started up again! All I can say is I’m blissfully happy you’re back, you’ve inspired me so much, not just in writing a blog but how to be a great parent. This site was always a sounding board (to me at least) for parents to share stories and ideas and to support each other. I’m glad to have this resource for all things kids and I thank you for giving it back to all of us again!