Thursday, November 29, 2007

Taking a break from blogging

I've been thinking for a while that I should take a break from blogging, in order to focus on a couple of projects ... I enjoy it very much, even though this blog has a tiny audience, and even though I don't actually post that much, it somehow occupies more of my mental energy than I realize. I had been thinking that for a while, and last night a long time and close friend whose opinion on these kinds of things I take very seriously urged me to do the same. (Thanks, David.)

So I am going to take a break from blogging. I may occasionally post things up here, but it will frankly be more or less self-advertising, announcements of my articles and other professional things that I am doing, rather than chat about me. I may come back to this blog in some other form at some point - perhaps less chatty and more substantive, I don't know, perhaps more limited to first draft discussions of law and policy topics, rather than anything from law to music to my family to food. Likely something I will do is post something brief on books that I think are worth reading.

But I need to focus on some projects that require a kind of in-turned focus for a while. If anyone wants to reach me, I'm not entering a monastery or anything - the easiest way to reach me is at my Washington College of Law, American University email, And to all, ummmm ... good night and good luck? Ken

(ps. thanks for the very kind comments. And thanks to some of the big bloggers, Instapundit in particular, whom I've never met but who have been kind enough to link to things that I was eager to have reach a larger audience than I could muster either in an academic context or my own blog. And Opinio Juris and Legal Theory Blog. I won't be disappearing from here entirely, and I am leaving the blog up, minus a few posts that I've decided in retrospect were intemperate or mean-spirited, or anyway more than ordinarily mean-spirited, in case they are useful to undergraduates doing term papers on just war theory or law of war or Koskiennemi or what-not. I will check back here from time to time, and anyone who would like to reach me can always do so at my school email, above.)

(pps. At risk of being a bit like Tom Sawyer showing up just in time to hear praises for himself at his own funeral, let me thank Duncan Hollis over at Opinio Juris for the kind words, as well as all the good friends at Opinio Juris, and to those who have left me messages in the comments. I really am not completely abandoning ship here - I will post stuff here about things I am writing and maybe some other stuff. I might post the occasional topical comment at the Telos website. And unless the ASIL discussion on media stuff dis-invites me as an ex-blogger, I will plan to comment there in April on why I have decided to drop it for the present time.

Two things in anticipation of that. First, I think group blogs like Opinio Juris or Balkinization or VC are a better thing for people ostensibly blogging in professional areas like law - the group nature of the blog tends to keep people like me and our dilettantish propensities in check, tends to keep people like me more focused on the topic at hand.

Second, I have been privileged to have some of the journalism world's best editors over the years - John Ryle and various of his colleagues at the TLS, Steve Wasserman at the LA Times Book Review, Scott Malcomson at the NYT, Tod Lindberg at Policy Review, Gerry Marzorati then at Harper's, Richard Starr at the Weekly Standard, plus some close writer friends such as David Rieff (also occasional collaborator) - and several of them, whom I won't name but have enormous respect for, have said more or less the same thing, viz, that blogging makes me a worse writer. I admire the folks at Balkinization and Opinio Juris and Volokh Con who seem to be able to switch effortlessly between blogging and regular publication writing, but as my writer friends and editors tell me, in my case it seems to lead to flabby writing that is brief and unargued when it should be long and detailed, and long and chatty when it should be brief and tough.

I don't know why that is, except that I find as a matter of prose that the blog plays to my worst temptations to instant publishing gratification and lack of re-write. I know that is not true for many fine law bloggers, but it does indeed tend to be true of me.

So I am going to take a little break from actual blogging, use this blog for posting up stuff that I am actually publishing, and see if I can recover both my prose style and my general sense of rewrite discipline. Perhaps when I return, I will look to join a group blog that can help keep my dissolute tendencies in line. As one friend said, "Ken, I used to think of you as a polymath [which was entirely too generous of him but who am I to dispute that?], but to judge by your blog, I think you've slid from polymath to dilettante." Hmm.)


Guanaco said...

This "tiny" reader will be really sorry to see you go. I look forward to your balanced and thorough discussions of extremely tough topics. It's such a welcome change from the news outlets' shouting heads, who obsessively spout their talking points regardless of the issues being discussed.

I'll keep the feeds open, for when you decide to come back.

Andrewdb said...

and this one will miss your refreshing (and by my lights, much more realistic) take on int'l law issues.

I much prefer your take on things then that "other" blog.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your perspective. Hopefully you'll be back soon!

Good luck with your projects.

claudio said...

I have been following your blog the last months from Spain.
I have fund it very interesting and very useful to iluminate some recent events. I particulary apreciate your recent post on my country. It was very acurate and I took the liberty to spread it over several spanish blogs.
Waiting for your return.
Hasta la vista, amigo.

Anonymous said...

I'll miss your wonderfully wordy clearheadedness and your blog's generous seasoning of side-topics - all the way from decadence to oaths of office!

Anytime the legal world gets too caught up in ideological or institutional blinders to see what the actual result of its preferred policies will be, please come back and call it out.

Very best wishes,

Nathan Wagner

Anonymous said...

Professor, Many thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I hope that you will still have time to tell us where you are, intellectually speaking, even if it is too time-consuming to tell us all the whys and the wherefores. God speed.

Anonymous said...

I will miss this blog. I have always enjoyed "checking in" regularly but randomly, to examine its endlessly evolving quilted fabric of original and interesting thought, stitched together by glittering threads of love, law, intellect and insight. Don't stay away too long.

Anonymous said...

I've just read your article on the Weekly Standard, one of the best I've read on the WS and the web. Good luck and thanks