In August two of atheism’s most prominent bloggers, PZ Myers and Ed Brayton, broke away from scienceblogs to form a new site: Freethought Blogs. They’ve since acquired many of the Olympians of secular blogging such as Ophelia Benson, Jen McCreight, and Greta Christina. This site is already, quite literally, the biggest atheist site on the web and easily boasts of the most writing talent.
This is why it is with no small amount of pride and, frankly, a great timidity and concern that I’m completely out of my league, that I announce that this Saturday I will be joining them.
Before I go any further, I want to give a tremendous amount of credit and thanks to the webmistress for WWJTD, Katie Hartman. She set up the site, made it all pretty, and handled all the technical details that are beyond me. This site never would have been possible without her. If you wind up at Skepticon in November, you’d best track her busy ass down and give her the biggest hugs.
When I move, I don’t intend to change much. There will still be fitness posts and I will maintain the WWJTD workout team, I will still blog openly and honestly about my psychological issues, and I will still respond firmly to commenters/emails that I think have it coming.
I started writing 7-8 years ago on a xanga blog. The concept of having readers never even crossed my mind. I wrote to organize my thoughts. I wrote for me. I laid out my ideas and described the mischief I was getting into as an atheist in the South. Strangely, people started reading, and they started asking me to speak. All these years later my approach hasn’t changed. I still write for me. I write precisely what is on my mind as though nobody is reading. I do not worry if I please anybody, nor do I worry if I offend them. I simply write, and if people want to stay and read, they’re welcome. If not, also cool. Greta often wonders how I don’t let the assholes of internet land get to me. Well, there you go.
One of the most frequent questions I get from other atheist activists is how to drive traffic to their blogs/sites. It always makes me a little sad to get asked this. It’s just such an alien concept to me, and asking it almost seems to be an admission that you’ve mismanaged your priorities. Why not focus on the work you’re doing as an activist? Why not spend more time going out and putting on an awesome event? Why not just focus on pleasing yourself through writing honestly and finding your own unique voice rather than bending your behavior to entice/accommodate others?
But what happens when your writing grows into a part of how you change the world? Part of my work as an activist has become writing, whether I planned on it or not. I’ve only been at WWJTD for a short time, but through this blog and the emails I’ve received I’ve managed to change people’s minds about the existence of god, I’ve helped people to get into better shape, and I’ve convinced several people to seek treatment for mental disorders. Those things necessarily make my writing about something more than myself, and they fill me with a magnitude of pride that evades concise description. Honestly, it helps me sleep it night. So even though I still write for the same reasons, I cannot deny the community that has sprung up around my writing/activism and the utility of the voice I’ve gained. How to balance the awareness of that with continuing to write uninhibited and for all the same reasons? I’m honestly not sure, but that is what I will figure out as I move.
I still can’t see myself ever doing anything but spilling my heart onto the internet. Whether it’s taken as brilliant or bland, it’s me, which is all I care about. I despise religion. I despise apathy. I’m sick in the head and learning to live normally with that. I’m human, and I’m doing my best to leave the world in better shape than I found it all while having a blast. I love living, and I love good people with the same passion that I loathe the bad ones. These are the qualities that make me who I am and I’m honest about who I am. But even though my writing is personal, it’s now part of how I modify the world outside my person.
Which is why, for the first time since I began writing, I’m going to make a small effort to draw readers. This Saturday, October 1st, is when I will officially join Freethought Blogs. I will link to it on this blog as well as all my social sites (facebook, google plus, twitter, etc.). If you support what I do here, spread it around. I don’t ask because of pride – number of hits/readership means nothing to me. Nor is it because at FTB the bloggers get paid per hit – I’ve written for free my whole life and would do it with or without a financial motivation. I ask for your help with the launch on Saturday because I want the chance to keep changing things and to share that with others. I want to arm people with responses to religious arguments, I want to dispel myths about mental illness, and I want to encourage people to get in shape. I also want to mete out the furnishings of my mind, whether noble or flawed, to anybody who may identify with them. I do not see myself leaving FTB anytime soon, and I want to open the doors of my new home to anybody who wants to share their own desire to create a better world with me.
As always, thanks for reading. The time I’ve spent here has changed my life for the better. I’m sad to leave, but I’m also excited about moving on. I hope things can be similar at my new home and I hope you’ll join me there.