On June 23, 2015 Camels With Hammers will turn 6 years old. The site’s been viewed several million times in the last three and a half years alone. And when I have had periods of prolific blogging in recent years my traffic has grown so immediately, with an increasing number of posts setting personal records for hits for my substantive writing, that I am very confident this blog can take off to new levels when I can write more prolifically again. And I am always strategizing ways to write better posts and to do more ambitious writing projects that I can feature on this blog.
And thanks to Camels With Hammers, I have been able to build an independent full time philosophy teaching business of my own that is slowly but steadily becoming something sustainable and reliable. I have more regularly paying students at one time attending these private classes than I have ever had for them before and, most importantly, I have an extraordinary rate of retention whereby more than half of the students who have finished a class with me have signed up for at least one more course with me. And 62% of the students who finished a class with me that ran last spring-summer or last fall-winter are back taking one with me now. And 50% have attended a full 9 or 12 months now without any interruption in their enrollments. (To sign up for classes updates or to join a class now or in the future, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit DanielFincke.com for periodically updated information on classes and click on the banners at the end of this blog post for information on my particular class offerings.)
A small community of indefinitely attending students is developing and I have been in the exciting position of regularly having 6-8 distinct class sessions running each week from September until now in order to accommodate them. I am presently running eight distinct classes a week, covering seven different class topics. That means 7 new class preparations a week including at least 3 brand new ones that I’ve never done before (for brand new classes) and sometimes even a couple more new lectures as I extend my repertoire within classes I have taught before.
So, due to the combination of a heavy load of brand new lectures to write and the desire to do blog posts that are a little more developed than your average blog has the time to pull off, I am going to take a hiatus from Camels With Hammers until September 1, 2015. In the meantime, I will only post the occasional updates on my class offerings, guest submissions from other writers, personal news, and links to any podcasts I might appear in.
I feel the need to do this because blogging has already had to take second place to my lecture preparations since September 2014 and the last three months my blogging has ground nearly to a halt. I feel crummy when I feel like I’m supposed to be blogging but am not doing so. This is not the first time Camels With Hammers has had to slow down because of my teaching work–which has always made up significantly more of my income and so must be my first priority–has been too demanding. I have always successfully brought the blog back to life and not only recovered my readership but grown it. This fall will be no exception in that regard, I am sure.
What will be different this time is the following. In the past my hiatuses from blogging typically involved just recovering from fatigue and letting my mind lay fallow a brief while before new ideas could be planted and harvested again or being overwhelmed with travel and grading for my classes. Rarely did my hiatuses involve advancing my ability to juggle full time teaching and full time blogging in the future.
This time, the difference is that I am building my teaching repertoire so that by summer’s end, after by then a year of intensive new course building, I will have vigorously researched and written nine full classes that I will be ready to teach on a moment’s notice in the future without the intensive preparation that presently precludes blogging time.
When I have already developed my lectures in all (or just most) of the classes that I’m teaching at a given time and when my travel and grading requirements are at a minimum (or, in my present situation, delightfully non-existent), I typically have no problem blogging prolifically. And when I already have a full set of lectures for a particular class topic, my research in that area of philosophy typically becomes stronger in the future. And when I have a stronger sense of my footing in different areas of philosophy, my writing can become faster and more ambitious with respect to them.
So, I expect that by just accepting the reality that I have already been living—that this is a period for building a better base for my future teaching and writing, rather than a period for publishing—and putting the blog on hiatus for the summer, I can promise readers and students even better things come the fall.
In the meantime, some readers have been gracious enough to help me afford to write by becoming subscribers. Not nearly enough readers have done this that I can even think of scaling back my teaching in order to prioritize my writing more than my teaching any time soon. (The simple economics of this is that if my students will pay me more than my readers, my students will get far more of my time and energy since I need to live and money is necessary for that.) But I do owe those readers who are paying subscribers. Especially because I promised them monthly exclusive content for subscribing and I’m behind on delivering it. So I’ve decided that during the hiatus, on those occasions where I do have things I am ready and able to write about, I will e-mail them to subscribers and students until I have met the total articles I promised them (and maybe even give them some more if the muse is particularly chatty). Subscribers are also welcome to friend me on Facebook. See your options to subscribe using the drop down menu below and self-subscribe using the yellow button:
To all my readers (subscriber and non-subscribers alike), thank you so much for all the support you’ve given Camels With Hammers these first six years. I am grateful for every click and honored by every time you have shared. I hope you’ll be back in September when I ramp up again in earnest. I have some ideas that I’m very excited by and should be able to start developing during this time away and be ready to start executing soon after I return. It’s hard to put Camels With Hammers away even for a season. But it’s for the sake of an even better future.
In the meantime, if you miss my writing I encourage you to dig through the extensive archive of my posts sorted by numerous subcategories that I have put together under the “Key Posts” tab atop the website. Nearly everything there is evergreen, i.e., as relevant as the day it was written (since I rarely write posts that are only topical). And for new content, Patheos Atheism has developed such an incredible roster of blogs that I implore you to explore and read all over the channel. If I had to narrow down to the 10 that will best substitute for the Camels With Hammers experience, they would be Love Joy Feminism, Barrier Breaker, Godless in Dixie, Ex-Communications, On the Margin of Error, The Secular Outpost, Temple of the Future, Epiphenom, Leaving Fundamentalism, and Friendly Atheist but even more blogs on the site are recommendable. Let me squeeze in here a particular shout out to one of my philosophy class students who now has his own new blog on Patheos, Jeffrey Fallick of The Atheist Rabbi.
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