I must admit that lately – well, within the last year or so – I’ve considered if maybe it was time for me to step down from Daily Duranie. I felt like perhaps I had run my course, and needed to move on. Maybe I’ve said everything that needed said.
Often, when I sit down to write, the feeling as though I’m just regurgitating topics I’ve already processed weighs heavily on my shoulders. Do I really need to go over “that” again? is a constant thought running in the background. There are many times I don’t feel like I can even begin writing. For example, maybe I don’t agree with something or other that has been said about some aspect of the band on Twitter. Yet I see that the majority of responses to said statement were positive. I know that to post otherwise is essentially sticking my neck out, waiting for the guillotine to come crashing down. While I’ve become a master of writing and not ever looking back, I still think about how it’s going to feel to be the one person coming out and disagreeing. That anxiety is huge. I hate that uncomfortable feeling of being the odd man out. These days, I feel it more than ever. Have I changed? Am I really so different from every single fan out there? Maybe so, and I don’t know why. It is enough to cause writers block. Often.
Then there’s the sheer quiet. We don’t get near the engagement online that we once did. We are able to see our traffic to the site, it has just become a source of anxiety for me, so I don’t look. I write each day, publish the post, and don’t look back. There are some things though, that I can’t ignore.
For example, I can’t miss seeing how many people participate when we’ve tried to host video parties. At one time, we’d have quite the crowd. These days, we’re lucky to see a handful of replies. During the last video party here on Twitter, I was the one proud participant. I also see how many people come to our in-person meet-ups. Let me say, every time Amanda and I plan one and the time comes for us to go downstairs and arrive, I am 100% convinced we’ll be the only two there. That has never happened, but those nerves haven’t gotten easier to manage over the years, either, which makes planning get togethers of any size especially terrifying.
The last time we hosted a get together in Vegas, I vowed it would be my last. There was so much blow back because we dared to host a group of people for drinks before the show (something we’ve always done, it wasn’t a new idea) on the same day that another party was taking place, I decided I would never host another. I still haven’t forgotten, obviously. The episode cut and burned deep enough into me to leave scars. Of course, with this pandemic, we should count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to go to a show again, much less host a meet-up, right?
Amanda nudges me regularly to point out that we’re in between albums, and I’m sure that is part of the quiet I feel (as is the pandemic itself). I also remind myself that we’ve been doing this Daily Duranie gig for nearly ten years. There’s a genuine ebb and flow. People read voraciously for a while, and then grow tired. I have a saying that sounds incredibly callous, but it’s proven true over and over again “They like you until they hate you, and then they try to destroy you.” The fact is, a lot of people love us until we write something that pisses them off, which is bound to happen eventually. Then, they want to report us to Katy. (Please, feel free to let her know. In fact, tell her I sent you. She’d love that. LOL)
I’ve also wondered if maybe, just maybe, it was time to admit that there was no longer a need. I hadn’t said too much to Amanda, but I’d been thinking it. We’ve had a good run. Ten years is a long time. We’ve done well. My thought was, September is coming, and that will mark one full decade of writing Daily Duranie. That became my goal. Make it to September, and see how I felt then.
2020 arrived, along with a family crisis. Then Covid-19 said, “Hold my beer”. And…if that weren’t enough for me, Walt had a stroke. Walt…of all the people on the planet. That’s still a daily struggle, albeit minor on the outside, sort of major on the inside in ways I can’t really explain to anyone. If I thought blogging before was rough, well, surprise! It’s so much more difficult now for me. Does the world really need to read another “Top Ten” list? Does anybody really care why I think “Is There Something I Should Know” is the best song on the planet? (What’s more, why on earth did I think anyone cared about those things back when I started writing??) While I might have more time to write these days, I have less to say, at least right now, and it takes me ten times as long to post!
That’s why I began scouring through old blog posts last week and came upon the Duranie challenge that I’ve been posting on Facebook and Twitter. It took me quite a while to schedule all of the posts (I didn’t want to miss a day and this way, I’m sure that won’t happen), and as I did it, I wondered if the effort was even worth my time. Would anyone really bother participating? I figured we’d get a handful of responses at best.
I was wrong.
Apparently, we all need something other than real life to think about, if even for a second or two during our day. The response has been incredible, and the answers have been nothing short of varied and colorful. They make me smile! I take time to go through and read responses each day (sometimes I forget to post my own answers, but I read the tweets and replies!), and just doing that little bit has really helped me see that yes, people still love this band and yes, many of you still respond to Daily Duranie.
This little experiment has opened my eyes a bit to the idea that perhaps we need to come up with more of these short reply topics in the future. I’ll be going back through our archives in the coming days and hopefully it’ll stir my creative thinking to come up with other ways to engage the community. While nothing seems to solve my writers block, I feel a little more hope and encouragement.