Prolific political blogger and former New York City resident Andrew Sullivan announced today that he is stepping away from blogging. His announcement comes nearly exactly ten years after the last time he announced that he was stepping away from blogging.
Today, Sullivan writes, "I’ve decided to stop blogging in the near future."
Why? Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.
The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.
In the wee hours of February 1, 2005, Sullivan wrote: "After much hemming and hawing, I've decided to put the blog as you've known it on hiatus for a few months."
Why? The simple answer is that I want to take a breather, to write a long-overdue book, to read some more, travel to Europe and the Middle East, and work on some longer projects. Much as I would like to do everything, I've been unable to give the blog my full attention and make any progress on a book (and I'm two years behind). It's not so much the time as the mindset. The ability to keep on top of almost everything on a daily and hourly basis just isn't compatible with the time and space to mull over some difficult issues in a leisurely and deliberate manner. Others might be able to do it. But I've tried and failed. Besides, this is my fifth year of daily blogging - I was doing this when Clinton was president and Osama bin Laden was largely unknown - and I've always thought it's a good idea to quit something after around five years or so. Before it becomes a chore. Before you become numb.
Sullivan's next post, a roundup of emails from readers thanking him for his many years of blogging, went live fewer than 48 hours (or four "sessions of passion") later. Later that night, he liveblogged the State of the Union.
In the month of February, 2005, following his announcement, Sullivan went on to publish 52 additional blog posts, totaling nearly 13,000 additional words. In March, 2005, he posted 47 posts, totaling 14,000 words. In April, he announced that he had "given up on [his] decisions to drastically reduce [his] blogging commitments." Instead, he said, he'd stopped blogging in "the early hours," though he was now getting up earlier and blogging "post-coffee in the morning."
As you can see in the accompanying screenshot of Sullivan's Dish archives, in the nine months following Sullivan's 2005 announcement that he was stepping down from blogging, he updated The Dish 1,564 times.
Andrew Sullivan is not retiring from blogging.