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Why I have blogged and why this is my last post December 30, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in landmark-post.

I think this had to happen one day. At least once every while for the past few months I have asked myself why I have been blogging. And what would be of the several hours every week if there were no blogs to read or post to. Finally, about a week back I decided to find out.

I am going off on a blog-sabbatical (is there such a thing ?)– one that will last at least a year. I will be a different person a year from now (nothing portentous, we all will πŸ™‚ ) and not unlikely different enough to not return to blogging in its current form. In what will therefore be my last post for another year to come and maybe last ever on Epistles, I will briefly (we’ll see how brief it will end up) outline why.

Epistles was my fourth attempt at blogging. Or was it the fifth. I started this blog as somewhat of a countervailing/compensatory force against other developments in my life. This may have been what kept it going in its initial days when there were hardly any readers. Over the next months as activity picked up (which meant waking up on an occasional morning to see more comments on the blog than emails in my inbox and an average of 3200 page views per month), I spent more and more time posting material and generally thinking about what the blog should look like.

And then when I say blogging, I am also including the time devoted to regularly following the handful of blogs which I quite frequently also linked to. Following these blogs also meant I had, through their writing, access to some of the most brilliant, articulate and opinionated people in the blogosphere (and at large) – Tyler Cowen, Greg Mankiw, Megan Mccardle, Gary Becker, Richard Posner, Daniel Denette, Richard Dawkins, Bryan Kaplan, Arnold Kling and Robin Hanson to name only a few. And even if it would be hard to recall specific instances of inspiring prose (because there were many), it would be equally hard to deny that contemplating their writings motivated fundamental changes in my outlook on the world. Several years down the road if I have to pick two characteristic themes of my 2006-2007, my experience as a blogger would rank in there.

Of course, all this begs the question that if it was all this great then why stop ?

Well, all this also means that for over 22 months now, I have spent most of my leisure reading. And did so with little sense of direction. Much chaos and much clutter. I had a good idea of what subjects interested me and there were many and diverse. Given a choice between walking far and digging deep, I always chose the former. My sources were relatively few – a handful of blogs and news sites – but many of them were themselves producing heterogeneous content and in copious amounts. And so, month and month I followed commentary from famous blogs and bloggers and while I was at it, produced some of my own.

This kind of reading and this kind of blogging had become a way of life. I liked this model – it came naturally to me and went well with my intellectual restlessness and a general lack of time to pick up details with some exceptions. And I want to try and change this. It might appear to be (and it is) change for change’s sake but then its also true that there is only that much intellectual enrichment to be sought from reading yet another article on rise of this phenomena or that, influence of this person or that, or ponder over possibility of this event or that. This change is mostly about experiencing something different and new. And its also about a feeling that although it could have always been better, I am happy with this experience and its time to move on.

I don’t exactly know to what end how all the time spent blogging will be put to, but the bigger picture is that I am now looking at activities that are more focused in nature – learning some music, catching up on some photography and maybe, just maybe trying my hand at reading some fiction.

I thank my readers who gave me a chance to put down my many thoughts, and for having put up with my (pride and) prejudices :). Through Epistles, I also met and came to know many individuals who I would otherwise have never known (and have not yet met) and then those that I may still not know. I am touched that many of you have been a part of this blog even in the absence of that vital connection that knowing the blogger personally brings.

I thank you all and lets stay in touch.




1. Dennis G. Jerz - December 31, 2007

I only just started visiting your blog… such is life.

It was Doris Lessing that made you do this, right?

Seriously, enjoy your break.

2. Sharath Rao - December 31, 2007

@Dennis : Such irony. True.

Its interesting you mentioned that. And that helped me immediately place you as the blogger to whose post I had linked to when I quoted Ms. Lessing. ( i got to your blog through yahoo )

I think what Dorris said makes sense to some extent – although her motivation might have been different. (after all she is not speaking as a blogger) But in the end people choose to do what they are comfortable with and what comes naturally to them. Its likely though that at some point you may want to deliberately get out of your comfort zone and try something, which is really what I am trying here.

(Ofcourse while what she said did not precipitate this, I wonder if her words might come in handy sometime in helping make the long story short πŸ˜‰ )

3. Jhansi - December 31, 2007

hello sharath, i have been reading your blog for a couple of months now and I really like reading most of the things you post…there have been days when I spent 3 to 4 hours reading this blog….i have had a nice time…thank you for the experience and good luck.

PS: please let us know where we can find you, if not on Epistles, after the year’s up.

4. ravi - December 31, 2007

gosh, thats the next sad things after benazir’s assasination! hoping there would be a involuntary break from ur year long “sabbatical”!

5. Sharath Rao - December 31, 2007

Thanks Jhansi for your kind words. I will certainly stay in touch.

and ravi, now that you have one less blog to read, hopefully that means more frequent updates to your own πŸ™‚

6. Sudhir Pai - January 1, 2008

Oh gosh!
Just when I’d started reading your blog like a book, you’ve decided to take this sabbatical. It’s like reading the end of a thriller even before you’ve read half the book.

But then I couldn’t agree more with you. There’s much to do in life so you cant let one facet of your life take control of it all.

” The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

so Sharath, many landscapes await to be clicked, many books to be read and many songs to be sung, may the new year see you fullfil all these and many more…

Happy New Year! and do stay in touch…

PS: Thanks for awakening the Cricket Critic in me [;)]

7. Sharath Rao - January 1, 2008

πŸ™‚ New Year greetings to you too Sudhir ….what are you upto these days ? lets catch up on email – raosharathonline period yahoo period com

8. Randomizer - January 1, 2008

😦 Am pretty shocked… this is tragic news for a Jan 1st, man- or any other day for that matter!

9. Sharath Rao - January 2, 2008

@randomizer :

Its weird actually that I only blogged the other day about it and you mentioned how most pppl who were around when you started are not around anymore with few exceptions. So there, I join that list too.

For now, lets see how the sabbatical goes πŸ™‚

10. Deepak Krishnan - January 2, 2008

well, well, well, you just can’t tell………

this is so Rahul Dravidesque… he resigned as a captain when he shouldn’t have and you stopped blogging when you shouldn’t be.

I know, i have fought these “generalist (walking far) and specialist (digging deep)” battles a lot. But it should not be that bad so as to stop blogging…

Don’t go my way please.. πŸ˜€

11. Sharath Rao - January 2, 2008

i remember pointing you to mankiw’s article about this trade-off …I do think its kinda losing battle – afterall its easier to be a generalist ( or is it ? ) ….

its about throwing that so far indispensable thing outta your life and trying to do something else. Remember Kipling’s

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;

….okay..okay…way too senti..

…lets see where this goes.

12. Randomizer - January 2, 2008

This is kind of like when a priest you go to for spiritual inspiration suddenly says one day ‘ok thats it, i’m atheist’ . πŸ™‚ You would definitely tend to question your own faith after that !

Good luck, Sharath – if your day/free time started revolving around your blog, instead of your blog revolving around your day, I’d say this is a good time to call it quits. The Epistles will be missed – and I hope to see you back on the blogosphere again some time soon !

Happy new year! I’m sure the year will enable you to achieve all that you seek – now that you’re sacrificing something so big, you are bound to succeed πŸ™‚ Later, man

13. Sharath Rao - January 2, 2008

πŸ™‚ …New Year Greetings to you too – howz this year gonna be different for you ?

14. The Blogroll blues … « Realm Of Randomness - January 3, 2008

[…] blog, the Epistles, is going on a year-long sabbatical sadly, and that is definitely a big blow on this side of the blogosphere. Blogging is as much a […]

15. Joy - January 5, 2008

Happy New Year to you!

And when these blogs one reads come to die, the social networking sites rescue the ‘connection.’ Or so to speak!

All the best with everything!


16. mazhalai - January 11, 2008

Best wishes to all you endeavours and (belated) happy new year. Will miss your blogging.

17. rambhai - January 17, 2008

why are you quiting mate~~~ne ways its your decision~~~so hope to see you back from your sabbatical as soon as possible~~~

18. mukesh - May 13, 2008

Hi, I wanted to refer to your blog in my blog which I am writing about β€œHow blogging, Online visibility is going to help Outsourcing and create more business.” I understand that the question would be why your Blog as it is totally disparate and yes that is the reason I wanted to highlight that there are enough individuals who have a passion of sharing online and Blogs can be channelized for professional growth and not just personal networking or as a personal channel. I would post my blog under an interesting competition going on with a chance to win $1000 (http://www.limeexchange.com/contest/details/2). Is it going to be alright with you?

19. Subjects I’ve been wanting to address « Still Blinking - July 3, 2008

[…] Sharath would have had an edge on these topics and I would have just had to comment to keep pace, bu… […]

20. A. N. Nanda - August 23, 2008


Pretty nostalgic I say. Blogging cannot be permanent unless, of course, it is developed and managed as a commercial venture. But then again, for an amateur blogger whatever time spent in blogosphere is worth-spent.



21. Kishor - December 22, 2008

so you have decied to learn new skills! Thats good news but it is sad that you will not be blogging anymore. Anyway all the best in whatever you do…


22. Raghuraj - January 8, 2009

Been more than a year!

23. …blogging again « Epistles - April 12, 2009

[…] days later, I am returning to the ring. It will take some getting used to though, but for now the sabbatical is […]

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