Friday, September 28, 2012

The Future of This Blog

(Warning: This is being written while consuming a 1 pint 6 oz bottle of Divine Reserve #12 all by myself, a severe miscalculation. I thought #12 was just a double IPA, and not a 10% ABV old ale. Yeesh. Sorry for any typos or rambling.)

As you may have noticed, this blog has become a bit derelict over the past couple of years. While I once strove for some interesting writing, I Love Beer has devolved mostly into cut-and-paste press release reprints.

There's a reason for that, and no, I don't think it's laziness on my part. The real culprit is just life.

First off, I got pretty crazy busy as a staff writer for The Austin Chronicle, majoring in political journalism and minoring in beer writing. Then I got laid off from the Chronicle in late August 2011, a victim of the imploding print journalism industry. Which was actually pretty good for the beer writing/blogging: I notice, looking back in my archives, that I suddenly became a very prolific blogger in September and October of last year, and I had some good beer features in the Chron (I continued as their beer writer on a freelance basis).

But then I became employed again, landing a good job as communications director for Leticia Van de Putte, a great (and beer-friendly) state senator from San Antonio, back in December. I love the job, but it keeps me pretty busy. And when I get home from the Capitol, I really don't feel like writing about beer, just drinking it. I'm getting up at 5:30am to get my kids to school and squeeze in a workout (gotta work off that beer gut), and after work I'm often coaching my kids in soccer or doing something else with my family.

And it's only going to get worse. The Texas Legislature meets for regular sessions only on odd-numbered years, for 140 days beginning in mid-January. For a big giant state like Texas with a lot of needs, that's not very much. So the regular sessions are really, really hectic. I know from covering them as a reporter that they are intense, and I realize that as an actual Lege staffer, I will have pretty much zero time for extracurricular activities.

So, there are two things I'm getting at here:

1) Don't expect much in the way of interesting blogging, if any blogging at all.

2) I am no longer the beer writer for the Chronicle. I told them that, unless they were willing to go all the way from winter to summer of 2013 with no beer articles, they would need to find another beer writer. Of course, that's not something that a great publication like the Chron would be willing to do, so I've relinquished those duties.

Now, that doesn't mean I'm giving up the blog. Because really, there's no reason to. This was started in 2006 on a lark, not as a business enterprise, and I'll continue to run it as such. I don't really owe anyone anything, this is just my hobby, so I'll post when I can and I won't when I can't. I still appreciate any freebies thrown my way, but I can't guarantee I'll follow up with reviews or posts. Send me a press release and I may post it, or I may not, depending on how busy my life is.

My passion for craft beer has not diminished, just my ability to write about it.

One thing that will definitely disappear: Posts about craft-beer legislation here in Texas. While I took great pride in becoming a go-to source of reporting on the beer bills in the 2009 and 2011 Lege sessions, obviously my current job as a legislative insider compromises my ability to objectively cover such bills going forward.

So, what is the future of this blog? I don't really know. For now, I guess it will drift along, sometimes good, sometimes lame. In any case, I hope you'll keep me in your feed reader and enjoy it during the good periods. And when it is good, please raise your glass in a toast to it.


Bill Night said...

Lee: Take a well-deserved break. I think an important function of blogs is to capture little details and nuances that can then be looked up later. So definitely don't take the blog down, just leave it out there on the internet for people to refer to in eternity.

In fact, I wouldn't even waste time posting press releases if I were you. Does the world really need 8 blogs dumbly posting the same PR?

Lee said...

Thanks, Bill. This spring, during the Lege session, I suspect even the press releases will no longer happen.