Blog Fatigue

As longtime OTB readers may have noticed, I'm not writing much these days.


As longtime OTB readers may have noticed, I’m not writing much these days. Partly, it’s a function of changing life circumstances. I’m a single parent to two young girls, so I’ve got much less free time than I used to. And, for the first time since I started the blog almost thirteen years ago, I’m commuting to work and tied up with non-flexible job duties during my peak writing time in the early morning. But the truth of the matter is that, even when I have time to write, I’m not all that motivated to do so.

Kevin Drum, who’s been at it a little longer than I have, keeps rolling along. But he’s paid to keep cranking out content and even he admits to some fatigue with the news of the day. I just don’t have anything to say about Donald Trump that I haven’t said already and can’t believe his presidential campaign is still a thing. I still think a not-Trump will emerge to win the nomination but am not all that enthusiastic about any of them.

I’m pleased that Derrick Henry won the Heisman last night to go along with having won all the other major awards for which he was eligible earlier in the week, and even happier that our Crimson Tide won another SEC championship and is once again in the playoffs for the national title. But these days I can express that quickly on Facebook and/or Twitter without spending the time to log in and create a blog post.

There’s nothing particularly animating me in the defense and national security arena at the moment. Despite Paris and San Bernardino, our ISIS policy remains mostly about quenching the domestic urge for the president to be seeming to do something than anything approaching a real strategy. And, given the actual level of threat ISIS poses to the United States, that rises to the level of “What else is new?” rather than outrage.

On the domestic front, aside from the slow collapse of our ability to actually do much of anything in Washington, the most concerning issue is the steady shedding of jobs and bifurcation of the economy. Dave Schuler keeps writing good posts on the topic over at his place despite our shared sense that neither party is likely to do anything about it.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Ron Beasley says:

    I for one can identify with this James. I had my own fairly successful blog for several years but in spite of my co blogger, Jazz Shaw, it reached the point where we could no longer produce enough content to keep the blog viable. Joe Gandelman offered me a venue at The Moderate Voice where I can do one or two posts a week. I try to avoid politics and concentrate on energy and environmental issues but realizing these too are basically political. At this point I’m glad that I’m old and don’t have any grandchildren.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    Drink sugar free Monster Ripper. Works for me….. 😉

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Life, James. It needs to be lived.

  4. Scott says:

    Funny how life just happens. I just want you to know that I appreciate this blog probably more than many others because it is one of the few that approaches subjects calmly and rationally and encourages discussion in a similar manner. For the most part, with a few exceptions, even the comment section follows along the same philosophy. Even when they disagree with each other.

    Bottom line, there is no need to apologize. Cutting back and/or getting away is a good thing. To get out of the routine is to clear the head and gain some understanding and balance. Go for it.

  5. Argon says:

    An option instead of straight political coverage and all the soul-wrecking miasma it entails is to report about actual reality. Facts and figures. *Actual* consequences instead of horse races and opinion polls.

    Alternatively, there’s investigative reporting. Who got a plumb position in an agency and why? What favors were traded? What is actually happening vs. what is being said. There are many federal departments that are doing things that fly under the radar. What are they up to? Yapping about Edward Snowden’s crimes are a red herring. What did he reveal?

  6. James Pearce says:

    I’m pleased that Derrick Henry won the Heisman last night to go along with having won all the other major awards for which he was eligible earlier and the week, and even happier that our Crimson Tide won another SEC championship and is once again in the playoffs for the national title.

    I’ll grant your Crimson Tide their playoff berth, but Christian McCaffrey should have won the Heisman.

    Of course, I say that because the kid is from Colorado and I’m a big fan of his dad. Of course, he should have won the Heisman.

    Blog when you can. We’ll be here.

  7. CSK says:

    Every writer runs out of ideas after a while. It’s hard to produce a quality column three or four times a week–especially if you have family and a full-time job.

    Lie fallow for a while, and comment when the spirit moves you. The ideas will return. They always do.

  8. James Joyner says:

    @James Pearce: He had a phenomenal year stats-wise and seems like a great kid. The fact that Stanford didn’t make the playoff hurt him. But Henry won the polling in every part of the country except the West Coast.

  9. stonetools says:

    Maybe James, you can do a few posts on non politics issues if you are running out of topics? Doug just did one on music,Steve does the occasional photo post. They’re a nice change of pace. Hey, talk some football. I’m sure you will get some opinions if you do that.
    As for time, a single parent is doing God’s work. I don’t see how you find time to shower regularly, much less blog. We are grateful for whatever posts you can make.

  10. James Pearce says:

    @James Joyner:

    The fact that Stanford didn’t make the playoff hurt him.

    Admittedly, this probably hurt him more than “being Ed McCaffrey’s son” would have helped him. Good thing I’m not in charge of the voting!

    Christian’s brother Dylan is quite talented too. Both brothers, I think, will end up football stars, just like Dad.

    Which would make Ed McCaffrey a latter-day Archie Manning.

  11. Joe says:

    As a single parent 2/3rds of whose kids are now in college, I understand the demands on your time and wish the best of times with your kids. Blogging can wait.

  12. Rodney Dill says:

    In later years, you’ll never regret the time you spent with your daughters as opposed to blogging.

  13. Dave Schuler says:

    Not to worry, James. For the last decade and more I’ve posted four or five times a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You don’t do that because you want to but because you have to. Not having that need is a blessing.

    You have other outlets for your energies and for expressing your opinion. That’s a good thing.

  14. grumpy realist says:

    Take a sabbatical. We realize that blogging really should be a labor of love. And your girls are more important.

  15. Slugger says:

    Thanks for the stuff you have done. Sometimes it’s important to be on the ramparts; sometimes some R’n’R is in order, and sometimes you have to pass the torch entirely.

  16. Gustopher says:

    I appreciate your posts when you write them, but they shouldn’t be miserable for you to write, or interfere with your life in ways you don’t want.

    Family obligations, new job, and the current state of the Republicans… That’s a triple whammy right there.

    You’ve been slacking for a while in terms of quantity, but the quality has still been there. Sometimes that’s the best you can do, so go forth and do your best.

  17. al-Ameda says:

    I appreciate your contributions here James, and I wish you well in all your endeavors.

    Others ahead of me have said well – balance in life is good.

    Also, green tea can’t hurt.

  18. CSK says:


    But nothing–absolutely nothing–beats an icy, dry vodka martini.

  19. dazedandconfused says:

    Some say quantity has it’s own quality. Sounds like bullcrap to me…and bullcrap be in fact my Exhibit A. 😉

    The news has become unwatchable due to horse-race ratings chasing which borders on obsession. Current events seem to follow a predictable arc these days. We are all dug into our positions and unlikely to move until there is a new President. Congress…or some combination thereof. Your muse is on leave? As good a time as any.

  20. DrDaveT says:

    OK, I’m naive. I thought part of the point of a blog was that you posted when you felt like it, and didn’t when you didn’t. If there’s a schedule, it’s not a blog — it’s a newspaper.

    Stop and smell the roses already. And thanks for making this forum happen.

  21. de stijl says:

    I understand and appreciate your decision. Pushing inches is a dog’s life.

    That it is at the same time that your team is spinning out of control is entirely coincidental.

  22. Roberta says:

    I can really understand getting burned out when the same issues arise and do not get solved or even approached in a thoughtful way. However, I live in Texas, so I find it very refreshing to read rational, thoughtful commentary on the news. Few places offer that opportunity in these fraught days. Get a second wind (or a third, fourth, etc.) and come back strong!