The Mystery of the Missing Pagan Blogs
Last September, I decided to add a directory to this site so that I–and others–could easily find their favorite pagan blogs as well as spiritual blogs that fit my alternative spirituality readership. After all, even though I’ve been writing spiritual blogs since January 2005, I fully realize that I write “long-tail” and very diverse material that isn’t for a mass audience. I’ve elected over the years to write what I love rather than focusing my talents and time on yet another how-to-make-money-on-the-Internet or how-to-lose-weight blog. So if I’m “long-tail,” I know there are many other bloggers who are, too.
Why I wanted a pagan blog directory
While talking to a friend about blogs and podcasts we listen to daily, I realized that other than positive thinking, writing, and gluten-free blogs, my mainstay is spiritual and pagan blogs, 5 in particular. I had found several other pagan blogs through the Pagan Blog Project, which I’d participated in briefly before a promotion claimed my extra time, so I knew there were great blogs out there just waiting to be discovered. I’d also joined their Facebook page and talked directly with other bloggers–very insightful. I definitely made new friends.
But was there a comprehensive list of blogs out there anywhere? The bloggers at PBP were generally newer, and part of the plan as I understood it was to encourage pagans to blog as part of their learning process. I agree with that wholeheartedly as blogging has been my healing process as well as my teaching mechanism for most of the last decade, beginning with my healing journals and my Third Degree. But none of my top fav blogs were in the PBP. I wanted to capture both the exciting new voices and my old teachers in this directory. So this became my own Pagan Blog Directory Project.
How we put together the directory
“Can’t be that many pagan blogs out there,” I told myself in September. “I’ll just do a few searches and have what I need.”
“You could go to other directories and copy and paste them,” a colleague suggested.
I nixed that right away. I am not going to steal someone else’s hard work! Besides, I wanted to know what was in the blogs myself before listing them on The Spiritual Eclectic. That meant looking at each one and reading at least a bit. I didn’t have to agree with them, but it would be both a vetting and a learning experience for me.
Because September is usually the busiest time of the year in my job, I hired an assistant with mad researching skills and paid her for 5 hours of results. That should cover most of it, right? Give me a list of links and I’ll personally read them and add what seems right for my site. Uh…no.
She actually had a list of around 600 blog candidates in 5 hours. Fantastic, right?
“There’s a problem,” she said. “I performed a random check. Some of the links are bad, and some of the blogs haven’t been updated in six months.”
This was a much bigger job than I’d anticipated. But I was caught up in a big work project, plus getting out regular episodes of The Secret Lives of Librarians. I didn’t have time to do it all.
I asked my research assistant to continue . She was to visit each blog personally and remove from the list the blogs that no longer existed…or the links were bad or she couldn’t find an alternative URL for. That immediately knocked out a few hundred! For the rest of the blogs, she was to look at how active they were. Ones that had been inactive for an extended period of time (say, a year) were removed. At that point, we were below 400 blogs.
When we reached 80 hours spent on this project–paid out of my pocket because I just didn’t want to give it up at this point–we called a halt and put up the pagan blog directory we had. Within a few days, my software that detects broken links and slices a line through the blog name started crossing blogs off the directory. Meanwhile, visitors to the directory notified me of blogs that were missing, which were then added to the directory.
Why the missing and dead blogs?
Why so many missing, dead, and inactive blogs in a project that was meant to yield a comprehensive directory? I guess because pagan and spiritual bloggers are like any other bloggers out there. We start with good intentions or maybe to explore some new side of ourselves. Then…life happens. My original blog was a healing journal focused on starting over after a difficult divorce that occurred while I was training for the pagan clergy and my rediscovery of who I am. At some point, I was done with most of the healing process but instead of scrapping the blog, I let it morph into a reflection of new aspects of my life, whether I was exploring Universal Law, mind-body-spirit connections, my empathic gifts, or the kinds of novels I wanted to write. For many bloggers, once they’ve worked through an issue or explored a particular aspect of self, they have nothing left to write about.
Then there’s the matter of competing interests. For me, it’s my career and my writing. One requires a lot of overtime and heavy responsibility and the other gets the rest of my time. When I was younger, I–like many pagan moms who blog–had little ones under my feet who needed my attention, plus the day job. Most of my writing, whether it’s my blogs or my books, happens while I’m walking or commuting, via a recorder and good transcription software. I’ve done that for 20-plus years, even dictating while pushing a stroller with a sleeping baby in it.
So while it’s sad to me that there are so many interesting new voices out there blogging about their spirituality that have suddenly vanished, it’s really no surprise that they’re not able to keep up with it on a regular basis. Why, just last week, I had best-laid plans to publish at least 3 different blog posts here but when I didn’t get home from work until after 8 PM every night, the only thing I wanted on a regular basis was a good night’s sleep!