Voice without Topic

It has been several months now since I have written anything. Originally, the reason was because I was moving to my new house, and I wanted to take the time I was spending writing to packing and moving with my wife. However, after the couple of weeks we spent packing and moving it became apparent that my interest in writing for Tablet Habit was no longer there. I stopped reading blog posts, articles, and news about Apple and the iPad. Why I lost interest isn’t directly apparent but if I had to guess I would say it is equal parts burnout and no longer wanting to be a part of the consumerist aspects of tech and Apple.

A quick note about the consumerism that tech and Apple can cause among us that write about them. I am not saying everyone that talks about the newest device from Apple or Samsung is automatically bad or consumerist. There are, however, a good chunk of those that will create a quick and meaningless article or a video about a new device and why you should buy it simply because it generate clicks and views. People pray on FOMO and I can’t think of a more predatory industry than tech and Apple media. On the other side of that coin are people like Chris Lawley, Matt Birchler, and others I have followed for years that constantly think about their audience before putting out articles and videos. I was someone that wanted to bring consistent content that had meaning and substance, but I also felt myself sliding into worrying about clicks and growth instead of the quality of my content. It was for that reason, among others, that I didn’t immediately get back into writing after the move. Now, I am a voice without a topic. A boat drifting in the sea without a sail.

For the last few months I have been thinking about this quote from Merlin Mann from a talk he did with John Gruber back at SXSW in 2009.

Topic times voice. Or, if you’re a little bit more of a maverick, obsession time voice. So what does that mean? I think all of the best non-fiction that has ever been made comes from the result of someone who can’t stop thinking about a certain topic in some cases. And second, they get really good at figuring out what they had to say about it. If you have obsession without voice you basically have a keyword search. […] On the other hand if you have voice without obsession you have people complaining about the Thai food they just had on twitter.

Part of me wishes I still had the interest and passion for sharing my thoughts and feelings on Apple and iPad, but it isn’t there. On the other hand, it can be freeing to not have a niche that people define you by. If you asked me today how I feel about no longer writing about the iPad and Apple anymore it is a coin flip whether or not I am pleased or regretful of my decision. I miss writing about something I am passionate about, I miss sharing a viewpoint and being a voice in the conversation. That said, I also know that the pressure I put myself on being a bigger voice in the Apple and iPad world eventually became too much for me to bare it.

I don’t know what is next for me creatively. I have been looking at fiction writing and screenplays as a hobby but I also miss sharing articles, blog posts, etc. on a regular basis and being a part of the conversation. The issue lies in not having a conversation I want to be a part of anymore. I don’t have any shared interested or passions at the moment. There isn’t anything like the passion I used to have for Apple, iOS, and the iPad. There are things I like, such as screenwriting and film that have been loves of mine for years but they aren’t something I can write consistently about and still enjoy.

One day I hope to have the same spark I did when I created Tablet Habit so many years ago, but until then I will continue to drift in the open sea without a sail in hopes to find my next adventure.

I guess I am writing this in hopes that someone will share with me how I can still be part of the conversation even though I don’t have a dedicated topic or idea. Or perhaps to find a new topic or idea to talk about. If anyone reading this has any insight or advice I am all ears.

Also, I think that one way I can still be a part of the conversation and be helpful to others is to offer editing and critiques to anyone that is looking for it. While I don’t necessarily have much to say about the next version of iOS or the latest MacBook Air, I am sure others do and they might want someone to read it before they hit publish.

If you have an article, blog post, screenplay, or something that you want a second pair of eyes on let me know either on Twitter or email me at jeff[at]tablethabit[dot]com. My DM and email are always open.

As for those who are still passionate and interested in the things they are writing about, I wish you the best going forward and hope that light never dies.

Jeff Perry @JeffPerry