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So, what's new?

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Yes, I've been away. No, I wasn't lost in the Amazon.

The Swiss Derby. Cool. Didn't know there was a Swiss Derby. This has nothing to do with my post. Kind of.
The Swiss Derby. Cool. Didn't know there was a Swiss Derby. This has nothing to do with my post. Kind of.
Philipp Schmidli

So, how you been?

As is clearly evidenced by the lack of activity on my part these last three weeks, I took some time away from the site following the conclusion of the Triple Crown. I typically "unplug" a couple of times a year to re-charge the handicapping batteries and to enjoy some non-horse racing topics, but typically the time off doesn't involve completely disconnecting from the site. I went a different route this year simply because my brain was telling me that my writing needed to take a few steps back.

I started this site about four and a half years ago (after blogging on my own for several years prior) and it's been a wonderful experience and the site has grown at a good rate each and every year. This year's Triple Crown season (May and June) was the best two month period in terms of total visits and page views we've ever experienced. In fact, the last two months saw more people visit the site than almost all of last year.

Dramatically increased visits and page views are a humbling thought for me because this is, quite simply, a labor of love for myself, and my excellent staff members of JP, Tribe and Siva. All of us have regular jobs that pay the bills, and we have full-time lives outside of the this site, we write because we love the sport and like to occasionally contribute our thoughts and feelings on the going's on in the industry. It's fun, or at least that's the intention.

There is a delicate balance when writing content for a blog or site when the resulting product is a reflection of your passion for the subject matter. At times, the writing can become too boilerplate or standard, which is something I never want but readily acknowledge is a trap I've fallen into too many times in the past. Part of that are changes in my non-site life which afford me less time to write the kinds of posts I really want to write, thereby falling back on content I'm not as happy with on a personal level. I wish I could spend 60 hours a week writing about horse racing but, like the rest of us, paying the bills comes first.

I backed away these last three weeks to simply re-charge but also to re-focus. I'm not sure where my focus will ultimately end up but I do know that it will be a different emphasis than I've probably produced in the past. I'm not sure what that "different" is going to completely look like yet. For the most part, I'm going to write more about topics that simply peak my interest. I suppose this is more about re-discovering my own voice in my writing which, again, I think is something that has at times slipped away from me.

I read a piece once where the author claimed there was no such thing as writer's block and, I suppose, that's somewhat true: you can always find something to write about if you just sit and pound out thoughts on your laptop without regards to whether you actually care about what you're producing. If you like to write, there is always some topic to write about. But I think that classification misses the point on what writer's block is really about, and that's a writer unhappy with the content.

It's possible to produce quality content on a consistent basis with the writer ultimately unhappy with his or her final creation. And think that's more a true reflection of what writer's block is than simply the lack of words or pages produced on a laptop; that's really what it comes down to for me: content that I'm happy with and that reflects what I really want to write about, even if it doesn't "fit" into a standardized formula that generates the best Google rank.

Blogs are an interesting creature: there is the completely open palate in which to create your work but as they grow they require more and more attention. I read somewhere in the last week that a blog is a sort of "feeding the beast" phenomenon. And it's really true.

Anyway, I've ranbled on long enough considering there's racing to watch today, so I suppose my final thoughts are this:

  • Thank you to every one that's visited and read this site since its inception: I'm always truly grateful and humbled that anyone takes the time to read and/or comment on this labor of love.
  • I didn't drop of the face of the earth these last three weeks, I simply decided to unplug from writing for a time. I'm back.
  • I don't know what my posts are really going to look like in the future - overall things might not look tremendously different from the reader's point of view (at least initially), with some minor exceptions. Ultimately, things will probably be a little less structured and a little more random until I kind of find my center. Who knows; bear with me, I making this up as I go.
  • Hey, look! Racing at Saratoga and Del Mar in just a few weeks! Cool!

Thanks again for reading. Go cash some winners.

Matt