Saturday, 26 September 2015

So long...

"Why have you not been blogging?" people have asked me a lot over the past few months. "Is something wrong? Have you stopped writing?". To be honest, I was rather surprised at how many people even noticed this blog has lain fallow since February, let alone the number that asked these questions. Maybe that was a little na├»ve of me.

Yet, each time I was asked these questions I felt sort of awkward - a little put on the spot - as they waited for my answer. Like I should have an answer, but I hadn't quite fully formed it. I had been thinking about wrapping up the Accidental Londoner for several months by the time I wrote the post that has sat on the homepage since February. I didn't know, when I wrote it, that it would be the last 'real' post. Well, apart from this one, of course. Because, that is probably what this post is - the last one.

In response to the questions about my blogging silence, I usually gave one of the answers below:
  • Several tough, heart-breaking things have happened to me this year, and working through them has naturally taken priority over keeping this blog updated. A woman has only so many words she can write per day, and when you're dealing with the more brutal aspects of life the words you're producing aren't so suitable for a light-hearted blog about life in London.
  • I've also been writing more for other sites and publications recently, leaving me less time to blog for myself and everyone who reads the Accidental Londoner. In fact, the lovely folks at Time Out London have asked me to blog for them now, so you can find me writing more regularly over there these days.
  • I got a new job last year that involves me studying and writing about London all day, everyday, which has slightly curbed my enthusiasm for coming home and spending my weekends and evenings doing the same for the blog.
  • This September, I will have lived in London for eight years, and this city feels like home now. Little about my life feels 'accidental' these days. Quite simply, I am in a very different place now to the one I was when I launched The Accidental Londoner.
If the person who asked about my lack of posts was also immersed in the blogging world, I would offer an additional range of concerns about how this community of ours has changed over the years since I became a part of it. And how it was now somewhere I felt my voice no longer belonged as comfortably. I would cite my sadness at the evolution of this craft from one of intelligent story-telling and the careful assembly of unique words, thoughts and ideas, to the proliferation of Pinterest-worthy, link-bait posts stuffed with identical photographs and a couple of lazily written captions. I would share my frustrations at being torn between writing about things by which I was genuinely inspired, and writing the posts which PRs and sponsors wanted; particularly last summer when I spent a few months freelancing and needed to seize every paid writing gig I could get.

In truth, each of the reasons above has influenced my decision to allow the Accidental Londoner to lie silent for the last few months. And so, the time has come to redefine this little corner of the internet. It will no longer be a blog, but instead the archive of one person's experience of one city; of her travels beyond it, her exploration and impressions, and the very best places she has eaten, learned, visited, and made friends. It will be a record of how an out-of-towner learned to survive in this frustrating, fascinating, concrete-filled, grey, surprising city.
So I'll just leave it here, for anyone who might find it interesting, useful or comforting. And while I'm still bouncing around this city, do come and say 'hi' or 'bye' or anything else you like. You can find me here. I will continue to 'be' my Accidental alter ego on Twitter and Instagram. And, if I launch any new blogging ventures, you will all be the first to know.
And so, to everyone reading this post - yes, you, right there on the bus/avoiding dealing with your work inbox - and to the staggering thousands who have read my earlier posts, thank you. Without you all, without your time taken to read my words, to reply, to email me your thoughts, to inspire me to write on, this blog would just have been a lonely voice screaming into the void. Thank you for keeping me company all these years, friends. Thank you for helping me do this.
So long...until we meet again.
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