Our Hearts Beat For Provo, Or, Your Questions Answered

As some readers know, I recently accepted a job at the Salt Lake Tribune. That means that after two years at the Daily Herald I will soon be working out of the Tribune’s office in The Gateway. I’m excited about this opportunity, as the Tribune is a highly respected newspaper. I’ll also miss my colleagues at the Daily Herald.

But perhaps more relevantly, I’ve been asked many times recently what this development means for the future of this blog. Will it continue? Will it change?

The short answer is that I don’t know. We’ll just have to see what happens and at this point nothing is off the table.

The long answer requires me to explain more about my personal situation than I usually do here.

First, I have loved writing this blog but it has literally taken over my life. About a year ago I decided I wanted it to function as a kind of local urbanism magazine where readers could click over any time and find something new. As a result, I post at least three times a day under the assumption that different posts appeal to different people.

Unfortunately, that has created an unsustainable posting schedule. I spend nearly a full time job’s worth of time writing, wandering around and reading a lot. Some posts are fast and easy to write, but the more images and sources I have to collect the longer it takes. Finding and inserting all the links for a post like this one, for example, can take a long time. And of course there are sources and posts — such as one about how Trader Joe’s is just another chain store — that I work on but ultimately opt not to publish at all.

As a result, I no longer do a lot of other things I love. I don’t play music. I don’t study film. I don’t write creatively (i.e. non-blog/journalism). I basically don’t go to concerts. I don’t cook. Last Christmas Laura gave me In Cold Blood and I still haven’t finished it.

I’m not complaining about this situation — I chose it and love it, actually — but my point is that I’ve felt for awhile now that I was probably going to have to dial things back. I need to have friends and family again. My soliciting guest posts in September was partially an attempt to alleviate this problem but unfortunately I’ve had a lot of interest but only a few (three) actual submissions.

This situation probably could have continued snowballing indefinitely, but two changes recently came up. The first was a potential opportunity to contribute to a project with a professional placemaker. It’s an exciting project that’d be a labor of love (as opposed to an immediate revenue-generating venture), but it’s one that arose out of my researching and writing this blog. So, in the immortal words of George W. Bush, “mission accomplished.”

Then, shortly after that opportunity arose the Tribune job happened. I assume it’s self evident why I’d take a job at a paper like the Tribune, but let me just say that I thought long and hard about not working day in and day out in Provo.

So, with these two new opportunities on the horizon, there will almost certainly be some changes coming to this blog. I do not currently have two hours of free time a day, so a two hour commute will significantly cut down on my ability to blog.

But while the commute may be forcing my hand, it’s really a change that has been coming for a while. That doesn’t mean the blog is going away, it’s just an admission that I’ve let the pursuit of increasing page views get out of hand and something has to give.

So there’s that.

I’ve also been asked if Laura and I plan to move to Salt Lake. And again, the short answer is that I don’t know. I hope that the existence of this blog is evidence enough that I do indeed love Provo. I consider it to have superior potential to Salt Lake.

Still, commuting — something I’ve criticized over and over again on this blog — for two hours a day sounds awful and Laura and I have considered moving. Just admitting that makes me feel like I’m cheating on my wife, or abandoning my child. But in any case Provo is a city that will continue to get cooler whether I’m here or not. I take solace in that fact. And again, we’re in Provo right now and have just considered moving.

It’s also worth pointing out that if we temporarily leave Provo, we will come back better for the experience; I admire people who have lived in and learned from a variety of places. I aspire to be that kind of person myself so that when I come home I’m that much more experienced.

And that’s my point. If we do end up living in Salt Lake (and that’s still “if”) we will be planning to return. We like it. We consider it home and no matter where we are, our hearts beat for Provo.

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13 Comments

Filed under commuting, Provo

13 responses to “Our Hearts Beat For Provo, Or, Your Questions Answered

  1. Bill Graff

    Well cutting back seems inevitable. If you stay active I think you would find others willing to contribute. If you think like an editor you could assign some “beats” to others. I for one would pitch in. Congratulations on your new job and thanks for al the work you have put in.

  2. Philip

    I hope you’ll keep the blog going, even if that means one post a week.
    That commute sounds bad, but if you took the train you might be able to get some work done while commuting. Makes sense to live near your work, though. I try to do that.
    Best wishes!

  3. Finish In Cold Blood before Monday morning. It’s too eerily similar to crime reporting to read while you’re a crime reporter.

  4. I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog and will miss it! But, I have even more respect for you making these hard decisions for you and your family! I think you have made a gigantic difference for Downtown Provo! Thank you!

  5. Nice work on the new gig! I share your thoughts on the love it but it gets a bit daunting at times. You certainly have a keen way of illustrating the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even a scaled back version is better than nothing. I can attest that living in different areas gives you even more fuel to write and explore about topics that you may not have been able to by having just stayed in one place.

  6. I love Provo, where I live in Provo, and where I work in Provo. If it worked out that I could stay here forever I probably would be a happy man, but I realize that if I can’t move up in Provo I have to move out. This seems true for so many people. Congrats on an opportunity that will at least keep you within a train ride of Provo!
    If you must write less I’m sure others would be willing to pick up the slack. When you write 3 posts a day, it makes it easy for the rest of us to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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  9. Joanna

    Congratulations on your new job. If you were to commute via Frontrunner, then you could sit at a table with free wi-fi and write your blog from the train (2 hours per day). Perhaps you’d have more time than you do now, if you just limited your blog time to commuting hours. If you were to drive, well that’s just a waste of precious time.

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