Even the most influential bloggers must abandon their posts behind those computer screens at some point.
Andrew Sullivan, a renowned political writer and one of the first to truly embrace blogging, announced Wednesday that he will be retiring his popular blog The Dish sometime in the near future. While this news came as a shock to much of his loyal following -- he has shared his thoughts with his readers almost daily for 15 years -- he made clear his reasons for the change in his heartfelt announcement, which was (of course) given via his final blog post on the site.
"There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen," wrote Sullivan. "I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I'm a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger."
While he may seem like a supernatural force in the blog world, Sullivan remains human like the rest of us and just as susceptible -- and perhaps more so, given his output -- to the increasingly common phenomenon of digital burnout. He wrote that his doctors attributed his recent health problems to the "years of daily, hourly, always-on-deadline stress" from blogging, and his constant ties to the computer strained his friendships, family relationships and marriage. Not to mention, he had little time for his interests beyond the blogosphere.
"I want to read again, slowly, carefully," he wrote. "I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book."
The response to Sullivan's announcement, grounded in concern for his personal health, wellness and happiness, not only reveals just how much his voice will be missed, but also how much his comments on digital burnout touched a nerve.
A million thanks to @sullydish for 15 years of superb cultural stewardship and unparalleled integrity—may the next chapter be as rewarding.
— Maria Popova (@brainpicker) January 28, 2015
Lots of farewells to blogging — maybe most — mention reuniting with the body, taking better care of it, restoring physicality. @sullydish
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) January 28, 2015
— Adam Sternbergh (@sternbergh) January 28, 2015
Sad to see maybe the last of the great blogs — & also one of the first — go, but there's a time to every purpose etc http://t.co/erPqCAopTW
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) January 28, 2015
Sullivan isn't the only prominent blogger to unplug from his job in search of a little digital detox. Politics blogger David Roberts decided to leave Grist.com for a full year after his constant connection with the online world threatened his real existence outside of it. Taking time away allowed him to not only restore his personal health but strike a necessary balance between reality and its virtual counterpart, a task that proves increasingly difficult to accomplish today.
He may be taking a hiatus from his online post, but Andrew Sullivan will undoubtedly remain a writer. In his sign-off, he told readers that once he tends to his health and reestablishes balance in his life, they will see his byline again... maybe even in print.