Every six or eight years after you become a partner at my brother Mike’s company, you are entitled to take a six-month, fully-paid sabbatical. It’s partially a reward for the revenue that the partners generate, and also a recognition that they will occasionally benefit from an opportunity to recharge their batteries given their grueling work and travel schedules.
Mike became eligible this year, and accordingly his family spent the summer in Mallorca, Spain, allegedly to give his increasingly bilingual children a chance to improve their language skills. Judging from the pictures I saw, a secondary purpose was for the five of them to gorge themselves on tapas and seafood and for the two adults to hydrate themselves with lots of wine.
Over the past two weeks I’ve taken a mini-sabbatical from blogging and have generally written less about fishing than at any time in the past decade. I’ve only engaged in projects with strict deadlines. That decision is attributable to a combination of personal and professional factors that aren’t worth discussing here. I’m sure that it took my brother a certain amount of time to downshift from his normal schedule, and without a compulsion to write every night recently I’ve felt like I was getting away with something. I don’t recall a period since this blog’s inception when I haven’t produced at least two columns a week, and sometimes as many as five.
When I started “Pete Weighs In” a decade ago, I was one of the earliest bass writers to incorporate op-eds, personality pieces, and “state of the sport” thinking into my daily diet of work. I wasn’t necessarily the first, but if my arm is long enough to pat myself on the back, I can honestly state that I contributed to mainstreaming that sort of content here, at Bassmaster.com, and elsewhere.
While my recent temporary step back hasn’t necessarily changed my strong desire to write or my love of the issues surrounding our sport, it has forced me to think about the content of this blog. I could keep the course in terms of format and content for the next 10 or 20 or 50 years (if I’m not run over by a truck first), and I’d probably produce some solid work and remain intellectually stimulated.
On the other hand, I’ve been led to consider whether there’s an opportunity to shift the paradigm, and to address issues that aren’t on the front burner now, just as I did in 2008. If there’s a way to make my blogging more relevant, and more cutting-edge, I need to do that. I haven’t reached any sort of conclusions, but I’m glad that I’m having that conversation with myself.