The Eloquent Atheist has been back up and running, for about five months. During that time, we have published 214 new items, more than half of all the columns published in our entire history. During that short time, we have had many thousands of readers stop by and read our offerings hundreds of thousands of times. Not a bad record for just five months.
However, to keep this place going takes about 800 hours a year of my time. And now, as has often been the case in our five-year history, we are out of material to publish. That is probably understandable. We are a niche site, despite the growing number of unbelievers in the world. Nor can we afford to pay writers; I am doing this for free, so I understand that problem.
We have no trouble on the reader side. We publish, and the readers find their way to us. Still, all we can offer is exposure, and many writers (though not all) are looking primarily for yet another writing credit on a new site in order to build their resumes. One can hardly blame writers for that. The more credits you have, the more likely you are to be published again.
And, wow, have we had some writers! Poetry, fiction, essays, personal journeys, you name it, we have had it on TEA. I cannot thank those writers enough for their hard work and great minds. This site was built for both authors and readers, and both have been well served.
I encourage writers to continue to submit work to us, because we will continue to publish their work here. But it will not be on a schedule, since we can’t seem to get enough writing submitted to maintain a schedule. Certainly, it will not be every day. We will still read all submissions, and we will still print all of the good ones. But we can only print what we receive and we are not receiving much. Nor will we be spending time working with authors to improve marginal submissions. I’ll miss that.
In order to lower my time commitment, we will be removing the mailing list option; that mainly served just to make people complain that we were sending them too much email. Even a lot of the authors that relied on us receiving and reading their submissions did not want to be bothered by emails that we sent regarding new works that were published. I never have liked one-way streets.
Speaking of one-way streets, comments will also be disabled. Most of our comments over the years have been from True Believers that berated us for who we were and what we said. I will not miss having to deal with the same illogic (“Because god said so.”) in every complaint. And it would seem that few of our readers will miss the comment function, either.
I have a couple of columns to publish myself, primarily a review of the new book by David Niose. I believe there may be one more good submission currently in hand. As noted above, we will continue to publish whatever good things appear in our mailbox. I still believe that this site addresses an important need. However, it is not enough for me to believe; writers have to believe, too.
As for me, I will take my 800 annual charity hours and try to do something else worth while over the next year. Perhaps I can light a larger fire than I have with the Eloquent Atheist. This is a hard habit to break. It has been a work, for me, filled with passion. The same is true of the best of our writers. I just wish there were more of them.