Friday, February 7, 2014

This Is Post #5000 On This Here Blog, In Which I Get Real And Decide Nothing

The Road Goes Ever On
I'm going to throw a big load of self-indulgence at you now, and no, not sports. If you're reading this far, you know what you're getting.

I started this blog in, gulp, January of 2007. It was a bad time for me personally. I had taken a job with a NYC start up that was going badly, but didn't feel right at looking for a new gig, since I was reporting to a close personal friend that stuck her neck out for me, and had only been there for nine months. Our management was just broken, and our people were worse, and they did the very worst thing you can do for a marketing and advertising person: they didn't give me enough to do. You can pay me to do a great many things; I'm a husband and father and I pay the bills. But you can't pay me to do nothing, because I go out of my mind. Luckily, that company killed my entire department, including my manager, and I found other gigs. It's always a blessing when a bad job ends, even if it leaves you in the lurch in the short term.

So while sitting on my hands at work, I started blogging, mostly because it was something to do. And there seemed to be a space for my voice, and an audience as well. I got involved in some collectives (Epic Carnival, Bleacher Report, Yardbarker), made some money (not a ton, but enough to show up on my taxes and pay for some stuff), endured the usual Internet negativity, and pretty much came to work a lot. The site survived a Google shutdown, benefited from some SEO usefulness, had a few pointless fights, and gave me some cheap thrills with Deadspin, Sports Illustrated and ESPN shoutouts. I never really thought I was going to be famous from doing this, but occasionally I thought I could make a living from it.

What's changed in the interim? Well, what was once a lucrative little hobby has now edged toward break-even. The occasional ad buys you'd get from dubious Internet businesses have dried up, and the traffic spikes have eased off as well. I used to write a ton of cheap listicles that got me page views and cash, but then the world pretty much co-opted that form with slideshows and clickbait, rather than a quick hitting joke format, and my taste for such things declined. As always, the lowest common denominator won with titties and other formulas, and, well? They won. The vast majority of sports blogs that I linked to gave up the ghost years ago, and the others pretty much became more effective satellites of the aggregators. I went my own way, because I'm dumb like that, and I didn't need the money so badly as to treat this as a job that required compromises.

Now, I file for this blog at the end of my day, and as my day job has gotten progressively more intense, that gets very late. I don't take a ton of time writing stuff, other than the pre-writing while I'm doing other things. I do this more out of habit most days than love, because 5,000 posts requires habitual behavior. The money I make shouldn't matter, but when you make 20% of what you used to, it stings. And the bigger problem is the sense that you are just putting words out into the void, for no purpose.

Luckily, I've got a lot of practice at that.

I spent much of my 20s making music that the world ignored, and my 30s writing books that were also ignored. I also write ads that the world ignores, because, well, they are ads. And while it seems like this is sad or BS or compensation, I also just don't really care that much.

I know I can write. It's paid the bills for 28 years and counting, and will likely do so for as long as I'm sentient. It's a skill that many people think they have, but really don't, because it requires persistence and that callous confidence born from decades of indifference.

What I don't know that I can do is keep up the pace.

Work is something like 65 to 80 hours a week. Fitness, with commute, is another 8 to 10. Household chores is about the same. Time with the kids, 20... and if you are counting, we're getting to the thing that's got to change.

Sleep.

I get about 35 to 40 hours of it a week, or a solid 15 to 20 less than I probably should. I get away with it because working from home kills the commuting time, and the fitness is good, and, well, I'm kinda wired to be a mule. 5,00 posts. There are weekend days where my body just refuses to move and I sleep for 10 to 12 hours, and that's not great, but I'm in the best shape of my life and if I sleep long enough, I get anxiety nightmares. Fun.

I'm also 44, and prone to micro sleeping; luckily, I don't drive very much. But still. Something's got to give.

And it's probably going to be this, because no matter what I do, I'm just not getting any more efficient with my time.

I like having the historical record; it's fun to go back and relive games, or see if I was right or wrong on athletes from their start. I love good comments and don't mind the spam; it just doesn't go public. The occasional paycheck is never counted on, and always really helpful.

But, um, sleep. And the work that's not getting done.

This is where you chime in and congratulate me for reaching and noticing the milestone, and as Mark Twain said, give me an extra month of life with a compliment. Or not; indifference might also be the kindest thing. I've got a musical to finish for my eldest, a baseball fantasy league to prep for, and book #5 that won't be read. You know, for fun, when I'm not writing for the job.

And yeah, I know, this has been nothing but way too many words of wank, which also happens when, well, you start to lose the conviction that what you are doing with your time is important or relevant or even worthwhile. Because time is all we have. And I spend a lot of mine writing for not enough of you.

Something's got to give. And something always does.

2 comments:

CMJDad said...

I'm sorry, did you say something?

Tracer Bullet said...

I say you deep six the family. Where are your priorities, man?

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