It was never my intention to be a blogger—in fact, I had no idea how to blog (not too much has changed since then in this respect). I wrote a book first. Then a few more. I started this blog to promote it as a book companion of a sort. The idea was simple: buy my books for pennies and get unlimited support on this blog, because in this hobby everything gets outdated really fast. I never had an ambition to be a blogger, and I still have a hard time defining myself as one. I want to write on topics that interest me, which means research and spending ungodly amount of time for every post. This is why this blog is so biased toward international travel—because I’m primarily interested in international travel. And this is why I don’t write about the earning component of FF programs, about mile upgrades and business travel, and such—I’m simply not interested in all that stuff. There are so many blogs that are already doing it, and much better than I ever could, so why even bother?
And I find it extremely difficult to write fillers. When I write about something, it often takes hours to research, analyze, write, rewrite, and that’s a hell of a burden because, guess what!
This blog is a hobby!
Why am I blogging?
Because I love it!
Of course, contrary to what many would like to believe (or would like you to believe), love is not all you need. That’s baloney.
This is how things should work in my book.
- Paying jobs come first.
- Writing on spec comes second. This is why you hone your skills, read professional publications, or write and self-publish books, hoping, against all odds, that one day you’ll be greatly rewarded for a few years of very little sleep.
- Your hobby should come the distant third. Because in between, there are travels, playing with your kids, movies, popcorn, beers, shooting pools, long walks, and all other little silly things that make life worth living.
I have failed to maintain this balance. Miserably.
I’ve never seriously tried to turn my blog into a commercial enterprise. As you can see, there are no ads, no banners, no nothing. Not because I’m vehemently opposed to making money with blogs—quite the contrary, I’m all for it (the only thing I’m vehemently opposed to is lying to your readers). Every critic foaming at the mouths that blogging must be a labor of love and passion should be mandated to run their own blog for a month or two. That will quickly change their prospective, I’m sure.
So it’s not about that. It’s just that the only thing that I love about blogging is writing and interacting with people. That’s it!
As a freelance writer, I don’t always get to say what I want to say. While I won’t lie (for money or not), I do not get paid for being passionate about something. I get paid for helping my clients and employers achieve their goals. So my blog is the place where there is no editorial control except my own. I’m sure you’ve noticed this lack of editorial control due to all my spelling and grammar… um, let’s call them imperfections. 🙂
This is my fortress, my domain, my sacred place where I heal my ills. It’s also the place where I get to be metaphorical, sentimental, sarcastic, vengeful, silly, ridiculous, and over the top. Because the absence of editorial control is worth something.
The question is how much. This blog has never brought me a penny!
OK, maybe that’s not entirely true!
Why am I blogging?
Because writing articles for this blog has allowed me to do something I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise—to build my portfolio.
I used this portfolio (and tips and help from quite a few good people) to land paying jobs.
As the time marched on, I was able to land better paying jobs and quit the ones that paid less. I always strived to be location-independent in order to be able to work on the road, and while I’m not totally there yet, I might be close enough.
Whether or not working on the road is working for me is another story. Not very much so, I’ll admit.
The point is, my books and this blog have helped me land some really good writing gigs. But therein lies the problem.
- When I write for this blog, I postpone paying jobs. That means I often have to work at night or on the weekend to avoid direct financial losses.
- When I write for this blog, I postpone updating my books or writing new ones. That’s indirect financial losses, because my books still sell and bring me something. Not much, but something, nevertheless.
- I find it very difficult to grow this blog. SEO, promoting in Social Media, and all the Word Press quirks give me headaches. No, strike that, they give me migraines! I’m just not wired that way.
This blog is a time-sucking device, which means I’ve gotta make a choice.
And here comes the inevitable bit about closing the shop.
Just kidding. 🙂 Not so fast!
The choices, as I see it, are these.
- To learn how to grow and run a commercial or semi-commercial blog (DIU).
- To hire some talent that would show me the light (but then I would be paying someone to work for my hobby, and that’s so wrong on so many levels).
- To downgrade this blog into what I planned it to be at the very beginning—the book companion with an occasional article, a rant, or something.
- To beg you for money (nah, not there yet).
- To paste a few banners and credit card links (nah, not there yet)
- To fold. (nah, not there yet, either). 🙂
So what’s the point of this rant?
As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’ve been swamped with work recently. Not only have I neglected my blog—I’ve also neglected my two AORs for the wife and me, and those are long overdue. There are deadlines, book updates that wait for no man, and, you know, stuff. Like holidays! So when you don’t see me posting for days, just know that I’m still around. I’ll pick up the pace next year, I promise.
And sorry for the long rant too. I feel much better now. 🙂
Photo By: IvanWalsh.com