It occurred to me today, while watching, on a cable news program, a vaguely effeminate sounding young man with coke bottle glasses and a blog that receives - I checked - approximately 10% of the traffic this one does (even though I haven't updated it regularly in three years), that I've squandered an opportunity.
This blog used to be pretty big. People enjoyed it, and - to my astonishment - they navigated here daily to read what I had to write. I liked that, so I kept writing, and people kept reading, and the whole cycle ended up with me getting an advance to write a shitty book I never liked and a job, believe it or not, as a senior editor at a fairly well-known magazine. Not a bad deal for someone with no formal training in either writing or journalism.
What's been bothering me lately, however, is that in the end, I failed to really capitalize on any of it. There are people out there - and this never ceases to fucking amaze me - who actually "blog for a living." They either get paid to do this, or they were savvy enough to use some form of marketing or advertising to make money off their blogs. I probably could have done that, but such things never occurred to me. All I really wanted to do was come home from work and write about what I'd seen there. Instead of taking advantage of what I'd created, I sat home and waited for opportunities to fall into my lap - which, I've found, was not the correct approach.
For the past few years, many of the absolutely fucking mediocre "talents" who took up blogging around the same time I did - and many who haven't been doing it nearly as long - have surpassed me in terms of exposure and blog-related financial reward. This tends to get me frustrated - hence this post - because this site still gets more hits than most of theirs, even though I only update this thing once or twice a month with shit nobody wants to read.
It really has been frustrating to watch as people from the group I'm referring to have received multiple book deals, high-profile jobs in the media and credit for doing the same shit I did - only not nearly as well, in many cases - five years ago. I can't tell you how many times I've turned on the television to see "Joe Slapdick, blogger" announced to a national audience as part of a panel of experts, only to remember that "Joe Slapdick, blogger" emailed me five years ago begging for a link. And in most instances of this, his blog still gets less traffic than this one.
Meanwhile, my fifteen minutes of fame were spent on the fucking Mike and Juliet Show talking about Preparation H.
Now, this isn't Joe Slapdick's fault. It's mine. I created a niche blog I had no idea how to promote, I was too large to ever look like a normal human being on camera, and I've always avoided "blog events" like the plague. Actually, the last part of this isn't quite true. For whatever reason, I was rarely ever invited to them. I remember NBC News having some sort of "New York Bloggers' Panel" thing a few years ago and laughing at the people they'd chosen because there wasn't a single blogger on the panel whose site received even half the number of daily hits mine did.
I'm not really complaining here. It's more like I'm wondering what the fuck I did wrong, and what I can still do to remedy the situation. I know I can write. In diametric opposition to the first 30+ years of my life, where I either carried heavy shit or inflicted violence on people for a living, I now get paid to sit at a desk and both write and pass judgment on the writing of others - skills my employers, by dint of my biweekly paychecks, apparently believe I possess. That my particular brand of humor and my frequent desire to resolve editorial disputes via rear naked choke remain wildly out of place in a magazine publishing environment is neither here nor there.
Anyway, starting this blog was probably the smartest thing I've ever done, because at very least, it got me a new career there's no fucking way I could have broken into otherwise. So, it's a good thing. If there's ever a next time, however, I won't be making the same mistakes, whatever the fuck those were.