My reasons for doing this have changed over time.
At first, this was going to be a poetry blog, and a place to re-write an allegory that obsessed me for about six years in my early 20’s and then was lost.
Then I realized that the allegory I was trying to write belonged in my past.
It was lost forever and that was actually alright, but my attempt to revive it was trapping me back in that time, making it hard to live and grow.
All of which is a melodramatic way of saying that the site sucked balls and made me sad.
So then I decided to drop all the stories, shove the poems off to one end of the menu, and go all out on some crazy scheme to rule the world through internet marketing.
I discovered that there are hundreds of scams for every genuine insight. I also discovered that I didn’t care enough about the money to put in the kind of effort it seemed like it would take.
I lost interest for almost a year. Not completely, but I started testing out other approaches to the whole online business thing.
Some of my experiments include:
- Game Demos Online: a collection of wikipedia excerpts linking to an affiliate program for game downloads. This one did great at first and still makes me a few hundred dollars every few months, but it’s tough to motivate myself to update.
- Ontario Poets: – an attempt to build a community of poets and monetize it by offering an ebook store and affiliate products that fell apart due to a disagreement with a co-developer. This one is dead in the water for now, but could easily be revived if anyone got excited about it again.
- The Poet Army – an idea to build a blog hosting service aimed at poets that died due to lack of enthusiasm on my part. I still like the idea but never really went anywhere with it.
- Bad Teenage Poetry – a joke site that was supposed to collect angsty drivel and post it for people to make fun of. Died because I lost interest.
- A network of 500+ parked domains that I had hosted on Google AdSense until their owner decided I wasn’t doing enough with them. Google discontinued the service shortly afterwards in any case so it would’ve died a natural death if she didn’t kill it.
- … and a host of others, “auto-blogs” that pulled content from affiliate programs, traffic-driving, email, social media, “article marketing” attempts that fizzled due to lack of a subject that really interested me (they were all e-business articles), blogs that were simply feeds from other blogs with ads thrown in, domain names similar to common misspellings of more successful domain names, the online equivalents of MLM schemes, drop-shippers, you name it.
I’m already making a living as a Web Developer, and I’ve seen again and again how people can leverage the exact skills I have into reliable residual income streams, I just lost interest in writing about it because I’d encountered so many scams and didn’t want to be lumped in with the idiots and assholes.
Then I found Book Blogs (http://bookblogs.ning.com/), an almost embarrassingly earnest bunch of aspiring authors struggling to leverage the power of the internet to enable their writing careers. I started talking to people there and it suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to help them.
As amusing and naive as I often found them, there was something endearing about the whole community that reminded me of myself before I’d gone to Manhattan and seen behind the Wizard’s Curtain that shields the media. My time there helped my career as a computer programmer, but almost completely robbed me of any belief in the value of art or literature. Everything became a commodity to me to such an extent that for a long time I viewed myself as a mercenary.
Nobody’s to blame for that shift in perspective but myself, but in dealing with the Book Blogs community I found myself gradually losing that cynicism. Like I said, I wanted to help these people, and I realized that I’m uniquely positioned to do so, with a perspective that combines the insider’s view of media – and attendant skills – with the artist’s view of the value of the message.
So now I’m full of ideas to use my tech skills to enable the online exchange and promotion of literature. I’m trying to think of ways to convey my knowledge without stepping on anybody’s toes, taking away their agency, or taking on more than I can handle. I’m writing a book.
It’s probably the dullest book ever written, because it’s mostly screen captures and prose to the effect of “click this, now click that, then you’ll see this other thing”, but I’m excited about it. Not because it’ll be great, but because it’ll be a step in the direction I want to go in, and my first real exposure from the author’s perspective to the online book world. Maybe it’ll even help someone and make me some money.
Faith restored, but weapon close to hand, our hero turns to face the coming storm.
This was written in response to a challenge I threw out that was thrown back at me. I said “go write 200 words on why you write” on Book Blogs, then someone said, “you do it too”. So I did. 200 words is far too short for such a loaded subject though. Maybe I’ll come back and edit it down later.