Well friends, this has been by far the worst fucking 500 days my life.
I got divorced (oh, don’t worry, in one way or another that will be written about), one of my best friends committed suicide, I found out the student loans I’d been paying on for 10 years could not be forgiven because of a technicality, and then I tore my patella tendon and now am faced with thousands more in insurance premiums and physical therapy fees.
Also, some fucker named Donald Trump is president.
And now, alas, my blogging career has come to an end… unless? Ah, but we’ll get to that.
I have to say this experiment was shorter than I expected. In fact, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating another blog, a different blog, etc—but at the end of the day, it doesn’t seem to be worth it.
Because no matter what I write, the path to success as a writer has never been easy, and today, with fewer people reading, algorithms, more writers than ever to compete with, a cynical and myopic publishing world, and a never ending menu of free bullshit on the internet along social media, it’s damn near impossible to build a following worthy of the effort.
Blogging, for sure, had a heyday, but with the pressures above, that time is probably gone. Not to say one couldn’t start and write a successful blog—but clearly, whatever sort of talent and reach that takes, I don’t have it.
I’ve been writing chuckingrocks.com for almost 10 years, and have recently published isthisgood.org and confessmanchild.com. I’ve written, edited, and published thousands of posts in that time—mostly liberal political rants—but also articles ranging from fly fishing to some of my favorite recipes. I’ve enjoyed writing on a wide range of topics and trying to bring sanity to the political conversation for the limited number of people I’ve been able to reach in that time.
However, it dawned on me—today, as I am writing this as a matter of fact—that I am wasting my time. And talent. As much fun as it is to blog, to offer my hot take, to hit publish and know that a few hundred people will read what I’ve written, the truth is that it has neither the reach to impact or influence many people, nor the popularity to offer me any prospect of turning this into a career.
I look at my second to last piece published on medium, for example, and if anything I’ve ever written was going to go viral, it should have—it was honest, well written, concise, and not what you’re going to hear from the New York Times or Fox News or the usual bullshit punditry likes to put out there. But nothing much happened. It was just another blog in an endless sea of blogs begging for attention.
I will say one of the aspects that has made this hard is the relative lack of support I’ve gotten from friends and family—and please understand, I don’t blame anyone. If my writing is not something people feel compelled to read or share, whether they find it too divisive, offensive, or simply don’t give a damn—that’s on me as a writer, not them. What I will say, however, is the rabid support conservatives lend to their writers, intellectuals, and pundits goes far, far beyond what any liberal blogger can expect, and it’s one of the reasons Trump got elected and Republicans hold a majority in Congress. It also doesn’t hurt that billionaires like the Koch brothers spend millions every year propping up people like me on the right to spread their propaganda.
I’m quitting (probably?), and if you’re a liberal—a rational person who wants our nation to be governed fairly and well—that’s bad.
Anyway, for those who have supported me, thank you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Part of being a writer is getting used to constant rejection, but it’s the people who read what you’ve written and show their appreciation who keep you going. Again, thank you so much for your support.
So the blogs, I think, are history… (unless?)
It simply takes too much time to write them, do the research, edit, etc., for the few views I get—I guess I’ve just come to a point where I’ve realized it’s not worth it. My dream is to actually get paid to write, not to go on banging my head against the keyboard for another 10 years getting a few hundred views here and there.
Instead, I’m going to focus on fiction. To this day, that has been my best and most successful work. If you still haven’t read Cherry City Pulp, you should. It’s funny, heartbreaking, and like nothing you’ve ever read before—an examination of why life isn’t fair, what modern high school looks like, and the politics and beliefs incumbent in conservative, middle-America.
My next novel, as I’ve mentioned, is called Say Yes—and I’ve just submitted a short story this week to the Iowa Review and several other literary periodicals where I hope to reach a larger audience and garner some good press; although the reality is there’s a 99% chance I’ll be rejected. But then, that’s just the way it goes.
My plan is this: I’ll occasionally reach out to the world of publishing, whether it’s with Say Yes or a short story here or there, but whatever I write will get published, even if I have to do it myself. I will at some point have another blog, but it’ll be more of an author page to peddle my wares, though I may occasionally publish my thoughts if something catches my attention. I may put out a story or two for free, or a preview of any novels I publish in the future, but otherwise my stuff will be available on Amazon and other fine book sellers friendly to independent authors.
For those of you on the email list (if you want to join, scroll down and sign up), you’ll be the first to know what I’m up to and since I can buy my paperbacks directly at cost, I’ll offer them to you for less when I get to that point. I should just mention, I do have about 20-30 copies of Cherry City Pulp if anyone wants one–$8.00 a piece. Just let me know.
Anyway, through it all, the shitty 500 days and everything else, I have hope. Because life is not a series of wonderful events or fairytale endings, even though scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed might lead one to think so. Instead, it’s about learning who we are and what we can to do to be of service to others—about finding some meaning beyond slaving away at work for 9-10 hours a day.
And sometimes, we fail.
The project we started doesn’t work out. The marriage we had wasn’t strong enough to survive because one or both partners couldn’t honor their vows. The investments we make don’t always pay off.
But that doesn’t mean our time was wasted. It doesn’t mean we didn’t learn anything. And it doesn’t mean we won’t be successful next time. Because even though all the writing I’ve done so far—aside from Cherry City Pulp—hasn’t amounted to much of anything, it’s made me the writer I am today, and that is invaluable.
So, my friends, again, thank you for all your support through all these years. I’ll be sure to let you know when my next work of fiction is available… unless?
Unless enough of you decide you want to sponsor me to write about politics. If so, you can become a sponsor at Patreon, or make a donation. Please understand, if you don’t donate or sponsor me, it’s fine. I honestly just want to know if this is something I should keep doing, and if I’m going to keep doing it, I need some cash to do it right. That means a new blog design, more advertising, etc.
Thank you so much! Cheers!