It used to be so easy.
The formula was simple. Scan the headlines, open my eyes, look around, observe people, write a blog about it. Done. Lately, writer’s block has been coming in giant crashing waves which leave me feeling like I’m lying on the shore, beaten down and washed up.
Of course, I’ve been writing while I’ve not been blogging. The Fight of the Week is my public testament to that, although it skirts the edges of fan-fic, which I would prefer not to delve into. I write them out because I feel every fight needs a scenario. Surroundings are half the battle and combat can be very situational.
I have been working hard at the Unlucky 7 Rewrite. I have been putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard more often than evidenced by the dates on my entries. Once upon a time, someone told me that my problem was that I would come up with great ideas but I would never see them through. I chose Unlucky 7 as my main focus and years after it started and snowballed out of control into a story that had completely lost touch with its purpose and its roots, I’m finally bringing it into focus and telling the story as it was meant to be told. I had over 350 pages of 10pt. Arial, single-spaced, normal-margin Unlucky 7 written. Now, the numbers are much more humbling, but much more satisfying.
Just as I’m coming back to the roots of Unlucky 7, I feel like I’ve lost touch with my own roots as a writer. I’ve always plugged at fiction but I feel like I didn’t really start writing until I started blogging. It was a way for me to feel like a sort of journalist. I even preached the merits of Gonzo. I’ve lost that outlet. I’ve lost that ability to vent everything I’m thinking to my readers and I feel like it’s doing my loyalists a complete disservice.
I remember when I was originally stationed at LiveJournal. I remember when a blog was a new thing to me. I wrote every night. Essays and entries about everything and anything; screaming my opinion off the walls of the internet. Some of the writing was solid but, looking back on it, there was as much crap as there was gold.
Look at me, talking like some kind of old man. Though, seven years ago, when this whole blog thing started for me, life was different. I was working retail. I was in college. There was no nine-to-five grind, so there were my most productive writing hours: extreme late night. If you take a look at my LiveJournal archives, you’ll see that a good percentage of my writing was published near or after 1AM. Ever since I started working an office job, my night owl tendencies have gone far out the window, unless it’s the weekend.
I used to rail about everything. It was very freeing. Whatever I was pissed off about, I would just vomit into my blog in the quickest way possible. I didn’t care about word count or page count or how long the thing went on or how many times I repeated myself. Sometimes, it actually worked out. Sometimes I had an actual, readable product that was of reasonable quality.
Around 2004, things started to get more political. I was still ranting about pop-culture and sociological observations, but things definitely took a slightly serious turn. For a brief moment, I thought myself a pundit. I made a few passionate speeches about the necessity of voting and even got a few people out to register (one of which wasn’t even from this country, but they still did it based on what I said). I felt like I could accomplish something.
After the election, my political rants seemed to be the same bitching and wailing about the Bush Administration as everyone else, in retrospect. Of course, there was my distinct flavor to it: pepper with a few shits and fucks, make sure to reference at least five movies, be sure to say damn the man, rinse, repeat.
By the time the Bush Administration was in its twilight, I had become tired of writing about politics. I got sick of writing about the government and my throat was sore from screaming conspiracy theories at the top of my lungs. The horse was dead and, unlike most pundits and political bloggers, I felt like it was best to take my bat and go home rather than stand in line to keep beating it. My supervillian was gone and I would have to either go back to fighting street crime or retire altogether.
Now that I’ve set up a more public and (only slightly) more professional blog than LiveJournal, I find myself thinking before I write. What will have public appeal? Is it too late to write about certain headlines because, two weeks later, I finally felt motivated to put something down on paper? What do people want to read about? What should I be writing about?
I see successful blogs everywhere. I know there are people in the (and I hate to use this word) blogosphere who are commanding hundreds of hits per day while this humble blog brings in the loyal dozen or so readers who happen to click a link on Facebook.
I suppose the frequency is partially to blame. Out of sight, out of mind. If I had more entries, I’d have more things to promote and I’d generate more hits. Staying fresh in the public eye is important.
Promotion is part of it, too. I’ve never been good at shameless self-promotion because I’m innately humble and still have some self-confidence issues when it comes to my writing. I always worry that people won’t like it. I know, I should be over that type of thing by now. I won’t make any excuses. I need to hire a street crew or something. If anyone digs my writing and wants to help me promote the site, let me know, because I know I’m not doing a good enough job of it.
Looking around the net, my main problem is thus: I do not have a theme.
There are tons of successful blogs out there, but none are as scatterbrained as this one. I know I have a loose theme which is pop-culture. This isn’t enough, though. The only people who are reading this blog are people who know me in one way or another. I have to find some way to reach more of the masses and I think the best way to do that would be to insert myself into some sort of niche. I would want to keep this blog open, for the occasional destructive ramblings I find myself taking, but I think it’s time that I gave my efforts more of a focus.
Focus is what brought me to the point I am with Unlucky 7. I like that point. I’m much more confident in that point because of my focused effort. Now, it’s time to work on the blog. But, I need opinions.
If I were to open a new, more focused, more consistently updated blog, what should it be about? I would say I’ll do a hockey blog, but there are too many of those out there already. I would do a minutia of Pittsburgh blog, but there are a fair amount of those as well. I would put together a reviews-only blog, but I’m not sure how much or how often I’ll be able to afford the cost of reviewing new products/video-games/music/movies.
I would choose a theme, but I keep coming up with reasons I shouldn’t. This is all stream of consciousness right now, so you can see how my semi-defeatist attitude is keeping me from making any kind of move away from an area where I’m comfortable. If the blog stays ambiguous, then I don’t have to change anything and I don’t have to work on anything if I don’t want to. But, I want a reason to write. I want motivation. I want to do something that’s going to generate some kind of public response and feedback. I just need help with finding a direction.
I need help finding a way to put my skills to good use.
I need your help.
Please, send some feedback. Throw me a lifeline. Where do I go from here, my loyal few?
Oh, and I’m also thinking about parting the Fight of the Week out to its own blog rather than a supplement to this page. Any thoughts on that?
Thanks for your continued support. No matter what happens, if you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.