Why do I run this blog? I like to reflect on that question occasionally. Questions like it, too. Why am I in this career? What am I getting out of this hobby? Essentially, I like to consider why I’m doing this thing when there are so many other things I could be doing.
I advocate for critically examining everything you do, professionally and personally. Not because I think you should persuade yourself not to do things. In fact, considering these questions often entrenches me in my hobbies or career. It can be powerful to state clearly “I’m doing this because …”
These questions help me figure out goals, make long-term decisions, and yes, occasionally they lead me to decide I need to make a change.
Sorry haters, that’s not where I landed this time. In fact, I’ve decided to become more annoying. And today I’m going to explain my thinking.
I’m doing this because …
Any time I ask these questions, I come up with multiple answers. Why do I run this blog? Well because:
- I wanted to keep the spirit of my old radio show alive.
- It looks good on LinkedIn or a resumé.
- It’s a good way to build my skillset, and a tangible way to prove I have those skills.
- Every aspect of it is something I find fulfilling.
- The blog gives me an outlet to write weird stuff and connect with my friends.
The points about resumés and skillsets were extremely important when I restarted this project a year ago. I had just left a job that didn’t involve writing or digital media, so I wanted to demonstrate I had those skills. That guided the topics I covered and the way I presented stories. Additionally, I was too sheepish to include swear words. You know, just in case. Imagine not getting a job because an employer pulled up a post and got offended by the word “fuck.”
Today though, clearly, I feel I can swear a little more. I found a new job that I’m loving, and it’s clear to me what kind of content would jeopardize my employment. Conveniently, the odd swear word is safe.
On top of that, my job demands different skills than what I draw on to produce this blog. That means, essentially, the resumé and LinkedIn reasons above are now irrelevant. This blog is a hobby again, which has huge implications.
I can write without thinking “will this impress a hiring manager?” I no longer need to. My biggest goal now is to reward my friends for clicking on each post. A secondary goal is to build a community of like-minded weirdos who think about media in interesting ways. But above all, my goal is to have fun.
The huge implications
You may have noticed my posting schedule dropped off dramatically over the past few months. That’s because I hadn’t yet realized everything you just read. I was still writing as though I had to impress a hiring manager. More simply put, I wasn’t doing it for me. That made the blog feel like a chore, and it was causing me to feel burnt out.
It was clear I needed to start asking some questions, and I started with “why do I run this blog?”
Eventually, I figured out the previous section. And so, I walked around my neighbourhood taking photos of anti-dog-poop signs to write a humorous article I had been mulling over for months. I wrote another two articles that you’ll likely be reading soon. And I jotted down a list of several other ideas.
Best of all, none of what I did felt like work. I wasn’t forcing myself to do it. Everything I wrote, I wrote because I wanted to. And I wrote it, essentially, for me.
This new wave of content hasn’t even crested, yet I’ve already felt a strong response from my friends. It definitely helps I led with a poop article.
The other stuff in the works is less scatological, but it’s equally compelling and equally strange. It’s all stuff that would grab a reader’s attention. None of it would impress the average hiring manager, but none of it will be grounds for dismissal either. It’s exactly the kind of content I need to be writing right now.
Another reason why I run this blog
Of course, none of it is done yet, so I had to go with a sappy post espousing the benefits of self-reflection. Though I am happy to explain my absence and give people a sense of what to expect from me going forward (a.k.a. warn them).
Another benefit of my realizations is that I feel I can talk more directly with you. I no longer have to speak broadly, as though anyone on Earth could be reading. I know the handful of regulars who frequent this blog, and I can write far more directly to them.
And thank god for that. The worst part of The Skillset Posts was coming up with YouTube-style questions to ask readers. An SEO advice article said it was a good way to drive engagement. I’m sure that’s true generally, but this isn’t that kind of blog.
There’s one point above I haven’t mentioned yet: to keep the spirit of my radio show alive. Part of that spirit comes from the anomalous station through which it was broadcast: Trent Radio.
I don’t think it would be erroneous to quote the former station manager as saying, jokingly, “screw the listeners.” They didn’t matter. The people in the booth mattered. It was producer-oriented radio; the listeners literally were not the focus. It was a space where people were encouraged to get in the booth and experiment without any consideration of how to get more ad impressions or how to build a profit.
Of course, there still were listeners, and they did matter. But what developed on the other end of those broadcast signals was a community of peers with a shared interest. And that’s what I’m going for here.
Probably no one is going to see this blog and think, “we gotta hire this guy!” But maybe they’ll see it and think, “I have something to add to this point you were making.” And that’s why I run this blog.