08 December 2008

What Goes Around...

Hard to believe I haven't touched this thing in 8 freaking months. And a lot has happened in those 8 freaking months. First and foremost, I have a new job. Running this thing. A few posts back - from February - I seem thrilled to have been brought in as a contributor. Anyway, it's been every bit as challenging and rewarding as I thought it would be. I've learned a shit-ton about this city, about writing, about managing a staff (especially one of volunteers), and about myself and I've only been crackin' it for 2.5 months.

One of my main concerns going into this job was that of my being an "outsider." I knew very few people in the Chicago Online Media circle and, to be honest, it was rather intimidating. Who the fuck am I to mess around with the big kids? To an extent, I suppose I still feel like that. Day-to-day, I think nothing of the "reach" of what I write. Since I've taken the reins, I've written in the neighborhood of 900 posts. Some have been fantastic that I'm proud of and some have been wretched. But I always thought, meh, no one reads this anyway. Not as an excuse for allowing poor content, mind you, but just as a reassurance in the event that I fuck something up.

Maybe I never really appreciated the 'reach' of the internet, or maybe I had a misconception of how big our site was. Our maybe it's me once again "minimalizing my accomplishments" as my former therapist (former because I stopped going cause I was "cured" not cause she wasn't awesome because she was) would say; maybe I don't give myself enough credit for what I do? Either way, I never fully appreciated how far stuff I write could reach.

Part of it has to do with the fact I'll bust my ass on something awesome...and then no one reads it. And then I'll dash something off really quick and it takes on a life of its own. That happened with this post. Turns out that through yesterday, it's the second most viewed story on our site this year. A close second! And numbers three and four? Well, they stem from what also started out as a quick toss off of a pargraph grew into a monster week, all surrounding the whole Obama/Supreme Court thing. All of a sudden, white supremacists are calling me "arrogant" and a "race traitor." It freaks me the fuck out. Not that white supremacists are talking shit about me, but that they're even reading me to begin with.

I suppose what it boils down to for me is: what I do doesn't feel like a big deal to me. Especially when I do it. I'm doing my job, and it just happens to be what i want to do something I love doing. But in the end, I don't write these things thinking thousands of people are going to read it. If I did, I'd freeze up and shit myself every time I started a paragraph. I'm struck by that often: does what I do even matter? Many have spoken of the necessary ego that a writer must have to write for an audience. I suppose it's much the same way a lead singer must have the same ego, no matter how shy or reticent he acts? I guess I have it. I have the balls to keep writing day after day knowing someone is going to read it and yeah, I get a positive jolt when I hear someone enjoys something I've done or when someone says they've actually heard of the site I write for. But I just fail to comprehend whether or not it's a big deal.

Last week I went to a rock'n'roll show. Fall Out Boy, to be exact. It was awesome. I sat with one of the two outstanding music writers at our site. She was taking notes for a live review on Spin. That seemed like a totally big deal to me. I read SPIN! (Well, I used to way back when I could afford magazine subscriptions). That's awesome! That's not to belittle what I do or the site I write for, but I guess the thing is, I don't feel the same way about what I write. Maybe it's because it's my own writing. Maybe it's because it's my job but I was kinda jazzed to sit next to someone reviewing a show for a publication I READ!

Anyway, I guess it's all a learning process. I need to hurry up and accept that hey, this is what I do, it's a big deal, and people dig it. Otherwise I suppose the attitude could suffer? Maybe one day I'll get to that point, where I feel the same way about the work I do that I do about the work others do. Or maybe I never will. Maybe that's the point? Maybe it's a positive thing to retain a little bit of humility? I blame my southern upbringing for that one.

Whatever the case, it's been a surreal year and it's been a blast. And here's to seeing where the next one goes.


Jerry Hinnen said...

Dude, seriously, congrats. You're making it work.

I'm blogging a much smaller scale, but I've experienced the same disconnect between a post's attention and how much work I put into it--the ones I think matter get ignored and the half-assed ones get the huge bump in traffic. Who needs rhyme or reason?

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