There are times in our lives when we must ask ourselves, ‘Why am I here?’
You are probably here because you’ve either clicked on a link that leads to content I’ve decided to stop providing, or you are browsing around my site and stumbled on this post. You see, I too had to ask myself the very same question. Please, I know you’re busy and you were probably looking for something else, but keep reading, because this is important.
Why am I here?
To answer that question, I’d like to tell you a little story. I started blogging back in early 2008. This was a strange time for me. It was a time full of possibilities. I’d just started a new job that I was very successful at and the transition increased my paycheck by the largest ratio I’d ever seen. I was working full-time from home as a consultant and Technical Project Manager and I loved it. I loved almost everything about it.
That intoxication started to spread. Suddenly, other things I loved seemed possible and worthy of pursuit. (I spent six years in the military, so my personal desires and dreams had become a distant third in my priorities; my family was first, because ensuring they were taken care of made me a better Sergeant, and then the mission.)
I remember that night very well. My wife had just finished sewing curtains with a block-out layer to put in front of our sliding glass door. The black-out fabric reminded me of when we were stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. Those summer months could be brutal on your sleep cycle, but we just wanted to keep the sun off the TV in our new home in Utah. And as she stood there, measuring the fit, I told her about my crazy plan.
I was going to start a writing blog!
I had no idea how to blog, but I knew I wanted to write. I really wanted to write stories, but I told myself that blogging was a good way to start. In a lot of ways, it was. In a lot of ways, it wasn’t. I spent so much time blogging and trying to connect with other bloggers because I was convinced that this was how you built a readership and a following. The more time I spent trying to network, the less time I spent actually writing.
Over time, I started to disconnect. My dream job had become a bit of a nightmare. Because I was good at working with irate clients and smoothing out issues, it felt like I was always on standby to clean up someone else’s mess. The days started getting longer, my longest (and this is no joke) was a 23.5 hour work-day followed by a 22 hour work-day. In comparison to a “normal” pay period of 80 hours I’d be used to today, I worked 222 hours that pay period. While the overtime was good, I began to lose steam. Just as the job had rekindled my passion for writing and pushed me to start blogging, I felt like it wanted all of that passion back. With my background in the military, it only felt natural to comply.
Meanwhile, back on the blogging front, I was spiraling. I started to feel like every widget I installed into my sidebar to connect and draw traffic was just a cash cow in incubation for another startup cashing in on the blossoming blog-o-sphere. (Anyone remember Entrecard?)
Like chasing shadows, I grasped at the tendrils of ethereal knowledge posted within my sphere about how to attract readers. I listened to the harsh comments of one or two visitors who wanted me to write what they wanted to read, rather than embracing who I was and what it was that I wanted to write.
In other words, I lost my way. I wrote and then held my breath, waiting for some kind of response so I would know which direction I should be traveling in. Unfortunately, that’s not how these things usually work. The real people, the ones you want to connect with, don’t want you to be something else. They are counting on you to be who you are. You’re the one source of authentic YOU they’re looking for.
Years went by, I changed jobs, and I kept my blog going in one form or another. I’d lost my passion. I would post at random, grasping at what to say and no longer being familiar with the sound of my own writing voice. Who was I supposed to be? What was I supposed to write? I didn’t want to give up on writing stories, but even after so many years of trying, I didn’t have an audience. In truth, I’d walked away from the few who cared about what I had to say when I abandoned my first blog’s domain name. When the traffic stopped coming in to the new .blogger.com address, I closed the door and started a new chapter.
Then, one day while browsing Facebook, a friend from high school posted a link for IQ-Konnect on her page. Instantly, friends started commenting that they thought she’d been hacked. Honestly, it really looked like she had. But then other, overly-supported people started posting in the comments and talking over the concerned friends. This happened a few times over the course of a few weeks and it really started to bother me.
This IQ-Konnect concept of making money off your social activities opened old wounds for me. I was taken back to the days of exchanging Entrecards with other bloggers, building a flimsy social network of people who visited my blog just long enough to earn their points, the same with CM-ads. The reminder stung and the tactic seemed all too familiar. Once Entrecard had grown large enough, they sold and the doors closed. The buyer likely wanted the data Entrecard had amassed and had no desire to continue the service.
That’s when I started looking into IQ-Konnect. I meant well, I wanted to save my friend from a possible bad situation. The more I looked, the less their claims added up. When my friend shunned me, I felt obligated to share what seemed like a really big deal at the time. I posted it to my blog.
Then the traffic came. It seemed like a lot of people were asking questions about this IQ-Konnect, and later IQ-Life. The comments section on the post was the liveliest I’d ever seen on something I’d written. But that post wasn’t why I was here. When I looked at my other posts and compared them, it made me feel even more lost. I’d accidentally tapped into a nerve point on the Internet, but it had nothing to do with my writing. The traffic, while genuine in their purpose, wasn’t targeted toward mine.
A Catalyst for Change.
I recently lost just about everything when I moved my site from one hosting company to the one it’s at now. I had made several backups with a plugin that was supposed to make the transition simple, but none of the backups would load. Sure, I could pay the old host to restore my files and then cherry-pick what I wanted to add to the site on this side, but the whole process sparked a lot of introspection about what it is that I want for this blog.
I know you came here and you were probably looking for something else, but ask yourself this, what do you really want? Is information about a pretty much defunct IQ-Konnect, or some other random post I wrote, what you really want for yourself?
This is my Author Website. That is what I’ve chosen to pursue. I’m sorry if this post has disappointed you, but I’m no longer providing that content. If you enjoyed this post and would like to know more about me, please click here to view my About Me page.