Tuesday, January 03, 2012

My blogging manifesto 2012

I started blogging in 2005 because my buddy Steve Bissette started and I caved to peer pressure.

After all, I write for a living and express personal thoughts in a weekly column read, according to the circulation audit by about 120,000 people every week.

That should be enough for me, shouldn’t it?

Well, yes and no. As much as I work – generally 50 to 60 hours a week – I still want to write more. My late friend Myron Waldman taught me the importance of doing your own thing. As he directed and animated cartoons at the Fleischer Studio, he did his own paintings.

And as my friend Dick Gordon showed me, you do your own projects in order to own them, so you can hopefully get additional returns from your labor and investment.

That is why I frequently post, with some additions, material that I published in the newspapers. I have plans for many of my pieces.

Of course, I’m a journalist, which means I’m not an artist. The head of the journalism program at UMass once said that we were craftsmen. We could take pride in our work, it could feature our own style and embellishments, but every story had to fulfill the purpose of informing people.

I liken it to throwing pots in a factory. They can be pretty, but they still have to be pots. They must conform to the needs of the consumer, who expects, well, a pot.

I will readily, if not shame-facedly, admit some jealousy for those who work in the arts, especially the visual arts. Their work receives an immediate reaction and variations from reality are not seen as flaws, but rather as artistic visions.

So for me, this blog is where I try to do something different that reflects my interests and personality.

However the cost of working at a newspaper group, doing the work of two people for almost six years now has taken a toll. I don’t see as many movies as I would like. I don’t read as books as I would like. I don’t have the time. I don’t sleep well.

I run a household with my wife. I have a house and a back yard that will require months of work, thanks to tornado damage.

And I certainly don’t blog as much as I would like.

For this blog to develop a bigger readership I would have to do something almost everyday, pimp the hell out of it wherever I could and stick to one basic subject. Successful blogs sell a product or a brand.

For example, my pal Steve is his own brand. He’s a world famous cartoonist who people simply adore.

(I’m not picking on you Steve, honest. You’re one of my closest friends, but you’re also a good example. Interestingly enough, Steve is cutting back on his blogging in 2012. That’s a shame as his “MyRant” is almost always interesting and well written. )

I’m not a celebrated artist or novelist. I’m not a celebrity. I’m a journalist by trade in the 108th or so largest media market in the country.

I am a thrower of pots.

But then again, I do have a following. People do recognize me when I’m working. There are people who still remember me from my WREB days back in the 1980s. There are still people who have fond memories of Animato! and Animation Planet. I have interviewed many interesting people.

2012 has been a very poor year professionally and personally. The one big freelance gig that I thought was going to materialize died a lingering death. What made it worse was that I don’t own the work. It was work for hire. I can’t even post it here.

It shouldn’t be surprising that I have toying with the idea of junking this blog. Shouldn’t I use my time for other writing pursuits?

A blog, though, could help those projects. Within the next several weeks, the introduction for my book, “Fifteen Minutes With…” will make its debut here. A sample chapter will follow. Perhaps something might happen.

I’ve decided to instead work harder on “Out of the Inkwell” and establishing a publishing schedule that will hopefully entices people to return on a regular basis.

And I will spit in the face of convention by not producing a one-subject blog. I don’t do well with many conventions, I’m afraid.

A one-time friend, a writer of horror non-fiction and fiction, once told me my problem as a writer is that I don’t specialize enough. Well, he’s not writing and I still am.

He also suggested that I quit my job and allow my wife to support me while I follow my muse.

Yeah. Right.

I’ve decided to reassert my own little local brand, write things I can’t elsewhere. Some days may be a video. Some days may be a series of movie still from my collection. Animation, local politics, movies, media and pop culture will continue to be the subjects of this blog.

If people comment, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s okay, too.

So come back often. I will.


Jim said...

Mike, I have been missing you the past month and a half. I check every day and just yesterday I almost wrote to see if you were OK. so glad to hear from you again and look forward to seeing more of you. Thank you for your perspective on things, writng about things I would not usually read, and your take on so many things. Thanks for putting the time into this blog.
Also for not taking anonimous comments, a plaque on honest dialog

Michaelann Bewsee said...

Glad you're still blogging! After a very slow year for me (only in terms of blogging!) I'm recommitting myself, also. Glad to be in good company.

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