What the heck do I do with this blog?

With the end of the year looming, I thought I would take a moment of self-indulgent introspection to ponder the substance of this blog and think about what I should do with it….moving forwards as they say.

Right now shojiwax.com is kinda drifting around in a sort of journal format.
It covers my travel experiences, my interest in the practice of Zen and it provides a place for me to try to improve my love of writing.
Heres the thing: I’m not sure if shojiwax is looking for some more definitive direction, divine motivation, or just wants to remain a simple scribble pad for my eclectic thoughts and writing muse.

Original intentions of making a buck.

Originally I thought I would develop the site into a travel blog, perhaps with regular video content, travel tips, gear reviews and a written narrative of my own experiences on the road. Something I could perhaps monetize down the track to supplement my retired life with a little extra spending money. Not a lot mind you…just enough to keep me in regular coffee and croissants. 

Over the last year, it has become clear that this seems unlikely. Largely due to my own online decisions.

Once I decided to close down my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, my ability to use these platforms to grow any new readership has been pretty much strangled. Not the smartest decision from a marketing/self-promotion point of view, but nevertheless one I don’t want to reverse. At least not right now.

My regular readers, all quality over quantity mind you…bless each and every one of them… have plateaued over the last year. More like a small intimate lump actually. In short, this site is just not viable as a money-making enterprise. By a long way.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” 

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Before I retired a little ways back I ran a pretty successful nursing community website (successful in terms of the number of followers and sheer metric frick-ton of page views). Tied into that site was a Facebook page that eventually grew over 100,000 followers. 

For a variety of reasons I never monetized any of this content. But I did try to make some money from another website.

My dabble with sickmaps.

Just after I left nursing I experimented with developing a website that I intended to support patients, and their families as they were trying to navigate their way through the various health systems (you can still check it out at sickmaps.net). 

I thought I would monetize the site by using site advertising. My imagined goal was not to make just a little spending money, but to see if I could generate a decent income. 

As I said this was an experiment, so I leveraged my nursing facebook page (which I had not closed down at that stage) to drive some decent traffic across just to see how this would pan out. Dollar-wise.

Turns out that despite what I considered solid visitor traffic, after several months I had not even made enough money to receive my first check (which I think happens at around $80.00 AU).

For the amount of work invested in producing content, and growing an audience it just didn’t look like a viable project. And I began to feel there just wasn’t any interest in it with the non-medical community. So I put sickmaps on the back burner and returned to my first love of simply trying to get better at writing about stuff. Trying to develop my writing voice.

So. Moving forwards.

Not a lot of people just write personal blogs these days (not like back in the early 2000s when everybody blogged and linked to each other).

Today everyone’s reading attention is tied firmly up in the pages of FaceBook et al. This is where content producers focus their time. Everyone is trying to crack into the big bucks on YouTube or (more recently) podcast formats or growing their Patreon supporters. 

Not many specialist blogs survive without the audience found on the big social media platforms. Fewer still those that offer no product other than words. That’s just the way it is. 

So. Reading back through all that (and I cant believe you are still with me), I still don’t know exactly where I am going.

But for sure I am going. Not leaving. I am moving forwards. I will keep on writing about things that interest me, hope others will think enough of my stories to share them, and occasionally open the tip jar for coffee money. The destination remains over the horizon right now. I hope you will stick around for the ride.

That’s just the way it is.

Enjoy the read?

Shout me a coffee and help fuel my writing mojo.


5 responses to “What the heck do I do with this blog?”

  1. Keep on blogging, your musing are interesting and good to connect with. FB and social media- in the aftermath of the terrible fires- has become something more attuned to increasing anxiety than calming and connecting. Love to you all


  2. Inspired by you I ditched FB 2 weeks ago and don’t miss it in the slightest. Inspired by you I acted on a decades-old intent to study Buddhism – Life changing. I don’t really care what you write. I enjoy it all.
    Peace to you, Kelly and Juno 🙏


  3. Keep writing, your musings are food for the mind. As a nurse who jumped out of the system.andnis now wallowing in the puddle of what comes next your blog is much appteciated


  4. I am a relatively new follower and I do enjoy your writing, wouldn’t be following otherwise. I think if you enjoy writing that is reason enough to blog, I sometimes wonder about why I keep blogging but it comes down to simply enjoying the process. I do miss those early days of blogging, it seemed a very different landscape back then. I look forward to seeing where your blog goes in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Ian, I have been following you since Impacted Nurse. I love the way you write, informative and easy to read. Sick maps was great I wondered what happened to that concept. I still miss the thunder box papers. Going forward just take one step at a time and enjoy the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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