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.
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.
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