I am a writer

This blog has existed since 2008. Before it, I authored six other blogs all of which were successful for their purpose. Back in the day, you made your blog topical and if you wanted a new topic, you started a new blog. It wasn’t unusual that people kept multiple blogs on their server. It wasn’t a lot of work and you could tap into different audiences. I was ahead of the curve by merging myself into one distinct stream of consciousness and those of you still reading have experienced my thoughts on dozens of different topics over the years. Thank you for keeping this blog in your RSS reader.

Now in the 12th year of the current blog, how many words have I thrown onto your screens, how much time have you spent reading them?

  • 1,318,365 Total Words
  • 87 hours, 53 minutes Reading Time

I average 421 words per post but this is heavily averaged down by my hundreds of ‘link posts’ over the years where I link to something and make a small personal quip. The posts I remember most are all at least 2,000 words and the longest is 12,780…a short book.

It’s 11PM on a Wednesday and I’m ignoring my hour of reading current events and reading financial reports about companies I invest in to write this. I had to choose to write this post and that’s my life in a nutshell in the last year or so further strained by COVID-19. 

I write a LOT. I used to write 5-15K words per month every month on this blog until 2018. What changed? I started a new chapter of my life where I explicitly chose to take on more responsibility at my day job, actively volunteer in more charities, clubs and motorcycle events and I took on a 2nd job…well, technically my 4th job but both in revenue and time, it quickly became a 2nd job. Why take on another job? 

I felt a 2nd recession coming. I told my girlfriend in 2018…these highs won’t last forever. There has to be a correction. I have to be ready for it and I have to invest in diversifying my income some way. Many people in my line of work and my history would evolve into doing consulting, coaching and becoming ‘experts’ in the field that is their day job but I always felt there’s a dark side to this. If I were to successfully become an expert at what I do every day at work, my co-workers, managers, team would see through it. These experts who post quotes and memes and books and fake ted talks online are 50% bullshit and I wanted to be great at my job without exploiting my job to build myself up to a personality or greatness that was beyond who I was in real life. Plus, I would have had to join Facebook. No thanks. Seriously, I started down this path in 2009 and that cult of personality may have lead to my current day job…they found me through a recruiter who was looking for entrepreneur experts in the Bay Area. I was on some person’s radar and it took me a lot of work and time to grow into my role at this job and make it my career. My “Klout” on social media did not make me a great project manager at this job.

This blog, despite thousands of hours writing it and over 1 million words is a failure. I have made no direct money from this blog. I expect no readers, no followers, no business deals or advertising and no Patreon subscribers. I expect people to read this blog via a Google search so unless I write about an oil change on a specific car, no one will read THIS post. I know that now and I’ve come to terms with it. While it is a business failure, I in no way regret paying the hosting costs and I don’t consider it any one of my personal failures. This blog is my chance to write for myself and no one else and knowing that is actually liberating. It’s a journal, not a blog. The fact that it’s powered by WordPress is even more awkward than ever. WordPress is this engine that powers millions of NON blogs. Someone installing WordPress to talk about life is like drying paintbrushes on a clothesline. You can do it but you’re not earning any points for it. 

Here’s what happened first with my day job then we’ll get to professional writing and why it has sunk this blog. No I’m not quitting but I owe my creative self an explanation.

I work a lot these days. I still feel strongly now more than ever that I have a responsibility as a homeowner and partner that I contribute to my household and that requires diversification of income. The extra $25,000 a year I make from my 2nd job ensures that my core bills will be paid. Car, Mortgage, Utilities are covered by that 2nd job. …yeah I have a very cheap mortgage and we split our expenses 50/50. Knowing that if I lost my day job and I could survive on my 2nd job adds stress every day but on a weekly basis, I am more comfortable and relaxed because of this certainty. 

However, I recognize that my 2nd job is not a career for me. Everyone that knows me knows that. My passion is creating, nurturing, growing, fostering innovation. I want to connect with people, build cool shit and do amazing things with code. I want to build the future and real estate isn’t that. Real estate is my safety net, not my career. In fact, I planted the seeds this week where I would slowly become ‘middle management’ and mange the workers and report up to my broker. Adding a layer and thus another cut to their firm’s profit but allowing me to do the things I do best while not getting into the weeds with daily issues. I hope the seed I’m planting today will mean a passive role with my safety net in place in 3 years and the day to day will be behind me. I am an introvert and this much social contact with hundreds of people a day drains me. They’re great but it’s not in my blood to be this social. I’m the project manager, the architect, the infrastructure and big-picture guy. Not waiting on an AC unit repair person to show up at midnight to fix a problem or babysitting a chimney sweep or sending photos of grass to a lawn crew asking why they haven’t come out this week. This is not fulfilling work but I will not give it up so long as I still have a need for that safety net. When clients tell me I’m better than this kind of work, I know. I’m really good at it and it by no means is any significant portion of my income. It’s my safety net and it serves a purpose. I’m good enough at it that I can find the areas where I still contribute at a higher volume of business but in the big picture role. Managing million dollar projects, orchestrating deadlines, personalities, requirements, etc. It’s all project management and that is where I can have the biggest impact where a junior property manager doesn’t mind spending 8 hours babysitting a chimney sweep. They are built for holding a set of keys. That’s what they live for. It’s not for me. If my clients read this, they should know this has nothing to do with them. Someone needs to do this job…it’s not me. I present highly technical data to VPs and Senior Engineers at conferences. I work on patents, I design million dollar projects and manage dozens of teams and people and I want to keep doing that. I do not want to know if there’s a board that needs to be painted and then immediately act on it but I do and I do it with 100% humility never mixing those two worlds with my clients. I will grab a 2×6 and throw it in my car and paint it and install it never feeling any guilt or pride that this is below me. I recognize that I won’t be doing this role forever and beyond safety net, it’s an investment in my next step which is running a team of MEs as they do the kind of work I’ve been doing for clients having been there myself. Right now, despite having almost 200 condos I manage, I do it part time. I think that in itself shows that I am always about efficiency and improving my processes to be as well oiled as possible…but please don’t do the math of what I told you I’m making a year pre-tax and how many accounts I have. It’s a little offensive but again…bottom of the totem pole. I won’t be at this level forever. This isn’t some pity party. I am putting in the time now so I can move up and design the organization so my income remains the same but is significantly more passive. 

Second and the more exciting reason this blog has died lately is because I have been writing more professionally. Yes, there is a huge time sink of emails & documents for my 4 jobs but I’m talking about professionally writing for magazines and publications. I will soon have my 3rd printed work in a motorcycle magazine and I write monthly columns for 2 motorcycle club newsletters. I publish long pieces on motorcycles forums and of course I am still consistently publishing to YouTube where I have around 200K views each month on my videos which nets me about $350. Yes, I realize that’s low. I’ve seen other people’s numbers but I don’t play the YouTube game and that’s why I don’t make a lot of money. I see it as an effort to payout issue. I could spend all day optimizing my YouTube videos and posting to social media but I don’t play that game. I enjoy making videos and if I make money, great. I don’t believe I’ll ever make enough on YouTube for it to be a safety net. I see creators quit their jobs to do YT full time and once the YT algorithm is tired of you, they stop recommending you and throw you out to dry. If I make $300-$600 a month on my videos forever, I’ll be happy with that. That’s my expectation forever. Amazon Affiliates sends me $200 a month and I use that to buy things for the house. It’s perfect. Of course, I get taxed on both.

So, I’m writing off-blog and I think a huge disservice is not linking to those things here so I’ll begin to do that. I will link to my published written works on this blog and possibly include a screenshot for posterity so you all can read those and enjoy them if you’re into that. These publications don’t allow me to post to my blog for 12 months which makes sense. They want to sell magazines, not have an article show up for free on some guy’s WordPress page. 

I wanted to close with where we started. I am a writer. I write every single day…all day. I write long documents, spreadsheets, presentations, emails, slack / IRC messages and I write documents for condo associations, white papers for my primary job like I just submitted a 3,000 word post about working from home to our VP of HR and we’re discussing it next week to roll out my practices globally. I wrote something that someone way more important than me read and wants to implement. Had I posted it to this blog, no one would have read it and it would not have altered my career trajectory but here we are. A very important person in Netherlands who runs HR for a 5,000 person company read my article that was just a blog post in a word document and loved it.

So…as I grow up, this blog will decay but just know that I will always be a writer.

And one day, I’ll get to share more with you all like I used to. The thousands of hours I’ve spent writing since the late 90s have paid off. I’m a great writer. These skills just go elsewhere these days and paying the bills is more important than rambling off to 35 RSS subscribers like I’ve been doing for 25 years. 

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