WHY I WRITE AND WHY I REMOVED MY ADS
3 MIN READ
Photo: From ~2007 or so. Likely late Spring or early Summer. I was shooting some generic black and white film in a cheap SLR with the kit lens. I recently unearthed some scans from this roll and have been enjoying some nostalgia surrounding the memories they are bringing up. This shot was taken on the bank of the Maumee River in Ohio - on the Maumee side. If memory serves, photo was taken around here: 41°33'26.7"N 83°39'07.8"W. I wore the pictured mocassins year-round and almost exclusively for a couple of years.
I’ve been struggling to figure out what to do with this blog apart from the obvious tasks. At a certain point I thought I should monetize it via ads.
There have been three posts on this blog that have gone viral among my circles:
Those posts have brought in an incredible amount of new readers to the site. What to do with these new readers? “I should run ads and get paid for my work” I thought. z I set up a Google Ads account, embedded the script tag and went to monetizing. I made a bit of mad money in the process, not much, but not nothing. After a few months of this I had two realizations:
The site now looks like shit with a bunch of ads jammed in it where Google thinks they should go (Google is often incorrect from my design perspective).
A new daemon was riding along in my brain while writing new posts - it was encouraging me to write more “viral content”.
The design I might have been able to stomach - but pursuing virality is not what I started this blog to do.
The Aims of This Blog
Write what I think - No sponsors, no interference, no perfection, no political correctness, and certainly no negotiating with terrorists (emotional or otherwise).
“First word, best word” - Editing takes place in my mind while walking around or rocking my baby to sleep, writing takes place at the computer. I’ll make somewhat of an effort to correct flow, grammar, and spelling - but even then I don’t use spellcheck while writing or editing. Typos and grammatical errors will definitely make it into my writing - I believe that this is preferable to my writing being overly-guided by a machine.
Long form (relatively speaking) - Ideas need room to breathe and have nuance. My Goldilocks-zone for this is The Essay. I’ve written two books - one fiction, one nonfiction, I’m not mature enough to carry a thread that long yet. All popular social medias are too short-format to explore nuance of ideas - they are only capable of indicating whether you are on the red or blue team.
Stay in the human loop - Almost all content on this blog has been crystalized through conversation with other humans with different backgrounds than me. I think by having conversations with people. A side-benefit of this is that these ideas have been pushed and pulled by other minds. Vacuum is no good for exploring ideas.
Don’t dumb down content - Criticisms I’ve gotten about this blog: too long, too complex, pedantic, boring, inaccessible. I take all of those as compliments. I am not interested in being accessible to a wide audience. I don’t like wide audiences. The average of a large number of varying opinions is usually some boring gray color. Much more interesting to engage with small groups of flexible thinkers, i.e. those willing to suspend disbelief out of raw curiosity.