Sunday, 15 September 2019

The future of this blog (and my career)

I've gone back to a bog-standard .blogspot.com domain. As you will have no doubt gathered if you've tried to access this blog from the old address, I have not given up the domain entirely. But the thing was about to expire and due to recent changes in my life, I didn't really fancy spending actual money on this. Here, I will delve a bit deeper into why.

First of all, I don't really care about blogging anymore. Blogging meant something entirely different 10 years ago to what it does today. I related very deeply to this piece in the New Statesman last month:
I created a secluded cove for myself on the internet, one that allowed me to cultivate selfhood at a comfortable pace. While the world moved dangerously fast, on Tumblr we nurtured our virtual spaces tenderly.
Sponsored content? Lifestyle envy? Facebook ads? Business account on Instagram? It's not for me.
Sure, I could "rebel" and create the kind of "genuine" content that cultivated a community of outsiders when I was in my teens and early twenties. The 2019 reality, though, is that life is expensive and my free time comes at a premium, so I simply cannot do this on a regular schedule. I still have a whole lot of half-finished drafts on here, which will probably take me years to publish. That's okay. If anything is going to make me feel under pressure, I definitely don't want it to be this entirely voluntary undertaking. My two books in progress hold that spot.

Secondly, this is not actually a professional website where I offer services in exchange for payment — if that's what you're after, head on over here! — so I actually don't want to keep paying the annual domain renewal fee when I'm not getting a ROI. (I have been very pleased with the service offered by iwantmyname, though, and can definitely recommend them. Incidentally, they didn't pay me to say that.)

The third and perhaps biggest reason: I don't want writing to be a job anymore. I want to be free to enjoy both high and low culture without thinking, "Hmm, is there a pitch in there?". I have had a lot of crappy experiences, including multiple rejections of pitches and even solicited drafts of pieces I poured my heart and soul into. Yes, of course this is part and parcel of being a writer, but I am fed up of the hustle. The normalisation of the exploitation you get in return for your efforts. The way that such sought-after yet low-regarded work is automatically going to privilege those who are well-off in the first place. The rejection aspect is just the tip of the iceberg; there are also the gigs that shave years off your life.

I will always be a writer, and it's always going to be a more significant part of my life than a mere hobby, but there are so many directions I haven't explored. It's a bit scary to publish this, because I can't shake the feeling that I'm burning bridges with the good clients I've had, or potential good clients.
I'll just say this: writing and translation are talents that I possess and they require a not-to-be-sniffed-at skillset. I might come back to it someday, but it's not my main focus at the moment. However, if you are considering offering me money to write or translate something for you, feel free to hit me up and let's see if it's a good fit!

No industry is perfect, but I've undergone an epiphany this summer that allowed me to see my full potential and gave me the courage to pursue it. I've had a challenging but great year working as a content manager at a web agency, and it's exposed me to parts of websites that I'd not given much thought to before (or considered to be "too hard"). I chatted with my boss, who gave me the go-ahead to do a bit of company-endorsed self-study. I work on the periphery of web development at that job, but now I'm pursuing it myself! It's not easy, but I am excited to be a student again, of sorts, and I have wonderful figures I can turn to when I'm stuck. I'm currently writing a dedicated blog post about my journey.

If you are a career-pivoter or career-changer — into dev/programming or otherwise — let's chat! 🤗