As a new blogger, my inbox is jammed with offers to:
- Optimize my website for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so a post will appear higher on search results,
- Show me how AI will allow me to never write another line of content to publish on my website,
- Sell me lessons on how to write “correctly” for the market, and
- Show me how to make millions by monetizing my website.
All of them think of various enticing ways to say “It’s so easy! Just give me some money and I’ll show you how to live your most fantastic life dreams with hardly any effort!” or to just “Sign Up and get some REALLY USEFUL INFORMATION FREE, and then give me some money.” Not that some of it isn’t worth some money, some is.
But none of those things are of particular interest to me, although all of them have elements that are of background interest.
The problem is that, as usual in life, there are a few things buried in the piles of crap and clickbait that are worthwhile, particularly to a new blogger trying to figure out a lot of things about the blogging arena. But if my primary interest isn’t to make money from a blog, most of this stuff is not so helpful and the sell, sell, sell aspect of it becomes tedious. This is over and above dealing with the complexities of setting up for three years on a work-at-home cruise and writing about seven decades of life experiences. These are the “subjects” of my two blogs: “LifeAtSea.Blog and WITWIA.com”. Neither of them are monetized. … yet? We’ll see, but it will be years, if ever.
One potential approach to making my websites work is to almost randomly publish writing put down as a train of thought when the writing mood strikes me. Kind of fun for me, arguably cathartic, and maybe good for you (doubtful, unless we’ve become good friends over a period of time) for a short while but not worth sticking with for the long haul. So – I need to figure out (1) how to be a good writer, and (2) how to structure these writings and websites so they add value to your life as well as create interesting stories.
I consider those to be fairly lofty goals – at least for me.
This specific post (I am publishing it on both websites) will hopefully clarify to me, and to you, why I’m doing this to begin with – “to what end” have I created these websites and set up my life to see them through to being successful, however I define that.
I am an intuitively-driven person notwithstanding my fact based background and tendency to overengineer almost everything I come near. To my financial detriment (which I state without much remorse), I am not formulaic. I’ve designed dozens, probably hundreds, of processes for various consulting clients, and for myself, over five decades of working life. The endless lists of “best practices” are valuable as resources for an imaginative and responsive solution to what we have been trained to call “challenges” instead of “problems”. There is a lot of value in that training, and many, many tools (technology among them) emphasize how to do it better, cheaper, faster, etc. I don’t look at them as a recipe for how to do it.
My belief is that in the final analysis only people make a real difference between it happening, or not Happening. We use tools such as best practices, technology, and moral guides to help us determine what to do, but our actual advice, and actions, always come down to what we think is right and then (the critical element) doing something about it. That may be to only follow best practices rules to be safe, or to simply keep doing the same thing over and over because that is how we will make money. I’ve never been particularly good at that last skill mostly because I don’t care about it, and I get bored way too easily.
Living on a ship for three years, most of it at sea, and wandering around the world with no purpose in mind – just to talk, hang out on the deck or a bar, be entertained and see stuff – sounds utterly horrid to me. Bits of all of these things can be great, but nothing else but that would be stultifying. I’m not entirely kidding when I say I may not even survive three years of that. I need a purpose. So I’m coming up with a few.
- I have some time left in life, hopefully a few decades, but my time is coming to an end. There is no sign that taxes are actually not inevitable, so I have no reason to think death will be any different. There are one or two things I want before I go away. I don’t know if it’s a result of nature or nurture, but I’ve never had a particularly strong sense of self-worth. If that surprises you, it’s because I usually don’t bring it up as polite dinner-table conversation. But this is my blog, and I’m getting old, so there it is. I was drawn to acting because (at least the kind of acting I liked) it was all about being genuine with a feeling and being willing to “put it out there.” It takes courage to experience and consciously display your authentic self, even crafting those reactions to fill the purpose of a script while remaining true to the experience in the moment. (If you’re not a trained actor, that may sound like gobbledygook, but I assure you it is not.) Writing is the same thing to me. This entire paragraph and many as-yet unwritten paragraphs distill down to my goal for the next three+ years:
I want to be a good writer.
I’m honestly not sure exactly what that means, or how to measure it, but hopefully you will help me figure that out over time.
- I want to be able to say I’ve done my best to help build a community.
I have not been able to forge a strong nurturing family with deep personal connections, and my time to be able to do that is either at an end or very close to it. While I can easily point at some of the outside influences that made it difficult for me, I am also acutely aware of my contributions to the end result or lack thereof.
- And this last goal is extremely important, but sensitive.
I want to leave a body of work for my daughter.
She wants to have kids one of these days but it is possible I’ll never meet them. She was not able to meet my father since both of my parents passed away before she was born. Also she and I have not been able to talk as often as I would like the past several years. This way, she can always go back and get some idea of who I was. Love is like that, I guess.
The purpose of the LifeAtSea.Blog is to document the experience of doing all kinds of cool adventurous stuff with a relatively small population of people over a long period of time in a contained space. I want it to be entertaining, thoughtful, inclusive, and easy to read. The “touring” part is actually secondary and provides topics that will grow into interesting stories and other types of prose.
WITWIA.com (Where In The World Is Andy) is about me and things that are near and dear to my heart at this stage in my life:
- Telling people about Namibia, a country that I have come to call home and is one of the most fascinating and overlooked places I’ve ever been, and it touches my soul.
- The tragedy of an opportunity being left to slowly deteriorate that has enormous promise to the people of Namibia – that opportunity being the shipwreck of the Bom Jesus in 1533. I want to bring international attention to it if possible. It’s worth it. And,
- Being able to pontificate if I want about whatever I want to talk about.
So there you have it – what I want to do with these blogs and with my life from this point forward. Me being me, I could write or talk about it almost indefinitely, but to actually do something about Goal #1 (To be a good writer) I need to edit it down. And to do something about Goal #2 I need to actually do something about it, not just talk about doing something about it.
I hope you will join me on this journey and let me know what keeps you involved or what would keep you involved if it were only there, somewhere. I hope to get to know you through comments and Direct Messages. Let’s make it fun.