Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To blog or not to blog? That is the question.

You may have noticed that the name of this blog doesn't match the name. It is because this didn't start as a blog but rather has a spot to host my sports columns. There wasn't room on the paper's server for my column. I thought the space was better served on the game or feature of the week I wrote.

One day a guy emailed and asked if he couldn't link it to his site. I said OK and never really thought twice about it. Then I lost my job and obviously quit writing sports columns. I was really good at my job, I won awards and the communities I served seemed to really like me. But a new boss came in ran off the assistant editor then fired the editor. He wanted to fire me too but he had to give me a raise but no one competent was left to get the paper out. A year later after I streamed lined things he fired me in order to give his buddy a job. The fact the quality and quantity of the paper suffered didn't make me feel better. In fact it depressed me how much was left unreported. To this day I don't like going out in some of these communities because people complain to me how the coverage has suffered. (Like I wanted to be fired) I took the settlement money and some unemployment and figured I would wait for the right job. That turned out to be harder than I thought so I restarted writing columns for practice. I had a job offer in Wisconsin but I turned it down because I had a bad vibe about the editor. I didn't want to be miserable again. I figured another job would come. That was two years ago.

It isn't like I have worked at all. I made good money for a while freelancing then the economy failed. Newspapers laid off tons of writers and every one and his brother became a sports blogger. I apply for at least two newspaper jobs every week. 98 percent of the time I don't even get a reply says we received your resume. I know most of the time they see OHIO and don't bother looking any further. I know this because my old gm did the same thing with out of state resumes. I used to also spend a lot of time on craigslist but 99 percent of those jobs are fake or wanting people to work for free. They claim they can get you clips but maybe over time they can pay you but then two months later the same posts are up again.

I have not taken great care with this blog. It is just my words. I don't fish for photos. I don't have links. Heck I barely proofread. I am sure every post is littered with errors. The whole basis has been to have an outlet. I have no idea how many visitors I get. In fact most of the time I believe no one is reading. Every once in a while I get an offer for an ad or for a link exchange but I have never acted on it. I am a writer not a business man. This blog was supposed to just be a placeholder. I never took it seriously. If you give me a beat -- I will work harder and longer than anyone. I hate losing. And that is (or was) the key to working at a paper -- if you hate losing enough you can outwork anyone. It doesn't matter if you cover city hall or high school sports or entertainment. You can always make one more phone call. And after a while when you win all the time people start calling you. But at least for me writing this blog has led to lazy habits. I quit researching. I don't have to confirm things. I barely proofread. I can just write whatever I want and that really isn't reporting. It is like playing around the world in your backyard by yourself rather than going to the playground to play full court with the neighborhood's best.

However the truth is it may be time to surrender the dream of working for a newspaper again. I believe I have talent but frankly you don't need talent to cover sports at a newspaper. We see evidence of that all the time.

So I wonder if I should kill the blog. I have no idea if anyone is reading. I can go weeks without comments. And since I haven't been taking seriously why should anyone else. But then every once in a while I get a comment from something I wrote a while back. I have done Internet searches and some of my columns/blogs have ended up in the weirdest places and on sites I have never heard of -- it is cool and scary at the same time how on the Internet you can be no one and everywhere at the same time.

I know there are a lot people out there making money --even if it is beer money-- with their sites. I am not that forward thinking. I would rather be a hired gun. I am willing to do whatever and out work anyone with a given task but trying to sort through what is and isn't a scam is deflating to me. If you are the real deal, contact me. This blog is my resume but you can search my name and find a ton of articles as well. Convince me of a purpose and I will deliver. Give me an assignment or an example of what you want and you will get it in a timely and professional manner.

So if anyone bothered to read this far -- my point is this -- over the next few weeks I am going to make a decision. Quit the dream and move on. Maybe alter the dream and try something new. But at least right now just writing for myself has become unfulfulling.