Nothing to Protest

The best two words any of us get to say or write each day are “Thank you.” Thank you to everyone who reads this website, even if this post is the first one by me that you have ever seen: Thank you.

Yesterday, this website was viewed for the 40,000th time in 2016. About one month ago, the number of views this website received surpassed the number of views it received in all of 2015. Just under 34,000 views in 2015, and more than 40,000 in 2016.

To me, these are huge numbers. And then I remember that last year I spoke with a professional writer who is breaking into digital journalism and he told me what writers at the most popular, eyeball-centric, websites get paid per visit: $1.00 per 1000 views among the more generous sites. (Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, the brand names.) This means that my good year by my standards would make for a bad day by their standards. I would have earned less than thirty-four bucks in all of 2015. Forty this year.

I spent more than $34 on this website last year and again this year. And then I remembered that I do this for free.

There is one other number, and it is one that means more to me than 33,997 and 40,000 combined: because I do not charge a subscription (and WordPress would not allow that anyway) and because this is a one-man operation (which is sometimes sadly obvious), 99.9% of the comments received are complimentary and direct and addressed to me personally. I strive to respond to each one, even if only with a thank you; I know I fail in that a lot of the time, however, and I will strive to do even better. Forty-thousand visits is nice, but this publication is so personal that I probably have seen the names of most of the 40,000 visitors.

I like to think of myself as a professional writer; in 2013, I built a platform out of nothing for myself, climbed on it, and started typing. No one on this planet was waiting to read what I had to write about anything at all. No one was holding their breath.

Being disabled and collecting a tiny-but-steady income means that I no longer need to do a few things:

1. Voluntarily send my résumé to some publication that I either admire or have never ever heard of in order to pursue a job that I almost certainly do not understand.

2. Spend the next few days hoping to be invited to be interviewed.

3. If invited to be interviewed, dress up or dress down (and almost always over-dress) for an encounter in which if nothing else, “first impressions are everything,” but when I am looking for a job, I do not make a good first (or second or third) impression.

4. At the interview, spend some time engaged in what tiny little bit I remember one ought to do to “positively visualize success”; thus, I “positively envision” (air quotes included) myself working with this staff for years and years to come, even imagine holiday parties at which I announce my impending nuptials to (I silently look around the office and at the faces I will most likely never see again except in my memories of another failed job interview experience) … her.

5. But, and this is a medium-sized “but,” at the same time, strive to keep my expectations in check and understand that I will probably never lay eyes on any of these people again, so I allow myself to imply out loud with my outdoors voice that I am considering and even being considered by other companies whose offices I have not yet seen from inside the front door. Was I keeping their expectations in check?

Needless to say, it’s a delicate dance, the attempt to land work, as intricate a social dance as any one might hear explained in nature documentaries. And I can’t dance.

So here I am, in pursuit of nothing at all, and I land in a world in which I get to be a part-time journalist who once or twice breaks news. It’s exactly the gadabout life I always wanted. How can I protest that?

The WordPress Daily Prompt for December 7 asks us to reflect on the word, “Protest.”

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  1. Martha Kennedy · December 7, 2016

    I understand. The reason the book marketing thing has driven me so crazy is, besides the expense, the fact that for so long I had to jump to someone else’s tune (bosses) AND teach, entertain and satisfy several hundred people every four months. There’s a little voice in me that says, “I don’t want to do this for anyone else any more. If they like it, I’m happy. If not, I don’t want to know.” 🙂


  2. loisajay · December 7, 2016

    Yay! Congratulations to you, Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ernie Miller · December 8, 2016

    What do they say? “Long time viewer, first time caller “. I guess I can only say that this once. Should I use it now, or save it? Well it is clear I chose to use it. Been reading your writings on and off for a few months now and rarely get to talk to you about them. In short I truly enjoy it. I am no dancer either but for different reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Itching for Hitching · December 8, 2016

    Congratulations and keep up the good work.


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