Back in January 26th, 2009 I got side tracked. I was a book writer and a working photographer. The economy had just ground to a halt and I had time on my hands so I started writing this blog. I'm not sure what I intended to say, what the long term goal was or what I thought I would get out of the practice.
To date I've written over 720 entries; some bad and some good. Some popular (the gear reviews), some contentious (anything about the death of the commercial photo industry), and some largely ignored (the ones about inspiration, art for arts sake, personal growth and inquiries into what propels and sustains us).
I've been lifted up by a dedicated core of readers who like my style and what I've written and I've had days when I wanted reach through the web and throttle the hit-and-run, anonymous posters who can be insulting and belittling. A fair tradeoff given that no one signed a contract, no one has expectations and people can sign on and off at any time.
I know I could "monetize" the blog and make some money from the content but that's not really what I had in mind when I started.
Yesterday I posted a piece about the Olympus EPM1 camera (which I liked) and, mixed in with genuine responses was a post by someone who liked the photos of an attractive woman but felt that the rest of the blog was of little value. His/her comment really bothered me. In the age of free content I guess we need thick skins but it made me step back and really think about how I was spending my time.
I should have been on the phone continuing to make calls to prospective clients. I should have been working on the two book projects I have in front of me. I should have been swimming or running. But instead I was writing a piece about a $499 camera that will be obsolete in a few months and lost to nearly everyone's memory in a year.
Sure, there's an ego reward that goes along with putting out a blog. On a good day we'll have 12,000 pageviews of the material here. My name recognition among photographers is currently strong. If I liked doing workshops that would be a good thing. If I had products to sell to other photographers that would be a good thing. But the time spent here is time stolen from things that are more important for me.
We had a good run. Now I'm turning my attention back to where it should have been all along: How to re-invent what I do to make it fun and sustaining for my family.
I'm done spending time creating content for free. It's a great way to make friends I never get to meet. Putting something out to the public is a two edged sword. Some people love it and some people will argue with anything.
I'm keeping the VSL blog site open because people seem to be coming more and more to also read the older articles I've written. I intend to drop by from time to time to toss in something I think is important but the era of daily posts, equipment reviews and the wide open embrace of anonymous barbs and arrows has come to an end.
Thanks for reading. Thanks responding. Now get up off the damn couch and go shoot.