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Friday, September 11, 2009

Blogging for Your Supper: It's Harder than it Looks!

Weeks ago I began this blog after numerous trials and tribulations that span about a decade. For years, my mother and spouse had encouraged me to write a book or two about a variety of topics, or regarding the various creative ideas that I've had. Although I always knew that I could do it, I could never justify spending the time, while we struggled, while working at low-paying temp jobs to keep our fledgling start-up data firm afloat from our living room. A few years, and several blows to our egos later, my husband found appropriate employment for someone with his/our level(s) of student-loan debt, and I quit my temp job.

We commuted for a while, and later moved to the state where he'd become employed, and suddenly, I had all of the time in the world to write. I began to write fiction, most of which is now stuck on the hard-drive my old laptop, which literally is in pieces. (I knocked it over a couple times.... I used to have to hold the screen up with one hand, while I typed with the other.... That makes for pretty good practice actually.)

Ultimately, with some cash in the bank, we determined to treat ourselves to a "normal" life, chocked full of every-other-week date nights. (In fact, I naively thought that we' invented them.) So, the night before I began this blog, we went to see "Julia, and Julia" ... you know.. the movie, about the book, about the non-fiction story of a blogger, who was discovered online, after she attempted to cook all of the recipes in a Julia Childs' cookbook. (Whew, didn't think I'd get through all of that). Long story short, after listening to the incessant cajoling of my loved ones, and watching my this movie I was inspired to begin this blog.

So, what does all of that have to do with the link above?...
Well, you may recall that this is a blog about work, and our frustrations about work. My number one frustration has been my inability to locate it. Hence, this blog, has served as my attempt to employ myself, which is why I was so struck by the afore-linked article regarding Brianna Karp, the homeless blogger, who scored an internship with Elle magazine vis a vis her blogscapedes, but who still seeks full-time employment.

When Brianna's story blasted over the air waves yesterday, I was shocked that her story reminded me of my own. Now, to be clear, I was not homeless... just jobless. However, my spouse and I had suffered the backlash and disdain from friends and family members usually reserved for lepers and the unemployed, or underemployed. (We were so broke that when our two lawn-mowers died, and gas prices shot through the roof, we couldn't afford to keep our grass cut; that drove our neighbors nuts. We could barely update the tags on the 25-year-old, rusted-through gas guzzler in our yard. For the past two winters in a row, we had no heat. During the first of those two winters we telecommuted for our old scallywag venture capitalist-esque boss from the tundra of our living room, huddled in blankets, barely able to move, until desperation sent one or the other of us on a trek to the kitchen or bathroom. When temp, and project work dried-up, we hocked our treasured, albeit modest, possessions on Ebay in order to survive. We too relied on countless free Wi-fi spots to get up and running on the Internet, during times when we could scrape together enough coins for a cup of coffee, but not enough to pay that month's internet bill. Yet, somehow, under worse conditions than we endured, Brianna, and all of the homeless bloggers like her have persevered to admirable degrees.

I drafted much of this blog post about a week or two ago. At that time, it was not at all about Brianna; it was (and is) about my own trials. Duly cautious and feeling vulnerable about detailing hardship in such a forum, I shelved it. Still, despite my trepidation to be candid publicly, I ventured that it might be ok to discuss it, after hearing Brianna's story. This is a defining juncture; I am a jobless blogger, with no references of which to speak, trying each day to teach myself about a phenomenon that I used to despise: social networking. A rugged self-actualizing product of a lower-middle-class single parent, I don't relish relying on others. However, blogging for your supper necessitates codependence, a modicum of hope, and a leap of faith from as yet undetermined heights.

Regardless, I enjoy learning new things, so blogging was just the challenge I needed to jolt me out of the doldrums of big city unemployment... AND A CHALLENGE IT IS! Therefore, significant credit must be given to homeless bloggers, and novices who, overcome all of the learning curves, and knowledge hurdles that exist for non-developers. Further, there are plenty of unseen challenges to making it--even in the blogosphere--including:

1) Creating a dynamic, interactive, aesthetically pleasing portal.

2) Drafting, and finalizing interesting new content;

3) Trouble-shooting technical glitches;

4) Continuously updating your site with fresh original content;

5) Using rss/atom appropriately, to drive relevant content to and from your site.

6) Using other sharing tools effectively to help others disseminate your content.

7) Exploring new "widgets"/"gadgets" to make your site uniquely interactive, and helpful.

8) Learning about and applying to legit ad affiliate programs for sponsorship of your site.

9) Adjusting blog content to adhere to Rules and Regulations of said programs.

10) Publicizing/Driving Traffic to your site variously, by: word of mouth; flyers; social networking sites (e.g., MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, IGoogle/Google Community Pages, Yahoo Buzz!, Craigslist etc.), one blog/email/text/chat/ video-stream at time--all for free--or, by Google AdWords; Yahoo Small Business Solutions; or, Newswire/PR services--for a fee.

In short, "[Bloggin'] ain't easy."

I navigate all of this Blog-Fog* from the comfort of a tiny, overpriced apartment, hoping to make a living at it, setting aside the culturally-engrained urge and guilt to pursue traditional employment, so called, “real work” 24/7, to the exclusion of a calling, while enjoying the support of a recently employed spouse; how in the heck did Brianna and Matt** do it while homeless??? Nice job guys!!!
* I was going to try to coin this term, but out of an abundance of caution, I ran a Yahoo search, and found that it is already in use! Can you believe that cra_? @!#$%@$#!
**Matt Barnes, is a homeless blogger, and Brianna's recent Beau. You have to read the article. Here's another link to their story: Matt & Bri's "Homeless but not Hopeless" Tale.

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A Jab At Work Poetry (Poetry about Work)

“Work” by AJA-B, 08/30/09

The life I live is full of Joy,
But fool of sadness have I been,
If rumblings uttered prove us coy,
Then, truth be told both where, and when,
Was once a pair that teetered then,
O’er brinks or hills,
That they could scarce,
Find liquid, bars of salt, but bills,
And toil, though notice paid none dare’st,
To sweat, and pack, and tape, and wrap,
To call, and quest, rebuffed for cost,
To drive five states, and back, for gas
Traverse, from here to there to drink,
While aching back, and sweat-soaked shirt,
Proved naught the laborers’ worth, but stink,
And why should hecklers, wreckers blurt,
And hurl insults until they hurt,
While hypocrites sit conditioned in,
Till out a pair sent all they’d earned,
To others seeking extra, win,
‘gainst those that taught themselves, and learned,
Volumes, nearly choked and burned,
As plumes of hate, and stacks of smoke,
Sparked flames, which brinksmanship, did stoke,
Hellacious fires that GOD awoke,
& Smote the devils’ flames whose’ fire,
Could not the heights of clouds aspire,
& Up the pair in now a shell,
found seeds to plant that vines did swell,
Fat, filling, fruit and tasty cheer,
Revealing teeth, “from ear to ear,”
Now brimming, happily forgiving, hope,
Refilling cranial stores to find,
Surviving, counts for little more than sustaining life, and wasting time.

Digressing now though more is there,
I advise you work, but ne’er care,
Hard work, and success are not the same,
But without the first you’ll reap the blame,
For being weak, and seeming lame,
To end I wish you all the best,
Catharsis exhausts, I needs must rest,
Good luck, “You’re hired” I hope you’ll find,
To ease your cares, and soothe your mind.

© 2009 AJA-B

A Jab at Work Survey

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