I recently read a blogpost by Tony Kim (https://crazy4comiccon.wordpress.com/) that struck like lightening and finally gave me the desperately needed clarity I had been unknowingly seeking.
You see, for months now I’ve wanted to start a blog. (late to the game, I know). But each time I have struggled from the get-go. I don’t have the expectation to be the next hit on social media, but I want a place for my thoughts and opinions that would hopefully add some value to the tremendous amount of online content. I knew what I wanted the basic focus to be, and there are a million ideas and opinions zooming around in my head, but when I would write it just didn’t feel right. Start, write a few good paragraphs, dither, quit, begin again. That’s been the unending cycle. It was starting to get me down.
That was, until this simple yet glorious post came across one of my feeds, in which Tony outlines his 5 core blogging values: create a unique interaction, focus on your distinction, inspire a tribe, develop a deep domain knowledge, and be good at it.
It was serendipity.
What am I doing that differentiates me from the hundreds of other geekcentric blogs on the Web? How can I inspire a tribe who cares about what I have to say?
Looking back, it was so simple. It all comes down to where and how I live.
The Midwest. A good-sized town in Indiana where you can go a mile in any direction from any point and you’re guaranteed to see a corn or bean field.
Just to give you an idea, the nearest metropolitan city is Indianapolis and it’s just over an hour’s drive, while Chicago, Louisville, St. Louis and Cincinnati are three hours.
This might sound awful to some but me its home and it’s wonderful.
This is the place where I live a relatively stable and comfortable life, supported by a career in wealth management that I love. But there is definitely no surplus of dollars in my bank account. I have to pick and choose the trips I take or the things I want to do; even then it can be a struggle if it happens at all. On a simpler level, between work, family, and other commitments, I’m unable to devote as much time as I would like to my geeky pursuits.
Here is where a disconnect is sometimes felt between myself and other bloggers.
On one side, the permeation of geek culture where I live. My city is not the smallest or the most rural, but its roots are in farming and manufacturing, and change is slow to happen. As it was mentioned before, it’s an hour drive to the nearest big city, so some planning is needed to attend events. You do feel like you’re missing out sometimes but you become resourceful and make up for it in other ways. You also learn to pick and choose what is most important to experience at the time as con and travelling costs can be downright outrageous. There are times you just have to miss out because you can’t make it work.
On the other side, the time commitment it can take to make an impact. I am by no means a casual geek. Beyond work and family, it is what consumes my time and energy. But even then I cannot contend with those who have made it their main focus (nor I am I trying to).
I am not diminishing the work and effort they have put forth to get where they are; they are hardworking and talented people whose collective geek knowledge is astounding. And through that they are able to do what they do. Whether it’s moderating a dedicated fan account or a full-time writing gig, I give kudos to the people that are able to preserve and maintain the intergrity of those accounts or sites; it is not an easy thing to do. It’s one of the main worries I have about my own endeavor here.
There are no qualms with saying that there are days I’m envious of that, especially when there are so many amazing movies and events happening right now. I mean, who wouldn’t want to research and post and talk about the things they love most all the time? Yet, whether by timing, providence, skill, or some other mystical force, I am left to eke an out an existence for myself little by little, hoping that I have added value to geek culture.
That being said, living where I do combined with the experiences I’ve had, leaves me hoping that I can offer up different opinions and commentaries. I’m not saying my words or views are completely novel, but I wholeheartedly believe that your environs affect your perceptions just as much as your social background does. And I feel that small town Midwestern is definitely underrepresented.
So I’m happily making do with I have and appreciating the chances I get; I take nothing for granted. I also fully realize that my situation is neither the most isolated nor the most beleaguered. But it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or where you’re from, it’s always nice to have a voice and express yourself. And I’m putting myself out there to hopefully resonate and connect with other nerds and geeks.
So here I go!