Good day and thank you to all my fellow blog readers. Today marks the one year anniversary of this blog, and as such I would like to take the time to review where this blog has been, where it’s at now, and where it’s going.
(Please be seated.)
Many long time readers of this blog are under the impression that I started it to document my disastrous and short-lived experience teaching English in Korea, but that is not entirely true.
The original reason I purchased a domain name and started a blog was because I had visions of serializing the chapters of my fiction; in other words, posting a chapter of an ongoing story every week with readers being able to comment on it, funneling in traffic from a very popular website called wattpad.com to build a base readership and then self-publishing chapter collections on amazon.com.
While it sounded like a good idea at the time, I eventually gave up on it and never published a single chapter. But I still had the website and domain name. So, what to do with it?
(“There’s always money in GAH-bage! Why not blog about trash, ya mutt?”)
For a while I just held onto the domain name and empty blog, but then one day I visited the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan for the first time, and liked it so much that I gushed about it to a friend over the phone. After we hung up, I realized that everything I said would make an excellent blog post, so my very first post 8 Tips for Anyone’s First Trip to the Strand Bookstore was born.
At my core, I’m someone who enjoys making things. There’s something about visualizing something in my mind and bringing a polished version of it into reality that’s really fulfilling to me personally. That’s why one of my favorite jobs was my first: decorating cakes in my father’s bakery. Even though the cakes were sold and consumed, never to be seen again, there was a pride in seeing a customer’s reaction upon seeing my handiwork.
(One of my favorite cartoons to draw was a macaw, but since I don’t have pictures of the cakes I did, just look at this realistic one and imagine it in cake form.)
And the same applied to blogging. This March 2nd will be NINE years I’ve been writing fiction, which is nice, but a year ago today I had far less experience writing non-fiction, ie blogging and essays, so it was a totally different change of pace for me. Especially since it was just me experimenting with pictures and words and captions for the public to see.
But I enjoyed the creative process, kicking off with that first blog post, so I stuck with it, and latched onto the most prominent issue in my then life, which was preparing for my trip to teach in another country.
Once again I had a grand vision: a weekly blog featuring my thoughts on teaching and living in a VERY different country along with exotic pictures, so I started blogging about the process, such as obtaining a visa and being interviewed for the position, all leading up to my departure.
(And of course, visions of quality time with the locals.)
But what awaited me on the opposite side of the world was a living nightmare: a falling apart school with no training program whatsoever, an insensitive and racist staff, and a harrowing environment that forced me to flee the country.
For many months afterwards I had flashbacks of the horrors I had escaped, and believe me when I say that it was an experience that gave me a lot of perspective. Although incredibly painful, my failed trip changed me at a fundamental level—permanently.
And then I was back home, which not everyone in my life was thrilled about. See, people in Staten Island work hard, and they take a lot of pride in working hard. So when I arrived back after only two weeks abroad (and after so much build-up!) there were a handful who were dismissive, wondering why I wasn’t doing my part by being a contributing member of society.
Not that I’m calling Korea society.
Anyway. So I was back, my bank account sore after having been pillaged by the swashbuckling pirates of CIEE, the agency that brokered my teaching employment, only to deliver NONE of the services they promised and not bothering to recover any of the wages I EARNED during my two weeks at the Korean school. While that wound was indeed tender, I now had to deal with the anxiety of finding a job, kind of like a POW who escaped back to civilian life.
(“Joseph-teacher, come back to us! You left without finishing your seaweed-flavored Kit Kat bars! And your Jolly Pong cereal is getting soggy, too!”)
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but either way I was 27 years old and in a difficult position. Back in the land of the free, but still in a difficult position. Luckily, I landed a temp job through a relative, in Staten Island, working long hours, and switched the blog to a bi-weekly schedule.
This changed the nature of the blog, shifting away from updates on my teaching adventure to topical essays, ranging from working in Staten Island to going into a mental autopilot mode to book reviews. But the side effect of this new format was length. Posts were now taking days to write and edit on top of the HOURS spent searching the internet for the right pictures to insert into posts.
Compounding this was all the time I was pouring into my currently unpublished novel so when I started a steadier full-time job, I was so over scheduled that I put the blog on hold for the summer, choosing instead to focus on completing the best novel I could, which my editor is quite pleased with so far.
So the summer came and went, and I debated where the blog should head from now on. I enjoyed doing it, and still do, but how do I go about it? How long should the posts be? Should there still be pictures with silly captions? What should my main goal be?
(I kept going until the questions got weird.)
Somewhere on the Internet I found an article saying that, while a weekly post is ideal, more than an hour or so a day is overkill. The point resonated with me: a little content weekly is better than no content ever or a MASSIVE post every once in a while. After all, the word “blog” is a combo of the words “web log” and that’s what it’s supposed to be: a log of your doings on the web.
So with a year of experimentation is behind me, I look to the future, as I always have, so now I will briefly lay out some of what to expect in the next year, and I’ll employ another list in the interest of brevity.
- A chronicle of my manuscript’s journey. Whether I wind up getting my novel published or not, I will be sure to document the experience and lessons learned.
- My escape from New York. I’ve wanted to leave Staten Island ever since I was 17, and it was only in the last year or so that I realized that what I really want is to leave the state for the West. More to come on that. And finally:
- The blog itself. Sometime in 2016 I plan on improving / streamlining seegitzwrites.com, hiring a professional for help. What changes those will be, I don’t know yet, but I see lots of cool things that other blogs do that I’d like to incorporate, but simply don’t know how and am not ready to yet; for now, I’m keeping the blog simple.
(Who knows what the future will hold…)
Thank you for your time my fellow readers, and God Bless the United States of America.
And Canada. I get a lot of Canadian traffic so God Bless Canada too.
J. F. Seegitz
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