First off, I have officially decided to move my daily blog to Mondays and Thursdays. I still want to blog twice each week. I don’t want to write on Sundays regularly. That time is being set aside for my family.
Second, I have rebranded my website. When I began the process of creating a website, I was stumbling in the dark. I reached out only as far as I was comfortable. I’ve branched out a bit farther now. As a result, I am branding the website as The World According to Chris. I’ve changed the tagline to reflect this broader direction. With my original focus solely on fiction, I decided it was time to highlight the social commentary piece as my writing’s main emphasis, be it through imagination, articles, or blogging.
All of this came about because I have spent the last few days taking stock. We used to call this self-reflection. I don’t think many people use that term anymore. I created the website on November 30th of last year. I’d never done anything like it. A few days later, I wrote my first blog post. A few of you have been here from the beginning. You have my thanks. I picked up the rest of you somewhere along the way. You have my thanks too.
As I think about taking stock, a year ago today was the day I decided to quit drinking. I’m not big on anniversaries outside of my wedding anniversary. I’m more of a birthday guy as I typically can’t wait to spoil my loved ones with gifts before their actual birthday arrives. Anyway, this particular anniversary is unique because I can recall where I was emotionally and psychologically at the time.
My novel had stalled out. I wrote several of the opening chapters. COVID hit and paused everything. I knew I would need to rewrite and rethink the direction of the story with the pandemic unfolding.
Fast-forward to November of 2020, and I finished my novel, publishing it right around Thanksgiving. I learned I would need a website. I then realized I should blog if I wanted people to start to consider reading my work. That portion of the story takes you up to where I left off a few paragraphs ago.
I discovered through blogging that I enjoy writing social commentary articles. Some of them may have to do with specific political issues that are near to my heart. The truth is that each is a comment on society through my eyes. I can write shorter pieces on topics that confront us without the need for fictionalizing a more universal storyline. This thinking helped me to confine the universal truths I want to discuss to the realm of fiction. It also helped me find an outlet for smaller truths that need examination.
I’ve spoken many times about blessed in my life. I recognize the bounty God has given me. I am ever grateful for the many blessings I have never earned. One of those blessings is my entry into the competitive world of published articles. I’m not paid for any of my work at this time. Perhaps, that will come in time. For now, I’m being paid in lessons learned, both good and bad.
Most of the people I’ve met in the professional writing world are terrific people. Regardless of their worldview or politics, I can see that they are likable and worthy of the respect they’ve earned. At the same time, I’ve come across a couple of people I don’t much care for. I would never air any dirty laundry in public, so don’t expect any name-dropping or details. Instead, I have chosen to take these experiences as boundaries I am uncomfortable with. As such, I am constructing a mental file of how not to act and how not to write.
I wrestled with my reaction to the experiences in question for a week or two. It informed my decision to rebrand on the website. Specifically, it informed the tagline I crafted for The World According to Chris. For the record, the new tagline is I’d much rather be considered a failure who stood for something than lose myself in success. I write about us and who we are.
Whether it is through fiction or articles, I won’t cross certain boundaries. Specifically, I don’t have any interest in writing salacious stories. They are mindless. They debase any writer worth their salt. Additionally, I am not interested in borderline gossip news that generates clicks. While not as vapid as salacious and trite tabloids, I don’t want to waste the gift God gave me on Tiger Woods’ latest run-in with the law unless there is some social commentary to be found on it.
I’ve flirted with this boundary. I recognize that I entered into the agreement to do so voluntarily. I work with writing platforms that need views. It’s a simple question of economics for them. I was asked to come up with stories that fit this profile to increase views.
I don’t judge the platform, the proprietor, the writers that are comfortable with that sort of reporting, or anything associated with it beyond seeing it as low information. At the same time, I freely admit it draws in views. It is the fodder that keeps the grinders turning.
My thinking—again, I’ve been taking stock for a while now—is that writers can get typecast in the same way actors or other performers do. (If you read a piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I shared my view that writing should be considered a performing art.) I mean no disrespect to any writer who chooses to write tabloid material. There is a massive market demand for it. Entire industries have built empires on the fabric. I don’t want to work in that industry.
Again, I am grateful to the people who gave me opportunities throughout my life. I wish to thank those who gave me opportunities to write for the public. Suppose I have a professional disagreement about content and direction. In that case, I can still respect and admire the person I disagree with. It’s performance art, so it is subjective. On top of that, people have bills to pay. It would be foolish to walk away from revenue streams that pay those bills.
Ultimately, as I project where I want to go with my writing, I am thankful for the places it has already taken me. Some of the places I’ve gone to have been fantastic. I’ll definitely revisit them. Some of the places just aren’t for me. I doubt I return to that style of writing, though I try to avoid saying never. I’m thankful for the journey and the people I’ve met along the way.
I look forward to where the next year of writing may lead.
As always, this has been the World According to Chris. Please hit the like button or leave a reply.