A former friend introduced me to Craig Mod’s Ridgeline, a fascinating little newsletter about Japan, long walks, and writing, in random order. I say former friend because no true friend would introduce me to such an addictive source of writing knowing the demands of my work schedule lately. But I kid.
I envied Mr. Mod’s (does that sound weird? Yet I don’t feel I know him well enough to address him on a first name basis) ability to write such succinctly interesting pieces on a regular weekly basis. I go for months without writing in my blog, and when I do, it all spews forth as if I had been holding it in…for months. It seems that I lack discipline at both ends: to write consistently and to write with constraint.
And yet writing here is as necessary as sleeping and eating. I write travel essays for a living, dozens of them every year. In a few months, I’ll have been doing it for four years straight, and I’ll admit, the special (read: annoyingly idiotic) demands of SEO writing have taken their toll on my personal voice, contorting my words into clickbait clichés that I’m sometimes ashamed to sign my name to. So I have to retreat here to write for my sanity, for my voice, to keep whatever is left of me from disappearing completely in the all-consuming mass of digital marketing.
I have a dream job. That’s what everyone keeps telling me. I travel for a living, all expenses paid, and make a few shillings on top of that. But therein lies the problem, having a dream job. When you have a dream job, you forfeit any right to complain about it, even if you experience the same office politics, unreasonable demands, and incompetence as anyone else who has ever worked for or with anyone else has. Even on the road, I deal with rainy days that weren’t supposed to be rainy days, unique experiences that aren’t unique, failure to communicate. But it’s a dream job, so I can’t complain. Except here, in vague terms.
So I came here tonight to write, to find the voice I’ve lost in SEO-optimized ad
crappy copy, to hopefully start something new: a discipline of writing regularly about things that I can’t, or won’t, write about for my job. And I won’t think about the minimum number of words for Google search rankings, or asking questions to the audience to increase engagement, or even posting a pretty featured image to get you to click on the link.
Well, maybe I’ll do that one.