Okay… But Why?
The strangest thing happened to me this week.
As you might recall, I had written a blog last week about distinguishing between a ‘Career’ and a ‘Hobby’. It’s a decision I found myself continually making over the years (Dedicate the time it deserves or Be able to pay rent every month) and I felt almost compelled to write it after having several conversations that made me feel I was a skipping record.
Now, let me make a statement before I continue further. I don’t claim – nor have I ever claimed – to be an expert or a master at this. Rather, I am striving to become an uncontested Professional and I am merely giving my opinion (or regurgitating what I’ve learned) along the way. I feel I’ve made this rather clear in previous posts and I will maintain this mentality most likely throughout the rest of my life. There is always room for improvement. We can always learn more. Trends constantly change – what worked even just 5 years ago does not work now. Although there are some rules that hold true, of course. This is why, in every post where I discuss “the steps” to become a Voice Over Talent, I state “Get a Coach.” I do not say “Hire Me to teach you.”
No one has made that claim but I wanted to clarify where I stand because of… you guessed it, the strange thing that happened!
People read my post!
Not just read it, but shared it on Twitter and ‘liked’ it and ‘liked’ the shared posts. Granted, we’re talking maybe a literal dozen people. But considering I usually only get 3 or 4, it understandably surprised me! (Update: it’s actually closer to 200 views 😉 ).
It was this realization that hit me. Why am I so surprised that someone actually read my blog? And that led me to the point of this week’s post – why did I even start this blog?
Two Reasons: (1) I was told to. (2) For Myself.
(1) When I was in college, my “senior seminar” had me create a website for myself. If you’ll remember, I majored in Performing Arts as it was my dream to be an Actor (still is, I just changed mediums!). “Anyone who’s Anything has their own Website” – it’s just what you do.
When I first started studying the art of voice over, I was told to start a blog. More than once, by different people. And it wasn’t a one-on-one, heartfelt conversation where they said “wow, your story is so unique and inspiring, you should write about it!” It was a generic, “whoever reads this article / book or watches this seminar – start a blog!” Want to network and market your brand? Gotta have a blog, dude! (That and an email newsletter. I still don’t understand what I’m supposed to put in that; an updated CV? Do people actually care that much? Keep an eye out for that blog once I figure out the answer 😉 ).
The question then became, what do I write about? At this point, I was literally just starting out – I’d gone through 2-3 months of solid training and had my first demo produced. I joined a Pay-2-Play site and was spamming my demo out to agencies. Energized but Green; Excited but Novice. What could I possibly add to the conversation?
(2) Which led me to the second reason I started this blog. If you go back to the beginning (I realize it’s not the easiest thing to do in this format) you see that I very literally summarize what I’ve been up to. Almost a “public diary”, if you will. I leave the subject matter to voice over (or at least ‘job’ and ‘dream’ related) but I am candid in what I’m doing, what I’m learning, and where I’m going with it all.
I found it fascinating, in a social experiment sort of way, to catalog my perspective. At any point in time, I could go back and read and try to remember what I was really saying between the lines or what project I was working on and where it ended up (most of these have a very unfortunate answer, sadly).
At a certain point, I began writing solely for myself. Almost to my ‘future self’; as if someone were reading an autobiography that very desperately needed to have an Editor clean up the clutter. It’s oddly intimate, in a way. I make it a point in life to never say (especially in writing) anything that I would regret someone hearing later. True, our understanding of things change and I may not now agree with what I’ve said in the past but I hope I can honestly say I don’t regret saying anything. Still, to put my doubts and insecurities so openly out there is both terrifying and freeing. In a world where we photoshop our memories and only show that which colors us in the most desirable light, it’s alien to be so… honest.
And I don’t say this to “toot my own horn”; I’m actually critiquing my work. Or my decision. Really, any choice we make is open to interpretation and criticism. Am I hitting the ground too hard with the “Voice of Fairy Tales” shtick, is my headshot too unique that it’s off-putting to some? I’m sure some would agree.
If there’s one thing I am a master at, it’s over-thinking things!
The blog began to change a little. I stopped updating so regularly, in truth because the ‘real world’ had crept in and I simply wasn’t doing anything with my craft. My dream career became a hobby, a throbbing ache I couldn’t escape but didn’t attempt to nurture. What could I possibly have to write about? Perhaps those times were when I should have written, instead of glossing over the lulls. I feel those are perhaps the most relatable times in my journey, if we are being honest with ourselves. How many artists have fallen into the hole of self doubt? How many of them only discuss it as an afterthought? Sort of like mental illness, it’s swept under the rug and ignored.
I ‘woke up’, if you will. I realized what I had written could be read by potential clients and what on earth was I telling them!? They want to know that I am successful and highly desirable and not at all lacking in any way. Surely, this is not the content they had in mind when they advised me to start a blog!
So, I tweaked my format a bit and started writing an “advice” column. I like helping others and while I may not have all the answers, I have spent a long time studying the craft.
Truth be told, I’m still working on what this blog really is; I think it’s pretty obvious and is probably why I don’t have any sort of a following. But I’m trying to make it useful, or at the very least, enjoyable.
I suppose only time will tell.