After long deliberation and some preparation, I launched Midlife Crisis Crossover on April 28, 2012, with “The Train Job“, my satirical plan to unite all the incongruous neighborhoods of Indianapolis with a haphazard subway plan that would still be more functional than the marginal mass-transit options of our reality. With that entry serving as my ribbon-cutting ceremony, I committed myself to creating one new piece every day for as long I could keep finding reasons to write and ways to test myself. If I were ever to be serious about finding a purpose for this alleged writing talent, then I needed to knuckle down and see if I could activate it on a regular basis without waiting for other Internet users to provoke or co-opt it.
I expected to crash and burn with a month. Six months later, I haven’t missed a day yet. A review of my schedule looks odd because most entries weren’t completed till after midnight, while a few others have been, so some days appear to have zero posts while others have two. One mysterious post deletion has been addressed in previous entries, but I’ve more than compensated for it with a few days of short bonus entries here and there. I’m surprised that I’ve yet to surrender and skip an entire day. When we were out of town on vacation, I posted from the road through the magic of hotel wi-fi. If we were away from home and computer all day long, then the wee hours of dusk were my background accompaniment at the keyboard. When I was under the weather or severely pressed for time on a few occasions, I pushed through anyway. Admittedly, some nights went more sleeplessly than others. I credit a mixture of saved brainstorming lists, steady stimuli, disdain for sleeping, a strong preference for not failing, and at least a dollop of God’s grace. Possibly a colossal dollop. My wife’s loving support and occasionally tested patience haven’t hurt, either.
I’m sure the results feel discordant at times. Instead of taking the simpler approach to blogging success through a singular topical focus, MCC has developed into one part travelogue, one part entertainment, one part introspection, and one part random whim. That’s a lot of parts to snap together and few readers enjoy every part, but I like to think of the end result as three or more weekly blogs sharing the same creative space. Twice-weekly, even. That’s a better deal than many one-man shows offer.
Some days are more discouraging than others. As I fully expected, the regular audience includes very few family and friends. For some reason trying to attract the attention of people I know is like pulling teeth. Unfortunately I’m not a trained dentist and I have little joy or patience for yanking firmly entrenched objects out of sockets. Ultimately I’ve found that input from strangers can be more inspirational to me than cold silence from loved ones. (“A prophet in his own land” and all that, one supposes, except “prophet” should humbly be replaced by “Internet typist” or whatever.) For those of you who’ve ever stopped by here more than once, I’m enormously grateful for your time, reading, presence, feedback, and lack of coming at me with pitchforks and torches.
Every day I face the never-ending question of how much longer I can keep this up without crashing and burning. If I hold steady and err on the side of optimism, I might even have to consider treating this like a real live website and exercising a few options to see what kind of new steps I can take to improve MCC quality of life. Many tools and opportunities are available to the WordPress user at large, or to bloggers in general. I’ve many questions to consider:
* Would a promotional Facebook page be worth it? Several of the blogs I follow have one of these, in varying sizes and traffic levels. If people find it a more effective communication tool than email notifications or aggregating services, it’s something to consider. It could also be a fun cross-promotional toy, and might be more conducive for back-and-forth conversation than the average Comments section. On the other hand, if only four people Like it, I’ll cry.
* Should I buy the URL? The WordPress option to upgrade from “midlifecrisiscrossover.wordpress.com” to “midlifecrisiscrossover.com” is within my price range. Is it worth it? Will this improve my search rankings? Will I look something closer to respectable? Will companies begin sending me products to test and tickets to upper-class dinner parties? I know it opens up a very, very, very, very slight revenue opportunity through WordPress. Otherwise, I remain unsold and insufficiently solicited.
* How hard should I try to nab another “Freshly Pressed” spot? One of the most hyperactive times in this site’s history occurred over Labor Day weekend, when WordPress.com featured one of my posts on their “Freshly Pressed” main page for all users to see for a day or two. It remains my most-Liked, most-commented entry to date by a ludicrous margin, and my second-highest day ever for site traffic. There’s no surefire formula for second-guessing one’s way into one of those coveted slots, but part of me wonders if I’m just not trying hard enough to discover said formula. If filmmakers can go out of their way to keep churning out important Oscar-bait films by the truckload every single year, why can’t I apply the same principles here? Other than the fact that I have a hard time thinking that way every day? (Accentuating the “faith” part of my tagline is challenging enough for me, but I’m afraid I’d self-destruct if I tried acting like a Wise Man every single day.)
* Are blogging aggregator and measurement services worth it? Numerous websites offer ways for bloggers to submit their sites for inclusion in a lengthy list or slideshow to show off to visitors. results. Sadly, I’ve yet to discover a blog aggregator service with the means to turn me into an overnight sensation. When it comes to performance measurement, so far I’ve become a fan of Google Webmaster Tools (which provides more detailed info than the WordPress dashboard, but on a one-month time delay), Alexa (who doesn’t love ranking all websites ever?), and Technorati (narrower focus on just blog rankings). There may be more, but those three are so fun that I’ve held off on pursuing others.
* Soooooo, how about writing a book of some kind? That would be neat if I had an idea in mind that deserved to be sustained for more than two thousand words, without requiring photos laden with copyrighted content. We’ll see. I can continue dreaming.
* Should I pay to advertise my site? Ha ha ha ha ha no. As long as MCC remains my part-time non-paying second job, I don’t see that in the cards. Thanks anyway, Facebook.
…or I could set all that aside and just keep doing what I’m doing. I’m itching to see what else can be done with this place, but not at the expense of the content itself. As long as I keep enjoying what I’m doing, and as long as I’m not just talking to a brick wall, I like to think I’ll be fine and the rest will fall in place when the time is right or the whim strikes.
Until that happens and I either break something or ruin everything…thanks for reading.