I’ve learned that no one cares about what I have to say about cars, or anything else for that matter.
No, I’m just joking. Of course people care. I highly appreciate the four regular readers who routinely read my writing only to point out flaws in my observations or say things. Things like, “You are a gay minivan.”
Here is the original Jalopnik comment:
I have toiled on my site, http://torqueaffair.com, for a little over two years now with almost no one reading it except for the minivan commenter. The effort to reward ratio is almost zero.
During this time I’ve learned a few things which I thought I’d share with you. At this point, I understand if you need to go read something else instead, like “how to mentally prepare yourself for a Kanye West presidency in 2020.”
However, if you have any desire in starting a car blog of your own or starting anything, then you might find what I have to say somewhat interesting, but probably not as captivating as the latest Republican debates. How could you possibly pass up watching old men bickering at each other saying stuff like: “You should go scrub toilets” or “Your face looks like a burnt tortilla chip”
I have always loved cars, and realized that it was perhaps time to start doing something about that passion. I thought I’d initially get people together and go driving, but then I realized I knew so few car enthusiasts at the time that it was virtually impossible to sync up our schedules to meet up and drive. Also, I owned a Mustang at the time and it took me a while to realize that the only people who were fans of the car were high school teenage girls and street racers. Auto enthusiasts took one look at my car, glared at me in utter disapproval and then immediately walked away.
So, I decided to start writing. I was so naive and clueless at first. I thought…well, if I just create weekly posts, surely I would steadily gain followers and subscribers. It shouldn’t be that hard.
Not only is it hard to gain followers of any kind, it’s actually easier to lose followers. And every time you lose a follower or a subscriber, it’s like getting punched in face.
Lesson #1: It will probably be harder than you think
Wise folks have always said “if it’s worth doing, it will be hard”. To that I say “why can’t it be easy?” I would love to create a few posts, have them go viral and then automatically gain millions of followers! But, alas, that’s not how it works. The truth is that it takes a lot of work. Just like anything else, even something seemingly straightforward like a car blog, takes grinding away at it and putting in tons of effort.
But the fact that it takes time to build a following is not a bad thing because when I go back and look at some of my first posts, they were embarrassingly bad. Enough to where I should probably delete them. My latest ones are still bad but not where I have to look away in shame and hide in the bushes.
Lesson #2: Creativity is hard
It’s relatively easy to come up with a few article ideas and write about them. But to do so consistently over a long period of time is not that easy. If I was solving a specific problem or focused on a specific topic, like how windshield wiper bolts are manufactured, then I would probably come up in google searches for people typing in, “How are windshield wiper bolts made?” And soon thousands of people wondering about the same thing would find me on the interwebs.
But, since I’m focused more on creativity and entertainment, it becomes trickier. The overall theme is car-related but that’s about it. Being creative requires a good state of mind where you can think and become inspired by new ideas. Some days it’s tough to be creative when you get rear-ended, your basement floods from a leaky pipe, your dog vomits all over your carpet, and you wonder — why am I even on this planet? But it’s all about the grind, so no matter what the circumstance, the creativity must carry on!
So you might be wondering: this sounds like hell, why do you do it? Wouldn’t I be better off selling toothbrush cases on Amazon? Maybe. But I really do love cars, writing, making videos and the process of creating things even if people compare me to a minivan.
I feel compelled to keep going. I don’t know…maybe I have a mental problem.
Lesson #3: You need to enjoy the process most of the time
Blogging about cars isn’t always about driving cool cars and doing cool car things. I would say the actual driving part is minimal, since most of the time is dedicated to actually creating the content. So enjoying the content creation aspect is hugely important. I suppose I could be out drinking beer, staring at the ceiling, or having anything resembling some kind of a social life, but I find it satisfying to create something, putting it out there and then having almost no read it.
Wow, I am really screwed, aren’t I?
Lesson #4: Be patient
Maybe, for a handful of people things happen overnight, and by handful I mean two, but for the rest of us overnight can mean many years. That means you can be doing something for a very long time without meaningful results. Like anything else, it takes time to be really good at something. And so a lot of this blogging business is about doing it over and over again until you’re so good, you can’t be ignored. That’s what they say anyway.
The process of growing your readership or fanbase can be like watching grass grow. What?! Only 2 more views on Youtube? What the hell!!
Wait, did someone just unsubscribe? NOOOO!!!
But that’s how it goes. It’s like chipping away at a brick wall with a paperclip hoping that someday you’ll get through to the other side. I’d like to keep thinking that if I keep at this long enough and continue to improve, something will come out of it. But even if it doesn’t, I’m fine doing this anyway since I like to torture myself.
Lesson #5: Don’t expect anything, just keep moving forward
This is much easier said than done. Because there are no guarantees in the world of art and creativity, I can’t really be sure where blogging or doing anything creative will end up. The only thing I can do is rinse and repeat, without having any expectations whatsoever. Just like I put on clothes every day (I try to anyway), I also create some stuff. There are a few benefits to continually creating content. I would like to think that my work does improve over time and that the more that I create, the higher the chances that people will find me.
But, who knows?
And as long as my readership is growing slowly, from four regular readers in 2014 to five regular readers in 2015, there’s no reason to stop. Who cares if there are people who don’t like what you read or have to say — there will always be someone who hates that you even exist.
I might be a gay minivan today, but I’m a gay minivan that will keep working at this. And then maybe someday, I’ll become a gay 2-door sports coupe. Because, who wouldn’t want to be a gay 2-door sports coupe?
Torque Affair is about exploring my fascination with cars. I’m always on the lookout for things that interest me in the car world.
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