January 4, 2010

The 2010 Blowtorch State of This Website

There are two times a year that I thoroughly reassess what is going on with my life.

  1. The end of the year.
  2. The end of the NBA season.
During these times, for discussions relevant to this website, I contemplate the future and direction of this website. Mostly, I just try to think about how many times I can say "this website" before anyone catches on. Apparently, three.

Anyways, the year end assessment isn't new, even to this website, but it's helpful. A year, it seems, is a pretty easy demarcation for reflection. 2009 was a good year for The Blowtorch. Traffic increased about 25%, with each month other than August showing an increase from the previous year1. Additionally, RSS subscriber numbers consistently increased.

This past year also saw the debut of Trey Kerby at Yahoo! Sports, with the Phenomenal Swag column so graciously offered to me by friend of the Blowtorch JE Skeets. That column did well, even occasionally ending up on Yahoo!'s front page2. This tells me two things.
  1. The Blowtorch aesthetic is marketable.
  2. The Blowtorch is viable.
Over the holidays I did a lot of reading, and there were a few lines in things that I read that challenged me. First, from a delightfully insane GQ profile on William Shatner:
GQ: "You know," I say, "Kelsey Grammar once said something interesting about you to our magazine."

Shatner: "Kelsey's a friend of mine! What'd he say!"

GQ: "About your acting technique. He said "It's total self-delusion, and it works!"

Shatner: "Well, what'd he mean by that?"

GQ: "I think he was suggesting that you're some sort of accidental genius, someone so far up his own a-- that he somehow manages to come out the other side with something truly sui generis and brilliant to offer."

And from Chuck Klosterman's Eating the Dinosaur chapter on ABBA:
"They were not attempting to replicate or refute anything else that was happening in pop; they were living in ABBA World, where ABBA Music is the only sound that exists."
Both of these passages say essentially the same thing: that to succeed, you need only to develop what works for you. We see this in Zach Galifianakis becoming hugely famous at age 40, or Jay-Z releasing Reasonable Doubt independently. Time after time, people who believed in what they were doing were right because they kept doing what they were doing, no matter who was paying attention.
Commit. Embrace. Grow.

That is my mantra for 2010, my action words, if you will. Commit fully to whatever it is being created or experienced -- ain't no half-steppin'. Embrace the triumphs and failures associated with those experiences, and learn from them, either good or bad. Grow, whether learning a new skill or developing an already present skill. There is always some way to get better.

2010 is a year for getting better. What this means is up to you. For me, it means really trying to do what I want by being who I am. Tiny, small, inconsequential personal wins governed by staying true to that idea prove that life-changing successes are possible. That's what this year means to me.

1. August 2008 was an aberration based on my legendary post "A Guide to Wearing Headbands."
2. Probably my two greatest triumphs of 2k9 were two posts on basketball shoes gracing Yahoo!'s main page.

No comments: