I started this blog exactly 10 years ago. I remember the moment quite vividly. I was lying on the bed, in great pain after my ACL repair operation. My fitness journey was done for at least a year. Instead, I was about to embark on an intense year of rehab. My knee would never be the same.
Rather than sit idly by, I decided to go online and share some fitness tips I had learnt in the previous years. After all, I would quite often get approached by friends, but even random guys, asking me to share my secrets on how to get big and strong. At the time, there was not much of this type of material online.
Even worse, most of the stuff that you could find dealt with losing weight. I had the opposite problem. I was always a skinny guy, and needed to GAIN weight instead. So I decided to write about that. Little did I know that at the time, the big explosion in blogging was on the way.
Millions of people were starting their own blogs. Thousands were starting their YouTube channels. My content got lost in this flood.
So after a while blogging, I decided to shift the topic of my blog. I thought long and deep. What is my competitive advantage? The ability to learn things quickly, combine disparate domains, and excel in different areas. Thus, Renaissance Man Journal was born.
On the way, I wrote about ancient philosophy and the lessons for today, psychology, goal setting, project management, and a vast variety of other things. Some of my favorite topics were ones on problem solving, such as first principles thinking, thinking by analogy, and similar things.
For a while, my articles on first principles thinking, Renaissance Man, gladiator workouts, and even the fall of the Roman Republic, ranked on the first page of Google. Usually, pretty high up. Over time, they inspired other people’s writings. Some of these were acknowledged, but more often they were not.
For some reason, at some point most of these articles ended up buried in the rankings, usually falling off Google altogether. This despite the fact that articles that borrowed heavily from my thinking still ranked among the top pages for those keywords. Unfortunately, my traffic declined. Never big to begin with, it slowed down to a trickle.
At some point I discovered a platform called Medium. Actually I discovered it twice. First time I tried putting on some articles, got no reads, and left. Years later, I rediscovered it again. This time I stuck around.
I had never made a dime off my blog. Rather, I spent thousands of USD maintaining the blog, and buying materials to inspire my articles. On Medium, for the first time I was getting paid. It was never big amounts, but at least at my peak earnings, they covered the costs.
I thought I was getting somewhere. On Medium, I attracted readers, and was starting to make some OK cash. Nothing to write home about, but it gave me more motivation. My best year was probably 2021, with the beginning of 2022 also being good. All of 2022, I got a steady, predictable income every month. One month it was a bit bigger, another a bit smaller, but at least it was there.
Then 2023 came. My readership on Medium tanked. So did my earnings. They went into the dumpster. Just to give perspective, in the past few months, I barely got out of single digits in USD per month for ALL my articles. That doesn’t even cover the cost of a single book. While back in the day, most of my articles would at least cover the cost of the material used in producing them (although maybe not the time), now I was once again losing heavily.
Such has been the arc of my career as a writer. It feels like I am back at square 1. Oh well. Coupled with personal problems, work problems, and other problems, these past years have not been very good to me. I am also getting older, starting off the years of a slow decline. I am not the young buck anymore, working hard to gain weight and muscle.
It used to be striving to get better. Now, it’s about keeping what I have, if not trying to prevent from losing it too fast. This has reflected also in my writing. It used to be all about self-improvement. Now, I spend most of my time musing about metaphysical subjects. Thus is the arc of a person.