As with most things, the easiest way is to start at the beginning.
When it became clear that Avoiding the Drop was coming to an end in late 2011 I had a revelation. That revelation was that, while the site had run its course, I was still interested in continuing on writing about soccer (and whatever else). From the very instant of deciding to start my own website the reasons for doing were crystal clear to me- and of equal importance.
First, I enjoy writing and always have. I also like to believe that, on my day, I’m pretty good at it. I’m sure everyone who starts a site feels that they “bring something to the table,” and I was no different. Writing about soccer (and a few other things I love) was something that I wanted to hold on to if I could, and given the nature of the internet all I really had to do was to take the first step.
Second, and again I stress that this was equally important, I didn’t want to lose the “community” that had been created around Avoiding the Drop (and, indeed, before that, at DUAN). I knew going in that not everyone would make the jump to the new site with me, and that was fine. A small cadre of like-minded individuals was all I felt I needed, and maybe all that I wanted.
These two things were very much the impetus behind the site, and as a result I’ve followed a few self-imposed “rules” since the beginning. First, this was never about fame or fortune- obviously. There were never going to be any ads and there were never going to be any “clickbait” style posts. Second, I was going to keep the scope of my writing limited. I knew that this would limit my audience, but if I was going to be doing all of the work myself I wasn’t going to write about things I didn’t know much about or didn’t find interesting. Third, I promised myself I was never going to write when I didn’t want to. Some times that probably meant I kept people waiting a day or two extra for my “take” on a topic, or that I just outright ignored something I probably should have written about. Both of those things probably weren’t good for the site, but I’d probably make the same decisions if I had a chance to do it again. Finally, within these self-imposed parameters, I also wanted the site to be responsive to interests of those who visited it. When it became clear that people were losing interest in a topic or a recurring feature I moved on and tried to find different things to bring to the site.
So, where did it all go wrong?
I guess the problems began about a year and a half ago when I realized that it just wasn’t as much fun anymore. People were still visiting the site (while the page views had plateaued they hadn’t meaningfully declined), but nobody was interacting with the site/me anymore. I had grown accustomed to the multiple “behind the scenes” email exchanges I had with people on a weekly basis. to getting multiple comments on posts, and to enthusiastic participation is “special posts” (“Prime Minister’s Question Time,” “The Stadium Project,” “WeeFuse’s Virtual Turntable,” etc.) and when that engagement went away it led to me putting less effort into the site- something I’m not at all proud of- which I am sure exacerbated the situation. The reality of it was that, after a long day at work, the thought of coming home and writing something that nobody was going to read (or, more correctly, not interact with) was not a pleasant one.
There you have it. As base a reason as it may be, there just wasn’t any validation for me any more and I was kind of surprised just how much I needed that as motivation to continue. I’ve always written for my own pleasure/therapy and I’m sure I will continue to do that, but none of that was ever meant for public consumption. What I’ve learned from this experience- and I’m not sure I like what it says about me as a person- is that when I’m writing for myself and others it really does matter that there are “others.” If it sounds like I’m pushing the blame onto you, the readers, that is not my intention. I’m trying to be completely open and honest about why I made my decision even if it doesn’t reflect well on me- and I don’t think it does. In the end this site was always a “bonus” in my life and I can hardly blame anyone who had to step away in order to deal with the real world and for whatever reason- or no specific reason- never found their way back. We all have to do our taxes, get an oil change, make dinner, or just fall asleep on the couch playing Candy Crush Soda Saga after a really long day working for a supervisor who is worse at their job than they are even though the laundry needs to be done and the litter box needs to be emptied… I get it. I had a good run, it was mostly good times, and I thank you for all of those.
So, this is the end.
I “own” the site through October, so who knows, maybe a tweet will pop up and there will be reason to come visit again.
Oh, right, see you in Vegas, Kevin!!