Blogging: Business, Pleasure, Death Sentence?

It started earlier this week with a piece in the New York Times titled In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop. Highlights:

Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.

Gulp. I turned 60 in January. And I’ve done more than 450 posts in the last year, on this blog and several others. Am I brave, foolish, or both? Maybe I should do something safer, like fire fighting or sky jumping.

I think I’m (sort of) copying that response from John Jantsch, who posted I’m just dying to blog about this on Duct Tape Marketing: 

I started the story and I found myself looking around for the punch line, but I’m afraid they – the New York Times and Matt Richtel – were serious. Each paragraph was more bizarre than the next. I felt as though I had to have stumbled onto an edition of the Onion.

One of the comments on John’s piece is "Sounds like a late April’s Fool (sic). Good thing normal managers never are overworked or have heart attacks." To which John adds, "should have been." I’m with John on this. It should have been a joke. And I’m with him as well as he adds, on a more serious note:

Look, I’m not usually so negative on this blog, but I’ve grown very tired of the media’s characterization of blogging. There is no question that you can find people who have become so obsessed with something they get paid for that they do it death (see gamers, lawyers, miners, athletes, prostitutes.) 

In this case they found a handful of people with no life who are now being paid to have no life. So where’s the story in that?

Confession: I worked way too much during the formative years of Palo Alto Software. Try going into a third mortgage and $65,000 of credit card debt while not missing payroll. Blogging, in comparison, is a piece of cake.

One of the more meaningful responses to the piece (in my opinion) is Business or Pleasure, posted by Alan Johnston in Copyblogger. He was writing about writing, but I changed "writing" to "work" because it applies just as well:

A lot of people make the mistake of starting out by picking a niche they are not exactly passionate about simply because it pays well.

In other words, they are just in it for the money and somehow consider this a sound business model. It’s easy to show up day after day if the pay is good, right?

Sorry to burst your bubble there, but you couldn’t be more wrong. If you don’t like what you’re doing, your writing work will reflect that, no matter how hard you try.

Well said. Somewhere down in the heart of business, or maybe that’s entrepreneurship, is figuring out how to do what you like to do; because you’re going to do a lot of it.

(note: this was posted first on Small Business Trends, yesterday afternoon. I’m reposting here for readers’ convenience.)

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