The Best Laid Plans ► Unpacking The Writer
Toronto’s own Johnnie Lombardi and Me

My Go Fund Me campaign:

In our last exciting episode of Unpacking The Writer — my monthly look behind the curtain at the Not Now Silly Newsroom — I got all nostalgic. To quote myself from Where We’re At & Where We’re Going

I’ve taken care of Pops for the last decade and I’m simply burned out. It’s time for me to return to Toronto, the city I call home, to recharge my batteries.

Ironically, I’m returning to Kensington Market, which has a similar Hippie feel as Coconut Grove. I lived in Kensington Market many years ago, but was able to experience it again anew when I visited Toronto in September. I spent most of my time in the Market and felt comfortable and at home. Soon I will be able to call it home.

When I wrote that (at the beginning of January) my departure date was tentatively scheduled for the end of February; so tentative that I didn’t mention it. Now, due to circumstances beyond my control, I won’t be leaving the Yew Ess Eh ’til the end of August. That means I have more time to tie up all the loose ends down here and promote my Go Fund Me campaign, to help defray my moving expenses.

My best ever month and my All Time Top Five

SOUR GRAPES MAKES FOR A BITTER WHINE: I’ve been looking at the stats again for the Not Now Silly Newsroom. As of this writing, I have served up 410,958 pages for my readers to … err … read since launching this place almost 4 years ago.

My monthly count averages 9,000-10,000 views. My daily hits range anywhere from 150-300, depending on the subject matter and how much promotion I do. On the odd occasion my monthly readership has reached heights that even I have trouble believing. Pictured at right is when I hit almost 18,000 views just one year ago, twice my general average.

I bring these stats up because, to be perfectly honest (and a bit of a whiner), I am disappointed in the lack of response to my Go Fund Me campaign to help me get back to Canada. If people knew how much work went into these posts, and how few pennies I get from the few advertisements that Google feeds me, they’d wonder why I do it at all.

There are times I wonder myself. Times like this when I look at the stats and see that I made a dime yesterday, or $1.78 in the last 28 days, which comes to slightly over 6 cents a day.

I know that over the course of the next month this particular post will be read by an average of 300 people. If every person chucked a quarter into a Tip Jar for every page they read, I’d be bringing in about $2,500 a month. I’ve not even earned 1/10th of that since starting this blog almost 4 years ago.

Having said that, I didn’t start this blog for the money. I would write regardless because it’s what I’ve done my entire adult life. However, I did have it in the back of my mind that this blog could ‘top off’ the other income I produced. It’s been a disaster in that respect.

While still on the subject of stats, you’ll find in the column to the right the Not Now Silly All Time Top Ten Posts. However, just for the fun of it, I broke out the Top 10 stories that caught your attention just this month, from highest to lowest:

Paul McCartney Deported From Japan 280 Jan 25, 2016 280
A Civil Rights Champion Born 187 Feb 4, 2016 187
Del Shannon & Me 179 Feb 8, 2016 179
The 45 Is Introduced 179 Feb 1, 2016 179
Take the “A” Train 171 Feb 15, 2016 171
The Detroit Riots 132 July 22, 2012 6401
Remembering the Challenger Crew 30 Years Later 125 Jan 28, 2016 125
The Palin Family’s Greatest [Literal] Hits 81 Jan 21, 2016 264
It’s Only A Northern Song 75 Feb 22, 2016 75
Unpacking The Writer 68 Dec 1, 2012 1285

That’s 1,477 views on just the Top Ten posts in the last 30 days (which doesn’t even include those evergreens that didn’t make the Top Ten). A dime per visitor would earn me more than in the past 30 days than I have received in the 4 years since launching the blog.

Recently I was having this discussion with a friend on the facebookery: Our mutual profession of writing has been seriously devalued since Bill Gates made the World Wide Web a Point & Click environment. Anybody with a keyboard and mouse now believes they can write. And, we can see the sad results all over the innertubes: People can barely create a 10 word meme without serious grammar and spelling errors.

Speaking of sour grapes: I’ve groused several times previously about the Coconut Grove Grapevine. I have even truthfully and non-ashamedly admitted to being jealous; jealous that such a poorly written blog has so many more readers than I. That a blog so devoid of actual journalism is able to sell a passel of advertisements. Yet the actual news stories I write about Coconut Grove — as opposed to Falco’s commercial fluff — earns almost nothing at all. [I know I am repeating myself from previous posts, but it’s only a rerun if you’ve seen it before.]

Consequently, a profession I spent my entire adult life perfecting is no longer considered worthy of adequate remuneration. [A big shout out here to all my musician friends who find themselves in the same sinking boat.] I remember how excited I was, way back when, that an editor agreed to pay me 5 cents a word for a very long article she commissioned. I thought I won the lottery because that seemed like a fortune in those days. Now I am constantly approached to write for free because it will be “good exposure.” No, seriously. I also stopped writing “on spec” 4 decades ago. Either I will pre-sell an article or keep it for the Not Now Silly Newsroom.

I need to be more like Al Crespo, of The Crespogram Report,
who publishes the best muckraking blog in Miami. He doesn’t take any
advertising at all, so he obviously doesn’t peg his words’ worth to the
almighty advertising dollar.

Hopefully next month I won’t feel so sorry for myself and my profession.

HOP ON POPS: The last week has been very busy around here. Pops celebrated his 90th birthday on Valentine’s Day. Relatives started arriving last week for the party on the 20th. We took over one of the condo clubhouses and invited over 60 of his friends to help us celebrate this great day.

Here’s a pic of him getting about to blow out his candles and you can follow THIS LINK to a slideshow.

What a great time it was. Pops loves being the center of attention (Who doesn’t?) and he sure was this weekend. People hung on his every word and laughed at all his jokes, even the ones we’ve heard for decades. He couldn’t have asked for a better time and neither could we.

Now that things are returning back to what qualifies as normal around here, I have several irons in the fire. Hopefully, I’ll be able to reveal more about these projects in our next exciting episode of Unpacking The Writer, coming soon to a web browser near you.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.