Why I Started Blogging
There is a reason for this madness. I didn’t set out to bombard people’s Facebook newsfeeds with my ramblings about comic books and Star Wars. That part is just icing on the cake. I actually hope to accomplish something personal with this blog. I’m hoping that it not only makes me a better writer, but makes me an actual writer. With this blog, whether I’m chronicling my adventure in San Francisco or extolling the virtues of playing a sentient panda bear in World of Warcraft, I am first and foremost getting my ‘voice’ out there.
Hello Interwebs, it’s me, Sean.
Part of me has come to realize that I’m not being broad enough in scope if all I’m writing about are comic books and comic book characters. That’s fine for professional blogs, but this is my personal blog. My primary advertising tool is Facebook, and it’s worked great. A lot of random people from my Facebook friends list have read my entries and commented on them, people I wouldn’t expect. And I love finding out that people actually enjoy my writing. But to some extent, I assume a lot of these people might be more interested in me, personally, than Multiple Man.
So with this post, I want to shed a little light on the origins of my blog.
The birth of Henchman-4-Hire can be traced back to two distinct moments in 2010. At least I think that’s when it happened. Could have been 2009. Anyway, I saw an ad at www.avclub.com that they were hiring. If you’ve never been to the AV Club, it’s a pop culture site that reports on movies, music, TV, comics and everything I’m interested in. They sometimes do it with a bit of sarcastic humor, which I love even more. The AV Club is one of my favorite sites to just surf on the Internet. So the possibility of working for them sounded like a dream come true.
Right now, I’m a newspaper reporter for a small daily newspaper in Central New York. Someday I’ll write a blog entry about how I got started in journalism, but suffice to say, I wanted a day job that involved writing. And once I started interning at newspapers, I found out that I loved reporting. I’m one of those few happy people in the world that loves their job. I wish it paid a bit more, but I digress. I’ve been at the newspaper for more than 5 years now, and I do hope to move on someday to a bigger, better job. The safe route would be to stick with newspaper reporting.
But wouldn’t it be amazing if I could get a dream job online where they pay me to write about movies and TV shows and comics and video games and everything I love? These sites and these paying jobs do exist!
So I updated my resume, wrote a cover letter and put together a few of my finest newspaper clips to e-mail to the AV Club. I read up online about how people go about applying for a job these days, because my job-hunting techniques were 5 years out of date. I shipped everything off and entertained myself with dreams of the big time. A job at the AV Club would be unbelievable.
And I never heard anything back.
Not so depressing. I sort of figured it was a long shot. But at least I tried, right?
Sometime later, I was surfing another one of my favorite geek sites, www.ign.com. I found a blog post on that site from one of their head honchos, a guy in charge of reviewing applications whenever they have a job opening. Much like the AV Club, IGN is a site that reports on geek news, and reviews everything from new movies to hot video games. So again, the perfect sort of place where I’d like to work. Since IGN is so popular online, the honcho was writing about how he gets tons of applications, but he ends up throwing half of them away because the people applying seem to be stuck in the Paper Age. The honcho wrote that faxing an employer the traditional cover letter and resume was an act of dinosaurs.
The modern world is the Internet, and when you send someone your work, that someone expects to be able to see all of it with the click of a link. Resumes are no longer faxed, they’re e-mailed. And the body of the e-mail has become the new cover letter. The honcho said that he expects to have instant access to your Facebook page, Twitter feed, Linkedin account and everything else modern Internet citizens should have. Don’t fax him a handful of xeroxed newspaper clippings and tell him that ‘contacts are available on request’. E-mail him a database of all your stories from the newspaper website, and toss in your contacts’ e-mail addresses. The Internet these days is lightning fast, so a person’s resume and job application should be just as fast.
This was a revelation to me!
The dinosaur-way was exactly how I’d applied to the AV Club. So of course I never heard back from them! They probably had a good chuckle at my quaint little cover letter and threw it away. Like I said, I hadn’t been worried about job-hunting since I graduated college. The Internet was around back then, but the rise of social media changed everything! Understatement of the year, right? Anyway, I realized that I had to step up my game. If I wanted to get hired at a place like the AV Club or IGN – and I really do – I’d have to start making ‘Sean Mills’ an Internet brand.
I’d seen it happen before. I surf a lot of websites in my free time, sites I visit daily for their new and fun content. Two favorites of mine are www.weeklycrisis.com for comic book stuff, and www.11points.com for humorous/informative lists. Both were started and are written by a single guy, though Weekly Crisis has a few writers now. Well after getting semi-popular, the blogger behind Weekly Crisis got hired to write comic book reviews by one website, and the blogger behind 11points got a book deal with a real publisher! I want both those things!
So the way was clear.
If I wanted a future writing about the things I love for a living, I needed to make my presence known on the Internet. I needed to get my ‘voice’ out there, let people know what I think, what I feel. Give the people something to read by Sean Mills!
I’d been kicking around the idea of a web comic for awhile. I used to write and draw a comic strip for my college newspaper called Falmouth University. And it always delighted me when I’d bump into someone on campus who read it and loved it. Personally, I never thought I was all that funny. But I loved doing it. So now in the present, I thought perhaps I’d start a web comic. I have a lot of ideas. The problem is that I can’t draw for shit. I’m a writer, not an artist. Some of my ideas included Roosevelt and Sasquatch, the story of President Teddy Roosevelt and his sidekick Bigfoot, whom he calls ‘Bear’ because he’s convinced that Bigfoot is just a big, smart bear. Another idea was Gary the Gray Power Ranger. While the more colorful Power Rangers are out saving the city from monsters, Gary was stuck back at base as the janitor.
I had plenty of ideas, just no artistic talent. My web comics never got off the ground.
So I decided to settle for what I could do: write. I’m a born writer and storyteller, this I know. Some people are good at sports, some people are mathematical minds; I write. I have story ideas. I’m constantly thinking in my head about this or that, whether it’s a new idea for a novel or my thoughts on why all three Matrix movies are actually good. But until this blog, those ideas were stuck in my head. I never had anywhere to put them. Now with this blog, I can write about whatever I want. Whatever geeky ideas I possess, I can write them down both for posterity and just for my own enjoyment.
And all the while people are reading. I’m not getting paid. I’m not paying anyone. That’s the greatness of the Internet. All I have to do is write and slowly but surely, Sean Mills will emerge.
I hope you enjoyed this little story. I’m trying to get more followers in the realms of social media. So if you liked this entry and want to read me, please click on the colorful links at the top right-hand corner of this page to follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook fan page. You can even subscribe to this blog via e-mail or RSS feed.