Chuck (charlesofcamden) wrote,
Chuck
charlesofcamden

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Blogging for FUN and profit

It’s no accident the word “FUN” is capitalized while the word “profit” is not, but more on that in a bit. The big news is that I have a new job as a blogger. I herewith offer a link to my site and alternate identity as the one and only Chicago Skepticism Examiner!

If you cruise around the examiner.com web site, you’ll see that a great many bloggers call it home. Examiner runs blog networks in various major cities, including Chicago. The topics covered run the gamut from sports to politics to philosophy to you-name-it. Heck, they even have a dedicated Star Wars blogger!

When I first looked around the site, I saw that there were various topic openings that they were looking for people to apply for. None of them struck me as a good fit for me. But then I noticed that they were amenable to people suggesting new topics, so I put in for what I described as “Skepticism/Science.” They approved me and left the “Science” part out of my title. My blog comes under the heading of Religion and Spirituality, since that seemed to be the most appropriate choice, but in actuality, I expect my writings on religion to be a tiny percentage of what I will write about. Skepticism is a very broad concept, more descriptive of a way of thinking about things rather than specific subject matter. For example, some skeptical writers are focused on charlatans of spiritualism and mind reading tricks, while others are more concerned with pseudo-sciences and medical quackery. In actuality, pretty much any topic is fair game for skeptical analysis. Such an approach to thinking is a laudable goal for anyone of any philosophical orientation.

The folks at Examiner.com repeatedly remind all applicants that this job does NOT pay a living wage; that it will, at best, give you a bit of pocket money. One’s pay is directly linked to site traffic…

…SO…

…It would please me no end if you would make my blog a regular stop in your web surfing regimen. They ask that examiners (as they refer to us) post at least 3 times a week, so there should be plenty to read in the weeks to come.

So why am I doing this? Isn’t that a lot of work for very little money? I’m doing it because it’s an entirely different sort of writing from what I do here on LiveJournal. First of all, I have to assume that my Examiner blogging is being read by complete strangers, so it needs to be composed in a very different voice from what you might read in this space. Also, I haven’t yet figured out how to work in photos of my cats, so there’s another difference. Most of all, though, I look at this as an opportunity to work on the discipline of writing on spec. There is a whole set of rules by which I need to tailor my entries over there – my entries need to be consistent with my title as a writer of skepticism. They need to follow the writing guidelines set down in their rule book. They need to appeal to an audience of strangers. And I need to crank out at least 3 entries a week. My feeling is that if I can become fluid and comfortable with that routine, I will have learned some things of value as my writing goes forward. I hope you enjoy it!
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