Monday, November 3, 2008

Maybe, just maybe

I sat down this morning with a cup of coffee, checked email and saw there were a couple more comments to yesterday’s blog entry. After reading the dozen or so blogs I start my day with, checking the Poker Academy forum, looking at the stock market, catching up on the latest election coverage, tracking my blog’s readers on Site Meter and getting a second cup of coffee, I started to respond to the comments I had received.

My dear Sis had directed me to look at the 2+2 Forum and their discussion on the Donkey Test. I did so, and also read what was said about the test at the Noted Poker Authority. She also suggested that I read the “extensive” forums on that site. I then intended to respond, and even wrote the thing, yet I got distracted by a few things, thought I’d posted the comment and somehow lost it to the ether. Just as well, because my response, a bit on the pithy side, was incomplete.

Basically, I wrote to convey that even though the test may not be inclusive or lack significant insight to all on which poker play “depends”, I felt the conclusion was fairly accurate. On both forums I had read, others had made similar assessments, and in addition, someone on NPA wrote that the person who created the test was some online wiz. Yet, what I had really keyed on was that word, “extensive.” I thought to myself, “Yeah, like I have the time. I already …

We interrupt this meditation on poker with a message from the second floor of the house. The roof is leaking. I repeat, the roof is leaking.

Great. We had a new roof put on three years ago. We’ve had some problems around the dormers in past rainy seasons, and it looks like we’re going to again this year. Tomorrow morning (it is now dark) I will have to go up on the roof and stare at the area of the leak until I am absolutely certain that I don’t have a clue about where the actual leak starts. Then I will call the contractor, and he’ll get out here in a week or so and we’ll be changing pans of water and going up into the attic to see if we can find other leaks…

After we get that task out of the way, I’ll go out and put the ducks out for the day in a new paddock that I spent part of today readying for them to spend winter. Then I’ll run errands, and if the weather is not too bad, I’ll finish the birds’ new shelter. And all the while I’ll be thinking about poker.

Not. I’ll be thinking about writing.

My blog is about more than just poker because my life has more to it than poker, and I want to try and write every day. Therefore, I write about a leaky roof and think that if I try a bit harder, spend more time with what I write, that I may be able to riff on the leaks and draw parallels to leaks in my poker game. But then I would have to come up with some sample hands, and in that none immediately come to mind, I’d have to go looking through hand histories, or even go play a couple hundred hands or however many it takes to get a good example and then spend another hour writing about it, when it’s just much, much easier to take the more expeditious short cut that I just have.

If I combine my play time, my current reading time and writing time, poker already takes up about eight hours of my day. Every day. Something has got to give if I am to add more reading time. That’s not going to happen, unless, of course, I cut back on my play and substitute a chapter or two from Harrington or from several other books I have bought but have yet to crack. I could then write book reviews. I’m sure my current readers would find that compelling reading.

I had a specific goal when I started this blog. I hoped that once I got enough poker-related posts under my belt and developed a readership, I might then be able to pitch my services to the multitude of poker-newsy sites and periodicals, and hope-of-all-hopes, get paid to write about poker. Not necessarily about poker strategy; more like the softer side of poker, color commentary and the emotional aspects of the game. Something like that. Hell, I’d even be content to blog live during a big tourney. Based on what I read by those who have such assignments, I have a feeling that I may be a few years late to that party. It may not happen. Yet, this does not mean that I will stop writing the blog because I haven’t seen a pay-off (let alone more than 12 regular readers) in the four months I have been at it. I am once again enjoying the practice of writing on a daily basis, and here is where it currently and primarily manifests.

That’s all well and good, but there’s a lingering issue. Right now I need to get paid. Thank God for the one client I have, as he’s keeping us in COSTCO provisions, and me in cheap scotch. Still, it’s not enough, and to be quite honest, it’s not always the kind of writing I want to be doing. However, if I can get more of it, I’ll take it, even if it means cutting back on my poker-related avocation. (There’s that word again from the subtitle of this blog. Remember, I write about questionable avocations.) Yes, something has got to give.

I just heard my dear wife come down to the first floor, so I went upstairs to get an update on the leakage. She said she noticed that it intensified with a heavier rain. I’m going to take comfort in that for the time being, for maybe, just maybe, I can isolate the source, and I can hope the rain lessens through the night. We also talked about a good time for dinner, taking into consideration what both of us are doing now and what we want to get done tonight. I’m cooking (in about a half hour). I mentioned that I was writing a post, told her what was about and the issues I was trying to figure out as I wrote, ending with the quandary I have just presented:

“Something has got to give.”

“How so?”

“I play poker, I read about poker and I write about poker, and I was hoping that by now I’d have some other opportunities to write about poker and get paid to do so. But the blog doesn’t seem to be going viral like I hoped it would.”

“How about contacting some of the poker news sites and referring them to your blog?”

“I was just writing about that. That market seems to be at full capacity, and I guess I still have some doubts about whether or not my writing is good enough.”

“Honey, you’ve written some wonderful pieces, don’t you think?”

“Sure, and others have said so, despite my meager (but loyal, thank you) audience.”

“Who has time to read all of the blogs on a topic of choice? Pitch the writing, not the readership.”

See, this is just another reason she is a Dear Wife.

So, I’ll add another activity to my already-crowded day.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

4 comments:

El Forrest Gumpo said...

re: "If I combine my play time, my current reading time and writing time, poker already takes up about eight hours of my day. Every day. Something has got to give if I am to add more reading time. That’s not going to happen, unless, of course, I cut back on my play and substitute a chapter or two from Harrington or from several other books I have bought but have yet to crack. I could then write book reviews. I’m sure my current readers would find that compelling reading."

Ditto. I have about 25 poker books on my bookcase I'm looking at now. I've read less than 1/3 of them cover to cover and flicked through bits and pieces of the rest. If this gig is a journey to the summit of Everest, I see myself very much at base camp. It was a helluva task just getting to the foot of the mountain, but there's a might long way still to go. :)



FG

Cardgrrl said...

Are you a poker-player who writes, or a writer who plays poker?

This is the question I ask myself. How does it apply to you, bro?

bastinptc said...

Sis,

I am attempting to answer a question similar to the one you pose. Based on this post, I'd say I'm exhibiting evidence that I'm more a writer who plays poker. Yet, the analysis has to go beyond an either/or (as you know), as there are many aspects to what one ascribes to one's identity.

While poker has, at times, seemed all-consuming, I have been playing for such a short time. I have done many other things for a much longer time: art, marriage, parenting, writing, etc. To a certain extent, these other things have, again, at times, taken a back seat to poker, some to a greater degree than others. I believe I may be writing my way into an assessment of whether or not this is a good thing, and one of the criteria I am using is financial. If I am not making money from it, why am I doing it?

Mind you, I have asked the same question of my art making activities. I have made precious little money from my art, yet that creative endeavor persists. Art is a passion, as poker seems to be, yet while I am stimulated by the creative process in art, it is a different stimulation that I receive from poker. Poker is more like a cross between networking to get gallery representation and my days on the high school wrestling team.

I am aware that the above comparison may seem vague. However, it may offer a clue to the answer to my rephrasing of your question. As I play and write about poker, I am increasingly more interested in exploring why I play, and therefore, by extension, why others play. Ultimately, I find figuring out why "it depends" much more interesting than the math.

Catch my drift?

Memphis MOJO said...

"I was just writing about that. That market seems to be at full capacity, and I guess I still have some doubts about whether or not my writing is good enough.”

The writing is more than good enough, but I think you'd have to get lucky to get the opportunity. That's the problem.