Ray Bradbury, my literary hero, famously posted a sign above his typewriter that read “Don’t Think.” The idea, as he related it, is that a writer should write not with his or her head, but with his or her heart. So, instead of a camera review, or a lens review, or a Holiday Buyer’s Guide, which would be excellent for Search Engine Optimization and bring in some revenue, I’m going to end the year with a note to my readers.
I started this website in 2014 because I bought a Minolta and liked it so much that I wanted to tell people about it. In its first month of existence, 38 people visited the site. For some reason, I kept going. Eventually, more and more people began visiting. People started commenting and telling their own stories. I made some friends, and hopefully many of the people reading my site felt that they’d made friends too. With me, with my writers, with other readers.
Last year the site welcomed 3,000,000 visitors, and this year we’re hitting the same number. Even if only by accident, it stands to reason that at least some tiny fraction of that number of people enjoyed being here. If just a single per cent of visitors closed their browser with a smile, or an interesting thought, or some new motivation, or a feeling of happiness, hey, that’s 30,000 people. That’s like two entire stadiums in the National Hockey League worth of people who thought, “I’m glad I read that on Casual Photophile.”
Some of you have even subscribed, just to help me keep doing what I’m doing. Incredible.
We’ve arrived at the end of the year, I wanted to write a quick note to thank you all for visiting, for your kindness and support, and for allowing me and the people who write for this website to share in your very special hobby.
You may have noticed that I’ve slowed down a bit. 2022 was a tough year, so I’m taking it easy in December.
In the upcoming year, 2023, there are going to be some good changes to this website. Posts will be consistently back to the Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, and I have two big initiatives which will bring in additional revenue so that we can hire more writers (since I pay everyone who writes for me). I’m very excited about the new year, and I hope that you’ll all continue to enjoy the articles here, as well as the new things that are coming.
When I wrote this site’s first article, my intention in life was (and still remains) to be a writer. Like, a real life writer, writing short stories and novels and essays that are published in magazines and books. Essentially self publishing here on Casual Photophile, I’ve been able to reach an audience that I likely would never have reached if I’d simply tried to get a job in Pop Photography, or another magazine, or if I’d queried agents or submitted stories or novels to a publishing house. This site, then, became a place to share my mind and to practice.
I can’t give any real details at the moment, but I was just told that an article I’ve written will be published in one of the most widely circulated magazines in the country in early 2023. I can’t express how happy this has made me (which is not a good thing for a writer to admit).
I mention this not in an effort to be self-congratulatory, I promise. I’m mentioning it here because I don’t think that I would have been published if I’d not practiced daily writing for the past eight years. And I don’t think I’d have had the motivation, optimism, or energy to continue practicing daily writing for eight years if not for this website. And what that really means, is that I couldn’t have done it without you. Without the people who have visited this site and left comments and been, generally, lovely people, I don’t know what my life would look like right now. But it certainly wouldn’t be as nice.
Many thanks. Infinite thanks.
I hope that you enjoy the last few weeks of the year, and that 2023 is your best year yet. I hope that the people you love are with you, happy and healthy. I hope that you’re happy and healthy, or working toward it. If you’re struggling, I hope that you know you’re not alone, that people love you, and that you can get through it. I hope, to paraphrase my hero, that 2023 gives us all the opportunity to live less with our heads, and more with our hearts.
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