Shifting Gears

It was about this time last year that I was a little iffy and burned out on blogging and longing to “shift gears.”

That urge led me to toss my hat in the ring for one of the community columnist positions at The Huntsville Times. As enjoyable as that’s been, the gig will be up soon (I only have one column left to write for December) and these days I find myself asking the question–Now what?

Of course, every wannabe writer dreams of the big bestseller, movie deal, etc, but only a tiny minority actually achieve such lofty heights. For me, that would involve immersing myself in learning the mechanics of writing fiction, research, developing ideas, characters, etc., and that seems like a daunting task to take on with my current career and family responsibilities. But, who knows, maybe someday…

What I think I can do reasonably well now is observe, comment and tell a story in short bursts, even if it’s not a fictional one that springs forth from my head. This is what I’ve tried to do in a general way with the blog and column, but if I’m going to try to market myself as a freelancer or columnist for some syndication (the ideas I’m currently toying with) and try to attain a wider readership, I’ll probably have to develop a particular focus or “niche.”

So, dear Fusioneers, of what I’ve written over the past 3 years, what has “floated your boat” and what has “sunk” it? Is there a particular subject that I seem to do better than others? What do you think could be my “niche” if I were to try to write for a larger audience?

I’m not asking for a love-fest here, just some honest feedback. I’d love to hear from both regular commenters and lurkers (if you care to “decloak” for the occasion). Even if you don’t want to register to comment, you could shoot me an email at

I’ve got my hand on the shifter, now if you could just give me some direction about where I should go. Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting.

  1. cg

    My redneck brother just loves MTRN and thinks he should be a regular on ESPN’s College Game Day. I would agree, I like MTRN’s insight and his sense of humor.

  2. cg

    Oh great…. now he’s talking about ‘gittin-a-holt’ of MTRN to talk about starting a weekly sports talk radio show. I better go nip this in the bud right now…

  3. JRB

    I object to MTRN, but maybe if he just came around in smaller doses.

  4. cg

    JRB, CGTRN here…yer point takin’ I objec’ to yer objec-shun and move it be ovah-ruled.

  5. cg

    Sorry JRB….

    Stop that you hillbilly.

  6. Mike the Redneck

    I dun up and kree-ated a monsta’…

    cgtrn, I pre-she-ate tha luv and all, but weez best keep this ’bout the Eyeguy. Weez all know how fra-gile his ego iz.

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    For once he’s right. This is about MEEEE!

  8. Mike the Redneck

    See whuttamean?

  9. cg

    All joking – and jokers like my backwoods brother – aside, I think you do a wonderful job with your newspaper column and always look forward to it.

  10. Brady

    Personally, I like the feel good stuff, reflexions on life. I know it may be a little Readers’ Digest, but it keeps me coming back.

    I see you just passed 200000 visits. Congrats.

  11. Stoogelover

    Since I grew up in Alabama during the Bear’s reign and now live in California where people just don’t seem to appreciate the Bear, I enjoy your blogs about the Tide. But I’m also with Brady in that I like your general reflections on life. Don’t always agree with you politically, but you have the right to be wrong in that area of life!! 🙂

  12. Mike the Eyeguy

    Brady, if I could be a fraction as popular as Reader’s Digest, I’d take it!

    Yeah, I joke around and call myself “Mr. Chicken Soup for the Soul,” but I guess people are starving for a piece of good news in these troubled times. Thanks for the feedback.

  13. Mike the Eyeguy

    Stoogey, I don’t understand why Californians don’t appreciate The Bear. Haven’t they looked at their state flag lately?

    Yeah, I’m such a political radical. I’m surprised anybody would want to “pal around” with the likes of me. Yup, me and Bill Ayers, tighter than ticks we are.

  14. Brady

    Your much better than Chicken Soup. Some of that stuff is, I’m sorry Nauseating. You’ve only made me a bit queasy a few times… 🙂

  15. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hey, I could use that as my new tagline!

    “He only makes you sick sometimes.”

    I think it could work.

  16. Laurie

    Aside from the soccer stuff, which is, of course my favorite, but which would never sell, I have to say I really like your slice-of-life writings, like your fish column.

    The part about Marvin jumping out of his bowl and being saved by a sleeping child who later didn’t remember? Something everybody who’s ever had pets and kids could see happening in their house too. You have a unique way of making the day-to-day both interesting and relatable.

  17. Mike the Eyeguy

    Thanks, Laurie. As I look back at that story, I think that was one of my favorites. It was multifaceted, several stories within a story.

    The slice of life stuff seems to work pretty well. I’ll probably continue to try to do that mostly. Thanks for the feedback.

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