The state of Snide Remarks address


My fellow Internet users, I am pleased to stand before you this evening to present the annual state of Snide Remarks address, which has never happened before and isn’t even really a “thing.”

It has been 11 months since the new batch of Kickstarter-funded Snide Remarks columns began its run. We have made great strides forward. Of the 50 columns promised, 38 have been delivered, and only five or six were about PETA. Very few of the columns caused the death of anyone directly. One of them described Arianna Huffington as some kind of mythical beast. That was fun. (Here are the archives, in case you missed one.)

I wanted to update you on some of the behind-the-scenes particulars. The idea of crowd-sourcing my freelance employment through Kickstarter was new to me — I think it was fairly new in general — and so there has been some trial and error. Here’s where we stand.

– I promised to deliver 50 columns in one year, starting March 7, 2011, and allowing myself two weeks off. In hindsight, this was hilarious. I burned up my two free weeks almost immediately, then had to throw myself on the mercy of the readers in a blog post aptly entitled “I’m dumb.” The consensus among commenters was that it was OK if it takes more than a year, as long as they get their 50 columns. I appreciate your understanding.

There were stretches in the past when I wrote Snide Remarks every single week for more than a year at a time, and I assumed I could do it again. What I neglected to consider was that pretty much all the circumstances are different now. For example, there was a time when Snide Remarks was available by subscription only, which meant that if I missed a week I would have to credit people’s accounts. The thought of manually adjusting all those accounts one by one was so nightmarish that I never missed a week. Also helping: for a big chunk of that time, I didn’t have much employment other than Snide Remarks.

When I was at the Daily Herald — that was what we called a “newspaper,” in a state known as “Utah” — I had a few impressive streaks of never missing a week. Heck, I was writing Snide Remarks TWICE weekly during some of that! But those columns were also much shorter than we are now accustomed to; it was fairly easy to take nothing more than a germ of an idea and lather it up to column length. I also wrote about a lot of local things. I also frequently had the luxury of being able to spend an entire day writing Snide Remarks without having to write anything else.

None of those things are true anymore. Now I am blessed with enough paid gigs to make a living, and while Snide Remarks is a key component, it’s not the only component. Those other paid gigs, though rewarding and enjoyable, are time-consuming, and everything — including Snide Remarks — is probably harder to write than it looks. (Unless it looks really, really, REALLY hard, in which case it is not as hard as it looks.) I’m writing for a general audience, not the readers of a dumb paper in Utah. And where I had plenty of administrative work to do at the newspaper, giving my fevered brain much-needed breaks, now pretty much everything I do requires some level of creativity. Even if I’m physically capable of standing here for 10 hours a day writing, it turns out I am not mentally capable. This has been a frustrating thing for me to accept.

– So far I’ve published 38 columns, with 12 still to come. I did that math myself, but it checks out. They’re still comin’, don’t worry. Obviously, it’s not going to happen within a year of the start date. That ship sailed long ago, and I was not on it.

– Once these 50 columns have been delivered, I’ll do another Kickstarter campaign to fund another 50. I’m not going to promise to do the next 50 in 52 weeks, though, because I am capable of learning from my mistakes. (This is a recent development.) I have a plan in mind that will work better. I’ll tell you about it when the time comes. The point is, there will be more Snide Remarks after this batch of 50 is done.

– A few words on the sponsored columns. The Kickstarter deal was that if you contributed at least $100, you got to choose the topic for one of the columns and put an ad at the bottom of it. Of the 19 people who did this — heroes, all of them — four chose to just give me the money and not claim their prize. (Or at least they never responded to the multiple emails I sent asking if they wanted to claim their prize.) Several others had an advertisement they wanted to include but left it up to me to choose the topic of the column. In other words, just because a column has a sponsor doesn’t necessarily mean that the sponsor chose the subject matter. Some did, some didn’t. Anyway, seven of the 12 columns yet to be delivered will be of the sponsored variety. So if you’re one of those seven sponsors, don’t worry.

Thank you, one and all, for supporting Snide Remarks. Whether you contributed to the Kickstarter campaign or are “just” a reader, I appreciate your enthusiasm, comments, feedback, and baked goods. I hope your investment, whether of money or of five minutes of your time per week, has been worth it. (Because there are no refunds.) Onward and upward!

P.S. No column this week. Suckers!