The Rise & Fall of Whit Honea the Professional Blogger

It starts with an email. Then there is a phone call. You might get some training on their system. There are some guidelines. You print out a contract and some tax forms, sign them, and email them back to sender. You write your first post. Maybe there is some feedback. Maybe you just keep logging on, doing what you were told, and you never hear from anyone. Your inbox may be full of jokes and community. Your comments may be full of hate and ignorance. You hope there is a check, and you hope they keep coming.

Other sites like what you do. They want your name, your talent, and your Klout score. They offer you various levels of pay and flexibility. The money is never good, but sometimes it is just enough. At some point you are able to cut the strings to a day job you have always hated and you spend the next five years working from home, writing for a living, and loving your children for stretches of time that you never knew existed. This is your benefits package, and it is everything you need but medical.

It could be you are in a new town and your wife has a new job. This is the fresh start you always read about. You might be staying with friends while you are trying to find the perfect home. There are big plans and family dreams and finally, it is the time to seize them.  Everything could be coming up roses. Everything could smell just as sweet. But everything is full of thorns, and pretty flowers tend to mask the dangers lurking underneath.

Perhaps you are standing barefoot in the cool grass of your friend’s yard, holding a phone to your ear and straining to hear the words that are changing your life forever. Perhaps it is the third straw in as many months, and it breaks your camel’s back accordingly.

It ends with an email. There might be a phone call: It’s not you, it’s me. We’re letting go of everyone. We’re revamping the system. We’re going in a new direction. We need someone that will do twice your work for half your price. We love your writing.

And then the checks stop coming.

It could be that things will be okay, except that your well has run dry and you are so frozen with fear that you cannot coax your drive out of park. In a moment your big plans and family dreams are reduced to the facts: you are as good as unemployed and you do not have a home.

Your options are few, but options are all you have. Options are the rope that life likes to dangle like so many participles: a noose, a lifeline, a tug of war, and things you are at the end of. Life has a twisted sense of humor.

Maybe you look in the mirror and you see your children laughing through your reflection, and all you know is that they do not deserve this.  Your hair is thin and it is growing grayer.

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76 Responses to “The Rise & Fall of Whit Honea the Professional Blogger”

  • Darren says:

    Sorry about this. Whoever it is, I’ll never go to their site again. You’ll bounce back though; you’ve got a lot of talent. Be well and don’t get too down over it.

    • Whit says:

      Thanks, Darren. Actually, I’ve been let go or had my role greatly reduced at three sites over the past few months, but until this last one (which came out of the blue), things were still okay. Hard, but okay. It would be much easier to roll with it if we had a place to live — that part scares the hell out of me.

  • Idaho Dad says:

    All I have for you is cliche: Things get better. Hey, at least you have sunshine now.

    I could also offer you a job writing for my blog. It pays in free kids’ CDs.

  • Nothing to say. Just letting you know I’m listening. And I hope my phone doesn’t ring today.

  • Kristen says:

    Man, that’s an awful lot to handle at one time. I (somewhat) know how it feels, and I’m sorry you’re going through it.

    You’ve got my email — if there’s anything I can do, any intros I can make, or if you just want to let me know what you might be interested in taking on so I can keep a lookout (or just feel like venting), you know how to reach me. Hang in there.

    • Whit says:

      Thanks, Kristen. I’m always open to new stuff, and something out of the parenting market would be a nice change of pace. And this was all the venting I planned on doing, I’ll let you know if that changes.

  • Dan says:

    Bugger.

    Sorry man.

  • Pearmama says:

    Scary times, my friend. Hang in there!

    • Whit says:

      Thanks. We’ve had too many conversations about living out of our car to be comfortable, but hopefully it won’t come to that.

  • Screw the pen. Swords. We need some swords.

  • Beau says:

    That bites. Sorry to hear it. But with your big move, just treat it as one more part of the fresh start.

  • twobusy says:

    Dear 21st century: STOP FUCKING WITH ALL OF US.

    Love,
    All of Us

  • V says:

    So sorry, my favorite box stuffer. Hugs.

  • Jett says:

    Ahhh, Whit. So sorry.

  • liv says:

    I love you. Maybe I need to pack up my bourbon and my swords and send them to you. xoxo

  • BOSSY says:

    Love you, Whit, you know it. Keep fighting the good fight.

  • zenmom says:

    Sucks doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’m so sorry. I really hope things work out better for you all soon.

  • Now I feel especially bad about not buying you a beer in Seattle two weeks ago.

    • Whit says:

      Hey, there was free coffee and I’ll always take that. I’ll take you up on that beer next time.

  • O Captain, My Captain:
    Big-time shake-ups are incredibly rough. And even though everyone around you says “It’ll all be ok,” and even though they’re right… still rough.
    My big transition this summer is very different from yours, but still. I’ve got you in my thoughts, brother.

  • Oh Whit, I’m so sorry. I’ll keep my ears open for you.

  • homemakerman says:

    I know that feeling of being between homes/economic blow all too well. Things always do seem to end up ok though. Better than that, even. As long as you’re not on the crack.

    • Whit says:

      I’ve never been one to pass the bottle and go right for the rock, but let’s not rule it out just yet.

  • Karl says:

    Ugh, sorry, dude. I’ve been there, though I helped to bring myself there. Hell, I’m still there. Hope other doors open quickly.

  • samantha says:

    Shit buckets.
    Cliches are cliches for a reason. Silver lining and all that!
    Hang in there

  • Well this is a kick in the gut at the wrong time, but when is a good time to be kicked in the gut? Hmmm, probably when you’re using an evil dictator as a human shield. Next time be sure to have an evil dictator on hand. Let him be the fall guy.

    I’m hoping this is a interstellar sign that you needed to clear your plate for something awesome to come. I’ll keep my ears open for freelance stuff.

  • LA Daddy says:

    Damn…

    Well, at least it’s not snowing. Hang in there.

  • Sweetney says:

    So sorry. Here for you, however I can be.

  • Renee says:

    Kids don’t deserve any of that sad stuff that happens. Neither do adults for that matter. But my dad followed his dreams, and now that’s all I remember about our hard times. Hoping the same for your kids.

    • Whit says:

      In the words of the late Mitch Hedberg, “I’m tired of following my dreams. I want to find out where they’re going and meet up later.”

      But I hear you and that’s what we’re doing. Thanks!

  • Jane Gassner says:

    Damn….

    See you in LA. I’ll take the east corner of Santa Monica & La Brea; you can have the west. We’ll share the profits….

  • KC says:

    Wow, visit the blog first time in a while and this is what i see.

    What the heck have I missed? No home, no paying blog job? Ack. Let me know if I can send you a little $.

    • Whit says:

      The no home thing is more of an “in between” homes, but when you suddenly lose a job it makes it all a whole lot scarier. We’ll figure something out. And if you didn’t stay away so long I wouldn’t have to go to such lengths to make you stop by!

  • Well first, my prayers for you and your family in this rough time.

    Second: I have followed you since I started out on Twitter and in the blogging world. Your writing and incredible ability to project yourself so vividly and with such imagery have always been inspirations to me. I know how hard it is to write a tough post like this and hope for the best outcome.

    I also know that you are incredibly strong in character and that you are a leader for your family. In my experience, bad always comes before the good. It takes a true leader to navigate to the final destination. You sir, are that leader in your family.

    Best of luck and many well wishes to you and yours

    • Whit says:

      Wow, thank you. I have faith we’ll wind up where we need to be. The path is just a little more rocky than we expected. It happens.

  • beta dad says:

    Not cool, man. But you’re a hustler. You’ll make it work, especially now that you’re in the land of milk and honey. See you soon, brah. Drinks are on me (one $20.00 voucher per night.)

  • sue says:

    Awwww…shit. I’m so sorry to hear this. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Love the writing and know how terrifying the instability must be. I’ll keep fingers and toes crossed that the universe quits messing with you and this is just the dark before the dawn of a newer, brighter day. {{{Hugs}}} (Remember,I always tell myself when these things happen, it could be so much worse. Everyone is healthy… )

  • Oy. Beautifully written. Wish it wasn’t so brutal out there right now. Makes me wonder myself sometimes if it’s time to stop chasing dreams and get pragmatic. But then I think of this little ditty by Edgar A. Guest:

    Don’t Quit
    “When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

    When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

    When the funds are low and the debts are high

    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

    When care is pressing you down a bit,

    Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

    Life is queer with its twists and turns,

    As every one of us sometimes learns,

    And many a failure turns about

    When he might have won had he stuck it out;

    Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–

    You may succeed with another blow,

    Success is failure turned inside out–

    The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

    And you never can tell how close you are,

    It may be near when it seems so far;

    So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–

    It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”

    Just keep being true to who you are. If you have to get pragmatic, just be sure to keep writing at least a little bit every day. Because you’re a real talent. It would be a loss to the world if your words were forever relegated to power points and memos.

    S

  • SFD says:

    Damn… just, damn.

    Hopefully, in a short while, you’ll look back on this as a momentary setback.

    Regardless, I’m sorry you have to deal with it, my friend.

  • Sandi says:

    I hope the housing gods shine upon you and you find a wonderful house and even better neighbours (is that even possible? You had the best neighbours ever!); I hope that the phone rings tomorrow with better work for even better pay. I hope for all of this and more for you and your family.

    Hang in Whit. (Sorry to be so sappy, I just can’t find any kick-ass words this morning)

  • Holmes says:

    I am so sorry to read this. Here’s to everything working out for you and yours. If you ever make it out to the ATX, first round’s on me.

  • IzzyMom says:

    I’m sorry to hear this shitty news. God knows the timing couldn’t be worse.

    Now for the unsolicited stories and platitudes…

    Two days after we closed on our first house, my husband walked in the door hours before he was due home from work.

    “The death knell has sounded” he said cryptically and smiled at me dementedly.

    He went on to tell me that he was out of a job AGAIN because the tech company he was working for went bankrupt. AGAIN.

    Thankfully, when you get a mortgage, they make you pay the first two months in advance at closing so we were safe, briefly.

    His former boss hooked him up with a job that was just minutes from where we had JUST moved from but super far from our new house. Awesome.

    But he went and worked there, understandably unsure how long this particular gig would last.

    In the interim, I happened upon a job that was perfect for him. He interviewed, got it and for better/worse, he’s been there for 10 years.

    What I’m saying is that doors close but new ones open and with all your your connections, another door or five will open for you, too.

    Plus BlogHer is coming up (you’re going, yes?) and you can network your ass off there. Kiss hands, shake babies and let everyone you meet know you’re looking for opportunities.

    This too shall pass but if there’s anything I can do (unlikely but the offer is sincere), just ask.

  • Dave2 says:

    I don’t know how kids could do any better than a father who thinks of them first when things go sideways. Wishing you only the best in the days ahead as you make your way through…

  • Carol says:

    This is horrible news Whit. I am mightily sorry to hear it. It seems the whole world of writing and journalism is in crisis and I have far too many incredibly talented writer friends like you in this boat.

  • Seattledad says:

    So sorry to hear that Whit. Yes, of course things will work themselves out, but that doesn’t make it easy at all to have to deal with.

    Will be sending along our thoughts and best karma from back up here.

  • Whit says:

    @beta dad — Twenty bucks will buy a lot of Four Loko!

    @Sue — That’s true. Things are never as bad as they seem. In theory :)

    @Sarah Buttonedup — That’s great. I hadn’t read that before.

    @SFD — Thanks a lot. BTW, I like what you’ve done over at your place — it looks awesome.

    @Sandi — My neighbors were the best (probably still are). I’m taking part of that with me.

    @Holmes — I plan on attending Dad 2.0 and will drink with you accordingly.

    @IzzyMom — See, you know what I’m talking about. Thanks for the kindness :)

    @Dave2 –Thanks, Dave. I try.

    @Carol — Well, at least I’ll have time to read that book you suggested :)

    @Seattledad — Thanks, Jim. I’ll take all the karma you can spare!

  • DC Urban Dad says:

    Dude I am late to this, but will be thinking of you and sending some good vibes from the East side. Will make sure it doesn’t get lost over the Rockies.

  • tee says:

    I feel like I’ve been punched in the chest. Reading this literally hurts my heart.

  • Cheryl says:

    That picture? One thousand words.

    Damn, Whit. Sorry doesn’t begin to describe how I feel right now.

    I’ll keep you and yours in my heathen thoughts. Sending butterfly wings of hope and support your way.

  • muskrat says:

    Shit, dude. I’m sorry to read this (a bit late, I suppose). I wish you much luck and hope that the cliche about closed doors leading to opened windows (or some such–I’m bad with cliches) proves to be true for the Honeas.

  • Papa k says:

    So… I’m a bit late to this news as well. I just started bloggin again after a four month hiatus and come to find out you’re going through some hard times. Partly the reason I’m blogging again was because I too lost my online writing gig. Sucks but I feel like I gotta let the creativity out somehow so I might as well blog again. It is so cliche but… keep your chin up. Grow out that beard to a tremendous length too. That would be awesome.

  • Whit says:

    @DC Urban Dad — Wait, you aren’t sending Coors Light are you?

    @tee — That’s kind of how I felt, but it trickled all the way down to my wallet.

    @Heather — Exactly.

    @Cheryl — Thanks, Cheryl. It’s starting to pick up.

    @muskrat — I hope you’re right. Whatever you said.

    @Papa k — I’ve already shaved it! It’s a lot warmer here. Sorry to hear about your gig as well.

  • Mr. Man says:

    Wow. Scary thought to me. At least you showed the courage to step out and do your thing. Keep plugging.

  • I realize I’m late to the party but, yeah, I sure understand how this feels. Those constant up and downs nearly drove me mad.
    Clark Kent’s Lunchbox´s last blog post ..Cinnamon or Powdered Donuts

  • Laurie says:

    I remember this post. And I feel strangely lucky that we’ve been friends long enough that I remember this post, and have seen you move through so many phases of this weird online thing with humor and optimism and ambition. Your talent and your desire to succeed and support the people you love will always carry you through, no matter what it looks like or where you’re writing. I know this much is true. (And yes, I have been reading Oprah’s magazine.)
    Laurie´s last blog post ..Proust Questionnaire

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