You may have noticed things have changed a bit at the Zebra Pit recently. Posts aren’t coming as often, there are fewer topics being covered and there are fewer posts arriving each day to our social media accounts. You might have also noticed I was very careful when framing what my future might look like when discussing goal setting in my New Year Resolutions post. I suppose it’s time I got official about telling my readers what’s going on.
2018 in Review
First let’s talk a little about what’s behind us before we talk about what’s ahead to get some perspective. Last October, the Zebra Pit (or Disability Depot as it was first called) turned three. It’s been three years of sometimes difficult, but always enjoyable work. It started out as an outlet for me to express myself and share a little of what I was beginning to figure out worked to help me feel better and it evolved into what you see today. It’s grown with my cognitive abilities and I’m very proud to say I’m almost back to being the writer I was in 2003 before EDS, MCAS and POTS began to overwhelm my brain with inflammation and pharmaceuticals.
It wasn’t until 2018 that I really began to treat the Zebra Pit like a business and that was a mistake, but not really an avoidable one. I worked on it as much as my health allowed and 2018 was a great year for me despite emerging heart problems and the ramping up of my MCAS so that I’m reacting to hundreds of substances and triggers and have to wear a mask everywhere I go. In a way it was a blessing because now I know how to protect myself, even if the reactions are that much more severe. You can’t treat something you don’t know about.
I’ve pushed hard to try to make the Zebra Pit successful and I’m proud of what I accomplished. We grew exponentially in 2018:
I’m also incredibly proud of some of the articles I wrote last year. As I’ve mentioned, it’s been my best year yet for writing because my head symptoms are at an all-time low and I’m able to tackle the tough stuff with greater ease and communicate with more specificity.
These were our top 20 posts and pages for the year:
- Understanding Mast Cell Disorders
- Fascia Treatments for EDS and Fibromyalgia
- Are Most Spoonies Suffering from MCAD?
- Breanna Sprenger, My Hero!
- What PQQ Can Do For You
- NIH Releases FAQ on Hereditary Alpha Tryptasemia
- Medications & Supplements
- FDA Warns of Dangers of Epidural Spinal Injections
- MCAD: Medications and Treatments
- What is Interstitial Cystitis?
- Quercetin and MCADs
- AloeMD; Pain Relief + Healing
- FaceBlaster Beauty Results
- Wall Squats
- Low FODMAP Barbeque Sauce
- Tips for Exercising with EDS
- MCAS & Doctors Disbelieving Patients
- What is Gastroparesis
- MCADs and the Low Histamine Diet
What the Numbers Say
As you can see, we’ve done a fine job increasing our posts, our word count, and our reach, yet it’s still not enough. I started this blog because I needed it, not because I thought it would make money: However, I need to earn an income. While what I’ve done seems impressive on paper and I am very proud of it, it’s equal to $18 of earnings in advertising. Yes, I did all of this work over 3 years for $18. I’m lying, actually. It’s costed me more than that to maintain my blog, so I’m running at a loss, even if you count the few freebies I’ve managed to obtain by writing sponsored posts.
I’d love to turn this blog into a publishing empire, but the fact of the matter is so long as I write exclusively in the “Your money or your life” category, I will never be at the top of any search on Google and I will never get a fair shake on Facebook or Twitter. Because I am a patient advocate and not a licensed practitioner pushing pills as the solution to every ill, I will never rank high on any social media platform, search engine or collection site.
If I open a pharmacy or wellness shop to try to support my writing, more likely than not people will grow wary of my advice, assuming my work is nothing more than a tool for sales. I’d probably barely break even from the amount of advertising I’d have to do and fold in the first 6 months because I don’t have any start-up funds or savings. As things are right now, we can’t even cover our monthly expenses, so a trial run is simply out of the question.
No matter what angle I come at this from, there’s no way to win.
2019 and Beyond
Though I know the Zebra Pit is a losing proposition financially and that’s come to matter to me a whole lot as my financial situation grows more untenable and my health less so, I’m not shutting it down. I never started this to turn it into a money-making enterprise, I started it to have an outlet for myself and as a way to help others. I plan to continue in that vein. Of course, now I have to balance it with the growing and changing needs of myself and my family. I’m looking for work, be it freelance or contract.
What this means is that I will be devoting much less time to the Zebra Pit. I won’t be pushing so hard to grow followers here and on social media. I won’t be writing 2-3 posts per week. I won’t be covering as many topics and I won’t be available to chat with my readers and followers the way I have in the past to answer your health questions, commiserate or just enjoy each other’s company and the knowledge that we each get the others struggle. I will always answer your questions and comments on the blog, though.
While searching, I’m doing my best to still post one original work per week and reshare at least one post per day on each social media channel. I’m also trying to keep my pinterest and YouTube channels (which of course has finally decided to take off) going. It’s a lot when doing all of one’s own cooking from scratch, making animal food, working out, fasciablasting, job hunting, self-care, other chronic illness management and still making it to 1-3 medical appointments every week. I sometimes wonder where I’ll get the time to actually work, but time I will have to make.
Yes, this leaves the future of the Zebra Pit in a precarious state, but we all have to make our own choices and do what’s right for us in the long run. And even if I do end up walking away entirely at some point, the site will still be here to guide other trifecta zebras through the process of healing and recovering their own lives so they too can move on to working and living life to the fullest again.
Help Shape Content for The Zebra Pit
Since my time is limited, I wanted to ask my readers what topics are most important to you? You could help to shape the content for the Zebra Pit moving forward by answering the questions below:
Your answers are greatly appreciated. Feel free to expand on your thoughts in the comments. Your answers and comments will help shape future content. Thank you for taking the time to answer!