Of Cats, Blogs and Commitment

by Jonathan Dalton on December 14, 2010

His Cat Ebby

Ebby

On a sunny, hot day in June 1991, I walked to the office of my apartment complex and heard a meow. Looking down, there was a kitten sitting under a bush staring up at me. I’d never been a fan of cats, but living alone for the first time, I’d semi-adopted a stray so that I’d have a little company. I asked the office who she belonged to and they said, “you.” She’d been abandoned just that morning, and they had hoped someone would step in.

I was Ebby’s huckleberry. She was wonderful. She waited in the window for me to come home, came out of the window when I woke up to give me a kiss good morning. We had our issues, such as the 3:00am yarn rolling, but those were minor hiccups.

Here’s the thing, though… When I carried her into my apartment, I really had no idea how long cats could live. No one told me that I would have her through three presidential administrations, seven different apartments and houses, two marriages or the birth of my first child. In fact, she and I were together longer than my first wife and I — from dating to divorce.

Marriage is a commitment, but owning a cat, that’s Commitment with a capital “C”, my friends.

All of that ended when she passed away of renal failure three years ago. My second cat, who I adopted a year after Ebby, passed away of the same illness a year later. Seventeen years between the two; both were 16 years old when I had to have them put to sleep.

Just like I was woefully uninformed about the life span of felines when I let Ebby into my life, I was equally unaware of the eternal aspect of the real estate blog when I created my first on RealTown. (After six months, I moved onto WordPress where I’ve been for the last four full years.)

Every day I wake up and the blog is waiting for me, expectant as a pet waiting for food, waiting for me to add another blog post to the archives.

After nearly 2,000 posts, though, I’m all but written out. The logic of explaining to buyers how to purchase real estate finally has escaped me, if only because I don’t want them to purchase on their own using what I explained. I want them to work with me.

Experts have emerged like weeds after our winter rains, telling anyone who will listen exactly how to write blog posts, how to get the most SEO bang for the buck with packed keywords, how to take advantage of unique concepts such as “365 Things to Do in xxx” – a year’s supply of blog fodder based on what can be done in your city. Somewhere, I’m sure there’s an agent mulling “365 Things to Do in Ajo,” which will be the sign the concept has not just jumped the shark but tagged the shark and made a documentary for Shark Week about the thing.

Truth be told, I don’t get a ton of business off my blog. Compared side to side, my static neighborhood sites generate more contact per visit than the blog ever has. Maybe I’m not writing enough about the community rummage sale. Who knows? Whatever the cause, the reality is if I’d known at the beginning the level of commitment needed to make a blog work, I probably never would have started.

The same could be said about my nearly two decades with Ebby and Griff. (And probably my kids, but that’s another story.)

Then again, my life wouldn’t have been the same without them (cats, kids, wives and beagles inclusive). And my career wouldn’t have been the same without the blog, not because of the business generated but because of the connections inside and outside real estate.

Maybe you’re debating whether to start a blog and wondering if it’s worth the effort. I’m here to say it is, as long as you’re aware of one basic reality… you’re in this for the long haul, possibly longer than you ever imagined.

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