A brief update. Scuffed News has struggled. I don’t think it was a bad idea (one of our videos has 1.8 million views on TikTok), and I think I have done some worthwhile work, but in order to succeed with it I needed to build a large audience quickly and I haven’t accomplished that, and there’s very little sign that this audience is somewhere around the corner. Some combination of my lack of ability, and factors out of my control, are responsible for this failure. By the time the Fourth of July arrived and I had footage for four videos in hand, I found I couldn’t muscle the footage into videos that made sense to me, or accomplished anything useful. Editing those videos takes a huge amount of effort, and, frankly, belief. My belief was flagging in the middle of the summer and hasn’t revived. I still want to publish at least a couple of those videos (the one from Minneapolis about “defunding” the police, especially), but I can’t promise regular output from Scuffed News in the coming months.
A few things are contributing to me being OK with this.
1. My wife Andrea has a good job and we live in a low-cost place and we have three kids to raise. The mundane churn of drop-offs, pickups, doctor’s visits, piano practice, soccer practice, baths, and all of that takes a lot of time and energy, as many of you know, and even though I have to admit to the doctor’s office that I don’t have an employer, and am greeted with an awkward silence, I’m (usually) glad that I get to spend so much time with my kids. They’re 6, 4 and 1. We’re in a season of labor-intensive parenting. It’s good for me to be able to throw myself into that.
2. My soccer podcast is growing fast. It’s a much lower-effort endeavor than Scuffed News, and it’s benefiting from a renaissance in the U.S. men’s national team that’s culminating, this week, in the beginning of an 8-month World Cup qualifying campaign. So we have a window of momentum there and I’m going to defenestrate myself through it. I’ll be busy with this, which I assume almost none of you care about, for the next week, which means Morning Belz will be on hiatus until next Friday at the earliest.
3. While video production isn’t my core competency, writing is, and I think there is potential for Morning Belz to be a better and more consistent product. The best feedback I’ve gotten since I quit my job at the Star Tribune in November has been for the newsletter. I will have more to say about that in the next month.
So to sum up, no final decision on ending Scuffed News right now, but it’s not clicking on all cylinders so let’s just officially say it’s on pause. We’ll see what exactly happens, but all is well with me, and I’m quite busy with work that I enjoy. Have a great weekend.
“Things in our life simply don’t go according to set decisions. One glides into a new epoch, and the so-called ‘decision’ is as a rule only the final summing-up of items long since entered into the ledger by life itself.” — Franz Rosenzweig, 1928
Morning Belz comes out most weekdays and is written by Adam Belz, a former newspaper reporter who lives just outside Chattanooga, Tenn. Hope you benefit from it. Please shoot me a note if you have suggestions, ideas or corrections, share it with anyone you think might enjoy it, and please check out Scuffed News on YouTube. You can support that work, and this, with your money on Patreon.
Thanks Belz, honestly I subscribed to this because of Scuffed, keep it up if you can and if you can't you do you. Also as an often Stay-at-home dad myself, I feel you on that awkward silence when you tell people that. I like to lay into it.
I look forward to Morning Belz especially the longer thought pieces. This is your strength and I am glad it will continue.