Ben Sixsmith:

Still, there are writings that cannot find a home. They are not topical enough. They do not quite fit a brand. Perhaps there is a reason for that? Perhaps. But not always.

There is also something to be said for spontaneity. Sometimes an idea is best played with or hammered out rather than being structured and refined with professional care.

So, the Zone is where I can be wholly myself. Once a week, on Tuesday, I will send a letter with a range of different entries in a vaguely diaristic form. This will not be brow-scrunching political commentary. It will be bursts of outrage, enthusiasm, intrigue and obsession – something more like a blog than a magazine. It will be messy, in other words, but I hope it will be fun.

But…but…you already have a blog!

I kid, mostly. I don’t begrudge anyone trying to earn extra money. But since the arc of first-person online writing seems to be bending toward the paid subscription format, let me just take a moment to reiterate some guiding principles that apply here.

One, I would not want to be “wholly” myself here, and I’m fairly sure you wouldn’t want that either. My stream of consciousness isn’t particularly deep, nor is it aesthetically pleasing to behold, so I’ll continue to shape my thoughts according to the presumed standards of an ideal reader. I love writing and wish I could do it every day, but I am not a #ContentCreator, so if the muse is playing hard-to-get, I’d rather sit quietly than write something insipid just for the sake of keeping the assembly line rolling.

Two, I can’t imagine any circumstances in which I would write for money. Introducing commerce into this labor of love would destroy everything that makes it an enjoyable hobby and turn it into one more product to be delivered on a deadline. I’ve never put out a tip jar and I wouldn’t have the chutzpah to charge money for admission; frankly, I’m always amazed how many of you show up here free of compulsion as it is. I don’t know what’s lacking in your lives that you should want to spend your irreplaceable time here, but we can get into that some other day. Plus, I just survived a four-week layoff from work without having to resort to selling blog posts for food, so I don’t see any other reason why I should ever be so tempted.

And three, I admit, I like the idea of standing in silent rebuke of the world of online media, refusing to join in the tail-chasing from one trendy platform to another, where insecure adolescents of all ages compare likes, retweets and follower counts like teenage boys bragging about their massive endowments. The blog was, and is, the perfect format for the amateur writer. It did not need to be, and has not been, improved upon. There’s nothing as unforgivable as a good example.