Wednesday, February 27, 2013

yadda yadda yadda

Advance warning:  this is another one of those posts, which I seem to do about once a year, about why I have a blog, should I have a blog, why the hell do I keep doing this?  So if it's a topic that bores you, move along.  It would bore me, too, except it's my blog, you know.

So when I started this, it never even occurred to me that it might be a money-making proposition. It was 2003, and blogs were relatively new, and aside from a few professional blogs run by journalists or organizations, nobody was doing it for money.

But blogs are money-making ventures now--at least for some people--and where money goes, people follow.  For the past couple of years now, everyone is interested in making money off their blogs.  Which leads to bloggers who have been financially successful writing posts about how to do it.

Which leads to lots of posts that are entirely disdainful, even contemptuous, of personal blogs. You have to have an angle, they say, secure in the knowledge that since their blog is financially successful, it is inherently more valuable than one that isn't.  No no wants to read about your kids and your pets except your mother.  You have to have a topic, something that keeps people coming back, something that draws people in, because making money from your blog requires readers.  Lots of readers.

The first time I read one of those posts was a couple of years ago at Jennifer Crusie's blog, ArghInk.  She listed the reasons why you should have a blog, and all of them were about marketing:  creating an internet presence, a personal "brand," a forum for publicizing your work (which she always did very gently, her blog is not about advertising)(I used past tense because I haven't read her blog in a long time, but I'm sure she is still as lowkey as ever).
But there was no mention of people who blog because they just have something to say that they want to say in a public place.  Not one word about the urge I sometimes feel--a literal compulsion--to sit down and type out what I'm thinking.  I've written several posts in the last couple of months that felt exactly like that.  Like I couldn't rest until the words were out there.

On the one hand, this is fine with me.  I've got my silly little blog here, with loyal readers for whom I am eternally grateful, and those writers have their "successful" blogs, with thousands of readers and a monthly check.  In a way, it's two entirely different things.  There are people like me, who just want to have their little public space for their personal thoughts, and people who aspire to be professionals, to be able to make a living by writing.  And that's why I completely understand that some people do want to (or need to) make money off their blog.   

That's easy to say.  But then I read something by a professional blogger (like Crusie) that I admire and I realize how entirely silly--even pointless-- this blog would be in their eyes.  And since the blogs I read are usually people that I admire, it's a little demoralizing.

Sometimes I just bang out a post about the pets or whatever, but usually I sweat over what I write here.  It's not ever going to make money, but it means something to me.  And occasionally I write something that seems to mean something to one of you, which is like chocolate icing on top of  an eclair that's already pretty good.

So to run that metaphor right into the ground, I occasionally have to remind myself to just relax and enjoy the eclair for what it is, and not get all uptight that I don't have an eclair business with a fat bottom line and people lining up down the street to buy them.  Hmmmm.  I really shouldn't have gone there.

And even that isn't really the problem.  I never intended to make money from writing here; the fact that I don't is truly OK with me.  The real problem is knowing that what I'm doing here seems silly, pointless, and even embarrassing to people whose opinion matters to me.  That's the real problem.

So that's why about once a year I write one of these, to remind myself to have thick skin and do my own thing, and let other people's opinions just roll off my back.  It's not as easy as I'd like it to be.


  1. and p.s. those of you who read the WEBS blog will hear echoes of a WEBS blog post from earlier this week (although there are other sources, too). So I would like to say in advance that I realize that the writer wasn't intentionally disparaging personal blogs, she was just talking about what to do if you do happen to want to make money off your blog. She triggered the timing of this post, but she isn't the source of my insecurities, if that makes any sense. And if you are interested in making money off your blog, here is the link because she has lots of information about it:

  2. Monetizing my blog just never appealed to me. Then it wouldn't be just me saying what I wanted to say.

  3. I am going to reply now, even though I am horribly tardy, and maybe no one will see this comment.

    First, please don't think anyone believes your words, blog, opinions, insights, or writing in general are pointless or silly, they are NOT. So not. You do have a devoted readership, and that's because what you say has value.

    Second, I agree completely that the money-making blogs and the personal blogs are no longer in the same category, they are now two entirely different formats.

    Last, never stop being genuine and who you truly are. THAT person is who we come here to see. And enjoy. And learn from. And share with.

    1. Thanks, Julie! of course I saw this! :-)

  4. I'm tardy too - computer issues. It's really hard to use a computer with no power cord. Sigh. Anyway, I do hear that disdainful note in some of those posts and they make me cringe a bit about my wee blog. But then I think, that is not my purpose for my blog. I never intended it to make money, I don't want it to make money because that would change what it is. What it is a a place to me to write out stuff that matters to me, stuff I'm thinking about and process it. Sometimes it's more of a record of something that is happening - the sunroom saga posts, sometimes it's family crap, sometimes it's religion, but whatever. It's really for me and for those four or so people who read it and care about what I'm saying at the moment. I love reading what you have to say, you THINK about stuff, and it's generally stuff I care about or find interesting. So, you know, keep saying it.

    1. yes, exactly. Occasionally I write something without even realizing what I'm doing that leads to a major a-HA!! moment. Happened a couple of weeks ago, as a matter of fact. That's why I love doing this.

  5. "The real problem is knowing that what I'm doing here seems silly, pointless, and even embarrassing to people whose opinion matters to me. "

    Well, possibly those people don't actually think that. They recognize that there are these two different kinds of blogs, and they're addressing the professional kind (and ones meant to support a profession, like a writer's blog.)

    And if they ARE disdainful, then I judge THEM! As if writing is ever a waste of time, or unimportant, or little. Just as well to say that the person doing the writing is unimportant. This is why I long ago gave up trying to write a themed blog. I just like to talk! Chat chat chat. About whatever's on my mind. And if a few people are interested, then yay! If not, well at least I get it off my mind, gets my thoughts straight, amuse myself.

    Our kind of blog writing is like well-thought out conversation. We talk about the kinds of things we would talk about if we all went out for drinks together. The internet provides us with a medium to meet like-minded people and have real conversations with them. And that's why we like the "update" posts too--cause that's where you get to see what's going on in your pal's daily life. We're interested in each other. I want to hear about your thoughts on religion, AND how your chickens are doing, AND what you're reading, etc.

    I find it warm and communal. :-)

    1. Oh, I love this: "As if writing is ever a waste of time, or unimportant, or little. Just as well to say that the person doing the writing is unimportant." Thanks. Yes, we do have our own kind of odd blog conversation going, I'd never really thought about it like that. *group hug*

      I think you're right that I'm being paranoid by assuming disdain on a professional blogger's part, but I'm cycnical enough I guess to think that the real mis-think here is that they would ever even be aware of what a personal blogger does. Thankfully, we get to fly under their radar.