As my focus turns to more writing, more blogging, more public self-expression, I worry about what it is doing to my psyche. Yesterday I spent a lot of time surfing through articles about blogging and ran across this one at DailyBlogTips.com: “10 Reasons Why Your Blog Sucks” by Edward Khoo. If I weren’t an insecure blogger before, I would be after reading this list.
Just like a lot of bloggers, I tell myself that I just want to write. Well, that’s a big, fat lie. If all I wanted to do was write, that could easily be done in my Mead Composition Notebook with my Zebra pen (does this count as product placement?). I want people to read what I’ve written and to talk to me about it. There. I’ve said it. I’m Michelle. I’m a blogging writer and I want attention. How does this make me any different from the oft-mocked Kardashians (except for all the money, bling and cleavage)?
So back to all these articles and blog posts about how to be a good blogger. First I need to look up SEO, AdSense and RSS feed on Wikipedia (does this give away my ignorance?). How do I drive traffic to my blog? How do I mind control droves of unwitting surfers to read about what cute shit my daughter said today? It took me a few hours of reading up on this subject to realize that if I ever want to make money as a writer, this won’t be the forum for it. I like it where it’s at – thoughtful comments, an array of interesting people to “meet”, no #$@ ads on the side, no pressure to be better than the last post. It’s lovely.
I’m still a little hung up on the Khoo article, especially numbers 2 & 3 on the list:
“2. Your blog is boring. There I said it. Write about topics that interest me, your reader, not topics that interest you. I want you to keep me engaged, entertain me and teach me. Otherwise, you’re boring me.
3. Your blog revolves around your person. Stop talking about yourself already. I don’t know you personally, and I couldn’t care less about your ramblings. Tell me something I can use in my own life. Facts, stories, not boring personal stuff.“
I mean really, all I do is write about myself: my opinions, my family, my workout injuries, my sad and sloppy childhood. I expect to run out of material any day now. And each time I start a post, I remember some weird-ass nugget from my life and I write about it. By the time I’ve edited and re-written a post 60 times, it doesn’t seem remotely interesting. And then the comments come – thoughtful, well-written, funny, informed people taking the time to share their stories and opinions. Wow. Isn’t that the beauty of this whole thing? Isn’t that true optimization?
When I read blogs that are obviously geared to make money, I come away cold and never return. I get the feeling that I’m being manipulated – much like watching a political ad or Hallmark movie. The machinations of getting attention are too choreographed and cynical. Sometimes I’d just like to hang with a blogger who is honest, maybe even clumsy, a little arcane, but someone who really just wants to tell me their story. I like reading blogs by people who earnestly tell me who they are and how they get by in the world.
Corporations and politicians have become very sophisticated in manipulating our emotions and prejudices. I’d like a little less sophistication and a little more human for my daily life, please. With a side of self-deprecation, thanks. Even blogs that I find hysterically funny are sometimes exhausting to read regularly, if the laugh is what they are going for each and every time.
Maybe that’s what it comes down to – I’m writing what I like to read. A mix of everything and nothing at all – no limitations, no particular focus and no targeted audience. If my blog sucks, there’s really no accounting for your bad taste, but I’m glad to make your acquaintance. And please, tell all your friends.