Just a word of thanks to WordPress and readers/visitors for the recent Freshly Pressed attention for 50 Shades of Blue: The Use of Profanity at The Green Study. I think it bodes well for my writing career that my highlighted posts involve internal name calling, getting a tattoo and now this classic – a piece I ended with the sentence “I hear the writer is a complete asshole.” My family, if any of them knew how to use the internet thingy, would be so proud.
This has been an enjoyable experience and I am thankful for the new readers and commenters I’ve “met”. However, because I am a writer and feel uncomfortable with any vestige of self-esteem or self-confidence, I Googled “Freshly Pressed” to see what other bloggers thought about the experience. I’m going against etiquette and turning my thank you into a rant.
It is apparently de rigueur among a few bloggers, to talk about how shitty all the blog posts are that get tapped by WordPress for some attention. One writer said 98% of the posts don’t belong there. That’s rather precise. Maybe she knows something we don’t. Maybe she’s like an Olympic judge and knows about the drugs used to pump up writers’ performances. Maybe my blood test came back showing all the caffeine and Cherry Garcia I use to prop myself up during draft writing sessions.
Another said gleefully that he hoped it would never happen to his blog, because it would be an insult. I am going to disabuse him of that notion and say it actually feels the opposite of an insult. I feel less indignant for myself than I do for all the other posts that get selected, many of which I not only enjoyed reading, but found other blogs to read through the comment sections.
This is the thing about blogging – it’s not separate from who you are as a person. If you like to tear other people down, because you think your high art is more important or significant than that of someone else, I’m guessing you’re kind of a dick in person. If you think other blogs getting attention is a detriment to your blog, your focus is on the wrong prize.
Maybe I’m a mediocre, pedestrian writer. Maybe my viewpoints aren’t radical or extreme or highbrow enough to deserve notice. Maybe I’m pop music – vulgar, bland and auto-tuned. I don’t give a shit. Getting Pressed is fun and I wish it for every single one of you. Especially for the guy who would be insulted. That would just be funny.
In the spirit of being ungracious and because I had to drive the entire way yesterday morning to my daughter’s school (with said daughter) behind a truck that had “Ditch the Bitch: Let’s Go Hunting” on its bumper, I decided to toss rote gratitude out the window and post this little bit of bile.
While Freshly Pressed is a nice pat on the back, it is not the end all, be all. It is a little excitement, some work and some really enjoyable exchanges with people I’ve not run across before. After it’s over, it’s back to writing, because that’s my secret to being a happy blogger – most pleasure comes from the writing. The feedback is just an extra teaspoon of sugar in my already comforting cup of tea.
It goes without saying that blogging is a personal journey and what a person finds appealing will always be subjective. One blogger’s measure of success is not going to be the same as another’s. Intentions will not be the same, writing style will not be the same, subjects of interest will not be the same. Yet diligence and authenticity and passion will always be of interest to someone. And this is where my little diatribe turns the corner…
I “met” a lot of new bloggers in this last go round and I’m writing this mostly for their benefit. My intent for blogging has been to get in the practice of writing publicly, so if your intent is therapy or making money or starting an anarchist rebellion, the thoughts below may not be for you. Here are the lessons I’ve learned about blogging, mostly from my mistakes:
- Define your purpose for blogging. Write it down somewhere – you’ll need the reminder when your stats stagnate or shoot up. Why are you doing this?
- Remember that no one really gives a shit if you don’t write a post for awhile. Post work that pleases you, when it pleases you. Schedules are often the breeding ground of dreck and filler.
- If you don’t have the time or desire to respond to comments, turn off that capability on your blog post. No one wants to hear the echo of an empty room. Blogging, when those features are enabled, is interactive. I remember one reader told me she had a friend who got mad every time someone commented on his blog. Apparently he likes living enraged.
- Don’t get discouraged by the lack of traffic if you desire a growing readership (and return to that first point). It takes time and a willingness to read and comment on other blogs. It takes time to find writers you like to read who might make a connection with what you write.
- If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. It’s supposed to be fun.
- And please, don’t read blogging advice articles…
Hey…..where are you going?