Nobody cares about your blog

nobody-cares-about-your-blog-1

There have been days, quite a lot of them actually, when I really wanted to buy this tee shirt. And on some of those days, once purchased, I think I’d actually have worn the tee shirt in public.

For a long time (in internet years) “blogging” has been the thing. Everyone’s doing it. But when I started this blog, back in the good ole days of the internet, the concept was new. We were all maybe a little paranoid while putting out all this personal and revelational material into the great vacuum of cyber land, even adopting a pseudonym (see: mrsmetaphor) to protect our identity. It felt as though I was shouting into the chasm. Nowadays it’s more like shouting into the storm of people shouting. Everyone has a blog. So what?

Many of my long time blogging compadres have left their cyber houses untended, letting weeds reclaim the yard and vines grow over the entrance. We can peer in the windows and see the layers of dust on the floors and shelves, white sheets draped over the furniture. I think back about the hey day of blogging, lo those many (internet) years ago and sometimes I sigh with wonder and appreciation. Those were the days.

Then the idea of monetizing came and the idea of viral posts and blogging for book deals and high profiles and millions of readers. It’s interesting to see how things shift over time. I was never much for monetizing or viral posts. I just write what I feel like writing and put it out there, no longer shouting into the storm but more likely whispering. That’s okay by me.

I have to admit that I don’t read a great number of blogs anymore. I just don’t have the time or energy. The information overload on the internet is too much and too often so now I subscribe to the writers I like and have it delivered easy-like to my email in box. I unwrap those entries at my leisure and savor them in my own time.

All that said, as recently as a few months ago I encouraged someone to start a blog. Even with all the saturation and monetization and the “nobody cares about your blog” feelings, I will sometimes still offer a big thumbs up when someone asks my opinion on it. In no particular order, here are the things that sway me on that front-

5 Reasons to start a blog (even in the modern soggy internet market):

  1. You love to write and you have something to say
    So let’s say you find yourself with a little time on your hands, a working computer and something to say but no place to publish or no interest in pursuing publishing as a career.
    Go for it.
    It’s a great way to start a writing discipline and begin to see words on a page. Just be warned that whatever you put out there is out there. I like to tell people that the internet has a long memory and a short attention span. Even if you remove a blog post or shut down a blog those words might live forever someplace else- someone’s hard drive, cached pages, etc. Don’t write anything you hope no one sees. That’s just asking for trouble.
  2. You have something to sell
    I hate that I just wrote that but nevertheless, it’s true. If you sell something like jewelry or essential oils or fitness practices (wink wink) then it’s probably a decent idea to have a blog connected to your website. Products are lifeless and cold, writing about what you sell or how it affects your life or even how much you love donuts or Disney movies helps to make you a real person, weirdly enough, and that will lend your product some edge in an overcrowded online market.
  3. You are an amazing writer
    It’s true that I know amazing writers who won’t go anywhere near the “blogosphere” (mainly because there are non words like blogosphere that describe it.) But if you are an amazing writer and are not published anywhere but want to have your work out there, go for it. It’s a good way to begin to build some presence online and perhaps even begin to build a readership for your work. My limited experience is that people who are amazing writers get blog traffic when what they write about fills a niche no one else is reaching OR fills a niche no one reaches with amazing writing. Let that roll around on your tongue for a while.I’ll give a caveat here though because I know from experience that if you are an amazing writer and have something to say, see #2 and heed that advice as well. If you “publish” a great essay on your blog but think you’d like to send it to a lit mag or online journal you may find they won’t touch it. The thinking on this has been shifting a little bit but for the most part the most respected journals won’t publish it even if it’s “just” on your blog. Take care with your work. Blog about “blog” things, keep ’em short and chewable and lovely but don’t stop there. Use it as a springboard to write longer and more interesting things to submit when you’re ready.
  4. You’re quirky
    For this one I’d say you also should be an amazing writer but that’s because I get tired of people trying too hard to be quirky at the expense of the writing. Unless you’re selling something or are already known it’s really hard to get your work noticed. People need a reason to visit or subscribe to your blog, they’re busy and distracted and impatient. If you’re quirky they’ll come back or trek along for the ride. If you’re not sure if you’re quirky ask your friends. They’ll tell you. Most likely that’s why they hang out with you.
  5. You’re already published
    Here’s the thing, most of my favorite published authors don’t blog and I respect that. There’s this little nagging thing in me though and I don’t think it’s only me. I want more. I want to know more, I want to understand more, I want to know what that author thinks about Ferguson or the deficit or the cost of higher education. Sometimes you can get that by following them on Facebook and, in fact, Anne Lamott does her own version of this on that site. She’ll post long status updates (blog length, I’d say!) and those serve the purpose. But if you’re not Anne Lamott and you’re published and people love your work and want more it may be worthwhile to start a blog. You can do it on an author Facebook page if that’s your bag but it may be a good idea to set up shop on an actual blog and just save Facebook for cat memes. That’s your call. In any case you want your work to be available and sharable. That’s the key.

I hate that this now feels like one of those “ask the expert” posts. Sorry about that. I’m no expert. I just have feelings, a whole lot of feelings…and I have a computer and some time on my hands. Maybe nobody cares about my blog or your blog these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

Good luck all my blogging people…make beautiful posts!

Magic and Metal…

 

 

The “writing” vs “publishing” trap gets to me way too often.

Head on over to Ruminate Magazine’s blog to see just how much 🙂

 

Header-Ruminate-Logo

 

I wanted to write about that dollhouse but the words won’t come. I’m thinking too much today about the rejection notices I’ve gotten already this week. I’m consumed today not by the “magic” of writing but by the messy business end of this writer’s life. It could be that it’s on my mind because of the most recent failed submissions or the agent email saying he’ll “take a pass” on reading my work. But more likely it’s on my mind because I spent some time at a writer’s conference a few weeks ago.

 

Why I (wish I could) wake early…

I’ve been trying to get up early. I’ve never been a morning person, except, I admit that lately I’m discovering the merits of getting up before the noise in the house starts. I begin to wonder how much of my identity I’ve wrapped around this idea of being a night owl all these years. To say “I’m not” this or that becomes limiting at best. The strange reality is that my life is shifting all the time. All of our lives are shifting. Sometimes we’re the day job, sometimes we’re the night shift. Some days we’re flu ridden, some nights we’re insomniacs. We’re the late night parent, we’re the day time teacher. I wonder how much choice we really have to be “night people” or “day people.”

At any rate, I’m doing my level best to work with my circumstances and the basic truth of it is that by 8pm I’m so worn out from the day that I just cannot bring words to my brain it seems. And so, I’m trying to find myself in the mornings, in the (relative) quiet, in the sliver of time between all out and all in.

This poem from the lovely Mary Oliver came across my laptop screen today, compounding just what I’d been thinking, providing our Poetry Tuesday fix as it were.

Enjoy, good people….

 

Why I Wake Early

 

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who made the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and the crotchety –

 

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light –

good morning, good morning, good morning.

 

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.

 

~ Mary Oliver ~

 (Why I Wake Early, 2004)

why write

Be prepared that I’m really tired and not above rambling here….

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m this moody enneagram 4 or because I’m just remarkably insecure and self centered at the same time. (I’m talented that way) I keep running up against this thing about my writing.
why write?

When I was younger I used to say that I wrote songs because I HAD to write them…because they EXISTED and they demanded to be heard. I suppose part of me thinks this is still true. (Yes, in fact, I do actually personify pretty much everything. Sometimes it even annoys me but mostly I think it’s endearing so that’s how we’ll roll.)

I was thinking the other day about the persistent nagging doubt that eats away at me as it concerns my songwriting in particular.

“Why I keep writing songs? Why do I need to do that?”

I guess most of us get to this point in life, why do something that has no monetary component..is it a hobby? like basketweaving or crocheting? what? I dunno.

Following on the heels of that, weirdly enough comes the second thing that bugs me.
“Is this any good?”
Or more specifically what I hear in my head is this:
“Does this song suck?”

After spinning out there for a little while I can meander around for, well, quite a while actually on the finer points of the why, the when, the how, the how much…ack. Crazy Making. I think that is the actual psychiatric medical term for this.

{insert deep breathing here}
wait
remember
here it is…

I keep coming back to this same thing in the end…it’s the only answer that even while not conveying ANY logical sense it does bring some heart sense to me.

In the end it’s just got to be about making something beautiful and putting it out there. It IS enough to create it and put it out there, whether it’s got a capitalistic bent or not.
It IS enough.

Which of course is complicated by the fact that I’m not independently wealthy so while it’s enough to create more beauty for the world I also have to eat…and feed and clothe my kids…yes?
There’s a balance to it…that’s the work, there. And so the tension is there too…that’s where I just feel like I need to press through and keep doing what I’m doing to whatever end it brings.

Sometimes we just don’t get to know the why. We just have to do it and be in it and let it become what it will be.

Sometimes it’s just got to be enough to do it.
yes?

Unfinished Things

I’ve been thinking today about writing. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about it.  I thought about it rather well. When the time came to actually put something down on what Luci Shaw referred to this weekend as the “democratic white page” I faltered. My fingers fumbled. Keystroke-like movements started and stopped.  I thought about the look of the dogwood trees blooming and could not come up with words to describe them with any honor large enough. This went on for most of the day and into the evening.  

I thought about the sound of the quiet, interrupted only by the uneven tapping on the keyboard when an idea came then followed quickly by the rhythm of the backspace key beating time with measured regularity.

It seemed so much more certain of it’s job.

At last all I am left with is the astounding realization and perhaps the appreciation finally, of the unfinished things.

that’s all.