Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Introspection. Meta. Prolix.

Well, my parents are gone, and my house is my own again. That's a good thing and a bad thing. I'm lonely here.

I have lots and lots of acquaintances, but I have no close woman friends. The truth is, I don't trust other women easily and I find it difficult to bare my soul the way that other women seem to find so effortless. The reciprocity that is expected of a bosom buddy is difficult for me to give. It's totally my own thing, but it's a real thing. I can't just throw my self into friendship the way so many women seem to do because I am protective of and stingy with with my feelings and my secrets.

The exception to that is my relationship with my mother and my sister, who live 900 miles away.

So anyway....

I have to tell you, that I have not missed blogging. At times, blogging seems like an obligation that is just too difficult to live up to. And I have realized just exactly how much time I have wasted blogging, and trying to reciprocate with comments. And still it seems that I don't garner nearly the traffic that some do, despite my efforts. I try not to let that matter, but sometimes it's disheartening.

Here's an admission I have not had the courage to divulge until now...it really BOTHERS me when good writing (I'm not referring to my own. There are lots of bloggers who are phenomenal writers who don't get nearly the number of comments I think they should) is overlooked for poop posts and one liners. I have tried not to let it.

I have tried to tell myself that it isn't about the number of comments, but how meaningful they are. And truly, I have some of the best commenters around. The insight and information that has been shared in my comments have been very gratifying to me. But still it bothers me...for myself, and for the other writers who pour their heart and soul into their writing only to be collectively ignored.

Is it simple jealousy? Honestly, I don't think so.

It's just another instance wherein popularity trumps quality and it rankles me. I've been dealing with it since the first grade when Heather Harmon pointed out that the fur on the hood of my jacket was fake. This of course, rendered me wholly unsuitable for their exacting standards, and thus, I watched day after day as they skipped rope, cat cradled their yarn and hopped over their lemon twists in a tightly huddled little group.

The blogosphere has some really great aspects to it, and I've felt truly privileged to witness them. I've found writers, artists, philanthropists, volunteers, and parents championing their children with special needs. I've met people I might never have spoken to in real life (Christians) who were willing to share their thoughts and feelings without making me feel like an inferior wretch. I've watched as people gathered around a woman losing her husband to cancer offer support and solace; people who never even laid eyes on either of them. I've watched people rally in support of a little boy with a terrible disease; giving selflessly of their time and their money. I've met a woman who works tirelessly to give the homeless a chance at fixing their broken lives.

So it isn't all cliquism and snarkiness. But there's enough that it reminds me time and time again why I don't put more effort into ingratiating myself with certain groups; bloggers, women, even writers. It's always the same. The power trippers and the prom queens position themselves strategically and everyone else is at the mercy of their petty whims.

Where am I going with this??

SIGH. Well..one of my favorite writers has decided to close up shop. And I find myself thinking that maybe it's time for me as well. I did this last year...or tried to, and I just couldn't make the break. I caved after two weeks. How pathetic is that?

And, on a more practical note, it's AMAZING how much I have gotten done, even with houseguests, when I wasn't held captive to the allure of the blogosphere. If I really focused my time and energy, I could finish my book and maybe even get it published. It's not that implausible to think that I could, if I really worked at it.

But I don't, because the rewards of blogging are more immediate. And it's terribly, terribly seductive. I suppose that means I'm not self-motivated and that I need tons of external gratification to get anything done. And maybe that means that I can't focus my energies long enough to finish a book. But I won't know as long as I remain gridlocked in the endless circle of obligation that is blogging.

This is not a declaration of any sort. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm really just thinking aloud, I suppose. Maybe I'm wanting exhortations to stay. Maybe I'm wanting encouragement to go. Maybe I just wanted to get it all off my chest.

Food for thought. Right?

ADDENDUM: In my hurried verbal disgorgement, I forgot to say that part of my frustration is that I always considered blogging to be about writing. The fact that I'm letting it be more than that is disturbing to me. Though blogging has helped me find my voice and reawaken my passion for writing, it has also had the adverse affect of influencing my writing in a more commercial sense. I don't want to be commercial. I want to be true to the vision I have for myself and my writing. But that seems to have gotten lost. Maybe what I need is just to find it again.

34 Comments:

  • At 5:31 PM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said…

    I like the way Blog Chocolate put it: "Because of [blogging], I found my voice and my thirst to write." That's exactly it. And it may be that at a certain point you have to satisfy the thirst that blogging awakens.

    I toy with the idea of quitting, but have no immediate plans. Like you said - there is so much else we could be doing. But I feel like my blogging serves a useful purpose for now.

     
  • At 5:31 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    Well, here is what I can say.

    Your presence has helped me more than I can possibly express to you. Without the community that is blogging (and for totally selfish reasons) I would not have gotten to know the wonderful person that is you.

    I have to admit to feeling the same way, often when I pour my soul out, and get what feels like ignored. But I know that there are people like you, with like minds who read and who have insight that I don't.

    I would love nothing more than to see you published, successful and swathed in accolades. Because you deserve them. I wish you could do them while being here, too. But if you can't, you can't. I'll always be in your corner, regardless.

     
  • At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You know - you may get more comments, but the title you have chosen for them, "Stupid Comments" is a little off-putting. Calling a comment a "shard of brilliance" is much more inviting, don't you think? Maybe call your comments something else - and the masses will be more generous to you. Your blog is good and I know I would miss it - but I don't comment very much - on anyone's blog, but the "stupid comments" title just makes it less inviting if I were to drop a note.

     
  • At 6:29 PM, Anonymous rubyb said…

    I normally lurk, and don't leave comments anywhere really, but just wanted to let you know that if you closed up shop, I would miss your writing. I read several blogs, and yours is among one of my favorites.

    Also, I disagree with the last commenter - calling them "stupid comments" goes with the whole theme of the blog - "Blogs Are Stupid" - and it makes sense. It's a joke. Lighten up a little! ;)

     
  • At 6:41 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    I'd miss you terribly if you were gone, but I support whatever decision you have to make; when your book comes out, I'll blog about it to no end regardless.

    The comment thing is tough...it is hard being relatively ignored when you expose yourself while others have people falling all over themselves to be "first!!!" of dozens. Of course, unlike you, BA sometimes my posts are silly or about pee (maybe I've even had a poop one there, I don't remember) I don't have the consistency of quality that you and others do. I also don't have time to comment like I'd like to. My comments suffer because of that.

    My comments also reflect the fact that I'm not running around the ethers networking and trying to pump my numbers. Honestly, I don't have a problem with people doing that...to each their own. It's just not the purpose I have for blogging.

    My blog is a place for me to vent frustrations, document what's going on in my head on any given day, and also connect with others in a meaningful way (not a popularity contest way). Ultimately I hope this trilogy coalesces into me growing as a person and as a writer.

    Good luck with your decision...and of course whatever you chose doesn't have to be permanent.

     
  • At 6:49 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    I haven't been blogging long (only a few months), yet I find myself thinking the same things as you have regarding the time involved, etc. Yet, I enjoy it and

    I don't expect lots of comments. I don't have a lot of readers, but I do have a few. I often feel frustrated when a post I put a lot of thought and effort into gets no comments, yet when I blog about changing the background color on my blog, I get several comments. I sometimes think the reason for this is that it's easier to comment on a shallow blog post. The deep ones require some thought to comment appropriately. Maybe that's why you don't get as many as you anticipate on certain posts. Your posts are just deeper and more thoughtful than most. Contrary to what Anonymous said, your comment title is not off-putting. I think it is rather humorous, and it fits your blog theme.

    As a Christian I really enjoy your blog even though I know you are not. I think too many Christians are close-minded where non-Christians are concerned. I would miss reading your blog daily if you quit, but you don't need to continue just because you feel obligated. That just makes it another chore to do.

     
  • At 6:51 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    You know that I'd hate it if you decided to quit blogging (I hope you know anyway) but you have to do what's right for you. Blogging shouldn't be a chore. It's not a job after all, it's for fun. If it's not fun it's time to prioritize.

    Whatever you decide just promise me this: If you decide to write again, anywhere, let me know. I'd hate to miss your first big publication.

     
  • At 7:15 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    I struggle with some of these issues as well. I can't believe sometimes just how time-consuming blogging is. I wonder -- does it have to be that way? Am I doing it wrong? But I guess I'm doing it the only way I know how to do it.

    I value your presence here. I would miss you, your thoughtful writing, your wisdom if you chose to leave. But I would understand.

    Do what feels right for you.

    xxoo

     
  • At 8:24 PM, Blogger Blogversary said…

    I honestly think most bloggers go through this type of introspection. And, the thought comes about for different reasons.

    If you think that you could seriously fulfill a dream of becoming published then you should go for it.

    This does not mean you have to close shop though. Blogging is such a diverse idea now that maybe you don't need to stop but change the way you define it.

    I see a connection between your lack of female friends and your questioning of whether to keep blogging. Meaning, are you willing to let us readers journey with through becoming a published writer?

     
  • At 8:41 PM, Blogger Kathryn said…

    I have not even been blogging for 2 months, and already I can see what you are talking about. I have felt the same things. I write a cookie recipe and it gets more comments than something very meaningful that I put a lot of time and effort into. I guess I've just got to look at it more as a journal and focus less on the comments. It is just difficult to do sometimes.
    As far as your "stupid comments", I laughed out loud when I first read it. It is part of your appeal to me. So please, keep it. Some of us still have a sense of humor!

     
  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger Jenn said…

    Fine, I'll be the selfish, whiny one:

    Yep, these are lyrics to a very, very, very bad song:

    "Babe I love you so
    And I want you to know
    That I'm gonna miss your love
    The minute you walk out that door
    Please don't go
    Please don't go
    Babe I love you so
    I want you to know
    That I'm gonna miss your love
    The minute you walk out that door
    Please don't go
    Don't go
    Don't go away"


    If it's what you feel you need to do, I'll support it because genuinely, I want you to be happy and find happiness in what you do.

    Holding out my hand to you from across the way.

     
  • At 9:23 PM, Blogger laundrylessons said…

    I've also struggled with some of the same issues. The stuff that is popular in the blogosphere kind of mirrors the stuff that sells books - cheap thrills. I'm writing and although I have an agent for my first book, it hasn't sold because I don't have a platform - national radio/tv show or 10,000 people visiting my blog. But I love the writing process so I'll keep at it.

    Your blog is insightful and very well written. I have a short attention span for crap and only give some blogs a few chances before moving on. I'll miss you but understand the decision you're trying to make.

    I limit myself to three blogs a week and they can't take me any longer than 30 minutes to write. I visit blogs only during times I wouldn't be writing. I'm very strict with my writing schedule.

    Also...I love your reflection back to grade school. Would you have recalled and written such intimate details if you weren't blogging?

     
  • At 10:03 PM, Blogger Mac and Cheese said…

    I would really miss you if you shut down your blog. I hope you can get your groove back.

     
  • At 10:12 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    Don't you dare! I'd be so sad and I really need your blog. It's so beautifully written and so thoughtful. I don't care if the popular girls get tons of insipid comments. Is that what you want from your readers? Look at some of the popular girls comments. They're so freaking shallow, as shallow as the blogs. You're not like them. You're a gifted writer. You can't stop now. YOu're an inspiration to us. We love you.

     
  • At 10:47 PM, Blogger Cathy said…

    So you're saying no to NaBloPoMo then?

    :)

    OK, seriously, I love dropping in here and reading what you have to say on any given topic, any given day.

    I would miss you.

    BUT -- if you need a break, well, you need a break.

    Do what feels right for you and your writing. Both are deserving of your full attention.

     
  • At 11:04 PM, Blogger jen said…

    i never ignore you. i love reading what you write. and i love feeling your support.

    and i know how you feel, and yet, i am still here. i hope you stay and yet i'll understand if you need to go. Sandra's goodbye was amazing, wasn't it, sad and honest and right all at once.

    aw, hell. don't go.

     
  • At 11:39 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    blogging should be fun and challenging... not a chore to keep up with. And when it becomes that... scaling back or a break, whether permanent or temporary, is a good idea.

    I feel that frustration about bloggers, too. Sometimes I just do not get why the big bloggers are so "big." but whatever, i enjoy my little corner of the world.

     
  • At 1:53 AM, Blogger mrinz said…

    Like you I sometimes question the time commitment- there are so many other things I want to do and blogging (and reading blogs) takes up a chunk of the day!

    But I have pared my reading down to a few favourites and if I am away for a few days I can't wait to log on and catch up with my online 'friends'.

    So please don't go - many of us don't always comment but believe me - we are there and enjoying your writing.

     
  • At 2:17 AM, Anonymous mel from freak parade said…

    I know what you mean about the comments. I have wondered about it myself. Why do certain bloggers get 60 comments for writing what amounts to drivel, when some of the best writers remain under appreciated? This has nothing to do with my comments, as I am not a writer, and do not aspire to be one. I write drivel daily and can't fathom why anyone reads it, let alone comments on it. But there are some beautiful writers out there that don't get the attention or readers they deserve.
    Blogging can be a huge drain on time. Very consuming. That is why I quit blogging in the first place.
    All of this to say...I understand if you decide to quit...but I would be sorry to see you go. You are one of my few (15, actually)daily reads. I try to always comment, but sometimes don't, because how many times can one write, "I agree!" without looking like a moron....or a stalker? :)

     
  • At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Sharon said…

    I think that there are a lot of people out there, like me, who read your blog on a daily basis and hardly ever comment. Yours is the 1st blog that I look forward to reading every day. You are very intellegent and insightful and I have truly benefitted from reading your blog. I am not a writer and don't have a blog of my own, therefore don't feel entitled to comment very often. I wonder how many other readers you have that don't comment, but are dedicated readers. Just because we don't comment it doesn't mean that you and your writing don't have a profound impact on our lives.

    You will leave a huge hole in the blogosphere if you stop writing, but in the end you need to do what is best for you.

    Thank you for all the time and effort you have put into your writing, and I hope to continue reading your blog for as long as you are willing to share your thoughts with us.

     
  • At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Kathy said…

    I too read your blog every day, you are one of 4 I check regularly. When I first got hooked on reading about other women's lives through their blogs I was reading at least 20, The blogger world has changed somewhat and I see more and more women stopping. I too am an infrequent commentor but am so often touched by your writing. Whether you keep your blog or stop, you have been a positive influence on people like me, thank you for sharing to date.

     
  • At 7:29 AM, Blogger Badness Jones said…

    Just stumbled on your post. Loved what I've read. If this baby ever goes down for a nap I'll be back to read some of your older posts!

     
  • At 8:04 AM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    I agree with Terri's comment about comments. (And I say that as someone who has BEEN to her blog, and commented on her background colour instead of her more thoughtful posts that left me less sure of what to say in response.)

    I think there will always be a huge audience for those who write short posts that make people laugh. I don't really see anything wrong with that, and to be honest, I wish I were as funny as Beck or any of the bloggers who get ROFL awards. We can only write as who we are, and it's wonderful to form friendships based on that. Like anything else, blogging involves creating a product that people will USE, and short, trivial posts are highly usable. (I can't do funny, really, but I can do trivial, so I do - and those posts usually get the most comments. Trivia and I go a long way back.)

    I haven't commented on Sandra's "Goodbye" post yet because my emotions are too complicated - I haven't been able to sort them out into anything remotely commentable. But I will say that I'm unsurprised by her decision - and I believe her, which is not my usual response when people say they're quitting. I don't feel that same vibe from you - I don't think you're ready to step away from what you've got going here. IMHO.

     
  • At 9:57 AM, Blogger TZT said…

    I'm new to your blog. I came and read your opening post by way of somewhere or other a couple of weeks back and I laughed. You're abrasive and smart and funny and candid - all qualities that can be intimidating to people individually and downright scary all rolled together.

    If there's not as much commenting, that speaks to your ability to resist the temptation to pander. I think the blog world desperately needs more like you, so I hope you continue.

     
  • At 1:56 PM, Blogger crazymumma said…

    Blogging was not for me a start to writing. It was a workout log. Then I started enjoying the act of getting stuff out in words. Sometimes a diaristic way. Sometimes artisitic. Often not as well written as one might hope.

    Anyhow, it is amazing how much I get done when I am not blogging. But I love it oh so much!

    We will all miss Chocolate.

     
  • At 2:00 PM, Blogger thailandchani said…

    I like your blog very much of course which is why I continue clicking over here. It is largely your authenticity that keeps me coming.

    But I understand what you are saying, have felt similar feelings on several occasions and have seriously considered shutting down a few times.

    Someone recently, I believe it was Gwen at Woman On The Verge, got rid of her site meters and closed off comments. She believes it keeps her writing more authentic when she eliminates the temptation to be too conscious of comments and numbers.

    I admit to still having a weakness in that area, even though I've gotten better.

    Some of the stuff that passes for blogging never ceases to amaze me in its shallowness. Yet people fall all over themselves to leave hundreds of comments.

    It's a bafflement.

    I've concluded that all I can do is write what I write. If it gets too hard watching the traffic fluctuations, I might just follow Gwen's lead.

    It's an option :)

     
  • At 2:18 PM, Anonymous schrödinger's cat said…

    I read your blog more or less every day. Good writing. Thoughtful, honest, emotionally authentic. It would be a pity if you closed up shop but obviously blogging shouldn't be a chore.

    As for being commercial: I know what you mean. Perhaps learning about "what sells" has its place too, even if it's just to enable you to make informed choices against it. So the time spent becoming more commercial doesn't necessarily have to be lost time.

    About the comments: most times it's hard to know what to say, esp if the writing was good and thoughtful. You feel your comment would have to match the quality of the writing. So you don't say anything. Which, of course, must feel like performing stand-up poetry to a roomful of silence.

    Hah. Idea. Perhaps there should be a button saying "applause", then we could just all click that and it would show in a kind of statistic? Like those visitor counting thingies?

     
  • At 2:41 PM, Blogger vanessa said…

    I generally don't respond to blogs that belong to people I don't know personally. But I felt the need to respond to yours today. There are parts of this post that I could have written myself. I've always craved those girl friendships that seem so effortless to some. You know, the "Sex in the City" relationships with sister friends with whom I could share all of my secrets and dreams over a cup of coffee. Alas, that has never been my life. I've never felt safe to let my guard down with women to that extent. And so I've gone, mostly, without close female friendships. I have one, which has developed over the past few years. But for the most part, my closest friends have been guys. I appreciate them immensely. But somehow I've always felt like I've missed out on some important rite of passage towards womanhood by not having "girlfriends".

    That said, I apologize for not letting you know before now how very much I appreciate your posts. I've only discovered your blog recently (I was seduced by the title). But last week I was really sick. And miserable. I lay on the couch, curled up in a ball feeling sorry for myself. And then I read your blog. And I laughed out loud. Over and over again. And I found in your words so very much that I relate to.

    I am a Christian woman. Imperfect. And I've found a wonderful feeling of camaraderie in reading your words. If you choose to stop posting I will understand. It can be extremely anxiety inducing when you feel obligated to post on a daily basis. But please know that you are appreciated and you will be missed.

    Thank you for what you have contributed to my life. Some things you've written have made me think and some have made me laugh. And there's value, exceptional value, in both.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Vanessa

    http://liftingmineeyes.blogspot.com/

     
  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger Lucy's Mom said…

    You must do what you must do and I support that. However, be aware that you would be greatly missed. You are one of my few regular blog reads. You are a gifted writer. I check in on numerous blogs occasionally. You, I read daily.

     
  • At 8:30 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    I'm sorry to be so late to add in my two cents, but I have tried to step away from my 'google reader' for a few days at a time (which can be heart-stoppingly scary when I see I have missed 200+ new posts!). I agree that with so much that you wrote---the difficulty in finding friends (I have my own theories on this as well, which I may actually write down some day), the time-drain that can be 'blogging', and the frustration that can come from writing something and barely hearing a 'peep' in response.

    I love reading your blog, but have to admit that if stopping now meant you'd get a book written, I'd reluctently let you go. Your writing is so beautiful and real, and you have a talent. Even if you just popped on now and then to let us know how you are doing, it'd be wonderful to know you are following a dream. It gives me goosebumps to think about it!

    I know you've written a post after this one, which I'll go and read now to see if there are any updates on your decision.

     
  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    I'm a big lurker who discovered your blog maybe a month ago. I enjoy your writing so much that you are bookmarked in my favorites. You and a few others have given me the courage to "try" to start my own blog which is a work in progress and I don't know if I will really ever get it off the ground. Anyway, I just wanted to chime in and say I'd be extremely sad if you quit blogging.

     
  • At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Sandra said…

    Okay so I am breakng my self imposed "no commenting for at least a few weeks" rule now that I am not blogging. But I had to first thank you for your kind words and to return some heart-felt ones of my own.

    I think you know that I believe you to be one of the finest writers in the blogosphere. I respect you for your bravery, talent and ability to draw me into a post on any topic. You are the real deal.

    The whole commenting thing was one of the reasons I thought about leaving. But it is a double-edged sword. I loved when I'd get comments and support on posts - but then I'd get unbelievably stressed out because I'd feel like I had to reciprocate and I just didn't have enough time in the day. I ended up feeling so much guilt around being a bad blogging citizen that it took much of the fun out of it for me.

    But more than that, my life has recently been thrown into crisis. I'd tried to quit more than once, but like you was drawn back. It is nothing short of addictive. Having had the wonderful chance to meet so many bloggers in Chicago made it even more so. But there are only so many hours in the day and I am already coming up short. I was prioritizing blogging over other writing and things I really wanted to do. I don't have the luxury right now to keep my life intact, my sanity solid, my goals realized ... and my blog updated. And there is much in my life that is unbloggable at present so I was struggling to write with honesty when there was so much I had to leave out.

    I was increasingly disappointed in what I posted and how often. It just became more clear each day that I needed to say good bye.

    It's been a few days since I wrote that post and I am sad and have pangs of regret that I closed up. But it's the right decision for me.

    I look forward to staying in touch with you as a writer and most of all as a friend.
    xox

     
  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger Amy York said…

    How about just cutting back instead of quitting? I know you will do what's best for you ~ and I hope you figure out what that is. If you left, I'd miss your writing terribly but would look forward to getting to read your book one day :)

     
  • At 12:53 PM, Blogger Shelley said…

    I know you don't know me, but I have you on my list of blogs that I like to read. I'm glad you decided to stick around as well.

    I started blogging for me. I have no writing aspirations, I'm not nearly that good. I think maybe 10 people (if I'm lucky) read my blog. But that's ok, because sometimes it just helps me. Sometimes after writing about something, I feel better just to have gotten it out.

    I enjoy discovering people who are entertaining and write well. I think you are one of those people. I'm glad you're here.

     

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