The Post Where I Ramble On About The Act of Blogging
I’m writing this as more of a stream of consciousness type post because I need an outlet. When I write in this way, I tend to ramble and go off on tangents. Consider this a warning.
I’m also not intentionally bashing anyone in this, either.
I started blogging twelve years ago, in 2001. This was when your blog was the equivalent of your Facebook Timeline. You posted whatever you wanted. Jokes? Sure. Memes? Why not? Pictures of your kids? Okay.
You wrote what you wanted and that was cool.
There was a period of about two years where I stopped blogging. One of those two years, I stayed off the Internet. So when I got back online, I discovered that the game had changed. A lot.
It wasn’t enough to write about whatever you wanted. Now you had to have a niche or a topic where you’re some kind of expert. The “mommy blogger” (and I hate that term, by the way, because I think it’s condescending) phenomenon was in its infancy.
Back when I started, there were no rules. Now there are so many rules, it’s enough to make my head spin.
I want to parlay my blog into a writing career.
I don’t have a niche. I’ve tried to think of one, but that’s where I run into a problem.
See, if I have to write on one topic all the time, I get bored. When I get bored, then I lose interest and then I stop doing it.
That doesn’t help when rules say that you should post at least twice a week.
I suppose I could talk about my mental illness, but that’s actually a niche (and I kind of started a blog about that here. It’s going to also be the material for a book I want to write on the subject.
I could write about writing and editing and dispense advice, but with very little published to my name, I’m not sure I’m considered an “expert”. I do write and I do edit (for pay), but I would also like to become a mentor to other writers. I’d also love to start an online magazine or community of some sort, but I’m not quite sure what I want it to be about. A literary magazine might be fun. There is a lack of community for those of us who have children but do not fit the “mommy blogger” label because our children are either teenagers or adults and, speaking for myself, I don’t feel it’s my place to start blogging about my adult son. If I were to form a community, it would be other women who don’t have children under the age of 12 and can’t write posts about the cute or embarrassing things our children do or write long, navel-gazing screeds about being a mother as if we are the first person in the history of mankind to be mothers.
I am a funny person and humor is my main thing. Laughing and finding the funny in things has helped me get through a lot of the crappy times in my life. My sense of humor is weird, sometimes twisted, and it can get dark. But I like to laugh, I like to make people laugh, and I like to share the odd things I find online.
But blogs with that theme have a shelf-life. I still mourn for the late, great Regretsy, because it was funny. I can see why April Winchell stopped doing it; she lost interest and it was no longer fun to make fun of some of the stuff on Etsy.
I do enjoy creative writing, and I do need to get back into that more. I stopped when I checked myself into a mental hospital and then went to four weeks of outpatient. I was too tired to write creatively. Dealing with your emotions and things that are behind them is exhausting work.
I can write an op-ed that’s serious, thought-provoking and most of all, rational. I don’t want my blog to become political, though. Although it might be a worthy pursuit to run a blog or site for those of us in the middle, who are sick of both sides and want a place where we can discuss the issues like adults. Politics attracts the trolls. I have neither the tolerance or patience to deal with trolls. Rational thinking is what is missing in our world today.
I could write about knitting. Actually, this used to be a knitting blog when I started it, but when I got onto Ravelry, then I didn’t need a blog to keep track of my knitting.
I could write about the Packers, but there are already several blogs about the Green Bay Packers and I don’t know what else to write about them other than recapping their games or scolding other fans who act like Chicken Little running around with her head cut off. (I have a legitimate reason to have meltdowns and worry, and yet when Bryan Bulaga got injured, I’m one of the few people telling everyone else to just chill the fuck out.). On the other hand, I’ve learned that when other people are getting worked up, that’s an anxiety trigger for me because it starts out as just being annoying, and then it gets to where I’m really getting pissed off at people and then when I get to that point, I cannot calm down because my nerves are shot.
So I think I want to stay away from that.
I have written book reviews (for which I’ve received some form of compensation) because I like to read. But I’m not up enough on the publishing world to find things to write about in between the reviews.
Speaking of compensation, there is another sticky topic for me: giveaways and sponsored posts.
It’s kind of a sticky topic for me because I have mixed feelings on them.
I guess this all comes from the very old school blogger in me.
I’m not against either, per se. People have to make money.
Where they lose me is when the giveaway/sponsored post has nothing to do with the blog topic and all of a sudden, someone you’ve been reading because you enjoy their writing is hawking for something that has nothing to do with anything. That’s where they lose me.
Plus I dislike Rafflecopter immensely. I don’t like to jump through hoops, plus I value my friends and would rather not spam them on Facebook or Twitter.
When people hold giveaways for laundry soap when they write a blog about hang gliding, it feels like selling out. Again, it’s the old school blogger in me, the aging hippie of the blogosphere, while growing gray and wrinkly, refuses to sell out to the Man.
Then there are the rules.
I’m going to sound like one of those old dudes from the old Freedom Rock commercial reminiscing about the 60s and all those wild times when I complain about “the rules”. In my day [fist thump], there were no rules! We blogged about anything we wanted to in a blizzard, going up hill both ways…for fifty miles and [emphatic fist thump] WE LIKED IT!
Perhaps it’s the artist in me that rebels against the rules. Rules? How bourgeois!
The honest truth is that if I want to make something of this blog and something of myself as a writer, I’m going to have to suck it up and follow some of those rules. But I’m going to have to figure out a way to do it without compromising my own values and what I hold important to me.
And that’s where the problem lies.
I’m still trying to figure this out.