If a Blogger Blogs Amongst the Noise and Nobody Hears It, Is He Really Writing?
Posted by PintofStout on September 2, 2007
I don’t want to sound unappreciative of the regular readers – I know you’re out there – but I’m revisiting the theme of narcissism in trying to write substance for, what could very well be, nobody. As I stated in Pardon Me, I Have Blog in My Throat, I write for practice, for organizing my own thoughts, and for as many readers as possible. (As it happens, that entry was linked to the outside site Strike-The-Root propelling my page views skyward.) Since then I’ve had decent comment threads and a [mostly] steady increase in page views. But is that enough? Am I satisfied?
As my blogging has progressed, I haven’t shied away from self-promotion in the continuing pursuit of readers. I self-promote by commenting on other blogs because, well, they probably want the same thing I do, and it links back to my blog. I also have stopped worrying about hounding friends and family to read. In conversation, I often find myself saying “I wrote a blog entry about that at one point.” Beyond just promotion and networking, I try to make my content interesting and easy to read. I try hard not to be too repetitive or tell everyone what I had for breakfast and how often I picked my nose so far that day (about a dozen so far). This discipline hurts my output some, which actually detracts from readers if there aren’t new posts very often. Still, the trade-off is worth it for quality content.
This content isn’t for everyone, apparently. No matter how much I try, I can’t get my wife to read my blog. She checks and reads a band’s blog about playing shows and being on the road and getting drunk a lot all the time, but I have to read her my posts to have them heard. Maybe it is content, I don’t know. I don’t want to be too heavy all the time because that isn’t really all that fun for very long, but my personality swings from fairly deep and philosophical to just plain silly with a stop off at very subtle humor and quick one-liners. Some of my humor isn’t fit for writing since it is reactionary, but I slip in some humor when I can. I’ll keep this formula in hopes of sustaining readers and interest, but maybe being more prolific will help.
Since this quest for readers is so enduring, I have to wonder why? It seems to me that this is my main purpose, and is, in fact, a means to an end. The way I figure it, the more readers I get, the more likely I am to get feedback. I think that is what I long for the most. Most of the time I feel like a cook who slaves in the kitchen for hours just to dump the gourmet feast in the trash, never to be tasted. I only know what I think of the writing and the topic, and have no conception of how it appears from the outside. Based on the kind of writing – usually opinion pieces – I get feedback on the concepts but nary a word – unless specifically solicited – about how well it is written. A little rationalization can make the content comments say I wrote well enough to get my point across anyway. Fiction may be the way to test my writing skill, because comments would focus on both writing and content, rather than just content.
But how much traffic is enough? How much feedback or criticism? Actually, I hope it is never enough. If I stop trying for and stop caring about the reception of my writing or thoughts and opinions, then I will be beyond growth; I would have stopped learning and, consequently, stopped living. So for any readers who can speak to how the writing itself is, or can offer constructive criticism, I ‘d appreciate it immensely. This quest for proficiency and professionalism will propel me further towards actually making some sort of living from the writing, freeing up some time for more writing (I have lots to say), hopefully. Thanks, and enjoy your labor day, as I hope to enjoy my labor of love here at the Bye-Laws.