Julia Lazy, Unproductive, Bad Blogger, Human Being
It's four am, and I have no right to be awake currently, but I am, and feeling a bit guilty about my lack of blogation in the past week. Yes, I made up the word "blogation."
My absence is not entirely due to lazyness (key word: entirely), but instead because I've been contemplating the following existential question:
What is the Point of Having a Blog? (my questions always come fully capitalized)
The disadvantages I've come up with so far:
1) It's cliche. Which I obviously hate.
2) It takes far too much time and effort.
3) I don't get paid for it.
4) I only have so many witty things to say, and if I use them all up on my blog, how will I woo men? Or, uh, write things that actually do pay ... minimum wage?
5) Apparently bloggers don't sell a lot of books.
6) Not that I'm in any danger of actually writing a book because
7) Blogs have trained me to think in 200 word increments and ...
8) I'm really lazy.
9) Have I mentioned I don't get paid for this?
10) Have I mentioned I'm really lazy?
FYI, The genesis of (blame for?) this fruitless philosophizing can be traced to an email I received last week from a loyal reader ... email continues after the jump.
From: Cute Smart Boy I Like
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006
To: Julia Allison
Subject: Your Blog
Websites are good at getting your name out there but are there many serious journalists/writers that have blogs? Don't most of them spend their time fleshing out ideas they might have written a paragraph on in their website into real articles that get published?
I guess what I'm getting at is it seems more and more like being a blogger (albeit you aren't, you are a 'sex columnist') but that the whole successful blog as a "write two paragraphs about something interesting" has coaelesced into gawker type sites (curbed/gawker/gizmodo, etc) and those sites have staff but that individual blogs tend to make a person on their own look a bit amateur.
I bring this up because I think there's a part of you that feels writing on your blog helps to get your name out there or establish an audience, but I'm not necessarily sure that it's a wise investment of time (I'm not saying it isn't, but you should take an objective look at other people who have blogs, or rather just be a bit more skeptical about that avenue). Maybe it's because writing on your blog is easy (you know the password) but getting articles into magazines is more difficult, but clearly one is more worth your time. I'm not suggesting you are neglecting anything, or even that you shouldn't be writing and developing an audience.Readers? The three of you who are still awake, that is. What do you think??
I still believe that writing is important, but the term 'blog' has come to mean "Here's what I did last night, here's what I ate for breakfast, here's what someone wrote in my comments". [So-and-so's] site is a mashup of very few of these types of post along with LONG articles that he spends weeks writing. It turns out that those long articles generate HUGE amounts of publicitly (rightly so, he's saying something interesting and has spent the time to share it) but the short posts not so much.
The problem is you have a LOT of competition from other blogs and sites like reddit which aggregate a lot of the "here's what I did last night" posts so generating traffic and attention can't be done by that kind of blogging. It's a diary type site versus a magazine type site and I think the magazine type site (with articles) in your case would be much more advantageous.
Plus I think there's a backlash toward 'blogging' right now because of the fact that anyone (which means horrible writers) can do it, so they do and then you (a talented writer) get lumped into the same trashcan. So something to think about with regard to your personal site.
I just don't think you should think of it as a "I need to post something every day for my audience" type of thing. Those types of posts are irrelevant the day after you put them up there, whereas [so-and-so's] articles about [a subject] are read every single day even though he posted some of them 6 years ago!
You should feel free to disagree with me if you think I'm offbase.