The One Where I Get a Little Self-Esteemy & You Wait for Me to Return to Normal

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I write because it's what I do. I write because when I stop writing, I stop knowing who I am. I write because my brain works in paragraphs & commas, because I'm more comfortable typing ampersands than continuing spoken sentences. Because it's the only way I can feel - feel alive, feel intelligent, feel talented, feel anything. And mostly, as simple as it is, I write because I'm a writer - because even when my job says I'm something else, writing is all that has ever made me entirely me.

I blog because I'm a writer, & also because I'm vain (as all bloggers are). I don't blog because I think my life is phenomenally interesting or because I think that you should care so much about it. Instead, I write because my life is average & so are my thoughts, but if I can explain them to you in a way that draws you in & piques your interest, without ever exaggerating or lying, then I'm becoming a better writer. I blog to make my life beautiful. And really, that makes me no more vain than a filmmaker who creates films he hopes others will want to watch, or a musician who sings because she wants others to want to listen to her voice. Writers are artists - & art needs appreciation, an audience, an outlet.

I've always been told not to blog for an audience - to blog for myself. But I can't. I can write for myself, in journals & on paper & in this Macbook that holds every secret I've ever put to the keyboard. But blogging? I blog for you, because I want you to want to read the things I say - because that's what bloggers want.

But blogging is a little tough on my soul sometimes.

I try not to care how many comments I get or how many readers I've acquired during my two-&-a-half year stint on this blog. I try not to compare myself to the bloggers I read & respect who garner dozens upon dozens of comments on every post, no matter what they say or how well it's written or whether it's anything worth reading (though, of course, it so often is). I try not to wonder why so many bloggers with enviable followings are also those with the poorest writing skills or the least interesting stories. I try to stay positive, to be encouraging, to realize that others blog for the same reasons I do. I try to be happy for them, with them & because of them, & I try not to be negative toward them or envious of them.

But it's difficult. My words, even when they're on stupid topics that mean nothing at all - they're words I put a lot of care into. They're words I'm proud of, because I'm proud of my ability to write the way I do - the way I think, the way I feel, in a voice that is distinctly & definitively mine. I can't help but wonder, though: Am I doing something wrong?

I think people just want more. Most readers, it seems, want to know things: They want to know about dates & careers & kids & nights out on the town. They want photos of decorated apartments, of new babies, of wedding dresses. They don't just want words. They want intimate details of other peoples' lives, & I'm loath to provide those. I don't want too much of me on here. I want what's on here to be on here - & I want that to be enough. But it's not. No matter how witty or well-spoken I am, the topics I choose to write about simply fail to entice the sheer numbers of readers that other bloggers' content does.

And look, I know it's not just about numbers. I definitely know. Every time someone tells me they read my blog, or they love my blog, or they saw something on my blog that inspired them to [insert something cool & tingles-inducing here], I'm reminded that it's not about the numbers. But that doesn't mean I don't still wonder.

I'm trying to blog for myself and for you - to give you what you want while staying true to myself & to what I'm comfortable with. But so often, so many late nights as I pore through my Google Reader, scrolling & browsing & commenting, I can't help but wonder: What am I doing wrong? And how long before I get tired of doing it all wrong & stop doing it altogether?

Is it worth it? And even if it's not, can I stop?

But I know the answer: I'm a writer. So it doesn't matter. I can't stop.


  1. I've canceled and deleted so many posts. I've stressed over what to post. What will be interesting? What will my readers enjoy?

    Although that IS important if you're looking to be read by a large audience, it's also important to note that we're reading you because we like the way you write.

    You don't have to do anything special, just keep being you and writing the way you write. Readers will come and go, and you can't help that.

  2. I've written about this before...both on my current blog and back when I used to write on Myspace.

    I've been the sex blogger, the drama blogger, the tipsy blogger...because those blogs got comments. But also, that's who I was at the time.

    When I began my website, I wanted to bring blogging/writing back to its purest form for me and away from the drama that twisted it.

    Depending on the day and the blog that I write, sure, sometimes it hurts not to have so many comments...but that's also because I'm used to seeing my blog as a place of conversation (Which is why I obsess over being able to reply to comments)...but I won't stop writing just because the comments disappear.

    Keep writing. Keep being you. That's why we love you.

    (If you feel like reading what I wrote about this,

  3. i figure that if you ever feel obligated to blog when you don't really want to, then you probably need to stop. it'll lose its luster and authenticity.

    until then, keep rockin because we love you :)

  4. Aww please don't be sad. You're great!

  5. I'm with ya, girl. I know just how you feel.

    But we're going to keep on writing, because it IS what we do. And if no one wants to read it? Okay, I'll be a little sad and puzzled. I admit it.

  6. This is by far one of the most honest blog posts on any blog I've ever read. The fact that you put out there what most (if not all) bloggers think means the world to me, at least. Simply put, I don't have the balls to say this out loud. But it is the truth.

    Please don't stop. I came across your blog by accident but followed you as a means to keep my connection to my military hometown of DC.

    So - there ya go :)

  7. I'm really into throwing parties, and I run into the same issue. One thing that I've learned is that most of my friends have more fun with fewer people (40 people in 400 sq feet as opposed to 70 people). So if I limit the event to 40 people, those who come will be more excited about the event than if I have 70 (even though with 70 it is easier to describe why the party is cool; I can say I have a DJ, and am close to getting the booze sponsored).

    With a smaller audience, you may have deeper connections to your readers. It's hard to measure, but if you think about times that you have asked your readers for something, we have hopefully responded with a more personal effort than if you were running some huge site.

    When I throw an event it's easy for me to measure how many people respond to the invitation, or how many people come. It's really hard to get a sense of how much fun people are having. But the last one is more important.

    Personally, I'm not trying to maximize the number of friends that I have, rather I'm looking to increase A) the amount of fun that I have and B) the topics/issues that we can talk about.


  8. i love your words and your ampersands. and i definitely know how you feel. but most of us out here do write because that's who we are and what we do.

    chin up.

  9. I wrote recently on 20sb that you are my favorite blogger. You are. I was hooked from the first post I read. I think I found you through Emily's blog and I remember thinking "hey! I know her! cool!" And then being amazed at this talent that I didn't know about during the year that we shared issue areas at the RAC and UUA. I am so glad that I'm given this second chance to get to know you through your blog.

    Thank you for writing.

  10. Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world, She took the midnight train goin' anywhere. Don't stop believing, hold on to the feeling! (Journey lyrics) Don't stop -- your writing, your thoughts, your honesty, your depth, they are all incredible. Write for yourself & those of us who are lucky enough to read you will continue to be inspired by your beautiful soul.

  11. Just so you know, I had a long and insightful comment, but then deleted it. I almost didn't comment anything at all, but after a post like this, I figured I should at least tell you that I wanted to. I do this all the time, and I'm probably not the only one. You're wonderful, and should do whatever makes you happy. If blogging does it for you, then blog on.

  12. I am a new reader.

    Does that help?

    I'm only one guy, but I'm *me*, not one of those "other" guys. :)

  13. I read it. I mean, I met you through xanga before it got all vamped into something weird. It was literally just a bunch of writing. Pictures weren't needed. As visual as society becomes, I like having writing without pictures. It gives my imagination something to do! As an artist, a singer, a blogger, and a random person who finds herself tumbling into other people's lives via blogs, I can certainly appreciate the art of the written word. It is art. I remember getting all upset if I didn't get x number of comments on my xanga entries, and now I blog for my own memory's sake. Keep on keepin' on.

  14. Noun. Verb. Repeat. Subject. Predicate. Repeat. Just keep at it.

  15. it's always so interesting to read why various bloggers write. or blog. since they can be different things :-) i for one *don't* actually identify as a "writer," so i sometimes feel pretty darn shallow and attention-seeky for having a blog, when i literally only do it for the self-gratification of having people read about my life. so, uh, from a non-writer, i'm not really sure what point i am trying to make.

    i will say, though, that a good writer doesn't *need* to write about parties or apartment makeovers or weddings; a good writer attracts and retains readers because they're interesting to read. you are interesting to read. :-)

  16. I don't consider myself much of a writer. I got a C+ in English. I am however a blogger.

    I am probably also vain. I guess that's ok.

  17. I blog, because I like sharing thoughts with other people. I, once tried to get rid of face book, after all, it was such a huge waste of time, why would I want it around? Everything I could do on facebook, I could do another way; but then a friend of mine said that I couldn't get rid of facebook, because all the stuff I posted on their that was Judaic, was, sometimes inspiring to him. That's when I knew, that I couldn't get rid of facebook, how many other people might be inspired, and I won't know it? So, I blog, because I hope that my journey from being a secular Jew to being a frum, religious Jew, and the thoughts and challenges I have now, are interesting to people, and ideally inspirational. Maybe, I'm being vain in thinking that, but I'm Dan, and I know I'm awesome. :)

  18. I know we've discussed this before and I know you know I feel the same way about my little blog. I love your blog. I may not comment all the time but I read. It's tough though and definitely a little ego numbing to blog.

    I don't even know if that makes sense. I'm not having a good night but I wanted to comment on this.


  19. Ok, so I don't even know how I came across your blog, but it was recently and I've only read a few posts before this one so bare with me.

    I agree with you concerning other blogs with so much traffic when they are so insanely boring. And ya know what? I HATE reading blogs that are just a bunch of pictures. I read about 5 blogs on the reg, maybe 6 and almost all of them are anonymous/semi-anonymous authors. I love it. I get to read REAL opinions, no screens put up in place in case "the boss" or "the mother in-law" sees it. There is nothing worse than reading a blog full of pics of someone's kids. And think about it, would you have wanted your mother to post pics of you everyday for all to see when you were a chubby 3 year old wearing a onesie? (thank god the internet didn't exist in the mid 80's, is all I'm saying. I mean, pedos, need I say more.)

    I have a blog (duh) but I don't even know who reads it besides friends who I force to read it and review. But ya know what? I don't care. Yeah, I'd like for people to read, agree, comment, etc. But even if they don't comment, I purposefully stop checking my stats so I can imagine that at least someone out there agrees with my craziness.

    So in short, there is NOTHING "wrong" with you. I mean, shit, you got 18, 19 comments right here. That's more than a lot of people can say. But even if you aren't looking for comments, know that people are definitely reading and this one agrees with you.

  20. I was just chatting about this with a fellow blogger. I write for me, for fun, but its hard to not take a little punch to the nads when you feel that apparently things you find interesting aren't that much of a draw to others. LOL


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