Over the Christmas holidays, I ran into Clotilda*. She is a really smart and funny gal I used to work with, back in the day when I had an income and some semblance of purpose. She said she was enjoying my blog and I think I panicked. I may have said something like «Why are you reading my blog?” in a weird demanding voice that I usually reserve for questions of importance like “Why didn’t you buy chocolate” on those overly emotional premenstrual days. This sounds idiotic in retrospect. A different kind of person would assume that everyone was reading her blog. I, on the other hand, assume that any visitors are spam-bots or non-English speakers who got lost on the Internet looking for porn.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind that Clotilda is reading my blog, it is totally awesome. It’s not as if you need a permission to read my blog. I just wonder why anyone with a life and a reasonable grasp of English would.
Another totally awesome friend Isis**mentioned on Facebook that she was reading my blog and almost died. Which is to say that she was reading a post and it struck her as funny and she sort of choked on her breakfast and luckily she has a really caring husband that did the Heimlich. So, I am off the hook for any criminal charges but still the idea spooks me.
That smart and funny people are reading my blog makes me very nervous. I really preferred when I was just talking to myself. Like Twitter, which is what I imagine the dementia ward at any care center is like – just a bunch of people spouting off about what’s on their mind, sometimes giving the occasional nod to the guy in the room across the hall, blogging for me was for my thoughts that were larger than 140 characters.
“Hey, if you get freaked out by people reading your blog, why don’t you write in a journal and save the megabits”, you may ask. That is a long, long story but let’s just summarize that I don’t dare write anything anymore without the intention of making it public. I think all my documents on Google Drive are public domain, which incidentally makes it the world’s largest archive of awkward poetry.
The realization that real people are reading this drives home the overwhelming responsibility of writing to sooth my own nerves, entertain smart woman or men (no discrimination here) and not kill people is giving me performance anxiety.
Last summer, when I was looking for projects for my “project a week” project, I thought one of my projects would be to make my blog better. I spent a lot of time doing “research” about how to make a professional, moneymaking blog, like the ones I keeping reading about from Seth Godin, Leo Babauta and Darren Rowse. I had a brief vision of being the next Pioneer Woman, David Lebovitz or Bloggess. I asked my friend Persimmon***, who is the Dr. Who of the marketing world, if she had any advice on how I could improve my blog and she is still not returning my calls, so, I decided it was a lost cause.
I did learn a lot about why my blog is not viable as a product:
One – there is not clear purpose to my blog. I blather on about everything. Travel, eating out, cooking, movies, books and take a bunch of random pictures, which would be very viable if I was Kim Kardashian, or Britney Speers’s nanny but I am gratefully neither.
Two – I have no clear idea of my audience. I don’t know who you people are. I don’t know what makes you tick. You could all be slaves locked in the basement of WordPress Headquarters clicking randomly just so I upgrade to a premium theme with customized fonts (which is, by the way, on sale this month) .
Three – I don’t have a product. If I was selling something, and the literature around this is crystal clear, it could be anything. I could make a fridge magnet with a picture of my now deceased cat, throwing up on the carpet and that would be an improvement over what I am offering today.
I could go on but you get the idea. This dog won’t hunt.
While I was waiting for Persimmon to call me back and share one little ounce of her genius with me, like she doesn’t have more where that came from, I started thinking about my target reader. I spent a little time day dreaming Tina Fey would read my blog and we would become BFF’s in the comments section after we found out we had load of things in common. However, I read somewhere that she is super busy and doesn’t even use Twitter . So, she probably not coming to the party. Then I tried to be a little more realistic. I landed on a prematurely balding man in his late 30’s. Most likely still living at home and working at a call center for Best Buy. He comes across my blog and is fascinated by the title and starts following because he thinks that sooner or later any dame who says she is “in captivity” is going to get a divorce and then he can just swoop in and grab a meal ticket out of mom’s basement. So that is who I am picturing now. Did you enjoy the post Bob?
I guess what I am trying to say is that I think blogging is fun and I am glad someone else is enjoying it but it does make me a little self-conscious, so bear with me. We can have a couple drinks and get to know each other better and then have some real fun.
*Not her real name, thank god
**again not her real name, although she does remind me of Isis from the comic books
***This is actual her name. She does not read my blog, so we can talk about HER all we want.