Okay, so a few days ago I was reading around the blogosphere, and somehow (I don’t remember how) I came across some blogs whose authors claimed to be in the throes of some kind of malaise related to blog posting. “Bloglaise,” they termed it. I admit, I often find myself thinking about blogging and then not having enough time to devote to what I want to write about, so rather than do it half-assed, I don’t do it at all. But then I get so backed up by wanting to express myself that I do it half-assed anyway, so what the hell. I don’t think I have blog malaise; I think I am strangled by own perfectionism.
By the way, I realize it is not very nice blog etiquette to mention this phenomenon and not actually cite the blogs I was reading, but right now I am on my work computer, and when I was reading the blogs, I was on my home computer, so I can’t go back and check the history. So what, you don’t have enough blogs to read as it is?
I do have bloglaise when it comes to actually updating my template, which I fully realize is screwed up right now, and for which I humbly apologize because it is no doubt making any Web designer who might come across it scream for mercy, backing away and muttering something about
But you know, here is the thing about blogging. When I first started blogging, I thought it would just be a cool way to keep a sort of online journal and get in some writing practice. I wasn’t all that concerned about people reading it. I didn’t care about how many hits I got or how people found me or whether they added me to their RSS feeds. And honestly, that is still not what drives me to write it. (Because clearly, if I were in it for the fortune and fame, I would have given up long ago.)
What I have noticed is that ever since I started keeping stats and occasionally getting comments, I have become more conscious about what I’m writing. I feel a pressure to be funny, despite the fact that this is not the stated purpose of the blog. I mean, I’m no comedienne. And I’m no comedian, either. (I just typed comedienne and it struck me as a bogus distinction between male and female comics since the words sound pretty much the same. What is that all about?) I also read some very funny people here and there on the Web, and rather than inspiring me to write more funniness, it makes me not. It’s less that I think, “I can’t be that funny,” than it is that I realize that on some level I start to emulate the writing I like. And who wants to be unoriginal?
I don’t want to feel pressure to be funny, although it is all self-imposed. There is a part of me that says, “Write whatever the hell you want. It is, after all, your blog.” And there’s another part of me that says, “Don’t you want to build an audience? Nobody will come back to read this if you aren’t occasionally entertaining.” And then there is another part of me that says, “Why do you need another thing to feel obligated about? Don’t be a fucking sell-out.” And then there is another part of me that says, “Shut the hell up, all of you! Can’t you see I’m trying to sleep?”
And then there’s the working. If I blog at work, I find I am considerably less funny and/or well-thought-out than if I blog at home. However, if I blog at work, I’m generally coming at it fresh, with more energy. If I blog at home, you’re getting whatever I have left at the end of the day. Either way, my best is not coming through. And you know, I’m a giver. I’m all about the giving.
I have toyed with the idea of quitting the blog. I am sad to say that one of my old favorites (the blog, not the person. I am not implying that she is old. Or that we go way, way back. Oh, fuck it), Fluid Pudding, has decided to call it quits. This bums me out because Angela (the mischievous mastermind behind the Pudding) is consistently entertaining and I enjoy reading her blog. I rarely comment because I am a horrible person that way, but nonetheless, I am a fan. I am fairly certain that she doesn’t blog for the comments anyway, but because, like many of us, she needs a way to express herself and her blog is a creative outlet.
I don’t know what the answer is for me. But for now, I’m going to keep going with this and see what happens. Maybe I’ll come up with something truly amazing. And maybe monkeys will fly out of my ass. You just never know.