Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Flotsam and Christmas

I don't know if several days break is what I've been giving myself. I don't think it is the beginning of the end. More, I want to really get at why I'm doing ByJane, the "good" reasons and the "ill". I've erased that last phrase several times, because I don't like the opposition of good and ill. But it keeps coming back into my head, and I think it's because in some ways the "ill" reasons are those that I consider parts of my psyche that I would rather not exist. In other words, shit that I do.

One majorly (as they say) reason I've done (tense intentional) ByJane is because I want to play with the big guys, the A-listers. Not because I particularly like them (some I do; some--eh) or because I have anything really in common with them, thirty- and forty-something mommybloggers that they are. I want to play with the big guys because, pure and simple, that will signal to all and sundry, not the least of which is moi, that I have great worth. This is so obviously "ill" that I need say no more.

Another reason, which is nestled right in tight with the one above, is that I want to make money writing. Now I could, as I have done before, work to do it the traditional way: query, article, rewrite, revise rewrite, revise revised rewrite, wait for pay. Can you tell what fond memories I have of freelancing? So one would think I would do most anything to avoid it. Yes, one would. Unless one knew my uber-contrary ways.

Here are the things that I have been told/asked to do on my blog so as to make it PAY: (1) Focus on just one topic. I am constitutionally incapable of doing this. I have ADD for chrissake, people; my focus is in the best of times scattered. And besides, I don't wanna. And besides that, shouldn't the sharpness of my prose make up for the lack of focus? I mean, some days I reread what I've written and I think, hot damn, that's good. I wait for the world to beat a path to my door and...and...and...I'm still waiting. Then I think, hey , maybe it's not so good, maybe I'm fooling myself, maybe I've lost It. And then I'm all depressed and sad and who wants to write cheery things in that state of mind.

(2) Write about the breakup of my marriage. Do you have any idea how my stats went up when I first broke the news? Not to mention that I got a contract to write about divorce for a site that either never got going or is swinging without me. Because, frankly, I'm not so good at putting that ironic twist on someone else's, my soontobex's, psyche. I figure he's entitled to do his thing without my commenting on it and drawing the world's attention to it and creating subtle jokes and cynical snipes about it. And since all of that is one half of the story, I sorta can't write about the breakup of my marriage. Even if it would pay handsomely to do so. And maybe, even, make me an A-lister (because even I realize that Divorce is a focus, a single subject, that elusive grail). Not writing about it also means that some days what is on my mind is a great big ole elephant in the blog. A subtle beige one, with floppy ears. About which I will say no more because who wants to write cheery things in that state of mind.

Okay, the symmetry of these two final sentences is very nice and all, but really leads to the impression that I'm walking around wounded, dragging my limp and shattered ego/heart behind me. Well, t'ain't so, McGee. Generally speaking, I'm pretty up these days. I'm working on stuff and there's movement and life is good. Maybe because I'm working on Stuff. The advantage to having this shrink education (not to mention the wisdom of, ahem, the elders) is that I really can see my Stuff. I can lay it out and go, Ohho so that's what that's about...Hmmmm, very interesting. And then I think, oh, great for the blog. And then I think, why do I have to turn my every insight into a blog post? Am I living my life to live it--or to blog it?

And that brings me right back to the Original Ill--blogging as a manifestation of an untoward ego need.

Wooow! who said that?


  1. I enjoy your blog just the way it is, no matter what you decide to write about.

  2. Here are some articles about power laws and blog popularity, collected by Jason Kottke:

    It made me feel a little better.

  3. I've found the same things when it comes to asking where my blog is "going". I'm scattered all over the place as far as what it's "about". Turns out, it's all about me, and I'm pretty scattered. It also turns out, that I like that about myself (how stupid is that?!). Maybe I have ADD, too? I don't know, but I'll bet both me and my blog will be just as scattered a year from now, despite my best efforts.

    I'm just glad you've decided to keep blogging, never mind what you blog "about". It's all you.

    And I kinda like you, Jane.

  4. average jane: thank you, ma'm

    sueb0b: I read the Kotke post and got halfway through the comments before my eyes started crossing. Just then I came across Adam Greenfield's comment in which he talks about blogs being individual voices, which he feels throws a curve in the curve (or whatever). But then that was all written five years ago. I wonder what he'd say now.

    les: Maybe the reason I keep getting caught up on this is that I so strongly associate my writing with the whole purpose/audience

    Adam Greenfield says:
    I won't quibble with the general fitness of the power-law curve to the blogosphere, since the numbers are there to be seen.

    But something that occurs to me is that blogs are not fungible in quite the same way as other types of sites. If the core of our definition of "blog" is a site driven by one, or at most a few, distinct voices, then it's easier to break into the upper stratum than the numbers would imply.

    Although there is a limited amount of time any individual can devote to reading other blogs daily, we don't seem to have "Mark slots" or "Heather slots" or "Jason slots" per se. There's generally room for one more voice.

    Which suggests to me that if you can come up with something new to say (admittedly difficult) or a new way of saying it meaningfully (curiously and gratifyingly, somewhat easier), there's room at the "top" for you.

    And anyway, none of us is getting any younger.
    » by Adam Greenfield on Feb 09, 2003 at 08:18 PM


So--whaddaya think?