Alright ya’ll fuck it this shit’s going into overdrive right now. I’m going to finish this damn thing, essay, blog post, whatever you call it so it seems easier to do.
What’s the point of the post? What am I trying to say?
I want to convey all that I learned in my first week of blogging. Especially as it relates to other people like me. Maybe if we all thought we could interest others by being open and honest, we’d have fun blogging right away, and we wouldn’t feel the need to preface everything with, well you won’t like this…but here it is.
But maybe it really is the prerogative of everyone to say that. And maybe not everyone is exactly like me. Not everyone is really saying that they don’t want anyone to read it and then at the same time hoping everyone does read it. Maybe they actually don’t want anyone to read it.
I just finished eating dinner. I think I need to get some typing done just to get in the mood. I got in the old Zipcar and drove to the Super 88 Market. Then GF told me she wasn’t there yet, she was still in school, and why did I have the car? Shouldn’t we just walk? Well, too late for that, and actually she didn’t protest. It was cold as a bitch out there, like a freeze drying cold, and no gloves, too. And that place was pretty ghetto. But I guess it’s kind of like this blog. Like there was everything you needed there but it was just kind of put around and that’s it. No thought went into the marketing of it, like they do at Whole Foods with the nice lighting and mirrors and colors and all that shit. No everything in the Super 88 looks lurid as shit. But it’s probably the same exact thing. Then we came home and made stir fry together and it was pretty good, although I dumped on too much sesame oil. And now I’m feeling sleepy as fuck even though I made us both coffee and gulped that shit down. I was thinking of having wine, too, but I guess that will put me to sleep even faster. Then I was thinking of what I was going to read. And this essay thing was bothering me, so I thought I’d better just fucking go hard on this shit.
If I’m going to be a writer I’d better damn well act like it.
There’s this Amway CD where this guy’s talking about how to discipline yourself. He says, “You don’t think you can write yourself into taking action do you? You think you go to an athlete’s house they got notes everywhere that say, ‘You need to practice!’ Open up the cabinet. ‘You need to practice!’ Flip the toilet seat, ‘You need to practice!'” Yeah I think of that every time I write something I wish I actually did. “You need to practice!” He tells a story about this couple their kid had to wear leg braces. He said they told her if she wore them for a year they’d take her to Disney World, so she was motivated to do it. Instead he said they could’ve gone the route of the post it notes and held them in front of her saying, “You need to wear these braces! You need to wear these braces! You need to wear these braces!” I think his name was Mark Gorman. That was some funny shit. I can just see the adults shaking the braces at the kid and saying that over and over again. Haha. Ok, fuck it. Back to the task then.
When I started blogging just a few weeks ago it was kind of on a lark.
I started blogging a few weeks ago because I’d come home from work early and I had too much coffee.
A few weeks ago, I came home from work jazzed up with caffeine hit straight out the gills from a shot of espresso in some coffee like a hi jinx high jumping bravo gomorrah out this bitch and I said fuck it! I’m writing a blog bitches. Well it wasn’t the first time some shit went down like that. But you know it was the first time I decided not to self-edit. I wasn’t going to worry about the impression I was making. I was just going to type whatever the fuck came into my head and let the chips fall where they may.
Some people can get away with saying “let the chips fall where they may” and come off sounding pretty cool. I don’t think I got it here.
A few weeks ago before going to work at the bar, I paid four dollars for a shot of espresso in a large cup of coffee. Then I got sent home early. Soon enough I found myself sitting in front of a computer, across the table from my girlfriend, with my fingers shaking and not a god damn thing to do. So I started my sixth blog.
This time was going to be different. Instead of trying to be cool and witty and awesome, I decided to just write as fast as I could and hit publish. Then I decided to read other people’s blogs and do the same thing to the comment box. I guess there was no real goal to it. I always think I need a blog to build an audience for my novels that will be written sometime in the next ten years. So I’ve started a lot of them. I always try to actually add value to the blogosphere with the shit that I write. And so I usually post about five times and call it a day. Because I know you’re not supposed to post more than once unless you want to alienate your audience. So I just go at it for a while and then just up and leave. Nothing to hold me there since no one ever commented on my blog before, at least no one that I didn’t know in person. So this time I was just doing it for pure fun.
Damn it. It’s the fun things. It’s the not fun things that make you better at what you want to do. But what’s worth doing if it isn’t fun? Maybe I should stop writing this essay because it’s stressing me out. Fuck it.
If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you’d better have a blog. And that’s the first of many rules you’ll encounter. The second rule is don’t post more than once a day. The third rule is control your image. Revise what you write, just like your novel will be revised a million times. The revolution will be televised. Revised.
Any serious writer in the 21st Century better have a blog. Unless you already have a published novel and it’s selling millions. Then someone else will keep a blog for you. But you’ll need a way to reach your audience. Build your tribe. Your platform. Deliver your unwitting followers into the hands of the man.
The revolution won’t be televised until it has been revised.
An unpublished writer who’s serious about publication better have a mailing address and a checking account.
I’ve started about six blogs and five of them weren’t any fun. I’ve started about six blogs before this one and five of them weren’t any fun. The last one was just about as fun as a barrel of friendly monkeys with bleached assholes.
In my time as an aspiring writer (by aspiring I mean I wrote an essay in fifth grade that got a gold star and I said hells yeah I’m onto this game for sure and not getting a real job because I don’t want space taken up in my brain that I could use for writing) I have begun many a blog. Some for profit. Some for learning. Some for burning. Some for turning and some for yearning. Some forever and some to be tethered. Some some some some.
You might not know it to look at me, but I’ve got six blogs going. No one’s looked at any of them. Except one. It’s awesome. I love it so much. It’s so much fucking fun. Man this blog shit is so much fuckin’ fun.
I’ve started six blogs and five of them weren’t any good. The last one I started because I had too much coffee. I jumped on that shit and said fuck it, this blog is going to suck way worse than the other ones. And I just started writing whatever I wanted. And posting like a motherfucker I mean I was just doing crazy shit!
Nah this shit isn’t working out.
Got to get at the point right away.
If you spend any time reading new blogs you’ll see a lot of disclaimers. “Don’t read this…it’s not for you!” some will say. “This is not suitable for general consumption…it will not enrich your life.” “I don’t know who would be silly enough to read this.”
New blogs are like new gym membership. Everyone is telling us we need to blog. You’d better have an online presence if you’re going to do anything creative. You know you need to have a blog. So you get one, post five times and melt away. And no one gives a shit because no one knew you were there anyway. Unless you stole the domain name they wanted to register for their new blog.
Maybe I need a new focus. I’m trying to turn this into some kind of rant against commercialism or something. I don’t know. In my head. A small bell tolleth.
Maybe I should just write why people should have a blog, and why I think it has value even if you think it’s shit.
You should totally have a blog. You already do, or you wouldn’t be reading this. But you totally should. Stop worrying about what everyone thinks about it. Well, that’s impossible because that’s the reason you should have a blog. It’s good for your soul. It makes your soul grow.
Ah fuck me.
My writing teacher in college once said, You have to be pretty arrogant to be a writer. To think people want to spend some of their lives reading your thoughts. That’s pretty arrogant. So I guess writing isn’t for the faint of heart. And if it is, it comes to us meek ones and we don’t know what to do with it. We have to write anyway, we just like to write and we do want people to read it, but we’re not arrogant enough to think that they’ll enjoy it if they do, we think there’s definitely something else they should be doing, because we should probably be doing something else, too, unless we shouldn’t. So we start a blog, because there’s no requirements or prerequisites, you just type some shit and hit publish. But of course you feel pretty guilty about that because you know it’s not good enough to be published. So you try to warn people away from it. I know I published it, but don’t read it. I just did it because I want it to be out there, I want to have said something, I wanted to fight against the silence, but I don’t want to waste your time. And that’s what you would be doing if you read this. You’ll see it in many different degrees. The one extreme really doesn’t want you to read it, because they are a hundred percent sure it sucks. Then you have the ones who jokingly say, ah you’d be silly to read this drivel, right before they implore you to follow because they really are offering up some kind of entertainment, they feel, even if it isn’t Shakespeare.
But who the fuck wants to read Shakespeare? God damn it, I’m tired of this shit. Howard Bloom can pass out if he wants to I’m not reading any Shakespeare.
Alright, don’t know where that came from since Harold Bloom’s The Invention of the Human is a pretty awesome book. Or am I just saying that? Where is the ego or the super ego…who am I…the one who reads Shakespeare or the one who laughs at him…the one who wants to be original or the one who laughs at originals the one who knows whether or not he likes Shakespeare…no.
Five of the six blogs I’ve written were shit. I started one out of boredom one night, having had too much caffeine and too little to do, and I broke all my rules for blogging or writing in general. For life in general. I said whatever I wanted to. I punched my inner critic in the face. I bypassed the censors. I didn’t look back. I made grammatical mistakes. I said fuck three hundred times an hour. And I’m having a great time.
If you had shown me this blog back then, I would have said, oh yeah that’s where I post my readable material. Now I say, Oh yeah, that’s G Flanders lite. That’s for the people who don’t have the time. The people who would like me but don’t really have time to be down with me a hundred percent. Not like the readers of Anyone’s Ghost. Those mother fuckers are down to ride. Those mother fuckers put up with a hundred posts a day and still find time to write amazing posts themselves.
When I started that blog I felt the need to classify each post as readable or unreadable. It was half a joke with myself, like most of the things I said in my ridiculous posts were. If I started thinking about a crack in the wall while I was talking about Proust, I switched to the crack in the wall. Because fuck it. If I want to write like I think than I’ll just do it and let the chips fall where they may.
I’d write shit like that, too, or at least think it. Well if you don’t like it, I’d think, go read some other blog. Leave me alone. But I didn’t feel like that at all. It’s just that inner critic, you can’t keep that bastard down. He jumps right up and says, hey man, nobody’s going to like that! And you feel the need to answer him, to answer all the bastards that won’t read your blog because they don’t know it’s there, because you post too much, because you use the f-word, because you ramble like a Led Zeppelin song. You feel the need to assault them because you feel them laughing at you, when what you’re really feeling is your own ego telling you that this is not your best work and no one should have to sit through it.
It’s a protective measure. And maybe it makes you feel a little bad ass. I think, hell yeah, I’ll show these mother fuckers. I’ll say whatever I want and they’ll have to deal with it! Meanwhile, mother fuckers who read it are either enjoying the shit out of it or just leaving or just not even showing up to decide one way or the other. And the people who enjoy it, well maybe you’re constantly afraid of alienating them once you’ve got them reading. You didn’t know it could be so fun, to have people connect with what you’re just spouting off, but now that they are, you’re inner critic grows stronger and stronger and you think you should defer to him for their sake. Because you’re sure he knows what they want.
But somehow I’ve managed to fend him off pretty well. He shows up a lot. But most of the time I outrun him. And I would encourage anyone who has felt this way to stop apologizing for it. Embrace it. Bare your soul and connect with those that connect with what you’re saying. Because then you would not be so all alone. And when writing can do that for you, well what the hell else do you want from it?
Well that seems pretty good. I brought it around to how I feel about blogging now. What I think blogging really is. What the benefit for me really is. And I’ve identified the over arching sentiment that makes people put disclaimers at the tops of their blogs, instead of picking out each individual one like a fact machine or something.
Five of the six blogs I’ve written were shit. I started the sixth one out of boredom one night, having ingested too much caffeine and having too little to do, and with it I broke all my rules for blogging, for writing in general. Hell I broke all the rules I have for life in general. I said whatever I wanted to. I punched my inner critic in the face. I bypassed the censors. I didn’t look back. I made grammatical mistakes. I said fuck three hundred times an hour. It was awesome.
I conceptualized this new blog in my mind early on. I thought if I garnered a following writing these mad thoughts down…typing as fast as my mad thoughts came then I could always start a new blog that would hold material that REALLY added value to people’s lives. Now that I have some followers, and I am following some, and now that I have made meaningful connections with other minds like mine, and now that I have understood a tiny bit about what blogging is all about, I look at this new blog as G Flanders lite. This is for the people who don’t have the time. The people who would like to read some crazy G Flanders shit but can’t be down with the get down a hundred percent. This isn’t just for the readers of Anyone’s Ghost. Those crazy bastards are down to ride any time of the day or night. They put up with three, four, five random posts a day and still find time to write amazing posts themselves. This is for posts that I revise. Posts that I select instead of just throwing whatever comes into my head. For the less fun writing, but perhaps the writing that could reach a greater audience than my core audience. I see this blog as being a gateway into my writing. Because with these followers and my “like” count on Anyone’s Ghost, well shit I have to admit I’m starting to get that writer’s arrogance.
When I started Anyone’s Ghost I felt the need to classify each post as readable or unreadable. It was half a joke with myself, like most of the things I wrote. But at the same time I really did feel like people would get to the end of a post and say to themselves, well shit there’s ten minutes I’ll never get back. I wish someone would have warned me. Because that other post was so great, why does this one ramble around in a circle of shit? So the “Readability Index” was my clever way of telling people that if they wasted time reading these posts, well I washed my hands of it early on. Don’t say I didn’t bloody well warn you! Because I know that’s what you’re saying!
I’d write shit like that, too, or at least think it. “Well if you don’t like it,” I’d think, “go read some other blog. Leave me alone.” But I didn’t feel like that at all. I certainly didn’t want people to leave me alone. It’s just that inner critic talking, you can’t keep that bastard down. He jumps right up in your grill and says, “Hey man, nobody’s going to like that!” And you feel the need to answer him, to answer all the bastards that won’t read your blog because they don’t know it’s there, because you post too much, because you use the f-word, because you ramble like a Led Zeppelin song. You feel the need to assault them because you feel them laughing at you, when what you’re really feeling is your own ego telling you that this is not your best work and no one should have to sit through it.
It’s a protective measure. A defense mechanism. And besides that maybe it made me feel a little bad ass. “I’ll show these rubes. I’ll say whatever I want and they’ll have to deal with it!” Meanwhile, the bloggers who read it are either enjoying the shit out of it or just leaving or just not even showing up to decide one way or the other.
And then, as people began to follow Anyone’s Ghost, and comment on it, and like the posts, well then I was in big trouble. I became constantly afraid of alienating them with some new random tangent that even they didn’t want to waste time on. I didn’t know it could be so fun, to have people connect with what I was just spouting off, and now I had something to lose. And that was fuel for the inner critic, like a protein shake for that bastard, like creatine even. He grew stronger and stronger and I began to think I should defer to him for their sake. Because he always seems like he knows what they want.
Luckily I realized what was happening and I managed to fend him off pretty well. He shows up a lot. But most of the time I outrun him. And I would encourage anyone who has felt this way, anyone who has heard that bastard whispering, “Don’t publish this. Don’t waste people’s time. It sucks,” I encourage you to tell that stupid fuck to go straight to hell. Stop apologizing before anyone has a chance to complain. Embrace your own voice. Bare your soul without reservation and you will connect with those that connect with what you’re saying. Because then you will not be so all alone. And what greater gift could writing give you?
That’s better. Took out the you’s and whatnot. The last line should be better though. And maybe I’m forcing the Bob Dylan reference in the second to last line. If it’s not going to work it’s not going to work!
And maybe the call to action in the end is a little too wide. Like there is something to be said about running faster than your inner critic and writing some crazy shit, and then going back over it. That’s what writing is all about. Not just pissing all over a piece of paper and calling it art. Hm but what is blogging all about? Well I guess we’re talking about two different things entirely.
If you want to start a blog where you can just write whatever you’re feeling and connect with some other poor bastards who can empathize, well just jump into that shit like a mother fucker. I encourage you, leave your editor at home. Pay no mind to the rabble. You will find that a few people, if you take some time to look around and find someone saying pretty much what you’re thinking, you’ll find that they and you will benefit from the interplay of ideas that just comes straight out of your mind.
What’s the purpose here. What am I trying to say? Stop apologizing, basically, but why do I want them to stop apologizing? I really just want to relay how I feel about personal blogging, about how I felt like I had to apologize for it at first, and now I realize it’s awesome.
What I’ll do is I’ll go ahead an insert a paragraph after the first paragraph, so a second paragraph, wherein I endorse having a personal blog where you connect with people and just write whatever your feeling, even if you have a regular blog where you try to add value in a specific intentional way to the world.
So second paragraph:
What I ended up with is what Seth Godin used to call a “Cat Blog.” Something that shouldn’t be interesting to most people. But somehow it is interesting. Somehow it did resonate with some people. Because writers, well shit, we all go through a lot of the same things. Especially those of us who aren’t arrogant, and who have time to look at other bloggers. Even though I was starting a personal, stream-of-consciousness style blog, I didn’t expect anyone to read it because I couldn’t be bothered to read theirs. I wouldn’t even read a novel by a popular author because I figured they were probably crap, all the good stuff has already been written. I’ll just go read Catch-22 for the eighth time. But what I found was there’s gold strewn across the swamps of the blogosphere. And then I realized that the whole damn swamp WAS gold. And this will probably raise some contention, you see there I go thinking about how this will be received. But I found immense value in reading the thoughts of other people, even when they didn’t exactly match up with what I was going through at the time or anything like that. And having the people I thought were interesting think I was interesting, well that gave me the confidence to write some shit like this! It really changed my whole outlook on what writing actually means.
Okay maybe this should be the last paragraph.
So I encourage any writer to go ahead and do some dumb shit. Just write whatever comes in your head. Use a fake name, make up an email address, don’t tell any of your 3D friends you’re doing it, and connect with some other minds. Because that’s what it’s all about. That blog will be like a record of your head, what happened to you, and it will be like your mind just available to someone else, searching for another mind like theirs.
Ok starting to get muddled now. Starting again from the top.
Five of the six blogs I’ve written were shit. I started the sixth one out of boredom one night, having ingested too much caffeine and having too little to do, and with it I broke all my rules for blogging, for writing in general. Hell I broke all the rules I have for life in general. I said whatever I wanted to. I punched my inner critic in the face. I bypassed the censors. I didn’t look back. I made grammatical mistakes. I said the f-word three hundred times an hour. It was awesome.
What I had created was what Seth Godin would call a “Cat Blog,” something I had always tried to avoid, as I had thought it was not the best way to establish a “following” or build a “tribe” or create a “platform.” But Anyone’s Ghost gave me what’s at that heart of all of those words: Bloggers read what I wrote, I read what they wrote, and for the first time in my life, in my writing career, I made meaningful connections with other minds solely through the written word, and so came to understand a tiny bit about what blogging, and writing, is all about.
When I started Anyone’s Ghost I felt the need to classify each post as readable or unreadable. It was half a joke with myself, like most of the things I wrote. But at the same time I really did feel like people would get to the end of a post and say to themselves, “Well there’s ten minutes I’ll never get back. That other post was so great, why does this one ramble around in a circle of shit?” Thus I created the “Readability Index,” my clever way of absolving myself. “Don’t say I didn’t bloody well warn you! Because I know that’s what you’re thinking!” I’d think, “If you don’t like it, just go somewhere else and leave me alone!”
And yet I certainly didn’t want people to leave my blog. I found myself checking my stats every five minutes wishing more people could see how clever I was even when I wasn’t REALLY trying. And still I couldn’t keep my inner critic down. He would jump right up in my face and say, “Hey man, nobody’s going to like that!” And so I felt the need to respond aloud to my own mind, to preemptively answer all the bastards that wouldn’t read my blog because they didn’t know it was there, because I posted too much, because I used the f-word, because I ramble like a Led Zeppelin song. I felt the need to attack these imaginary readers because I could feel them laughing at me. What I was really feeling was my own ego saying that this is not your best work and no one should have to sit through it.
It’s a kind of defense mechanism. And besides that maybe it made me feel a little bad-ass. “I’ll show these rubes. I’ll say whatever I want and they’ll have to deal with it!” Meanwhile, the bloggers who actually end up on the blog were either simply enjoying the writing or deciding not to read it and leaving.
When people began to follow Anyone’s Ghost, and comment on it, and like the posts, well then I was in big trouble. I became constantly afraid of alienating them with some new random tangent that even they didn’t want to waste time on. I didn’t know it could be so fun, to have people connect with what I was just spouting off, and now I had something to lose. And that was like a protein shake for my inner critic. He grew stronger and stronger and I began to think I should defer to him for their sake. Because he always sounded like he knew what they wanted. Luckily I saw what was happening and was able to fend him off. And the better I get at doing that, the more I like writing.
I encourage you to go to war with your inner critic. Use a fake name, make up an email address, don’t tell any of your 3D friends you’re doing it, and throw together a “cat blog.” Write about your cat for three thousand words. Write about your goldfish or your stuffed rabbit. Connect with some other minds. Somehow, I guarantee whatever you say, if you say it honestly, will resonate deeply with at least a few other bloggers. And in between sessions of pouring your wild thoughts onto the screen, be sure to spend some time reading those other “Cat Blogs” out there. You may be just as surprised at how deeply the stray words of another mad blogger resonate with you.
Hoo shit that’s it for now! God damn! Got to go to bed.
Sweet dreams… and fuck it, thanks for writing the way you think, and damning the rules, and lucky us who found you when you started your sixth blog, after having drank too much caffiene. For the record, I’m silly enough to read your ramblings, and I’m silly enough to want to read my own as well.
Aw man I LOVE IT when other people tell ME “fuck it.” You’re the man! I’m the lucky one! We’re a couple of silly mother fuckers I know that!
I agree with you that saying “I don’t want anyone to read my blog because it’s…(personal, or I’m afraid, or I’m not good enough”, but still actually wanting them to, and hoping they stay, and hoping they like it, too, is a way of protecting ourselves. We do want to connect, but we’re also afraid to have our writing rejected, or not even noticed. We set ourselves up to believe that we don’t want it to happen before it even has a chance to happen. I agree, too, that anonymity can be helpful in releasing the inner censor or finding out where the line of self-censorship should be.
I like how you rewrote your essay a few times. At first I wanted to say, “Hey, do you know you’re repeating yourself a lot?” but then (slow, I know) I realized that it was intentional, and even a sort of joke reflecting on your thoughts of self-censorship and inner-editor. That was rather cool, and it’s nice to see someone else’s thought processes evolve, and the way they edit and revise. Usually we only see our own.
You have an interesting voice, so don’t sweat over whether or not you can write interesting things. You can fine tune and revise someday if you choose to, but I’m beginning to be a great adherent to the idea that the words have to spill out, before we can actually see our thoughts and tune them to the right note.
Word. What was the Readability Index? I’m so lost.
Thanks so much 🙂 You are awesome.
i comment not to add pressure but because i want you to know how much i enjoy your writing, particularly the way you used repetition in this entry… masterful. (and if it wasn’t on purpose, your intuition is spot on.)
Thanks 🙂 🙂
Ok here is a conundrum for you. Let’s say you are one of these people who write such self-preserving caveats on their blog; let’s say you do it in your real life too; let’s say you write a load of heartfelt stuff to someone in an email or such and then when they don’t reply, say you wished you hadn’t written it cos it was nonsense or somesuch…then they call you on it and ask if you actually want them to read it or not I guess it’s the same with blogs, the answer is that I wouldn’t have written it if i didn’t want it read, yet somehow this may come out as – don’t waste your time reading it. WHY???
That’s exactly the conundrum I’m talking about! I don’t know why. I guess I feel guilty that I actually want people to spend their time on something that maybe I didn’t put sufficient time in to (or what I would think is sufficient AKA maybe ten years of revisions). I guess it’s all a crisis of confidence or just not thinking I’m good enough or important enough to interrupt someone else’s life. It’s pretty crazy! I remember one of my teachers said that writers have to be arrogant to be successful, because how could anyone expect someone else to spend time reading their thoughts unless they were arrogant. That always stuck with me.
Dammit. I don’t think that arrogance is really on the agenda for me so according to your teacher, I guess I will always be ameteur as an artist, as will many others. In fact, what about musicians who are actually not arrogant yet are sucessful anyway because someone appreciated their humble / unimposing ways and music? why isn’t it the same for writing? There is a niche for people whose selfconfidence falls short because there must be so many people even further down the spectrum who cant even try to write, even though they wish they could, due to crippling lack of confidence in theri ability / self, those people need champions too don’t they?
Certainly here is an enormous niche for those kinds of people and they do need champions. I never said I agreed with my teacher! I can see where he’s coming from but I don’t think it’s a requirement to create something worthwhile.
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