Oh, good: I’m not the only wanna-be-Internet-famous daddy blogger wallowing in obscurity while sucking down a tall glass of dashed hopes mixed with a paralyzing fear of failure

Sometimes, dreams come true … and all of the twists and turns in the road suddenly make sense … and all of your hard work finally gets you where you want to be … and all of your obsessive dedication to a seemingly fruitless quest is vindicated.

Or so I’m told.

And sometimes? Sometimes you have to settle for finding comfort in the fact that you’re not the only guy to have dreamed your particular dream, and that another guy with the same dream is standing beside you outside the fence, looking through the bars, both of you watching your shared dream frolic by the pool with the more fortunate souls who’ve gained entry to The Place Where Dreams Come True.

I only just recently discovered TellingDad.com, whose author, Greg, yesterday published a blog entry that he wrote after stealing my thoughts … which explains why I’ve started wearing this tinfoil hat … but that’s another story.

Anyway, as I read Greg’s blog entry, titled “Top 5 Reasons Why I’ll Never Be Famous,” I was, quite frankly, a little freaked out by just how much I could relate to many of the things he had written:

“I’ve come to the realization that this blog will probably never become what I initially hoped it would be. I suppose I’m okay with that but I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed. Without traction I’m sure there will come a day when the hours I spend without reward will whittle my motivation to where I no longer find pleasure chasing the carrot. For now, I’m keeping my eye on the prize and remaining hopeful that my visibility increases.”

Admittedly, Greg is a more self-actualized person than I, because, as he states above, he has come to a “realization” and is “okay with that.” I, meanwhile, remain in a fierce state of denial, because on those rare occasions when I let the reality of my seemingly futile quest seep into my consciousness, I am so not OK with it.

“I love to write but that alone doesn’t make me a ‘writer’ in the way I want to be remembered. I think I’m good at it, I’m told I’m good at it, but either I’ve overestimated my talent or others have underestimated my potential.”

Here we have a clear-cut example of Greg literally reaching into my brain and snatching out complete thoughts. (On a related note: I need suggestions for how to keep a tinfoil hat affixed to my head while sleeping. Thanks in advance.)

As for Greg’s “Top 5 Reasons Why I’ll Never Be Famous” list itself:

1.) I Don’t Make “Top” Lists

“Every time I see a Top 10, Top 25, Top 50, or Top 100 list featuring the ‘__(insert feel-good adjective here)__ Dad Bloggers’, I am predictably missing.”

I’ve made my way onto a couple of “Top” lists. Fame, fortune and a deluge of traffic have not followed. You’re not missing out on much there, Greg.

2.) I Don’t Do Product Reviews

“Because I don’t branch out beyond personal posts, there’s really no other reason for people to visit my blog. There aren’t deals to be had, freebies to obtain, or prizes to win if you spam the bajeebers out of your Twitter and Facebook streams. When you visit TellingDad.com, you’re coming for the humor. My site is one dimensional by design and I think it’s that very focus that impedes my growth.”

I have, in the past, held a couple of giveaways, but when I recently re-launched this blog, I decided to no longer hold such giveaways or seek out sponsored schwag, because those things have nothing to do with building a loyal audience whose members are here solely because they feel compelled to read my writing. I will talk about this more in my forthcoming book, “Integrity: The Express Lane to Obscurity.” Just kidding; I’m too obscure to land a book deal.

3.) I’m Not Controversial

I’ve been controversial, albeit by accident. And, yes, my brush with controversy had a fantastic impact on my traffic stats and overall visibility … but Greg’s explanation as to why he’s not purposely controversial mirrors my own philosophy:

“I don’t want to exploit controversial topics or fuel impassioned arguments just to experience a deluge of traffic.

“If people bombard my site, I want the inspiration to be rooted in enjoyment, not angst. Gaining one visitor by way of laughter is worth more to me than gaining a hundred because I inflamed a volatile topic. I get a total high when people tell me I made them laugh and THAT is what drives me to continue. In my case, the quest for that reaction is eternal.”

My daddy didn’t give me enough attention as a child either, Greg. Seeking validation in the form of praise from strangers is a normal response.

4.) I’m Nowhere Else

“Many popular bloggers branch out beyond their own URL by writing for a number of different publications and online sites. This provides several conduits through which new visitors and fans can find them. My reach is only so far, and without Jenny [The Bloggess], dozens of you wouldn’t have any clue I exist.”

Further evidence of the heretofore unknown Greg/Jon mind-meld: He shares my intense adoration of the comedic genius that is Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess. Jenny is so funny that I can’t help but read everything she writes … which is unfortunate, because when I read what she writes, it makes me feel like I’m an unfunny hack who should give up writing altogether. Bitch.

Greg advertises his blog via a text link on Jenny’s site. I used to do this, too … you know, back before I had to choose between electricity or advertising my blog on Jenny’s site.

5.) I Can’t Be Succinct

“People seem to love short posts yet I find it difficult to write them. I fear that if I don’t deliver substance, people will feel I took the easy way out … that I’m lazy. That I’m losing my touch.”

“Sometimes I just want to write a short paragraph and attach a photo of something I found funny, but I talk myself out of it.”

I occasionally post a Featured Photo (formerly Photo of the Day, which I’ve renamed, because the term “of the Day” completely misrepresents the frequency with which I post them), and often write a short little something to accompany each photo rather than grinding out a more substantial piece of writing. When I do this, I feel like I am cheating, and it doesn’t bring me anywhere near the same satisfaction as the longer pieces I write. Some would say “overly long.” Like this one, for example.

Hello? Anyone still here? I suppose I can just pretend someone’s actually reading this.

So, as you can see, I share with Greg many of the same roadblocks on the path to blogging success. Sadly, though, my path is further impeded by two additional and formidable factors. Please allow me, if you will, to append Greg’s list with a couple of my own items:

6.) I Say “Fuck.” A Lot.

As prominently noted on Greg’s blog, his writing is “F-Bomb-free.” He has written a manifesto that explains why he has chosen to go this route, and I fully respect his decision to do so. Having said that, I founded this blog with the intent of capturing my true voice … and my true voice includes profanity.

Of course, this sometimes creates an internal conflict for me, because I don’t want to scare off potential readers who might regularly visit my blog were it not for my inclusion of a handful of words that some folks find offensive.

For example: I love Ree Drummond’s blog, The Pioneer Woman. I comment there regularly, and often receive readers who have followed my comment links back here. And on those occasions when people coming from Ree’s wholesome, down-homey, bad-word-free blog are greeted here by a profanity-laden post, I feel like I am clubbing baby seals. I swear (no pun intended), I can hear the collective gasps of fine, respectable Midwestern housewives and grandmothers, and those gasps make me think for a moment that perhaps I should censor myself.

But here’s the thing: I curse when I speak and think and write … and whatever few qualms I may have about doing so are rooted not in an internal belief that doing so is wrong; they are rooted in the fear of offending others. And, truth be told, I’d rather have a modest-sized audience full of readers who not only allow me to express myself as I see fit, but who prefer and enjoy it when I do so than to force myself to communicate in a manner that feels constrictive and less than genuine in order to have a larger, more easily offended readership.

7.) I Don’t Post Often Enough

I remember reading in the late nineties an interview with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who at one point was asked why it had taken him five years to release a follow-up to his previous album. I don’t recall the exact quote, but Reznor said something to the effect of: “I remember hearing that Kurt Cobain wrote ‘Nevermind’ in three weeks. That pissed me off. It takes me three weeks to find my notebook.”

I don’t know how Greg does it, but the dude manages to crank out a new post almost every single day. I, meanwhile, am lucky to post once or twice per week, and the process of doing so feels not so dissimilar from what I imagine childbirth to be like.

So, Greg, do not despair, for you are further along the path to blogging success than am I. Everything is relative, my friend. (You might want to consider doing product reviews, though. Controversial product reviews. I’m thinking something like “flasks for toddlers.”)

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