I’m not really as desperate and pathetic as my previous post suggests. Please believe me. I’m begging you. (Which, I admit, is both desperate and pathetic. Go figure.)

See what a happy guy I am?

One of my regular readers left a comment on my previous post, the one in which I (half-)jokingly lamented my failure (thus far) to reach blogging superstardom … and I was going to reply to her in the “Comments” section of that post until it occurred to me that she probably wasn’t the only reader thinking what she was thinking. And so, because I am a selfless giver who always tries to serve the Greater Good, I shall address her remarks here for all of you.

Allyssa writes:

I’m a long-time reader (found you from a comment on dooce’s website) … I follow you b/c I like to see I’m not the only neurotic person in this world.

My neuroses and I are here to help, Allyssa. You’re welcome.

I love your blog and love when you have a new lengthy post.

Thank you, Allyssa. I love knowing that.

I’m not getting the fame and fortune angle though … if you want to write/blog, then blog b/c you love it and b/c it touches people.

I’ve been blogging for almost six years now, and I couldn’t even begin to count the number of hours I’ve spent doing it, the amount of sleep I’ve sacrificed for it, or the many other leisure activities I could have enjoyed if I’d abandoned it. Had I instead spent that time taking guitar lessons, I’d be Eddie fucking Van Halen by now. Financially, I have nothing to show for it. Either I’m doing this because I truly love doing it, or I am a flaming asshole who’s too stupid to realize that his time would be better spent collecting scrap metal for cash. (Many would say that the correct answer is: “C. Both of the above.”)

If you are lucky enough to make a living out of doing it, then good for you …

I couldn’t agree more. I would feel beyond lucky if I was able to make a living doing this thing that I love. And while I know that the odds of hitting that particular lottery are anorexically slim, I’d sure love to win it … so when I read Greg’s “Top 5 Reasons I’ll Never Be Famous” post, I thought it would be a fun way to talk about my inability (thus far) to turn this hobby into a dream job. (And, to be clear: While my post definitely was built upon a foundation of truth, it mostly was meant to entertain.)

… but it seems really weird (insincere? disheartening? I don’t know) to read a blog and in the back of my head be wondering, “is the writer just putting this out there b/c he wants a certain number of readers or to increase interest so he can make money off of us reading?”

One of the main points I tried to make in my previous post is that I would not, and do not, post bullshit whose sole purpose is to pump more traffic to my site; I write things I feel moved to write about, and hope that people will feel compelled to read them. Do I want huge numbers of people to flock to my site? Of course. If I didn’t, I’d write these stories in a notebook and tuck it under my mattress. Would I pounce on the opportunity to receive money from sponsors in return for writing the same things that I currently write for free? Like a starving lion on a lame water buffalo soaked in barbecue sauce.

I haven’t ever felt that from this blog, but when I think deeply enough about it … it feels like it cheapens the story you are telling. I almost feel used.

I am sorry that you almost feel used … not because being used sucks, mind you, but because, had I known you were going to feel like I had used you, I would have at least used you first. That is, if I could have figured out a way to do so. Lemme know if you think of anything.

On the flip side, I get immense joy out of reading your blog, so maybe I’m using you. Maybe that’s how you feel: that you are just putting it all out there, and we’re experiencing things with you, and what do you get in return?

What I get in return is the satisfaction of writing, and of knowing that others are reading what I’ve written … and when someone leaves a comment telling me that they get “immense joy out of reading [my] blog,” or that I’ve made them laugh and/or cry and/or connected with them in some way through my writing, it feels phenomenally rewarding … which is exactly why I’d love to reach more people, and why I’d love to have the financial means to spend more time doing so.

But mostly? Mostly, I’m just trying to make you guys laugh.

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  1. Ty
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Mayyyyybe it’s time to stop reading user comments. ‘Cause, ya know . . . fuck ’em.

    • Posted September 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I wasn’t upset by Allyssa’s comment, and I don’t think she was out of line or trying to bust my balls. She made some valid points, and I’m glad I was able to address them.

      And I don’t know any bloggers who could stop reading the comments their readers leave. 😉

  2. Posted September 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I can honestly say, I keep coming back because your posts invariably make me cry/laugh/shoot coffee out of my nose all over my desk at work/fill in the blank. You’re very good at what you do, and we’re all lucky that you share it with us.

    Also, when I win the lottery, I’ll totally hook you up so you can stay home and entertain me with your blog!
    Pink Dog´s most recent blog post: No toilet paper wedding dresses, pleaseMy Profile

  3. Posted September 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I get all the points from your previous post and I have felt the same way at different times and at different levels. I enjoy your blog because it is a different perspective than mine although most times it reflects the same sentiments.

    I was lists before. I have made money before. I have occasional give-aways and swag. It is a hobby for me that every now and then I get a little perk from. Once the blog starts to feel like work it becomes work and loses its enjoyment factor.

    The people who are successful at this have had great opportunitites and probably great support systems to enable them to do this. I am not saying you do not have a great support system but if you were able to devote more time into the social media/blogging/leaving comments etc I am sure you would find more of what you are looking for. But you and I we work other jobs to bring home the bacon.
    William´s most recent blog post: Judith JonesMy Profile

  4. Allyssa
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Well, if you just want to make us laugh, you are a complete success! And honestly, I feel your pain about labors of love…I’m on the board of a local animal shelter and do a lot of volunteer work for the shelter, and its not like all of our work means yay, no more homeless animals have to be euthanized…the numbers are just staggering and you keep working and the shelter keeps putting down animals and you keep working and trying to raise funds, etc, and it just never seems to get better. And I guess my point to my previous comment was just that I love reading your blog b/c I get the feeling (without really *knowing* you, of course) that you are sincere about sharing a compelling story (to which I relate), but the prior post just leaned too far into the “if I can’t make money out of this, why am I doing it?” realm…and for my own personal enjoyment, I hope you don’t give it up because no one is paying you. If I had a bazillion dollars, I’d pay you. And thanks for realizing I wasn’t trying to bust your balls (which is either a Northern statement or a guy-thing b/c I’m now icked out that I just used the phrase “bust your balls”…a proper Southern lady doesn’t say “bust your balls”…Fuck is OK, not balls).

    • Posted September 10, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      “…or a guy-thing b/c I’m now icked out that I just used the phrase “bust your balls”…a proper Southern lady doesn’t say “bust your balls”…Fuck is OK, not balls…”

      This made me laugh out loud! For real. Mainly because I know EXACTLY where you are coming from!
      Gigi´s most recent blog post: Who says that internet friendships aren’t real?My Profile

  5. Nancy
    Posted September 10, 2011 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    I admire how you can let it all hang out, the successes AND the fuck-ups, and still make me laugh and/or appreciatively consider your point of view and experiences. You manage to make your ‘nervous breakdowns’ very okay and very funny, thanks!!

  6. Posted September 10, 2011 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    The thing about internet “fame” is you can’t simply want it and hope it’ll come to you. That’s right up there with hoping you’ll win the lottery, it just won’t happen unless you’re either REALLY lucky or put effort into it. Especially these days, it’s a lot harder to gain fame on the internet. Blog because you want to, because you need to. Not because you want to be famous. I don’t know what your fanbase is like on this blog but you almost quit (at least) once before. If you started gaining a buttload of traffic and people starting leaving trolling comments and asking when you’re next going to update because it’s been a while, do you really see yourself being able to deal with that? Trolls are ruthless. And all the extra traffic would make you feel even more obligated to update frequently to entertain people, it’d more than likely wear you down bigtime and you’ve got kids who’ll be wearing you down too.
    Heatherface´s most recent blog post: 100 things that make me happy.My Profile

  7. Posted September 10, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    WHOA!!!!! Allyssa What do you mean we can’t say balls?
    ferngoddess´s most recent blog post: the shock would kill you then you would kill meMy Profile

  8. Posted September 10, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    When I read the previous post I knew what you were getting at…writers, whether it’s blogging, novels, haikus, whatever, have hopes of making an impact, right? Do some writers desire fame and fortune? Sure, but most of us just want to make a living doing what we love. I think your blog is awesome, so keep chugging along.
    Vesta Vayne´s most recent blog post: Holy crap it’s only FridayMy Profile

  9. Posted September 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Very sincere picture there, Jon. Very sincere. 🙂
    Gigi´s most recent blog post: Who says that internet friendships aren’t real?My Profile

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