Between the post yesterday about blogging feeling like high school (Angie wrote a rebuttal here) and the one that was submitted on Mushroom Printing about Evil Mommy Bloggers, I feel like someone had to offer up another opinion, defending blogging.
I started blogging in 2004. You didn't know me back then and I sure as shit didn't know you (nothing personal, of course). The only people who read my blog were people who'd probably seen me t-bagged by a stripper at my bachelorette party. There are, of course, pictures that I'll have to share some day.
The very idea of a blogging "community" didn't register in my pea-brain until sometime in 2007, which was the year I started my more-PC blog, Mommy Wants Vodka.
Once I branched out onto my own, no co-blogger to proof-read my atrociously-spelled, grammatically-incorrect posts, I wrote nearly every day. I went from writing about my vagina and other such ridiculous topics to talking about parenthood, how desperately lonely I was, how raising a kid with autism was hard (yo), and how much I adored Uncrustables. You know, the sandwiches?
It was like learning that I could breathe underwater.
It's not like people flocked to my blog in droves when I first started. Everyone ignored me. So, why did my blog become a little bit "successful?" (what is blog success defined as, anyway?) I'd like to say it's because I'm hauntingly beautiful and devastatingly charming, but that's probably not the case. Maybe it's the Unicorn Shirt.
When people ask (which is often) for The Secret and I am unable to offer one, they get mad. I'm not hiding it, I just don't know. If I did, you know I'd tell you. My Pranksters deserve to be successful, too. Any of you who know me know that I help out my Pranksters whenever I can.
I've been a blogger a long time. I've seen a lot. I've been snubbed, ignored and overlooked. I've had people I don't know write nasty blogs about me. Former friends stalk my (regular) blog religiously for the express purpose of talking shit about me. I've poured my heart out only to have someone take a shit all over it. I get emails all the time from people who don't want friendship, they want promotion.
More than that, though, I've seen the good things. I've been lucky in my successes online and there's not a day that goes by that I'm not truly thankful for it. I love what I do. If I had a binder, I would write BLOGGING with all kinds of pink, puffy hearts around it. For all the things I've fucked up in my life, becoming a blogger is not one of them.
Blogging, writing, these are labors of love. They are also a lot of work. I run, edit, moderate, and promote Band Back Together and Mushroom Printing in addition to Mommy Wants Vodka. I spend hours every day, seven days a week working on this site alone. That is a privilege. To find something that I love so much and work on that all day long? Amazing. But it is work. All day, every single day.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to come onto the blogging scene now. Genuinely, I can't. It's got to be hard as hell. There's been so much media-hype surrounding the .00000001 percent of bloggers that can actually eke out a living - I am not one of them - through blogging that I know it's got to seem like that brass ring is just around the corner. The blog world is a hell of a lot bigger now and it's got to feel incredibly intimidating.
That said, I don't agree that there's a blogging hierarchy in a literal sense, like, "I'm A Red-Level Blogger," (if there is a blogging hierarchy, I want to be a Sparkle-Level Blogger) but I know that there are groups of people who have become friends through blogging. I can't compare blogging to high school because blogging seems infinitely nerdlier and (although The Twitter assures me this is not, in fact true) high school involved a hell of a lot more leg humping. I had a great time in high school. I had friends from all walks of life, same as I do now.
You know what? There were also plenty of assholes in high school too.
My suggestion for people who want to become friends with other bloggers is this: email them privately. I love getting emails, and I almost never do. My email is all over my blog.
Responding to every single @ and comment isn't always possible. I'll have the best of intentions, but then, I'm busy writing an essay or editing the posts over here, or helping someone with something technical, or wiping ass or cleaning my house, or something else and suddenly, it's slipped my mind. It's not personal. It's never personal. I feel terrible when I don't get around to everything.
If it makes you feel any better at all, at least 90% (probably more like 99%)(but I don't know, math isn't my thing) of the emails, tweets, and posts I put out there, I don't get replies to, either. Believe it or not, I like them too.
I wrote this about blogging, attending the BlogHer conferences and what we owe each other as bloggers.
In a perfect world, it would be nice if everyone who read the site voted for Band Back Together and Mommy Wants Vodka in the Bloggies. Why? We work our asses off to provide this space and an audience for your stories. It's a simple thing to do, really, and it would mean the world to me if you did it. But you don't owe it to me. I cannot expect you to help me. You don't owe me.
It would be great if everyone who submitted the stories we painstakingly moderate and edit would promote them. But you don't owe me that, either.
It would be incredible if I could actually sell the book I've been painstakingly assembling, too, but I can't expect it either. I'm not owed that.
I can expect this: I will keep on keepin' on because I'm lucky enough to have found something that I love. I've searched a long time to find something that I love, and here it is, in the weirdest of spaces. I'm truly blessed and there's not a moment that goes by that I forget it.
So, Pranksters, to those of you who have had a hard time in the blog world, I'm sorry. I really am. I hope that you continue to write hard. Reach out to each other. Make friends. Remember that bloggers are people too, even the ones with higher traffic, they're people. Everyone has good days, bad days, and days that are in between.
But most importantly, write hard and do it because you love it. Because I'm still waiting on my pony. I have a feeling I'll be waiting a long time.