How to have a blog

-want to be a writer. Not have a job. Start a blog. Write all the time. For every hour that you write, spend one half-hour reading other blogs. Leave a trail of comments. For every half-hour that you stalk the blogosphere, spend fifteen minutes checking for new comments on your blog. Immerse yourself this way.

-write a thing and post it and wait, in suspense, for someone to leave a comment on it. Feel fairly certain that the thing is worthless. Enjoy several positive comments. Feel suddenly, furiously validated. Get addicted to this feeling.

-if you’re writing about an activity that the average blog reader thinks is crazy, stupid, or brave (anything besides working or being on the internet), even better. You’ll get lots of readers this way, and they’ll leave you plenty of comments commending your bravery, or calling you stupid and reckless but god go with you, and they’ll be checking back every fifteen minutes to make sure you haven’t died.

-do something that’s normal to you (riding freight trains, hitch-hiking, never taking more work than you need, having a reasonable standard of living, communing with nature) but write about it in a way that makes it sound just as reckless and exciting as the average blog reader thinks that it is. Get lots of readers this way, and comments (see above).

-develop a heroin-like addiction to the comments on your blog, and the validation that they give you. Check your stat counter obsessively to see who is reading, their IP addresses, what city they live in, their entry and exit pages, who referred them and how long they spent on your blog. Go without internet access for three days while stuck at a truckstop in the Arizona desert and find yourself flung unexpectedly into the depths of withdrawal. Without the internet, you fidget constantly and your thoughts are abnormally clear. The only thing that helps quiet this hungry clear-headedness are trashy vampire romance novels, which you quickly run out of.

-solicit money on your blog. People give it to you Never, but sometimes they do. This keeps you in a perpetual state of economic suspense, which further fuels your blog addiction.

-decide that your blog addiction is a Good Thing. It’s like having your very own focus group, and it’s a great way to see how people respond to your writing!

-notice a trend. There are only three or four different comments that people leave on your blog, ever. They just repeat over, and over, and over. Begin to grow weary of them. Feel a little guilty about it.

-stop traveling. Now you no longer have a simple gimmick or an easy-to-follow storyline, yet you know that in order to keep your readers you’ll have to continue posting at least every other day or so. Feel a little panicky about this.

-you have to keep posting or you’ll lose all your readers. You’ll have to keep posting or you’ll lose all your readers.

-don’t feel like writing for a week. Lose some readers.

-out yourself as a feminist and write about things other than freight trains. Lose some readers, and watch your readership roll over from mostly dude-brahs to mostly women. Ponder this for a moment. Receive an email from some dumbass who used to read your blog, in which he declares that White Men Are Oppressed Too, and that the reason that most adventure travel books are about men is because Women Don’t Want To Travel, They Want To Stay Home And Take Care Of The Kids. Try not to throw up in your mouth. Say Good Riddance to all the dude-brahs who used to read your blog, acknowledging that even if you wanted to (and you don’t), you wouldn’t be able to lead them, one at a time and by the hand, from the land of douche-baggery to the sun-shiny land of Responsibility For One’s Privilege.

-realize that you can accurately predict how your blog readers will react to each of your posts, before anyone actually comments. Begin to resent the people who still comment on your blog, just a teensy tiny bit.

-feel guilty about not posting more often, and about not having a consistent storyline, or an easily digestible gimmick. Realize that you can no longer sum up your blog in one sentence. Stress about this.

-early one morning in the springtime, realize that you don’t owe your blog readers a goddam thing, and you’ll post whenever the hell you feel like it, if you even feel like it at all. Post less and less, and watch your readership gradually drop. As the bright beam of anonymous attention on your most personal stories and feelings begins to dim, feel your cravings lessen. The blogosphere’s hold on you is growing weaker. Whereas once you checked for updates on a good number of blogs fairly regularly, you now find yourself Not Giving A Fuck. You can almost smell the freedom, like a sunny stretch of grass after a good time indoors in a windowless, florescent-lit room.

-your posts are irregular, sporadic, reflective, visceral, and plotless. Lose some more of your readers.

-a lot of things happen, and you don’t even bother to write about them. Whereas before you updated your readers every time you took a shit, you now chop wood in Alaska, without even telling your readers you’ve gone there. You don’t post for a week. You don’t even have any goddam electricity, much less the desire to blog. Lose the rest of your readers.

-you are free.

16 thoughts on “How to have a blog

  1. scantron- maybe if you overpost things that are boring? like news items and videos from other sites and content that is not originally yours? I think?

  2. I hear you, Carrot. I have a blog that I don’t mention much. It’s about issues local to my area of the world, and my musings on that. I fell into it, after the police made a false arrest and I got it dismissed. I never, ever expected to continue, and it’s been three years. I can take breaks whenever I want, and there’s still people checking in. I can go weeks at a time and say nothing, then make ten posts in three days. Once I figured out there’s freedom in walking away from it, freedom in doing it the way I want to when I want to, I felt a lot more free about it.

    I hope you enjoy your time in Alaska.

  3. You have now reached Enlightenment, young Grasshopper….

    Good to see you’re still living life wide open.

    Post only when the sprit moves you. Post what you want, when you want. Comments are overrated, period. Dwell on them, the authors of them, or the message and it will only bring you down.


  4. yes…it is what you make it…when I have things I want to share, I do it…and when life is just too busy, I don’t…simple….

  5. It’s something that you even have readers/commenters to contemplate or resent. I can’t even fathom people reading my blog, because when I do, I can’t write on it. I’ll be like, “oh, this doesn’t seem to come from a feminist perspective and people will be disappointed…” But then I realize, that I’m not doing this for anyone but myself, and fuck other people anyway, and there’s not enough people reading to really care about a “readership”. So now I look at my blog as my own journal, that i pretend is private, and the readers have snuck into my room to read my diary because it’s deviant and exciting to read someone else’s journal. Really I know I’m a exhibitionist who is using my blog to flash people my insides in the dark alleys of the internet.

  6. scantron- ok, I went and looked at your blog- it seems like you have readers, and comments and stuff. And it’s pretty hard to get people to comment on posts that are just news, I think.

    Kate- hurrah to having a healthy relationship to the blogosphere!

    Windrider- thanks, stranger! And I have indeed reached a sort of blog enlightenment, thanks for noticing.

    Bobbi- yes!

    Sloth- a healthy relationship with your blog, you haz one! Blogging, u r doing it right! And I like your metaphor about flashing people in the dark alleys of the internet. btw, River and I read yr blog!

  7. Amen, Sloth, lol.

    *Takes all of Carrot’s post and shoves it in her face and gives everyone a feral look.*

    Your not posting would hardly deter me, lol. As an example I follow a fellow named The Urban Vandweller and he posts like, mm, once every three months? But he’s an amazing writer. So are you. Can’t hardly find really good writers these days to draw inspiration from, and when you don’t write I just take it that you’re a) experiencing too much to fit into a daily blog, or b) there ain’t jack-shit goin’ on worth writing, y’know?

    It’s okay. That’s what Blog Following and Subscriptions are for. So you can just live and the rest of us will snatch up tidbits when you got ’em to throw, lol. 😛

  8. carrot, i’ve made a couple comments here in the past. I do not follow all that many blogs, but the ones I do follow are, for the most part, well written or beautiful or ultra funny or friends I keep up on.

    I like reading your blog cause you are a damn fine writer. if you don’t post for a while then the next post is even a bit sweeter–a bit more of a juicy bite. And I thank you for a glimpse into your world–all the mundane parts and the adventuresome parts.

    I have my own blog that I started as a place to reflect on a journey involving attempts at reproduction that my girlfriend and I started in on. That journey has been ended for the time being (probably forever), but I like to write, so I keep at it. If people read nice; if not, fine; if I do not feel like writing I just don’t do it…

    Anyhow, you have a lot of good insight on this whole blog thing. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I like to keep up with what you are doing, and I always enjoy your wonderful writing. You have a gift.

  10. Hello CQ. This is a reflection about your theme “I am not afraid.” I have noticed that many people are afraid of a lot of things. And I often feel these fears get in the way of really living. Thanks for being an inspiration.

  11. GreenCaller- Hurrah! Glad yer still reading!

    The injector- shucks, thanks!

    Jill- You’re in alaska too, but you might as well be in the south pole! How do I even GET to Juneau? I don’t think I can hitch-hike there. Maybe on a boat?! 🙂 We’ll meet someday. You could ride yer bike up here!

    Maitreya- glad you could relate. Thanks for reading.

    Acorn- thanks, stranger!

    Liz- so glad I could inspire you! Thanks for reading!

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